Teenagers and homework... It is a love-hate relationship. Perhaps more bitter-sweet in some cases.
I remember when I was doing homework, some days I would love the homework because I enjoy the subject or I understood it, other days I used my master qualification in procrastination to help motivate me to start and finish the homework. I must admit, a part of me, perhaps just a small part was geeky. A little “teacher’s pet wannabe" back in the day. Parents to blame in this case because they were both police officers, so you had to follow the rules. Now, being a parent myself I realise that routine is no more than rules and kids love routine. They really do thrive in following a well set out routine from baby to teenager. It keeps a rhythm going and so do rules.
Understanding that times have changed and kids are being pushed to the limit in schools, the rule and routine principle really should help with that also. Unfortunately, the school system, in my humble opinion, funnels kids for university. I'm all for further studies, I did myself and I would encourage my kids to have a degree of some sort behind their names in something that they will love doing for the biggest part of their adult life. What I don’t like is that kids are not kids in most school systems. They are being pushed from an early age to sit down, write down (or more type down these days) and study, which really stresses them out. What would benefit them more is where their creativity and developing brain are progressively and age appropriately stimulated. Minimal life skills are enforced in schools, such as financial fitness, first aid, cooking (I loved it in school), simple gardening, how to identify our passion, how to fix things when they break iso just replacing it AND most important, time management!
Talking about time management, homework especially will benefit from it!
If you haven't practised time management for homework yet, here are a few out of many various guidelines which will help ease out the intensity of homework.
1. Do what you don’t like first!
By finishing what you don’t like first, it will help to motivate you to continue.
2. Design your space
Make your homework spot as fun and inviting as you can. Put up posters, motivational quotes, vision boards. Use many colours to write with (the teacher will love this, trust me), write with fluffy pencils, smencils, or put a little bell on the back end – it will sound like Christmas, undeniably a happy feeling. Sit by a window which you can open for fresh air or bring in as much natural light as you can.
3. Know your teacher
Get to know what your different teachers are looking for with answers and essays.
4. Play music
Music is good to feed your soul. There have been many studies on the effectiveness of certain types of music. Putting on brain stimulating music while you do it, not just enhance the effectiveness of your concentration it also helps to keep you focussed and increase memory. Don’t put it too loud either, let it play in the background so that your brain doesn’t have the strenuous task of jumping from homework to music, which will drain you faster.
5. Plan out a schedule… and stick to it!
Put a homework time schedule together to help you achieve the homework goals with less stress. Give yourself a time limit on study times with short breaks in-between. Be sure to get up from the study space and walk to first change your energy a little and to also increase blood flow and help you to breathe again with an open chest. We tend to slouch when we sit, so sitting up straight will give the brain more oxygen. And Breathe, don't forget to breathe deep.
6. Realise it won’t stop
This one is brain psychology motivation – homework is homework and while you are in school or study, it will always be a part of your day. Realise that there is nothing you can do about it and it must be done. Tell yourself (out loud) that you love to sit down and learn more about the subject or that you enjoy spending more time learning about the particular topic. This will fool your brain into thinking that you don’t mind spending time on it, you’ll approach the homework with more positivity and you’ll probably find that you’ll be able to do more in less time.
Agreed that there is very little fun in doing homework, but the feeling of achievement once you finished the homework surely supersedes the homework itself. Celebrate each time you close a completed task. It is the small wins in life that count the most… Good luck and pencil on.