How to Make Homework Less Work
Homework is your teachers’ way of evaluating how much you understand of what’s going on in class. But it can seem overwhelming at times. Luckily, you can do a few things to make homework less work.
Create a Homework Plan
Understand the assignment. Write it down in your notebook or planner, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about what’s expected. It’s much easier to take a minute to ask the teacher during or after class than to struggle to remember later that night.
If you have a lot of homework or activities, ask how long the particular homework assignment should take. That way you can budget your time.
Start right away. Just because it’s called “homework” doesn’t mean you have to do it at home. Use study periods or other extra time in your school day. The more you get done in school, the less you have to do at night.
Budget your time. If you don’t finish your homework at school, think about how much you have left and what else is going on that day. Most high-school students have between 1 and 3 hours of homework a night. If it’s a heavy homework day, you’ll need to devote more time to homework. It’s a good idea to come up with a homework schedule, especially if you’re involved in sports or activities or have an after-school job.
Watch Where You Work
When you settle down to do homework or to study, where do you do it? Parked in front of the TV? In the kitchen, with the sound of dishes being cleared and your brothers and sisters fighting?
Find a quiet place to focus. The kitchen table was OK when you were younger and homework didn’t require as much concentration. But now you’ll do best if you can find a place to get away from noise and distractions, like a bedroom or study.
Avoid studying on your bed. Sit at a desk or table that you can set your computer on and is comfortable to work at. Park your devices while you study. Just having your phone where you can see it can be a distraction. That makes homework take longer.
Get to Work
Tackle the hardest assignments first. It’s tempting to start with the easy stuff to get it out of the way. But you have the most energy and focus when you begin. Use this mental power on the subjects that are most challenging. Later, when you’re more tired, you can focus on the simpler things.
Keep moving ahead. If you get stuck, try to figure out the problem as best you can — but don’t spend too much time on it because this can mess up your homework schedule for the rest of the night. If you need to, ask an adult or older sibling for help. Or reach out to a classmate. Just don’t pick someone you’ll be up all night chatting with or you’ll never get it done!
Take breaks. Most people have short attention spans. Sitting for too long without stretching or relaxing will make you less productive than if you stop every so often. Taking a 15-minute break every hour is a good idea for most people. (If you’re really concentrating, wait until it’s a good time to stop.)
Get It Ready to Go
When your homework is done, put it in your backpack. There’s nothing worse than having a completed assignment that you can’t find the next morning. Now you’re free to hang out — without the guilt of unfinished work hanging over you.
Get Help When You Need It
Even when you pay attention in class, study for tests, and do your homework, some subjects seem too hard. You may hope that things will get easier, but most of the time that doesn’t happen.
What does happen for many people is that they work harder and harder as they fall further and further behind. There’s nothing embarrassing about asking for help. No one understands everything.
Start with your teacher or guidance counselor. Some teachers will work with students before or after school to explain things more clearly. But what if you don’t feel comfortable with your teacher? If your school is big, there may be other teachers who know the same subject. Sometimes it just helps to have someone new explain something in a different way.
Ask a classmate. If you know someone who is good at a subject, ask if you can study together. This may help, but keep in mind that people who understand a subject aren’t always good at explaining it.
Find a tutor. You’ll need to talk to an adult about this because it usually costs money to hire a tutor. Tutors come to your home or meet you someplace like the library or a tutoring center. They work with students to review and explain things taught in the classroom. This gives you the chance to ask questions and work at your own pace. Your teacher or guidance counselor can help you find a tutor if you’re interested.
15 Good Excuses for When You Forgot to Do Your Homework
Having to do a ton of homework after a long day at school isn’t a great feeling. But, if you don’t do it, you’ll get in trouble if you don’t have good excuses not to do homework.
Instead of settling for a zero, you need to come up with good excuses to convince your teacher to give you a pass. These excuses not to do homework must be rock solid or else you might end up in even more trouble.
Saying the dog ate it is not a good excuse not to do homework, so don’t even think about using that one. Here are 15 of the best excuses not to do homework that are guaranteed to work:
Things to pay attention to before making up excuses not to do homework
Before you go ahead and make up your excuses not to do homework, there are some things you must pay attention to. This will let you know if the excuse will work or not.
The main things are:
01 The teacher’s personality
If your teacher is the strict, no-nonsense type, he/she won’t fall for basic excuses. You must ensure that it is foolproof.
02 Your reputation
If you are a good student who always does homework, most teachers will give you a pass if you fail to do it once or twice. But, if you are a frequent offender, they’ll have a hard time believing you.
03 How believable it is
Your excuses not to do homework must not be over the top or surreal. It should be something that can happen to anyone and should not be able to be easily disproven.
4 excuses about blaming family when you forgot to do your homework
Sometimes family can come in the way of getting your homework done on time. This can be because of a toxic home environment, or simply because a lot is going on at the moment.
Here are 4 good excuses not to do homework that can be blamed on your family:
01 “My parents were fighting”
If you live with parents who don’t get along, it can get uncomfortable very quickly, especially if you need help to complete your homework.
Verbal and physical fights can make it hard for you to concentrate on doing your homework and sometimes it is easier to block them out or go to sleep to get some peace.
Teachers understand that not everyone has a good home life so they are likely to make arrangements that allow you to get work done at school. If you want to use this excuse, this is what you can say:
“I’m sorry but my mom and dad are going through a rough patch right now and I can’t focus on my assignments over all the shouting.”
You are unlikely to face any consequences from this excuse if you are being truthful.
The teacher may refer you to the guidance counselor to offer assistance or reach out to your parents and educate them on how this is affecting you.
Photo by acworks author on photo-ac
02 Taking care of a sick sibling
If you are an older sibling, you will likely have certain responsibilities around the house. One of these may include taking care of a younger sibling, especially if your parents are at work.
This is a good excuse to use regardless of the illness because it is hard to focus when you are worried about a little brother or sister. It might also require your full attention which means you won’t end up getting much done.
Here’s what you can say:
“My baby brother was throwing up all night while my mom worked the night- shift so I had to stay by his side until she came home.”
This is a good excuse to use because people usually recover from upset stomachs within 24 hours and your teacher will have a hard time disproving it.
Plus, if it isn’t true, you could always bribe your sibling into telling a little white lie for you.
If your parent is contacted and you made no mention of the illness to them, it will be obvious that you are lying. You may face detention depending on your school rules and further punishment at home.
Image from Pixabay under CCO License
03 Same notebook as sibling
If your parents buy school supplies in bulk, you may get notebooks that look similar to that of your siblings. In a rush to get to school, you can easily pick up the wrong notebook.
This is a good excuse to use if you got given homework to complete overnight or over the weekend. You will seem careless for not packing your bag the night before, but hey, accidents happen.
Your excuse will be more believable if you actually have your sibling’s book as proof you took the wrong one. Here’s what you can say:
“Aww shucks! I picked up the wrong green book. My sister probably has my homework in her book bag.”
You have to be careful with this excuse because you will be expected to turn up with the homework the next day. If you don’t, it will be clear that you weren’t being truthful.
What To Do When Students Don’t Do Their Homework
We hear a lot of stuff when students don’t do their homework. Our cup runneth over with FBI-proof, puppy-dog eyes, procrastinated-filled homework excuses. What we don’t hear, is the research on how to excuse-proof our classrooms for homework. It seems, we are in the dark about engaging students in the homework process. Specifically, what contributes to homework resistance? How can we better support students in not only completing, but learning (gasp) from assigned homework?
To answer these questions, I examined a number of research articles. I focused on interviews/surveys with classrooms that struggled with homework completion (to identify triggers). Also, I used data from classrooms with high homework achievement (to identify habits from the homework pros). Here are 6 research-backed reasons for why students resist homework- plus tips to help overcome them.
6 Reasons Students Don’t Do Their Homework–And What You Can Do About It
Fact #1 The homework takes too long to complete.
In a study of over 7000 students (average age of 13), questionnaires revealed that when more than 60 minutes of homework is provided, students resisted. In addition, based on standardized tests, more than 60 minutes of homework, did not significantly impact test scores.
Teaching Tip: Ask students to record how long it takes to complete homework assignments for one week. Use the record to negotiate a daily homework completion goal time. As an acceptable time frame is established, this allows the student to focus more on the task.
Fact #2 The value is misunderstood
Students erroneously believe that homework only has academic value. In a study of 25 teachers, interviews showed that teachers’ use of homework extended beyond the traditional practice of academic content. For example, 75% of these teachers report homework as an affective tool (to measure learning motivation, confidence, and ability to take responsibility).
Teaching Tip: Communicate with students the multiple purposes for homework. Reveal how homework has both short-term (impact on course grade) and long-term benefits (enhance life skills). Identify specific long-term homework benefits that students may be unaware of such as organization, time management and goal setting.
Fact #3 The assignment is a one-size fits all.
In a study of 112 undergraduate chemistry students, the learners report interest in different types of homework. For example 62% of students are satisfied with online assignments (this format provided immediate feedback and allowed multiple attempts), whereas, 41% are satisfied with traditional paper assignments (this format had no computer printing issues and it is a style most familiar).
Teaching Tip: Assess student learning style with the use of learning inventories. Differentiate homework to account for student interest and learning preference. Educator, Carol Tomlinson provides examples of low-prep differentiation assignments that include negotiated criteria, ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ projects, and choices of texts. As teacher Cathy Vatterott emphasizes in The Five Hallmarks of of Good Homework, consider placing the differentiation responsibility on the learner. For instance, ask students to ‘create your own method to practice the key terms’.
Fact #4 Feedback is not provided.
Acknowledging homework attempts matter. A survey of 1000 students shows that learners want recognition for attempting and completing homework (versus just getting the homework correct).
Also, students desire praise for their homework effort. In a study of 180 undergraduate students, almost half of the learners agreed that teacher recognition of ‘doing a good job’ was important to them.
Teaching Tip: Expand homework evaluation to include points for completing the assignment. In addition, include homework feedback into lesson plans. One example is to identify class time to identify homework patterns with the class (student struggles and successes). Another example, is to give students opportunities to compare their homework answers with a peer (students can correct or change answers while obtaining feedback).
Fact #5 The homework is not built into classroom assessments.
Students want their homework to prepare them for assessments. When surveyed, 85% of students report they would complete more homework if the material was used on tests and quizzes.
Teaching Tip: Allow students to select 1 homework question each unit that they wish to see on the test. Place student selections in a bowl/lottery and pick a 2-3 of their responses to include in each assessment.
Fact #6 Students don’t have a plan.
It’s unsurprising that making provisions for homework, increases the likelihood that homework is completed. In interviews with ninth graders, 43% of the students that completed all of their homework indicated that they had a plan. Their homework plan consisted of the time needed to execute the work, meet deadlines, and follow daily completion routines. Amazingly, the students with a plan complete homework in spite of their dislike for the assignment.
Teaching Tip: Help students develop a plan. For example, you may show examples and non-examples, offer templates for home-work to-do lists, or challenge students to identify phone Apps that help track homework planning procedures.