Time—the scarcest of all resources. All students (and really, all people) would love to have more time. Twenty-four hours per day just doesn’t seem like enough when one is spending nearly a third of it in the classroom. Actually, 7-8 hours in the classroom isn’t all bad on the surface. Of course, when you add up the hours of afterschool activities and assigned homework, the school day encompasses much more than seven hours. And truthfully, the time spent in class is usually easier to handle than the free and independent hours of a student’s day. In school every student has a set schedule and has people around them keeping (or attempting to keep) them on track. The tricky part is managing one’s time after the final bell has rung. The more successfully students manage their personal time, the more successful they will be in the classroom.
Once school has ended for the day, students don’t often have a set schedule and they determine when the best time is to complete their homework. But while classes have ended, students are expected to complete most of his or her important tasks at home. Reading books, writing essays, working on projects, and studying for exams are just a few of the tasks that are done primarily outside the classroom. There will be days when all of these types of homework have to be dealt with on a single night. It is when this occurs, that students tend to encounter real trouble and their grades inevitably suffer. Fortunately, nights like this can be avoided. The key is to not wait and procrastinate with all the various assignments from all the different classes. Completing homework, or parts of homework, prior to the night before the due date will alleviate much stress and produce higher grade marks.
One way to help with a student’s homework is to seek out the help of a tutor. Presumably, if you’re reading this, that step has already been completed. However, a tutor’s time is limited as well and it’s impossible for them to assist with all homework. However, our tutors will be more than happy to develop a homework plan for each student.
A homework plan will entail a schedule with “HW Periods” for the hours after school. We will help indentify when a student will be most productive during this time of day in order to ensure homework doesn’t take longer than it should. We will also develop a strategy on how best to complete long-form assignments such as book reports, projects, and studying for exams. These types of assignments should not be pushed to the side and completed all at the last minute. Teachers usually provide suitable amount of time for these projects but don’t always offer benchmarks for when certain tasks should be completed.
Besides developing a long term scheduling plan, we also want to indentify the best methods for completing homework. Many of the students we see have problems with focus and staying on task. One method we recommend for some of these students is working smaller intervals of time: Work for x amount of minutes and take y amount minutes of break. Other students prefer to take breaks after they have completed certain goals (i.e. a set number of problems, or written a set number of pages). Every student is different and we’ll discover the best methods during our tutoring sessions.
Other important aspects of studying include location (limit the number of distractions), and eating a healthy snack every now and then (much easier to focus when not on an empty stomach). Forming or finding a study group can also be a wise decision. Getting a job done can be made easier for students when they don’t feel as if they’re on their own.
Successful time management is not an easy skill to possess. And it is undoubtedly a skill. Procrastination is natural tendency when people feel they can get away with it. Most of us think we can but sometimes we learn the hard way that we cannot. The ability to managing a busy schedule is a key asset that could end up being the determining factor in helping students reach their goals.