Teenage years are very exciting for educational development, as students expand their knowledge and begin to establish academic interests. They are also extremely busy years, during which students must learn to balance their schoolwork with extracurricular activities and personal lives. Here are some homework tips for teens to help work toward a healthy balance.
Find the right study environment
Finding the right study environment can be tricky, but it’s important to have a place where you work well. A common room at your house may be too chaotic with your siblings, but your bedroom may come with its own distractions, like video games. A comfy chair may seem appealing for a long study session, unless it’s too comfy and you doze off! So what’s the best way to study?
You probably are not surprised to learn that there is not one right answer for how to set up a study space. If you are at a loss for how to get started, try setting yourself up at a desk with good lighting and few distractions. If you need access to a computer, open the tabs that you need, and don’t let yourself wander over to social media. Try to stand and stretch every half hour or so to avoid mental and physical fatigue. Make this area your primary study spot, so whenever you sit there, you are mentally prepared to hunker down and get to work.
Find the right study group
You and your best friends have a lot in common, but likely not everything. You probably don’t all play the same sports or musical instruments; likewise, you probably aren’t all taking the same classes. Studying with friends is not a problem if it makes sense to study together, but sometimes you need to step outside your immediate friends group to find the right study group that matches your needs. You and your best friends probably have a level of familiarity and comfort that may end up being distracting, so sometimes it helps to study with a group whose primary focus is really just to study.
Look for other students in your classes, and see if they are interested in reviewing the study material outside of school. It will benefit both you and your classmates to review material with others who are studying the same subject. This way, you and your best friends can catch up on your favorite TV shows, and you can save the trigonometry talk for your classmates. 😊
Organize your study tools
Thank goodness for Google! I am always quick to Google a topic when I am stuck, but sifting through pages of search results can become tiring. Find the tools that you know work for you, and bookmark them. Organize your bookmarks by subject; that way, you won’t have to spend a huge chunk of your study time just looking for helpful resources.
We at Humbot personally love Khan Academy (see our blog post). If you find educational YouTube videos helpful, bookmark your favorite channels so you can rewatch them before a test. There are so many resources online — use them! Just make sure you keep them organized and easily available, or else you may spend much of your homework sessions trying to find old reference materials.
It’s okay to make mistakes
One of the purposes of homework assignments is for you to think critically and apply lessons from the classroom to a self study environment. It is important to remember that the process of completing the homework is often more important than the completed end result. You are going to make mistakes, and you know what? That’s okay! Just remember not to give up and jump to the answer key. You will learn a lot more working through what you initially didn’t understand than by just finding the answer. (Also remember that there are resources out there for you, like the tutors at Humbot!)
Use your time wisely
Developing good time management skills will benefit you far beyond school. Think about how much more free time you have on weekends when you finish a project early. Consider what is important to you, and prioritize accordingly. If you value a good night’s sleep before a test, plan ahead to finish your homework and studying by 9 PM so you aren’t staying up all night cramming. If you know you have an event you want to attend on Sunday, finish your homework on Saturday. A bit of foresight and prioritization can go a long way when it comes to time management.
A big part of proper time management is making sure you remove distractions. Staying focus is never easy, so try putting your phone on silent to avoid those smartphone notifications and easy distractions. Forest is a really cool app that helps you stay off your phone for any length of time (and they plant real trees too, which makes us love them even more 🌲💚).
Keep in mind what you are working toward
Remember that at the end of the day, you are in control of how much you get out of your homework and study sessions. You get out what you are willing to put in, so what do you need to do to reach your goals? Whether you are working toward getting into your dream college or getting your first A on an algebra test, your goals are your own to set and work toward. Keep your goals in mind as motivation to keep moving forward, and you will reach your destination before you know it.