Finish Homework

We live in an active, busy, on-the-go, never-stopping, hyper-connected world. Students are perhaps busier now than they have ever been before.

Take one student of ours for example. This guy took one of our study skills courses and was a big-shot high school hockey player. He had division one type talent, possibly even professional talent eventually.

But here’s the downside to being an insanely committed athlete: it takes a ton of time.

This student had to travel a long way every day for practice. We’re in North Carolina, after all, so you can’t exactly find an ice rink at every corner. In fact, his hockey schedule meant he had to leave the house every morning before 7 am, but he didn’t get home until after 8 pm.

If you live that kind of life, how do you actually keep your grades up?

If you know a student who has this kind of restricting schedule, try one of these tips below to still live an on-the-go lifestyle and keep the grades up.

1. Get your homework finished by using throw-away time

This is a concept we teach guys to employ in our study skills course for guys, The Dudes’ Guide to Study Skills. It has direct implications for every student.

In years past students could expect to leave school, head home, and then get big chunks of time together that would allow them to finish all their homework at one time. Those days are becoming fewer and farther between.

Today’s students frequently don’t find themselves in situations that allow them 2 hour blocks of time together. Instead, get creative and use the “throw-way” time blocks. Do you take the bus? Do you have to wait for Mom or Dad to make dinner? Do you ride in the car for 15 minutes? All of those “throw-away” time blocks can add up to a big difference when it comes to getting your homework finished.

2. Get your homework finished by staying super organized

Some folks aren’t the biggest fan of this concept. Organization is the bane of many students’ existence.

But it’s frequently the difference between students making use of shortened blocks of homework time or missing out on those blocks. If you are not organized, you’re not going to be able to start and stop homework quickly.

The key to staying super organized in this way, however, is that you need every homework assignment that has not yet been finished in one place. This can be a folder, or a binder, or a pocket in a binder. But keep it all in one place, and keep that folder with you all the time.

3. Get your homework finished by cutting out distractions

Technology and other distractions (but mostly technology) are usually the biggest factor keeping students from getting their homework done on time. Finish your homework. Then enjoy the tech.

We love technology. We just don’t love it when you’re trying to get your homework finished. We’ve seen technology literally double, triple, quadruple — or worse — your homework time. When it’s homework time, shut it down. If you want to, you can take breaks every hour and check your social media. But give it a rest for a bit. Trust us – it’s an easy way to make sure you’re making the most of your time.

Do you have other suggestions? We’d love to hear what you have to say on social media.

Filed Under: blogTagged With: homework


Why Students May Not Complete Homework

What's the deal with homework?!

Although there can be many reasons why students don’t always complete their homework, some seem to be universal. Luckily, alert teachers can manage these. Try some of these suggestions if you find your students (and yourself) struggling with homework.

1. Students did not record the assignment when you made it.

• Allow enough time for students to record the assignment at the start of the class. Have them copy it from the board instead of just writing it down as you say it. Monitor them as they do this.

2. Students don’t seem to take the assignments seriously.

• Make sure students know the purpose and benefits of each homework assignment you make. Take a serious stance when discussing the work. Collect it and check it for accuracy. Enact your policy to involve parents or guardians.

3. Students leave their books and materials at school.

• First, allow your students sufficient time to gather their belongings. Be sure to stress the importance of the work and then problem-solve a solution with students. If the problem persists, even after you have worked with them, contact a parent or guardian.

4. A family crisis keeps a child from being able to complete the assignment.

• Be compassionate and offer assistance. Allow parents to write a note to you when a child does not finish an assignment. Ask them to include a phone number where they can be reached if necessary. You will find that parents will greatly appreciate this simple act of understanding and cooperation on your part.

5. Students “forget” to do their homework frequently.

• Talk with individual students to determine the underlying causes and offer assistance. Check to see that they have recorded the assignments so that they know what to do. Communicate with parents so that they know what the assignments are and can offer support.

6. Students claim they do their work, but leave it at home.

• Sometimes this can happen, but a student does this frequently, contact parents.

7. Students have other assignments that are more pressing than the ones you assign.

• Talk to the other teachers involved to see if you can avoid schedule conflicts. Be as flexible as you can.

8. Students are overwhelmed by homework assignments.

• When you make an assignment, ask students to estimate how long it will take them to complete it. This allows you to adjust an assignment when necessary and teaches students to become good project managers. Offer help to students who may need extra assistance in doing their work. A bit of extra time with you after school will often clear up problems and boost students’ confidence.

9. Students don’t really see why they have to do homework.

• Focus their efforts by showing them how to set long-term and short-term goals. Make setting goals a part of your classroom and you will give your students a steady purpose for doing their work. Make it a priority to build in motivation as often as possible.

10. Students have other interests (sports, video games, television, etc.) that they claim are more important than homework.

• Work with students to set goals, hold them accountable for the work, and call home when necessary to ask for support.

11. Students say they don’t know how to do an assignment.

• Take this seriously. Remediate the instruction and allow students extra time to complete the work. Avoid assigning a new skill as homework before students have had an opportunity to practice in class.

12. Students don’t have access to technology and other resources at home.

• Show them how they can find what they need at school, but be sensitive to the type of homework assignments that you make.

13. Students are capable of doing the work but just don’t get around to it.

• Often underachieving students are not lazy, but are paralyzed by a subtle fear of failure. Talk with the student first. If this does not succeed, then involve parents and the counselors at your school to help your underachieving student.

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Featured Author:

Julia G. Thompson

Julia Thompson has been a public school teacher for more than thirty years. Thompson currently teaches in Fairfax County, Virginia, and is an active speaker, consultant, teacher trainer, and workshop presenter. Her most recent book, Discipline Survival Guide for the Secondary Teacher, Second Edition, written with busy high school teachers in mind, has just been released. Author of the best-selling The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide and The First-Year Teacher’s Checklist, she also publishes a Website ( offering tips for teachers on a variety of topics, maintains a Twitter account with daily advice for teachers at, and a blog at

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