Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to Ace Your Math Homework

Math teachers often experience students asking for extra credit right before grades are due.  This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a student.  Avoid making this huge error by accumulating as many points through assigned work before finals.

Follow homework guidelines

Your teacher will likely give you homework guidelines during the first week of school.  Make sure to follow them to the tee.  This not only helps keep you organized and conscientious about your work, it also helps your teacher to grade it more easily.  Happy grader = happy grade!  If you were not given specific homework guidelines at the beginning of the school year, look here to find general math homework guidelines.

Know what your teacher is asking

Make sure you understand what is expected of you before you leave the classroom.  Don’t expect your teacher to answer their email two minutes after you send it at 9:00 PM.  Teachers have lives outside of the classroom and they appreciate when you respect that.  If you still don’t understand, ask your teacher before school, at lunch or after school if they are available.  Don’t ask the day before it’s due if there is more than one day to complete it.  If it is the day before it’s due or is after 5:00 PM, ask a classmate, parent, or tutor to help you understand. 

Complete EVERY problem

This may seem obvious, but if your homework is incomplete, there is no way you will get full credit.   Use the next tip to make sure they are correct!

Set aside a time and place for homework

Whether it’s at lunch, during study hall, or right after your after-school snack, have a predetermined time to complete each class’s homework.  Here is a sample homework schedule for a high school student:

Time Frame
Homework to complete
1st period – PE

2nd period – History

3rd period – Language Arts

Language arts homework
4th period – Math

5th period – Science

After school
Math & Science Homework

After Practice
History Homework

Have the supplies needed for homework ready to go wherever you plan to do your homework.  Some things you may need are: pencil, eraser, pen, calculator, graph paper, lined paper, etc.  Clear the room of any distractions before starting homework.  Cell phone should be off and in a separate room.  Computer should be off unless you need it for homework.  Let yourself have a small 5-10 minute break (set a timer) after every completed assignment or hour, whichever comes first.

Turn in work on time

Work should always be completed on time, but sometimes that just isn’t an option for the busy student.  Most teachers will understand if there is an emergency (ex: fire, family death, personal injury or illness).  However, most teachers will not forgive late homework if you knew about a trip, vacation, competition, or game ahead of time.  You need to talk to the teacher after class the day the homework is assigned if you foresee it not being completed on time due to extra curricular events or activities.  Many teachers will give an extension in these scenarios if you ask the day assigned. 

Start a homework group

Make a group with some students in your class that you know you work well with.  Your best friend, boy/girl friend, or boy/girl you have a crush on is not the best option because you will be easily distracted.  Find students that are at about your same level in the class.  You don’t want to be walking someone through every problem, but you don’t want someone talking down to you condescendingly because you don’t understand, either.  Most schools have places for students to work in groups, ask your teacher, ASB Advisor, or Vice Principal if you don’t know of any.   Make sure you have phone numbers and email addresses for everyone in your homework group so you can get ahold of them if you have any homework questions.

Get a tutor

If you’ve tried all of the above options, but feel as though you are falling further and further behind in class, a tutor is a great option.  Make sure you have completed as much homework as possible and have questions written out BEFORE meeting with the tutor to maximize time.  If a tutor is not an option because of cost, many schools have tutorial sessions and student to student tutor lists.  Ask your front office or teacher if your school provides this or if they have any recommendations. 

At the end of the day, all teachers want to see their students succeed (yes, even the mean ones).  Don’t be afraid to be open with your teacher and ask for advise about your struggles.  Just remember, you need to use courtesy and not place blame on the teacher for your lack of understanding (even if it is their fault!!).  Teachers are trained professionals and are very passionate about their work.  Placing blame will only offend and infuriate a teacher who was most likely doing their best to help you.  If your teacher can’t help you, it might be a good idea to hire a tutor that can.

No comments:

Post a Comment