To Do or Not To Do: Homework

February 16, 2018
  Lady sitting behind a laptop biting a pencil. It is 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning and your beloved alarm clock is waking you up. You immediately jump out of the bed, you sit down and spend the next 3 hours doing your Dutch homework with a razor sharp state of mind! Well, it’s always nice to dream, but here is what actually happens: Every time I get homework I promise myself I will do it right away. By the time I arrive home from my Dutch class I’ve already decided to do it the next day. The next day I make plans to dedicate some time during the weekend to it. On Friday I am convinced I deserve one evening of pure laziness, and just 4 days later I find myself entering the classroom yet again with a piece of homework I completed at the last minute. In case I ever make it to the point where I actually have 3 hours of spare time, here is my top 5 list of Things-That-Cannot-Wait-When-I-Should-In-Fact-Be-Doing-My-Homework: #5: I am not sure what time the supermarket closes, so let’s do the groceries right now. #4: When was the last time I called my mum? She must miss me a lot. #3: It is high time to cut and polish my toe nails. I value hygiene above all else! #2: I will definitely do it right after this movie/TV show. And finally, the master of all excuses: #1: I simply cannot focus in such an untidy place! But there is still hope! Here are a couple of tips to trick my listless mind (and hopefully yours as well) into doing homework in full and on time.

Trick no.1 – Divide your homework

Let’s face it, 3 hours in one day is a lot of time. It is really hard to adapt your schedule to squeeze in 3 hours of homework somewhere between school/work, shower, gym, grocery, commuting, regular dental checks, etc. That is why you need to accept that your Dutch homework will not be done all at once. It will be cut into pieces (like a delicious cake!) that will slowly become part of your daily and weekly routine. It is not a crime to do only one exercise a day. Your teacher does not have to know, in fact – they will never even ask about it! Doesn’t it feel better already, once you adjust to that idea?

Trick no.2 – Do your homework while commuting

Since teleportation is yet to be discovered, commuting to school or work is a very regular exercise done on average, twice a day. Make the most of this time! Are you travelling by train or tram?  This is a great opportunity to fill in some grammar exercises. Are you cycling to school? Why don’t you try to memorize new words while on your bike. Is your car your regular means of transportation? Repeat the listening exercises then!

Trick no.3 – Sacrifice one lunch break a week for homework

Regular nutrition is important, as are the social encounters that go with daily lunch breaks at your workplace or school. But once a week try to avoid your friends and eat a crunchy salad with your favorite dessert over a Dutch homework exercise of your choice. There’s another 30 minutes of homework done!

Trick no. 4 – Memorize new words daily

It is proven that early in the morning we are better at memorizing new material. That is why you should try to prepare a reasonable collection of new words that you will memorize over breakfast or while brushing your teeth and repeat later during the day. Names of months? Numbers? Items of clothing? – Remembering new words is actually not that difficult.

fistbumps with friendsTrick no.5 – Find an accomplice

Socializing is what we are made for. That is why we prefer to hang out with our friends on the couch instead of stay at home and do homework, for instance. But being flexible creatures, we can always combine those two activities! Find a colleague in your class that lives not too far from you and try to meet up in order to do the most difficult part of the homework. Worst case scenario you might find yourself a new friend in the neighborhood!

Final thoughts

We can all agree that the world would be a better place without homework. But until humanity discovers a better form of adopting newly acquired knowledge, we need to deal with our homework every week. If you have any good ideas of how to do so, please share it with other students on the Kickstart Facebook page. Homework assignment: What is your Top 5 List of Excuses for not doing any homework?

Paulina Kanska, Kickstart student