“If you want to be proud of yourself, then do things in which you can take pride" – Karen Horney

At school, under the watchful eye of the teacher, students are expected to complete the same work and put the same amount of effort into their work. In fact, if you need to draw a circle in mathematics, your teacher may give each student a protractor to do the drawing as well as provide the same amount of attention and help for all students.

At home, however, you are left to your own devices, and the onus falls on you to busy yourself with your homework. In many homes, parents sit with their children to do their homework (especially when their children are in primary school). This is excellent because helping children with their homework gives parents an indication of how their children are doing with regard to their school work. It also clearly shows where their children are struggling in different subjects.

The truth is homework takes tons of time and sometimes many parents, like yours, may not have the time to sit with you and help you to do homework.

So why do you need to do homework when your parents are not there to check up on you? What must you keep in mind when doing your homework is that you are doing your homework for yourself.

While having your parents track your homework and school progress is all well and good, you must bear in mind that you are doing the homework to check up on yourself. Homework is a way of seeing what you understand and what concepts you don't understand.

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 Homework is Important, so Take Your Time Doing It

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” - Colin Powell

You plan on being hardworking and spending time on your homework but the truth is that homework does take up a lot of your time.

Primary school kids spend far less time doing homework than high school children, however, the time spent sitting and doing homework can still seem far too long for students in any grade.

So how long should you ideally be spending on your homework?

exhausted girl seated at desk with laptop and school notebook
The law of diminishing returns applies to homework, and spending too long on it will reduce its effectiveness. (Source: Pexels)

How much time do you spend on homework? Do you feel that this homework time improves your performance?

While we can look at the average amount of time that a student in each grade spends on homework in South Africa, the truth is that each student works at their own pace. There is no one shoe fits all model when it comes to time spent on homework. It may not be worthwhile to set the exact duration for how long it should take to get homework completed.  Remember while success is hard work, you don’t want to spend so much time on homework because it is equally important to give your brain time to relax.

If you are looking for a guide on how much time is appropriate to be spent on homework, an hour a day is enough for doing homework in primary school. In high school, we would recommend that you spend at least an hour and a half daily on homework.

Homework time again will vary depending on the number of tasks that you are given.

Then again, homework should not only mean completing the maths exercise that you were given to do but also using your time wisely to revise at home.

Types of Homework

Remember homework doesn’t always mean writing something down with a pen and pencil. Contrary to popular belief, learning can be done at home in more interesting and fun ways (especially for younger children).

person doing calculations on paper and laptop
Different types of homework are effective for learning different things. (Source: Pexels)

Many parents are able to assist you with oral homework. When your parents ask you at the dinner table how your school day was, that is also a recap of the work that you have learnt at school and a form of oral homework. Talking about your school day counts as listening and speaking which is a core skill mentioned in the English CAPS curriculum.

When it comes to spoken homework, it can be in the form of reading aloud or even rephrasing a concept that you have been studying.

We mostly think of homework as being written homework. When you know your teacher is going to mark your homework, you tend to spend time on the homework, but have you ever stopped and thought that performing an oral task can be just as effective as a written homework task?

In the primary school grades, reciting your timetables, or even spelling words out aloud orally can be effective as written homework.

While you may have only grasped that oral homework is effective, remember students in high school usually benefit far more from written home.

For English, high school students are expected to write literary essays. Writing out an essay on the themes found in a novel or play during the days where not much homework is given, can be excellent practice for your exams.

Don’t underestimate the value that revision and practice play have in terms of improving your performance for the exams. Especially in subjects like mathematics, practice does actually make perfect.

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Homework Tutoring

The best way to prepare for exams during homework time is to use the extra time for revising the lessons that you had in class. By exam time, you will have an excellent foundation from which you can understand what you have learnt.

For primary school students, this type of revision and revisiting of concepts is beneficial; however, it remains necessary for high school students.

What if you fail to understand that which was taught at school? How will you revise then?

Homework tutoring and tutors specifically devoted to providing homework help have become a big thing in South Africa. To be able to balance home life demands and homework demands, many parents rely on the services of a homework tutor to assist.

A homework tutor can be approached to tutor a child for an hour or longer. The homework tutor will ensure that the child is getting homework done and not procrastinating and wasting time.

Again, a homework tutor will be able to assist learners to revise work and study on the days where there is no homework or very little homework given.

A tutor will assist with summarising the work learnt and condensing concepts covered so that they are easier to grasp.

Homework tutoring is the way forward especially when parents are unable to sit and assist their children with homework.

For students who are encountering difficulties with grasping concepts and completing homework, the student may need some extra help in the form of a personal one-on-one tutor.

You don’t want to fall behind with all homework tasks and then start looking for someone. Get a tutor before you actually fall behind.

Homework Organization Ideas

Did you know the more organised that you are in terms of doing homework, the more easily you will get all your tasks done?

boy seated on floor doing homework
The tasks due tomorrow will probably be the first thing to get out of the way. (Source: Pexels)

Establish a calendar that stipulates when homework is due. Being able to see how many tasks are due allows you to get things done in good time. Prioritise important tasks based on due dates. Always begin with the task that is due first.

If all of your tasks are due the next day, start with easier tasks first. The easier tasks will go quickly and that will leave you with more time to spend on the complicated tasks.

Usually, students prioritise in terms of subjects that they prefer. The least favourite subject tends to be left for last. Try to work strategically and from what to like the most to what you struggle with and like the least. This way, you won’t hit a brick wall working on something difficult and quit doing your homework entirely.

How Long Should I Spend on Each Task?

If you know that you are given a project, research assignment, or open book test to prepare for, spend the bulk of your homework time on this. The chances are that the research assignment or project will be for marks and you want to ensure you get a good mark. Deadlines and due dates allow you to prioritise homework and to a certain degree guides you as to how long you ought to spend on a task.

boy asleep on top of his homework
If you're unable to do all your homework, you or your parents may need to speak to your teacher. (Source: Pexels)

At a primary school level, all subjects are considered to be equally important therefore make sure that you spend equal amounts of time on each subject. In high school, the subject that you wish to pursue after school should gain your attention first.

The time that you spend on each task is dependent on your personal preferences and priorities. Generally, if you understand a subject like Life Skills or Social Sciences well, you won’t spend a long time doing homework in the subject.

The reason private homework tutorials are advocated is that for many South African families, it may be a useful solution and a way forward to enable students to bridge learning gaps and barriers.

Having a tutor assist your child in his or her learning journey, helps when it comes to tackling tasks. Everything from organisational aspects of homework to the actual getting homework done, a tutor can help with.

Private homework tutors are a simple Superprof search away. On the Superprof site, you will find hundreds of tutors offering lessons for every subject. Find a skilled tutor for you who can make homework tasks seem like a breeze.

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.