How to Manage Summer Reading and Homework
During the summer no kid wants to hear the word “homework.” Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more common for teachers to assign summer work, putting pressure on kids to manage their time and get down to business during their two months of freedom. Here are some tips to make summer homework painless.
- Immediately create a schedule. Compile a list of all the assignments, their due dates, and any vacation dates. From this information, form a schedule of when you will get work done, making sure to leave a buffer of a couple of weeks at the end in case you fall behind. Many students start the summer with ambitious goals of finishing all of the work days before school begins. This rarely ever works out for the best. The details of the schedule are up to you; however, we suggest taking a short break at the beginning of summer to help decompress before starting more work. Stick to your schedule. Creating the schedule is only the first step; be sure to closely follow your schedule. If you ever get behind a day, do twice as much work the next day to keep yourself on track.
- Track your work. Completing the assignments is not enough; you must take the time to truly understand the concepts behind the assignments. While reading, be sure to annotate (taking notes while you read or after you have finished a chapter), paying particular attention to character development, plot, and themes. For science or math, take notes on each chapter over the main concepts and equations. Stay organized while doing this. Keep a specific folder for your work and, if possible, save digital copies of whatever you are doing by typing your notes into a Google Doc or scanning your work into a PDF. It would be a bummer to do all of the work, take a vacation, and then have no clue where it is when you return.
The beach is a great place to do summer reading.
- Bring your homework on vacation. There is no better place to read a book than while sunbathing on the beach. If you do not want to bring a heavy textbook, scan the necessary pages before you leave and work from those. You can get a significant amount of work done on the airplane or in the car, leaving you with more free time later in the summer.
- Work in an appropriate environment. Many students like to work on their bed in their bedroom with music playing. This environment is not conducive to studying. Set up a workstation with minimal distraction, such as a desk in the guest bedroom. This will help keep your focus on schoolwork and let your mind know it is time to work!
- Review before the first class. This is especially important if you completed the majority of the work early in the summer. Teachers like to quiz their students on summer reading or homework, so make sure you walk into class well-prepared. Before class, review your notes and the work from each chapter, and practice discussing the book’s themes, allusions, and character development with a friend. Do not use online study guides since most teachers develop their assignments to circumvent the information these sites provide.
With these 5 tips, finishing summer homework should be a breeze. The key is to start early and not wait until the last-minute. If the concepts are new and difficult or you want to guarantee you have a leg-up, a tutor can ensure that you finish work on time and have a solid understanding of all the material. Have a great summer!
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