Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, Location

So far in this series, we have talked about why you need to review and how to fit that review into your schedule. This post talks about the setting for your study time. We all know that certain settings encourage certain behaviors. When you walk into an auditorium during a performance, you try to enter quietly and not interrupt the event. When you walk into a party, you greet the others there and join in the fun. You don’t play baseball at the dinner table. Okay, that last one was a little extreme, but I had three boys and yes, it can happen. The point is make an intentional decision about where you study. 

Location

When you have a specific place that you use each time you study, your brain knows when you go there that you are ready to work. If you study sitting on your bed, your brain is confused. Are we getting ready to sleep or is this Shakespeare that I am reading important? There is a lot of material that you learn in school that requires...

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Habits are Easy, Discipline is Hard

 

In my last post, I talked about the need to review previously learned material in order to retain it. I am quite certain many of you thought, “Exactly WHEN am I supposed to do that?” when you read it.  I understand! Student’s schedules are beyond full! They have school 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Many have extra curricular activities such as sports, dance, band, music lessons and/or clubs. They already have assigned homework that can take anywhere from an hour to three hours depending on the course load and the teachers. There is also the little matter of eating, sleeping and maybe, just maybe, having some time for fun! So exactly how are you supposed to add in EXTRA review. 

The most important piece of studying efficiently, both assigned and review, is consistency. As the title of this post points out, Habits are Easy! There are lots of things you do by habit and you don’t even think about. 

Your brain is trained to do certain things...

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Why “Done” is NOT the Finish Line!

It is the end of the year. One of my favorite times to reflect and assess. In both my personal and professional life, I take time to reread my notes and reflect on my experiences. Was there something I could have done better? What were my major challenges? frustrations? Is there something I can do to mitigate these situations in the future. 

Without fail, exam time brings stress, overload and almost unbearable fatigue. Students are required to be at their very best in ALL of their classes. I can’t think of a time in my adult life when I needed to be at my best on all fronts. Combine that with the timing of winter exams. It is holiday time. There are recitals, school plays, parties, family obligations and OH YES! students have to take exams in ALL of their subjects that will significantly affect their final grades. It is definitely a recipe for stress. 

While there is nothing that can be done about the calendar or the cultural aspects of the timing, there is something...

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Why I Don't Believe in Homework Anymore

As a math teacher and tutor, I cannot believe I typed those words, much less that I believe them! It is an undisputed fact that math takes practice. It is a process. I like to tell my students that they get better at their given sport or musical instrument or other activity by practicing and that math is exactly like that. It takes repetition. 

So if I don’t just believe this but I KNOW it to be true, how can I not believe in homework. Homework is a task. It is something to be completed. Parents have been asking for decades, “Is your homework done?” Homework has stopped being an effective educational tool. Students complete the task and move on. So many of my students come to their next tutoring session and remember few to none of the skills from prior homework assignments. 

I frequently have parents tell me that their students do well on their homework but struggle with quizzes and tests. This is because once the task of homework is done, it is...

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Why are my exams SO HARD?!?!?!?

Exams are stressful! I have experienced them as a student, a teacher, a tutor and a parent and they are just plain stressful! It seems exam reviews are never given out early enough. They are often collected a few days prior to the exam (so what are students supposed to use to review?) and without fail the majority of my students SWEAR up and down that they were never taught a large percentage of the material on the review guide. 

 

Why is it this true? Exam reviews contain problems from the ENTIRE semester and as if that wasn’t daunting enough, the problems are in no particular order. When you are learning skills in math class you learn them one at a time. Your homework covers the skills taught that day. You may have a quiz that covers 3 or 4 skills and you will almost always have a test that covers the chapter in your book, often 6 or 7 skills. When I receive requests for tutoring one of the most common concerns I hear is “My son/daughter’s homework...

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