Scratch the surface of laziness and underneath you’ll find fear, confusion, frustration, lack of knowledge, lack of skills, anger, sadness…
And, often, just plain exhaustion.
Willpower is a limited resource, and the demands of the school day can drain a student of her ability to attend and persevere.
1. Consider Location: Where Does Your Child Do His or Her Homework?
The bedroom is often the worst place in the house!
- It’s lonely (no companionship or support)
- It’s full of distractions, electronic and other
- And there’s that sleep-inducing effect of staring at or studying on one’s warm, cozy, tempting bed
- Dining room table
- Kitchen table or counter (especially for younger students)
My very favorite study location: The public library
When I was in my doctoral program, I was amazed at some of the research coming out on kids’ understanding of math concepts. We assume that children all learn pretty much the same math at roughly the same ages, and that they learn these concepts in math class.
In fact, there’s a wide natural variation, and not necessarily a lot of correlation between the math kids are taught in school and the math they actually know.
Here’s a thought for students with executive function issues, and for anybody trying to get some studying done:
I’m a nerdy person and I study all the time, and pretty much everywhere. My favorite study locations are my dining room table, my coffee table, and any public library.
I also do just fine in coffee shops, on the train, in waiting rooms, in the car (reading while parked, or lectures-on-CD while driving), on the beach (I have been known to bring a textbook to the beach, yes), and while watching a less-than-enthralling movie on TV (I’ll browse a book during the dull parts).
I even watch Khan Academy videos in the kitchen while doing dishes; I set up my laptop on the counter and try not to splash.
The ONE place I don’t study? My bedroom. Why? Because I go in there and open a book and fall asleep!
I’m so impressed with the Khan Academy videos, and I’ve been experimenting with ways to use them with my students….and with myself!
So Jake’s observation stuck in my mind for almost two decades, tumbling around in my psyche along with so many and various other unanswered questions and vague longings and frustrations and angers and despairs.
Jake’s observation was that when people say I love you, what they most often mean is:
I love the way you make me feel about myself.
How does that strike you? Dreadful? Cynical? Immature? Selfish?
It is back-to-school time which means I have a bunch of new tutoring students. I’m spending lots of time explaining to parents what I do, how I work, what I believe about learning and child development, and what I strive to accomplish with my students.
I’m usually hired because a student is struggling with some school subject (most often, math), and so the surface goal is to help them improve in that area. But my overarching goal is to guide and support each student toward becoming a more confident, effective, autonomous learner, to understand and deal with his or her own learning strengths and quirks. I want my students to grow up to be good thinkers, confident and successful adults, active and sensible members of society.
This is an excellent question.
I currently work and have worked with quite a few students who receive extra time on standardized tests, and I know for a fact that colleges do not factor this into their decision.
Meaning, if we have two absolutely identical students A and B, and A scores a 2100 out of 2400 with regular constraints while B scores a 2200 with double the time, B gets in and A doesn’t.
So, first, does time really matter? And second, if it does, why does time matter?
My sister has argued that students should not freely be given extra time. I think my hypothetical identical students identified this problem. Her basic point is that in the real world (or a college environment), speed and time are factors. Take two engineers applying for a job: it’s obvious that the guy who’s faster at math has a practical advantage.
Yet, I’ve worked with students who just need more time, and for each of them, I’m so glad that they get the opportunity to let their true intellectual power show.
When I was in grade school, I could not do well on timed math tests, even the basic add/subtract/multiply/divide tests. If I could do it on my own time, I did well.
Now my grandson has the same problem. When we do the flashcards, he can do them very fast but we make it fun also.
Why do they have these timed tests, like 25 problems in 3 minutes?
How can I help him do better?
There’s a wide variation in how people learn math, and in what math-related skills they are stronger or weaker in.