Jingle all the way to the library

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Even these snowmen at Macy’s Santaland® have to study during the Christmas season. Zsanelle Morel ’15

Even these snowmen at Macy’s Santaland® have to study during the Christmas season.
Zsanelle Morel ’15

Christmas lights, Christmas carols, Christmas trees… and Christmas homework. Yes. Even during the holiday season, there are tests, work, and projects.

“Adhering to study routines is especially important during busy times like the Christmas season,” Mrs. Catherine Butler, Learning Specialist at Convent of the Sacred Heart, said in an interview conducted through email.  “If you are not careful, time for homework and study projects can easily evaporate as you become overextended with family obligations and holiday activities.”

However, if done efficiently, that work should not keep a student from enjoying the holidays.

Here are five steps from kidshealth.org that will help students complete their schoolwork this holiday season.

Step one:  get organized. No one wants to leave her papers around just to get mixed in with the holiday cookie recipes.  Assignments and class information should be kept in binders, notebooks, or folders that are organized by subject. Although it may seem easier to put loose papers into a backpack, it can make it very difficult to find those papers later. The more organized a student’s backpack is, the more likely it is for her to remember assignments and get her work done.

Step two: plan ahead.  Before a student can enjoy the holiday festivities, her work should at least be planned, if not completed.

“Budget your time carefully.  Write down how long you think it will take to complete each task and then compare that figure with the actual amount of time it took to complete.  This will help you gauge your time so that you allocate what is necessary to complete your assignments,”  Mrs. Butler said.

A student should plan out how and when she wants to complete her assignments. Once a student sets deadlines for herself, it is crucial for her to keep them.

“It is all too easy to postpone work and then find one runs out of time at the end of vacation. Small amounts faithfully done each day provide the best solution,” Dr. Marcia Josephson, Upper School World Language teacher, said in an interview conducted through email.

Step three: set up a work space.  Although it is a simple change, the actual place where homework is done can help a person focus, or alternatively, get distracted easily. That is why students often find the library to be a great place to study.  Not only is the library comfortable, but it is also quiet, clean, and orderly.  A place at home should be kept the same way. By studying at the library or a similar space, a student will not be as distracted by the Christmas music, baking, and other festivities that are happening around the house.

Step four: get focused.  For some people, music can help them concentrate.  However, students should avoid listening to their favorite Christmas carol, that makes them want to sing and dance instead of working on homework.  Another warning is to beware of the Internet.  It is a great tool to help with research, however the allure of online Christmas sales and movie scenes on Youtube can be very tempting.  According to kidshealth.org, studies show that when people try to multitask, they usually do not do as well on each task as they could when they focus on one at a time. Therefore when a person multitasks as she studies, she is not as likely to remember the information studied.

Another possible way to stay focused is to take breaks.  After 45 minutes of studying, it can be beneficial to take a 15 minute break.  This break will help the mind refresh, stay focused, and absorb the information studied.  This is the time to listen to some Christmas carols and look at some online Christmas sales. Just remember to get back to work after the 15 minutes are up.

Step five: get it done.  After all the planning, organizing, and focusing, this is the most important step. Just sit down and do the work. If a student manages her time well, it will be much more relaxing to sit down and watch her favorite Christmas movie later.

“Although I do think it is harder to focus during Christmas, I still like to watch my favorite Christmas movies,”  freshman Eva Carrasquero said. “I love a lot of different ones but I think my favorite is Christmas Vacation. But I can only watch it after I finish my homework.”

With the feel of Christmas everywhere, it might be easy to forget that school is still in session. But as assignments keep coming it is still important to stay organized and focused.

“Of course, sticking to a study schedule takes discipline, but the reward will be less stress knowing that your schoolwork is complete and you can now fully enjoy the holidays with family and friends,” Mrs. Butler said.
 
– Zsanelle Morel, Staff Writer