Past You Said It!

Hit the Books

Twelve-year-old Julia asked this question: "Do you get distracted when you're doing homework? If so, how do you get back on track?"

These girls shared their thoughts:

When I'm doing homework, I motivate myself with a small reward that I'll get when I'm finished, such as watching my favorite TV show or playing with my dog. I keep my eye on the prize!
–An American Girl fan, age 12, England

I get distracted when my siblings are watching TV downstairs, so I go upstairs to my room—I call it my "homework zone." When I'm in my "zone," I know that it's time to get down to business.
–Mary, age 11, New York

At my school, our teacher lowers our final grade 5% for every assignment that's late. If I get distracted while doing homework, I remind myself that there will be consequences if I don't turn in my work on time. It's a great motivator.
–Daniela, age 10, Iowa

Since I'm home-schooled, I do "homework" all the time! I'm also the oldest of six kids, so it's often noisy in my house. When I need to focus on schoolwork, I go to my bedroom and turn on a fan. The fan eliminates most of the noise for me, and I can do my work in peace.
–Bethia, age 13, Michigan

If I get sidetracked, I pretend that I'm the best student in the whole world—she never loses her focus, and she's an A+ student. It's as if I'm my own role model!
–Jill, age 11, California

I actually have a hard time concentrating when it's too quiet. When I do my homework, I work on it in the kitchen so that there's a little talking in the background. I like to listen to soft music, too.
–Gwyneth, age 12, Virginia

When I need to focus on schoolwork, I chew gum. Giving my mouth something to do keeps my mind on my work. My teacher recommended that we chew gum during tests—it's the only time we're allowed to have gum in class!
–Saige, age 8, Ohio

Sometimes when I'm alone in my room, I like to sing the homework questions out loud. For some reason, it really helps me focus. Saying the questions in a funny voice loosens me up, too.
–Sonia, age 12, Maryland

I get distracted sometimes, but when I catch my mind wandering, I tell myself, The sooner I do my homework, the sooner I'll finish it.
–Mattie, age 11, Florida

When I'm doing homework, it's easy for me to get off track. Sometimes, it helps if I bring my work outside and get in touch with nature. Most of the time, my backyard is a more peaceful place than our crowded kitchen.
–Abby, age 12, Idaho

My goal is to do as much of my homework as I can in study hall. It's usually pretty quiet and I can really focus there.
–Riley, age 10, Florida

In my room, I've cleared my desk of all distractions so that I can keep my mind on my homework. There aren't any pictures or posters where I can see them, and I don't have any knickknacks or objects on my desk, either. A clutter-free space works for me.
–Sydney, age 12, Georgia

I've developed my own system for when I do homework. I break up the time so that I'm not working on homework for hours straight. For example, when I'm working on a math or history assignment, I take a two-minute break every time I complete five questions. This really helps when I have lots of work to do.
–Kailey, age 11, Alaska

I stay focused by making sure there are no electronics on around me. I don't turn on the TV or text while I'm doing my homework, because that's a way to get easily distracted. Then it takes me longer to finish my homework.
–Mary, age 13, North Carolina

When I get off track, I take a short break. Taking a breather every ten minutes or so helps me relax. Then, when I start again, I feel refreshed and can concentrate.
–Addison, age 12, Virginia

When I read books for school, my mind wanders. I'm not the best reader, so sometimes my school books can be hard for me. When I need a break, I'll read one of my favorite books, one that I can breeze through easily. Then when I go back to the book for school, I have more confidence in my reading.
–Stacey, age 11, Michigan