Are you still using that old “dog ate my homework” excuse?
Or are you using the adult version of the homework-eating dog: “I don’t have time”?
Well then, you either need to:
- Stay out of situations where homework is required.
- Get a new dog.
- Get a new watch.
- Do your homework.
- Or make time.
In reality, it’s going to be hard to avoid homework if you’re in school or have a salary or want to succeed at something you’ve chosen to do. The fact is, there’s a good reason for homework. That reason is simple: homework reinforces the concepts or facts (data) that you started to learn during the day. That reinforcement is called “practice” and we all know that “Practice makes perfect,” right?
Why does practice make perfect?
Some people have photographic memories and can just see something and remember it. (I hate them.) Others grasp certain types of concepts easily and make it look simple to understand. (I hate these people too.) The rest of us mortals need to repeat things (practice) in order for it to sink in.
But to answer the question in scientific terms, the more we practice something, the more our body creates a new substance called “myelin” which aids in the production of neural pathways used in learning that particular skill faster, better and for a longer period of time.
- Actors repeat their lines and blocking in order memorize them.
- Athletes practice their fundamental motor skills in order to have those skills instantly available for their use.
- Medical professionals repeat the process of looking for symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment in order to have that abundance of knowledge instantly available to save lives. (Maybe that’s why doctors also call it a “Practice”.)
- If you’re in business, you practice all the large and small skills that go in to make yourself or your team successful.
Reversing a lifetime habit
Whether you’ve been raised by wolves, poor speakers or in a different country, the way you speak is also the result of practice and repetition. Learning a new language or correcting poor speaking habits will take focus, practice, and patience as you work to replace the tendency to use a particular word or phrase with a new one. If you expect to do this by going to a class once or twice a week, you’re going to be extremely disappointed. It’s going to take a lot of practice as well. We call that practice – “homework”.
Homework isn’t just done at home. It’s done outside of class or work and meant to give you the opportunity to reinforce what you learned in class/work. If you don’t do your homework, you might as well not even go to class.
The Importance of Diligent Homework
When I was in high school, I took lessons on the pipe organ. My teacher was a master, not only at his craft but as a teacher. He taught me:
to focus on my practice so intensely that if done truly diligently, I should barely be able to crawl from the church when my daily hour of practice was complete.
More importantly, I would only gain from the practice and never even feel the strain of the effort later in life. Think about that. Do you still feel any discomfort from a great effort you put into developing a much-desired skill?
This made such a vivid impact on me that I looked him up years later and thanked him for that particular piece of wisdom.
As for the importance of diligent homework, your body also remembers (builds more myelin) the wrong things you practice. That’s why you need to focus on the correct things and not worry about the wrong things.
So tell me now: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, Practice, Practice.