Love the title and approach – crushing the rushing through homework. Who wouldn’t want to get through homework after 7 hours at a desk, when playtime and sports awaits on the other end?

This article, by Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., and edited for The Lounge, has some great ideas on how to accomplish this, and introduces the idea of “DHT” – Dedicated Homework Time. The author, Dolin, is a former public school teacher and a Mom Since 1998 (MS’98).

Crushing the Rushing through Homework
by Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed.

“My kid always rushes through her homework!” I hear this complaint from many parents. As adults, it’s difficult for us to understand why our children can’t slow down, take time to focus, and check their work. Rushing only becomes a problem when your child can’t slow down, seems unmotivated to do well, and often turns in work that is inaccurate and contains careless errors.

I’m a big proponent of establishing a Dedicated Homework Time, otherwise known as DHT. It’s a scheduled block of time each weekday that is dedicated to homework, whether the student says she has it or not. Regardless of how quickly your child finishes homework, the entire DHT should be dedicated to academically related tasks. If she finishes before the DHT is up, she can study for a test, work on a long-term project, organize her notebook, or read.

The general rule of thumb is that the total time spent doing homework should be equivalent to 10 minutes per grade level. For example, a third grader’s DHT should be 30 minutes; 4th graders should complete 40 minutes and so on. Once 7th and 8th grade rolls around, I recommend an hour. Students in grades 9 – 12 benefit from 90 minutes of DHT.

Sit down with your child and discuss why you’re implementing this new concept. It’s best to have this discussion either at the beginning of a month, a new school week, or a new grading period.

A common question regarding DHT is “What do you do if there’s no homework assigned?” It’s been my experience that there is almost always something to do. Ask your child to do a binder check. She’ll probably find assignments she forgot about or is putting off. If there is really no homework, consider the following options:

For younger children:

* Begin to work on an upcoming book report or project.

* Learn to keyboard if handwriting is consistently difficult to read. Try Type to Learn software to teach or improve typing skills.

* Drill math facts on an educational website or computer software. Some great websites are Funbrain and Multiplication.

* Read a required book or choose one for pleasure.

Older students can:

* Plan ahead. Use this time to record long-term projects along with incremental due dates.

* Work on anything that’s not due the next day. All incremental deadlines have associated work. Getting ahead during the DHT is one of the best uses of time.

* Study for an upcoming test. Review old tests and quizzes or create a study guide similar to what may be on the test.

Establishing DHT is an easy and highly effective solution to homework woes. You may find that your child is resistant to her new found schedule at first, but stick with it. It truly does take 21 days to change a habit. In just three weeks, your child will adjust, and the precious after-school hours will be a whole lot less stressful.

Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc., a comprehensive provider of educational services in Fairfax, VA and Bethesda, MD. In her new book, Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework, Dolin offers proven solutions to help the six key types of students who struggle with homework. Numerous examples and easy-to-implement, fun tips will help make homework less of a chore for the whole family. More at her sites, Ann Dolin or EC Tutoring.