Wow, I must first apologize for being a couple months behind on this blog. Referral season definitely hit hard this year. For that reason, I am posting two interventions to catch up!  This particular strategy was found on http://addstudent.com a couple years ago and I use it quite a bit when parents ask for homework strategies or when I find that students are rushing through their homework.

Dedicated homework time (DHT) is a scheduled block of time each weekday that is dedicated to homework, whether the student says she has it or not. DHT helps break the rushing habit. 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. I’ve found that for many parents struggling with the homework issue, implementing DHT is the best place to start. The question then becomes, “How do I do it?”

To establish a Designated Homework Time, 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. At this time, you may say, “I know homework has become stressful for both of us. Let’s try this for the next month,” or “Let’s start this quarter off on a positive note.”

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 http://www.funbrain.com and http://www.multiplication.com.
• Simply 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.

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