Sunday, August 23, 2015

Simplifying Homework

School has officially started and like most teachers, we have hit the ground running in my classroom. Knowing how much we work every day makes me hate giving my kids homework, but at the same time I know that little bit of extra time practicing with their parents can really help.

If you are a parent, I do get it.  Your kiddo gets home and now it's your turn to hit the ground running.  Your little guy or girl needs a quick snack, time to knock out homework, eat dinner, get to gymnastics, dance, baseball, football, or whatever activity is planned for that night, and then time to get home, get a bath, read a little, get ready for the next day - all between the hours of 3:30 and 8:00.  That's a lot to cover!
So, that leads me into simplifying homework.  My teammates and I always do the same homework and we try our best to make sure it doesn't take longer than fifteen to twenty minutes.  We also send home the homework for the whole week on Fridays or Mondays.  This way our parents can adjust it to fit their schedules.

Here's how we have made it work for us.

Each night, students are expected to read for ten minutes.  We include a reading log so that the kids can record what they have read.  Our students also practice their spelling words, their story of the week, and their Fry words throughout the week.  This may sound like a lot, but in my classroom I  allow a good bit of flexibility with my homework, so if my students are already doing well with spelling or their story, they may only practice it once.

My team also includes a reading comprehension sheet, a language arts sheet, and a math sheet.  For the last few years, we've been using my printables, but I've always thought that I would love to create a layout similar to the morning work our students do.  So many of our students don't have support at home, so I felt like if our students had something similar to what they do at school, then that would allow them to practice even if they were alone.  Not only will that hopefully build their independence and confidence, but it should help homework fall into the time frame we want.

Now, I'm sure some of you are going to look at my new homework packet and think, "Faith, a lot of it is repeated and it's easy."  It is definitely repeated and it does start off easy, but there is a reason.  It is our job to teach our kids new skills.  I wanted the first few weeks to be very easy so that teachers would have an opportunity to teach new skills.  I think it's very important for homework to be a review of what students already know.  Every three weeks, skills will slightly change and each nine weeks will get a little tougher.

Our students are going to have homework the rest of their lives.  If we want parents to support us and help us, then I feel like our students need to feel successful and not overwhelmed.

If you are still curious about my new homework packet, feel free to click the image below.  It will allow you to download the first week of homework so you can see the layout.  Right now, I have the first nine weeks done, but I am hoping to have the second nine weeks ready in the next few weeks and the remainder of the year done by Christmas.


Have a great week and let me know if you have any questions :)

2 comments:

  1. Wow! This looks like it will be less stressful for parents, students, and me!!! Can't wait until you have all 4 quarters done! Thank you!

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