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Is the Homework for Parents or Students?

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by Chris Jenkins

I don’t know about everybody else, but, by the time I get home from work, make dinner, make the lunches, do a load of laundry, pay a couple of bills and go for a walk, it’s nearly time for bed.  Parents with the added responsibility of swimming lessons and soccer practice, probably don’t have time left over for an hour of math homework.  I think it is imperative that homework, must be tasks that can be done independently and quickly.

 My homework guidelines for grade one are very simple.  Students are asked to read for 15 to 20 minutes each day.   I arrange for each student to select an easy book to take home each day.  The students record the book in their agenda and I check it when it has been returned the next day.  Other than encouragement or a listening ear, no parental input is required.  Classroom book bins are arranged by difficulty to ensure that home reading is enjoyable and independent.  The bins are filled with a variety of genres and themes to meet the interests of many readers.

I ask parents to support their children’s learning in other ways that are even more valuable than homework.  Healthy eating, regular sleep patterns and plenty of exercise are  the best ways to prepare a child for school.  Arriving at school a few minutes early to talk and play with your friends is a relaxed way to begin the school day.

Whatever free time parents have could be spent playing with their children.  Fun activities or family chores such as:

  •  cooking, (measuring, fractions, numeration, temperature, time)
  • board games, (adding, counting, taking turns, fair play)
  • grocery shopping, (reading, sorting, mass, volume, quantity, money, lists ),

provide opportunities for authentic learning that are far more valuable than flash cards or workbooks.

Do you have a homework strategy that works in your primary classroom?  Share your expertise.

 

Christine Jenkins is a grade one teacher in Simcoe County. Over the past 24 years, she has worked as a Reading Recovery™ Teacher Leader, a literacy resource teacher, a literacy coach, and has taught grades one through 8. Chris  is passionate about teaching children to read, especially children at risk, and believes that success in the early grades is of the utmost importance. Since 2001, she has concentrated her own professional development in literacy instruction.She holds a Master of Education.

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