When my oldest daughter came home with homework in kindergarten, I was shocked. Homework in Kindergarten? Nightly? You have got to be kidding me! Well, ten years and three kids later, I totally understand why, and I agree. Children need to have a homework routine very early on. When they get into the harder subjects, and really do need to study, you will be glad you prepared them!
First off, when kids are just getting out of school after an eight hour day, they need a little break. This is a good time for a snack, and to let them talk about their day. Try and schedule a routinge homework time. This may be difficult when the child, and/or other siblings are involved in after school, extracurricular activities. You can adjust ‘homework time’ as needed to suit your life. Let them know when break time is over, and it is time to get back to business. Provide a quiet place, free from distractions like the t.v. or hearing younger siblings playing. I have a toddler along with my grade schoolers , so this is also an issue for us! Teach them that this is quiet time for everyone! Get the younger ones, involved in homework time by giving them crayons, and their ‘own homework’. Eventually they will get the idea too!
Provide a work area, whether its a desk, or the kitchen table, and keep a basket with all the necessities on hand. Keep this well stocked with pencils, crayons, glue, a ruler, and lots of paper. Also keep in mind that when children are learning, visualization is a great way of teaching them. Hands-on is a must when it comes to learing certain subjects. Keep coins of all value on hand for teaching money, adding, counting by fives, and tens. Play dough is great when teaching fractions, because you can make ‘pies’ to divide, and if you mess it up, or cut it unevenly, just mash it up and start over!
Our school district has a policy where all homework must be signed by the parents nightly. I think this is a great idea because it keeps me on my toes. I will not sign it unless I am sure I know that it is done and correct! Get into the habit of doing this yourself even if it is not manditory. You should feel free to ask any questions regarding your child’s progress at anytime with their teachers. Write notes to them, schedule a conference if need be. Stay on top of your child’s education!
Give your children the skills they need early on in preparation for their future, and watch them blossom! When children feel successful, accomplished, and encouraged, they are unstoppable.