My first homework tip: You are the TEACHER! It is your job to do the teaching, not the parents. Any homework that you send home should be a skill you students have already developed.
Homework should be used to practice and reinforce learned skills rather than helping to teach the students a new skill. Homework should be viewed as a way for the students to “teach” their parents what they have learned at school. A child should be able to have the directions read to them, complete the activity, have their worked checked and go play!
Your students have been at school all day and their parents have been at work all day. The last thing they want to do is sit at the kitchen table completing homework until bedtime! I get anxious just thinking about it! Your students should be able to complete their homework every night in no longer than 10 minutes!
Another homework tip: reduce the amount you send home. Papers get lost, thrown away in the mail, crinkled in the bottom of a backpack and who knows what else. Plan ahead and give each student a Homework folder. If your class has a binder they take home everyday, they can easily store a folder inside the front pocket…USE IT! All their homework packets and resources can be stored in the folder and protected inside a binder…NO EXCUSES for crinkled, lost or trashed homework…it has a place!
If there aren’t expectations…its not going to work successfully! As teachers, most of us know this. Homework needs to have a HOME in the classroom, transition and at home! Have a specified time and place where students turn in homework folders in the classroom (ex. in the homework tub every Friday morning) and a place to put it when they are taking it home and bringing it back.
Express to parents that they can decide at a family where the homework folder can stored during the week. Some may use a command center, the refrigerator or keep it in their child’s binder. Allow the families to make this decision based on their family needs. However, make it an expectation that homework STAYS in the homework folder…that is its HOME…no exceptions! Homework packets are less likely to be lost, damaged or forgotten when they stay in the homework folder. If the folder is lost have the parents send a new folder to school to replace the original one.
#Send homework home on the same day every week and make sure it is turned in on the same day every week! Have the students put their folder in a specific location every time they turn it in. Whether it’s a tub or your teacher table, they should know when and where it needs to be turned in every week. For example, when they put their binder away upon arrival, every friday they put their homework folder in the homework tub on your teacher table.
Do I need to elaborate?!?! Your students have been at school all week and the last thing they want to do over the weekend is homework! And, no parent wants to be doing homework with their child when they could be spending quality family time together. Assign homework so that it is turned in before the weekend. Homework should be hanging out in the classroom until everyone returns to school after a restful two days OFF!
Where’s your homework? No one wants to hear or repeat this all the time! Families are busy…they have practice, church, dinners out and much more during the week. Some students might complete their homework every night and some may do it all in one night. Who cares…let them do what they have to do to make homework successful. Homework is NOT an essential part of your students’ instruction. It is a reinforcement of skills that are already learned and a way to get parents involved in their child’s education. If they don’t have it one week…not a big deal! Have them turn it in the next time. Don’t take away recess, free choice centers or other privileges in the classroom. However, if they miss two or three weeks, simply contact the parent by sending a message in their binder or resending the homework note informing them of homework expectations.
Be available to your students’ parents! As they become more involved in their child’s education some will want to help their child more and some will notice their child is still struggling with a particular skill. This IS what you want to happen! Make sure parents know that you are there to help them in these times. Their child has a difficult time with rhyming…send them a website link, some workpages, a fun activity (if you trust they’ll return it). RTI and WIN time at home? YES, PLEASE!
Teachers TEACH the skill, students PRACTICE the skill and parent CHECK the skill! Done! Everyone does their part to make homework successful!