Thoughts on Homework
Considering we have a variety of needs and strengths in our class, sending home a lot of drill homework might meet the needs of a few, be too easy/not needed for others, and be too hard for some. With this in mind, I try to keep homework fairly light while encouraging families to personalize real-life learning opportunities at home. This could include helping in the kitchen to reinforce or introduce fractions or looking at a chapter book to understand how paragraphs are used. This is the most meaningful and rewarding way to learn. Homework that I send home will serve as a reinforcement of skills taught in class and should be a review.
I only want students to spend a half hour or less on homework. Once a student reaches 30 minutes of homework time, I want them to stop even if their homework is not completed. What if a child is dawdling or slower than their peers? This is okay! There are more important things a child can be doing at home than my homework, and it’s valuable information for me to see what the child can accomplish in a set amount of time. Please set a timer and walk away. I will discuss unfinished work with an individual student if I feel that there’s a problem.
You will always find the homework assignments written in your child's homework planner and stored in the Take-Home Folder. The folder will go home every day, and will also contain correspondence from the school. Students should be able to do most assignments independently, but do help if it is completely necessary. If you notice that your child is not able to do an assignment on his or her own, please send a note or jot a note to me on the assignment. I will contact you if your child is falling behind or turning in poor work. Students will highlight missing assignments in their homework planner so that they can be completed at a later date.
My main homework focus is on reading nightly. This will help develop a healthy routine and is the number-one way to increase vocabulary knowledge, fluency, and reading performance. Here are the numbers that support reading and its impact on achievement and vocabulary acquisition:
Achievement Percentile Minutes of Reading/Day Words per Year
90th 40.4 2,357,000
50th 12.9 601,000
10th 1.6 51,000
Source: Adapted from Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988 (Allington, Richard)
As part of their daily homework, your child should read for at least 30 minutes at home every day, (weekends too!) Your child may select his/her preferred reading materials: classroom books, books from home or the public library, poetry, magazines, etc. Reading with parents counts as reading too - third graders should still be read aloud to regularly. Hopefully your child will be so in love with reading that this will not be "work" at all! Who doesn't wish that they had at least thirty minutes set aside each day to dive into a book?