You might see this and think homework in kindergarten, what has the world come to. There are several reasons I give homework.
- I am required to do so
- It provides practice
- It build routines.
- Parents expect it
I'm Required to Give Homework
Our district has a policy that requires teachers to give homework. However, it doesn't say how much or how often, just that we have to. I am fine with that. My children attended school in the district I teach in and rarely did I ever feel that a teacher gave too little or too much.
Homework Provides Practice
Homework gives my students practice on skills we have been working on at school. Never do I give homework that contains skills we haven't focussed on. I also use homework as a way to revisit skills that have been taught but might need a refresher. Homework also keeps the parents informed about what we are learning.
Homework builds routines. Why not start at an early age having students get into the practice of coming home from school, having a snack then sitting down to do homework, read a book or work on reading fluency. Homework should not take a long time, especially in kindergarten, but it should be providing students with practice. Students should be practicing their reading, their writing and basic math skills. daily. If we build in the expectation of having homework, they won't be so shocked when they move into the older grades and have homework.
I will say I am not in favor of the weekly homework packet. I know teachers like it because it makes their life easier, BUT does it make the life of their students' or their parents' easier. What happens when they get that packet and forget about it until the night before it is due. There they are rushing to finish all of it. I can tell you from experience no one is enjoying it. How do I know this- well, when my daughter was in kindergarten we had the weekly packet. I tried to be a good mom and set up routines, but my kid has always been smart and knew she could put it off. There w'ed be Thursday night trying to finish it up. Fast forward to first grade. This teacher sent it home nightly. At first I was annoyed, but then after a few weeks I saw the beauty of nightly homework. It didn't take long, it was just something we did after school each day, then back into the backpack it went. It was building in a time we spent together reading, talking about school and giving her the opportunity to show me what she was learning. That stress of trying to finish it up and the tears of being too tired- mostly from me. were gone.
Parents Expect It
At least for me, my parents expect it. Although I teach at a Title 1 school, my parents know that homework is part of the kindergarten routines. I provide homework that my students can do mostly on their own. My homework is formatted in such a way that the parents can help their child easily. From time to time parents will come in before school or attach a note saying they didn't understand. I make sure to stop and explain it to them or write it out in a note so they do understand. I also make sure to check in with that student and go over what it was they didn't know how to do.
One of my parents told me they like the homework because it is helping them to learn to read in English too. This just about brought me to tears. To think that my little homework is also helping a mom, who in turn will be able to better help her child…
How Do I Get Students to Do Homework
I have about a 98% return rate on homework. I believe the reason my return rate is so high is due to the nightly procedures. I am the only teacher out of our five kindergarten rooms that gives nightly homework. I also have the highest return rate.
Now, I will admit, that I go ALL OUT when it comes to homework, I want my kids to be excited about learning, I want them to rush home and show their families what they have learned. To help promote this positive attitude towards homework and learning, I give my students a Kindergarten Homework Binder. I've used binders for years, they last all school year and don't get ruined as easily as those paper folders. I provide my students with flash cards for letters, number and sight words, an alphabet chart, a phonics chart and list of sight words. I also provide them with a book bag for the week that contains 5 books.
Before I give these all to the kids, I talk about them. I talk abut how important they are, how special they are and how they MUST take care of them. Then after back-to-school night, where I give that same talk to the parents, I give them out. The kids are so excited. This year I had a little one yell "YES, FINALLY HOMEWORK" after I gave him his binder.
You can read more about my homework folders and book bags here
Book Bags-Take Home Reading Program
Managing Daily Homework and Weekly Book Bags
How Do I Select Homework?
Up until last year, I had several resources I was pulling homework from. Finally I decided to create my own. I knew which skills I wanted to reinforce at home with my students. Over the course of this school year, I have developed the monthly Kindergarten Homework. These of course can also be using for morning work or bell ringers, whatever teachers are calling them. I copy language arts on one side and math on the other. This is their homework. Depending on what we are focussing on I will also add one of my 1/2 page fluency sheets for letters names, numbers, sight words or CVC words.
These 1/2 pages require parental/family help. Basically the student reads what is on the page, the adult circles the correct responses and signs at the bottom. These sheets really help my students to improve. For example when we are focussing on sight words; a parent can immediately see if their child is having difficulty reading the words. Hopefully they will see this and take this opportunity to work with their child.
Several buyers have asked me if I would bundle my homework packs. It took some time, but they are all bundled, with the exception of May. I will include that in the bundle when it is finished. Here's the good news for you. I am offering this bundle for a limited time at a discounted price. If you were to buy each pack individually that would cost you $40.50. BUT for a limited time you can snag the bundle for $22. The regular price is currently $32, but that price will increase as soon as I add May. So in a nutshell, this is a a steal of a deal!!!
Whew apparently I had a lot to say about homework. I hope your week is off to a great start. Thank you for reading and following all the way to the end. I'd love to hear your feedback. I'm always open to new ideas and suggestions.