So the school year is officially in full swing. Matthew is now three weeks into first grade and he is enjoying it. He knows all the classroom rules, making new friends, and learning new and exciting things. So the question is how do we keep this momentum going. We want to create an environment at home that will enhance what he is learning at school.
We received a letter from his teacher stating that we will begin receiving homework…. While I knew it was coming I had grown content with his regular bedtime reading. So now that we have homework both he and I will be held accountable for completing his assignments. In order to stay keep meltdowns to a minimum and to make our time together efficient and effective, I have come up with some steps that I would like to share with you.
Step one: Identify the Primary Objective
We have quickly learned that in first grade the primary objective is reading. Fluency and comprehension are the two main objectives. They will work on blending sounds, building their sight word bank and incorporating spelling tests. Math facts, addition, and subtraction while important are a secondary objective. Once you have identified the primary objective you are then able to game plan.
Step two: Develop a Homework Game Plan
While my son enjoys reading there are specific criteria that enables him to feel confident in his ability.
- Familiarity with the book – I have found that Matthew does best when we reread books. Why? He knows the words. He doesn’t need much help. He feels confident and independent. These are all things that will help foster a healthy reading environment.
- Partner reading – whenever we read together he is more engaged because he is doing something with mommy or daddy. He loves to spend time with us and we do too so why not build an educational component in during that time.
- Stock up on his favorite books – anything with Curious George, Pete the Cat or the Berenestain Bears will automatically get his attention.
These tips can apply to all areas whether it be math, social studies or science. The goal is to develop life long learners.
Step three: Designate a Homework Space
In our home the kitchen table away from the TV and the twins is our homework space. Prior to doing homework I make sure that I have all the necessary supplies and I understand the instructions. Matthew is a by the book kind of kid and if things seem unorganized his reaction to get flustered. Now we are working on his ability to adjust but we try to have everything organized and ready to go when he gets to the table. Once we begin his assignment I set the timer for 10 minutes and we get to work. Why set a timer? We know that after a full day of school and being busy that anything beyond 10 minutes for our first grader usually ends in disaster. In addition, all of his homework is given on Monday and we have the full week to complete it.
Step four: Introduce a new chore
This might be a bit of surprise but we believe that learning occurs not only in the classroom but in the real world as well. In addition, one of the core values for his class this year is responsibility. By introducing a new chore we are encouraging independence, teamwork and balance. Our desire is to raise well rounded productive citizens. Life lessons are just as important of school lessons.
These are just a few tools in our ever growing education toolbox. Be sure to check out a previous post where we outline a summer calendar for homework. I believe those same principles can be applied here as well https://myfordgirls.com/kindergarten-tune-up-preparing-for-first-grade/. I hope that you find them useful and easily applicable to your young scholar.