Wednesday, October 2, 2013

This thing called homework

I was at home Monday and Tuesday, which also happened to be the most difficult days this week in terms in time management due to after-school dance class and gymnastics.  Monday afternoon, we had approximately 30 minutes at home to eat a snack, change clothes and cath Anna before heading out the door.  No time for homework until after dinner.  Tuesday, we had about an hour and a half, during which I needed to feed them dinner.  

Both days, I felt rushed working with the girls on their homework.

The teachers have all made it clear that no part of homework should take more than 10-15 minutes.  It's not designed to take longer than that and if it is, frustration can easily set in.  There's also an extra 5 minutes needed here and there for extras, such as math facts or reading.  I would have preferred to work individually with the girls but I didn't have the 45-60 minutes that would have taken.  When the time came for homework Monday after dinner, I originally planned to have one kid sit at the little table in the playroom, one at the counter in the kitchen and one at the dining room table.  That plan went right out the window when I learned that the counter was the coveted seating spot.  I made room for all three at the counter.  Thankfully, they can work somewhat independently but they still require assistance.  Allie's spelling homework isn't as structured as Emily's and Anna's and I wanted to spend some more time with her but she was a tired mess so I did what I could and moved on.


I purchased a folder/paper storage system this weekend.  It's still a work in progress but I think I've created an orderly process to keep the paperwork organized and easy to find.  Well, the whole thing makes sense to me.  Rich dropped the girls off at school this morning and Grammy picked them up.  I didn't expect to arrive home from work until eight o'clock tonight so I sent her this email explaining what the girls needed to get through this afternoon/early evening.


There’s a new filing system in the kitchen under the whiteboard.  There are 6 slots – from left to right those are:

Allie – IN
Anna – IN
Emily – IN
Allie – OUT
Anna – OUT
Emily – OUT

When you empty their folders, any papers that are staying home (things they did at school) should go into the IN slots.  All papers that need to eventually go back to school should go in the OUT slots, along with their folders.  When papers are ready to go back to school, I put them into their folders.

Homework for tonight:

Allie – She had a math sheet come home last night, we already did that and I put it in her folder today (it’s not due until tomorrow.)  She needs to go over her spelling words.  However you want to do that.  You can follow that activity suggestion sheet– I think tonight, it is writing out the words.  I would also focus on “take” and “and.”

Anna – Will have a sheet in her packet to complete for spelling.  This week’s packet is paperclipped together and located in her OUT slot.

Emily – Now has a math sheet come home with her every night that is due the next day.  She will also have a sheet to do in this week’s spelling packet, which is located in her OUT slot.  The cover sheet of last week’s packet, which contains the instructions as to which sheet she needs to complete tonight is under the slots.  There are 2 horizontal cubbies under the 6 top slots.  On the very bottom are papers to keep.  I believe that sheet is on the very top.

They should all have at least 5 minutes of math facts too. 


I thought it was interesting that Emily told me that some kids in her class don't do their homework.  Apparently, their folders still contain papers untouched by the parents/adults at home.  I'm not judging because who knows what's happening at home but now I understand why the teachers send out a million reminders regarding homework and extra reading and math at home.


Anonymous said...

Do you think there is one triplet who gets more homework per night then the others or who has a better teacher and do you think this impacts the way each of them are learning?


Jessica said...

Yikes, what busy lives they have as first graders! Setting good habits for the older years I suppose! :)

Cindy said...

Homework x3 is TOUGH. I like your system idea. I go through each girl's folder every night. One side of folder is "due weekly homework", the other side is "completed, turn in to teacher". On my fridge I have 3 clip magnets - one for each girl. Each has their weekly "specials" list, their class list and contact info for the teacher. The kindergarteners' have monthly homework packet and my oldest has her band schedule. It works for me. For now. I wish I had counter space for a filing system. As for homework time. I have the girls sit at the dining room table to complete worksheets. That way I can help all 3 with any questions. As for reading time, I set up a cozy "reading chair" in a corner where it's quiet for my oldest. The little ones I read to in bed at night. I am sure this will all grow as they do.

Ellis said...

Oh my! I think that your system sounds great and I love the canvas of all 3 girls on the wall.

As a second grade teacher, I feel for you and I wish that all of your kiddos had the same homework due on the same days, just to make things easier for you! We actually have a set of triplets in my grade as well as four sets of twins. None of them are in the same classes, so each class overlaps between two or three different families. We purposely give the same homework across the grade level to try to make it easier for our parents!

Sarah said...

Julia - If I look at the homework in total, it's about the same in terms of time. The teachers follow the same curriculum so we see the same math worksheets - they just come home and are due on different days (and sometimes different weeks.) I like all three teachers so I really can't say that I think 1 is better than the other. We've been very happy with the school.

Jessica - thankfully, the busy is only 2 days a week. That's one reason why we limited activities. I can't imagine being like that every day of the week.

Cindy - we do our reading at bedtime too. I think it's a good way to wind down.

Ellis - thanks! I still have it propped on top of the piano. That's nice of you to coordinate homework - I'm sure the parents appreciate it.

Jessica said...

I fear the day my daughter starts having homework. I feel like we are already so rushed from the time we get to the time we get the kids to bed. I teach high school though, so I'm pretty sure my perception of homework is very different from what the reality will be when we get there. I'm so impressed by your organization method!