Here's an example of me losing my mind over homework: Admittedly, my home is not always picked up. I work full time. I like to do stuff other than clean. I give up. I come home from work one night and Anna's math homework is missing. Gone. No one can find it. Grammy insists that Anna had just had it in her hands and was supposed to be placing it in her folder. I refuse to tell her teacher that we "lost" her homework because who does that? I end up crawling around on my hands and knees with a flashlight checking under couches and chairs and tables and the stove (found a pair of leggings) until finally I find it under the cabinet that houses our garbage can. The only explanation we could come up with is that she dropped the paper on her way to put it in her folder and it slid under the cabinet.
I've changed up our organizational system a bit for this school year. So far, it seems to be working but everyone has to cooperate all the time.
Here's how we manage paper day-to-day:
- Any paperwork that isn't homework goes on the counter for me or Rich to review that night
- Homework in process or complete and ready for review goes in the girls' IN slots
- Once homework is reviewed by me or Rich, it goes in the girls' OUT slots
We use this filing system.
There are six slots across the top and two on the bottom. They're not labeled because we all know what they are but the slots are ordered: Allie IN, Anna IN, Emily IN, Allie OUT, Anna OUT, Emily OUT. In the bottom, we keep a copy of the school menu. We also have a folder for general school information (such as phone numbers, school policies, school calendar, etc.) The girls each have a "permanent" folder that remains in the bottom slot. These contain information and passwords for online homework websites, notes from their teachers, class schedules, etc.
The girls' classes haven't hit full homework mode just yet as they are still going through some placement testing. Allie did bring home her first weekly homework packet last Friday with 20 spelling words. The packet contained the following:
- She needs to read for at least 20 minutes each night (Monday - Thursday.) Reading over the weekend is optional. I pretty much encourage reading every night. On her packet, she just needs to note the number of minutes she read by night.
- There were two reading comprehension/reading logic sections. Each took her about five minutes.
- 100 easy addition math facts. She whipped through these. They will become more complicated.
- She has to complete three different activities (there are 12 to choose from) with her spelling words. One that we did over the weekend was to type all the words in a Word document (I had her use Excel - shhh, no one has to know) on the computer and print it out.
She also brings home a math worksheet every night, Monday through Thursday. So far, the sheets have been two-sided. One side has to be done, the other is optional. (I prefer that she do both.) Having that packet early was helpful because we were able to front load some of the work and avoid additional craziness on the nights with activities.
Emily and Anna have just been bringing home nightly math sheets. They say that they have reading logs that stay at school where they have independent reading each day. I'm assuming that spelling words start up next week which means that they will be a week off from Allie.
I still want to get a portable, small (8.5 x 11) whiteboard so that I can write daily notes for Grammy. Such as what Allie needs to do in her packet that night.
I should mention that parents also have weekly homework. Allie and Emily have journals that they bring home on Fridays after writing a letter discussing what they've done at school that week. For Allie, I need to write a letter back in the journal. For Emily, I need to sign that I've read her letter and I can write comments back to her on that page.