Responsibility. That word is one of my favorite first grade words. We work on responsible behavior every day in first grade, but we have a long way to go. Responsibility usually comes up when a mom/dad cannot decide if he/she is responsible for something or the child is…so parents usually just do it. For example:
- Whose job is it to see that the homework notebook is returned to school on time?
- Whose job is it to return library books on time?
- Whose job is it to remember to unpack your backpack both at home and when you return to school?
Most of my first graders think it is their mom or dad’s job to return homework to school when it is due or to return library books on time. The excuse when something is missing is always, “my mom/dad didn’t pack it for me”, “my mom/dad forgot to give it to me”. Not one first grader will own up to the fact that it is he/she that is in first grade, and that he/she, not mom or dad forgot the assignment. You can bet that the first graders who are doing the forgetting are not happy when everyone else is getting stickers for bringing in homework, or checking out new library books when books have been returned. Parents, your child is in first grade, not you. This responsibility of getting things home from school and back again should have begun in Kindergarten or earlier, but for many it isn’t even starting now. What is going on? Do you want to do everything for your child all through their school years? That is what you are setting your child and yourself up for if you continue to be responsible for homework, library books, notes for changes in dismissal etc. It is your child’s job to remember to bring these items from home AND to remember to unpack his/her backpack when asked to do so in order to be prepared for the day. At my school, first graders are assigned homework for the week on Monday and I stand there and tell the children exactly when to put their homework notebooks in their backpacks ….and yet there are still children every week who forget to bring home their homework. Why? It is not important to them, they are not responsibly mature enough to realize the importance of the homework and ultimately they know that mom/dad will come looking for it the next day. Parents, help your child mature. Encourage him/her to be more responsible, not only for homework, library books, notes for the teachers, etc, but to be responsible for choices made with behavior at school. Now that is a blog for another day.