Kindergartners and First Graders should have a work place at home to call their own. This space is where your child will do his ‘homework’ or practice work. Some children are lucky enough to have their own desk but many others do not have their own desk. A simple way to create a workspace for your child is to find a plastic tub (see below online) at your local Target, Wal-Mart, or home improvement store.
Then fill the tub with sharpened pencils, sharpened colored pencils, crayons, scissors, glue and paper. This work tub can follow your child around the house and your child will be able to work wherever you are in the home. A great space is the kitchen table and when the table is needed for family dining or other projects, all of the items can go back in the tub and be stored for another day. Many Kindergartners and First Graders do not have actual homework every night, but it is never too early to get your child into the habit of taking a quiet time to do homework every evening. This homework could vary according to your child’s needs at the moment, but setting aside a specific time now for homework, will help when the homework starts coming home in this year.
Re-posted from 2009
First graders are asked to write all throughout the first grade day, not just during ‘Writing’ time. Children are now writing during Reading, Math, Science and Social Studies in their journals for all of these subjects. It is all of this writing practice that makes them a better writer, or I should say that it should make them better writers. The problem is that 6 and 7 year olds just want to get finished. It doesn’t matter what they are working on, to them, finishing is the end product, not how well did they do the job. This is where the writing problem begins. Encouraging a first grader to write with details is challenging but it can be done. First grade teachers are teaching about writing with details. We do not want the sentence: I have a dog. We would rather see I have a large, brown and white dog that sleeps with me every night. The sentence may seem long, but they can do it. Just listen to a first grader talk. Do they ever stop talking? No! They have the vocabulary needed for longer sentences, just not the interest or stamina. That’s where all of the adults come in. When your child is writing his/her homework, or writing in his/her journal, or writing thank you notes, etc., please encourage your first grader to add details to his/her writing. It makes their writing much more interesting to read when details have been added. You could even give them a highlighter and ask them to highlight the details when they are done. First graders love highlighters! Come on parents, expect more from your child’s writing and you will see that you will start to get it.
Homework. Who is it for anyhow? My first graders will begin getting homework next week. On Mondays, we send homework home for the week home and expect it all back on Friday. This method allows the child to do the homework when he/she has time during the week and when he/she is not busy with other extracurricular activities. The purpose of the homework is to review already taught and learned skills. We are not expecting perfection; however we do expect an honest attempt at giving it your best. Some parents never look at this homework while other parents write out all of the correct answers and have their child copy the answers into their homework notebook. I tell parents to remember that they have already gone to first grade and that this homework is for their child to complete. Of course, as a parent:
ü You may provide the supplies with which to work
ü You may provide a quiet workspace
ü You may provide a snack
ü You could even be close by to help with directions or to answer questions
But your involvement should stop there. I work with your child 7 plus hours a day. I know what his/her work looks like and what to expect from work that I send home. When perfect papers come back all of the time and this is not what I see at school, something is going on. Today’s parents of first graders are so anxious about getting their child into the right college, which means getting their child into the right advanced high school program, which means getting their child into a GT (Gifted and Talented) program as soon as possible in early elementary school. In order to do this, many parents think that perfect homework papers will help. They won’t. Let your child breathe. Let him/her make some mistakes on that homework, he/she will learn from those mistakes and hopefully won’t make them again. Be realistic parents, offer support but please don’t do the work as this helps no one, especially your child.