Learning is a lifelong adventure that should continue when the school day ends! Each month, I will share some learning opportunities for students and families. This is not traditional homework and will not be collected. I would love to know what you try and the cool things you are discovering. Be sure to let me know about what you’ve learned!
Each day of your life should include reading. Picture books, chapter books, poetry, information books, cartoons, news, instructions, letters, recipes….reading is all around us and your day after school MUST include time to read. The more you read, the more you know and the stronger you grow. Research shows that the more students read, the better they get at reading. It’s the best thing you can do to grow as a learner (and a person)! Questions about Homework and Mrs. Sokolowski’s Answers Q: Doesn’t my child need to complete worksheets, practice spelling words, or complete other written work to successfully learn the content? A: Research does not the support the idea that homework leads to more effective learning or achievement in elementary school. Students can continue growing and learning outside of the school day in ways that don’t involve worksheets or writing spelling words multiple times. Traditional homework often creates a negative attitude towards learning and school.
Q: How will you support my child’s learning at home? A: I will provide a monthly “Home Learning Opportunity” menu with ideas that will inspire your child to keep learning. I will also send home math review sheets for practice if you feel your child needs extra time at home developing these concepts. Your child will receive flash cards for different math operations throughout the year. Dreambox learning is a web-based math program your child can practice at home. Your child can also use the website Raz-Kids in addition to reading traditional books. Students will have blogs this year and other digital opportunities to be creative. Q: Will the Home Learning Opportunity work be collected or graded? A: No, these activities are optional. It is up to the families to decide if these home learning activities are something that works for your child. Q: I’ve always thought homework teaches responsibility. How will my child learn to be more responsible without nightly written homework? A: There are other ways for students to become more responsible. Students can grow more responsible in class by doing a class job, learning to be a thoughtful partner and following the school rules and routines. At home, students can help with household chores like setting the table or taking out the garbage. Returning library books and class forms is another way to show responsibility Q: We had to suffer through homework, so why shouldn’t they? A: The world is always changing and evolving. Just because something has always been done does not mean that it is still the most effective way. With technology tools at the ready, kids are preparing for a future that is ever-changing. Flexibility, problem solving, collaboration, and creativity are skills kids will need going forward. These skills can be developed and practiced in ways other than traditional homework. Q: How will I know what my child is learning if I don’t see the homework? A: I’m so glad you asked! I really believe in sharing what we are learning with parents. Students will have a SeeSaw digital portfolio where you can see some of their work, how they solve problems, their writing, etc. I also have a class website where I share what we are learning in each subject and often include videos for families to view together. The website is sokolowskilearningin215.weebly.com and I hope you visit it often! We also have a class Twitter account (@Learningin215) and Instagram account (learningin215) where you can see evidence of what we are exploring in class. Q: Does my child need to read each day? A: YES!!! While research shows written homework is not effective for elementary students, it has also shown the importance in reading at least 20 minutes every day. Students should aim to read between 20-30 minutes each day. This can be broken into 2 or 3 ten minute chunks if you have a particularly busy day after school! Making time each day where the entire family reads is helpful in creating a routine and showing how every person in the family values reading. The time your child used to spend filling out a worksheet is much better spent reading! Please make sure that your child reads each day. I will not make you sign a log about the minutes read, but please know that your child’s success as a student really hinges on being a reader. Q: My child thinks “no homework” means goofing off, playing video games, and I’m worried that this policy sends the wrong message about work ethic. What are your thoughts? A: I’ve been a teacher since 2001 and a mom since 2010. It is my experience that homework makes students feel negatively about school, causes stress for families, and isn’t an equitable practice since not every child has a parent who can sit with him/her and assist with homework. It also takes up classroom time to assign it, have students copy it down, check their planners, and then check the homework once it is completed. I’ve found other ways to use this time in the classroom to engage students in learning experiences. Families can structure children’s time after school and I recommend that! Would a bike ride be good after a long day of sitting? Yes! Would helping to prepare a meal together be time well spent? Yes! How about playing a board game together as a family, or practicing a sport, or working on a craft? All of these activities can bring families together and help your child continue learning in new ways after the school day. It is the way you frame this for your child that will make the difference in his/her attitude about the time spent after school. Q: My child’s sibling has written homework each day and it causing friction at home. A: Teachers often have different philosophies and what is standard practice in one classroom might not be in another. Students adapt to new teachers and new routines each year. Another year, your child may be the one with the written homework and the sibling may have a different homework policy. If it is causing friction, you can have your child try a home learning opportunity or complete a math review sheet at the time that the sibling is doing his/her homework. Your child can read at that time as well. Keeping it positive at home- about both teachers’ homework policies- will help your children understand the situation without negative feelings. In addition to the Home Opportunity ideas, here are some other ways to encourage responsibility and learning after the school day ends:
Ask your child to help with some chores- such as setting the table, clearing the dishes, helping a sibling, etc.
Cook together. Give your child a job to help prepare dinner.
Ask your child what he/she is most proud of for that day and what was the hardest thing that happened that day. Enjoy conversation together!
Play a board game together.
Read together and talk about what you are reading.
Let your child play- build, draw, put together puzzles.