You might not be aware of this, but before I started Kidgredients, I was a teacher. I’ve taught from Kindergarten to Year 12 and also worked in a tertiary environment, helping to develop online learning environments. I even taught Nursery when we were living in the UK. I thought I’d share 5 ways to make infants school homework less of a chore. I love writing about teaching and how you can help at home, so I hope that this will help someone who is struggling with homework with their child. If you like my tips, I’d love you to let me know, as I have lots of ideas for “school” posts that I’d love to share with you!
I always thought when I was a teacher that homework was just something I did with my class as it was mandated by the school The parents expected it and thought the kids learnt from it. I didn’t put my heart and soul into creating it, nor did I put it into marking it. It wasn’t an important part of what I did. I always said to the parents of my class that I would prefer the kids to help at home or have fun with their family rather than completing homework. Now, being on the receiving end of homework, I understand why I was that way. So here’s 5 ways to make infants school homework less of a chore that work for us.
- Do homework at the kitchen table, continue conversation and keep your child involved in the evening, despite doing the homework. Miss 5 is happy to do her homework whilst I peel carrots, chop veggies, whatever I’m doing to prepare dinner, so long as I give her clear guidance as to what to do. It also means homework is less disruptive to the whole household.
- Complete the homework early in the week and offer an incentive for doing so: eg a play at the park one afternoon, a picnic dinner in the lounge room whatever inspires your child! If you can, get it done in one sitting, because it means that there’s less chance for resistance. You can always go back and revise it again if it’s something to be learnt, but getting the homework done earlier in the week before tiredness sets in is definitely something that works for us.
- Make it more fun. Not every teacher makes fun homework (we’ve been lucky this year). If you’re getting boring homework and it takes a lot of effort to convince your child to do it, make the learning more fun. So…use playdough to practice sight words, use anything your child likes as counters: cars, doll shoes, hair elastics, dinosaur feet. Let your child do their homework in rainbow letters (write a note to the teacher explaining why if you need to), or drawing pictures next to it. The reality is, either way it is a learning exercise.
- Use a whiteboard. My daughter hates to make mistakes but I find if she’s motivated to do her homework herself, it gets done much more easier. Part of what works for us…is using a whiteboard for a practice run. They are cheap…about $5 from Kmart, but they make all the difference as she can make mistakes that don’t have any consequences (you can just rub them off)…and can then copy her good copy over to her homework without feeling like she’s made mistakes. This is Miss 5’s version of counters, on the whiteboard, they are little snails.
- Start the homework with a positive attitude and your child will also have a positive attitude about it. Our kids are like little sponges that absorb what we say and do. So tackling homework is no different. Get into it together, it is a partnership after all. My main idea about homework: it isn’t really about right or wrong, it’s about establishing routines and structures that help to get a positive attitude towards working on things outside of the classroom.
There are lots of fun activities on the web you could do instead of or in addition to the homework you’ve been set. I love these printables from My Clever Monkey for exploring digraphs and I spy games. They are lots more fun than the standard things you find in homework and might be just what you need to get the kids excited!
If your child really isn’t into the homework and can’t be convinced otherwise, try something different, sight words aren’t learnt by all kids the same way and maths isn’t always fun if it’s done on paper, so mixt it up. As long as you tell the teacher that you’ve done a similar activity, they should be happy.