I hear a lot of parents complaining that the kids don’t have any homework. This is my take on the subject.

Homework is any learning that’s done at home. It can be as simple as reading a book. We are used to a system in which the teachers send specific work for kids to do at home. This system makes a parent’s life easier; all we need to do is make sure that the work is completed in a timely manner.

In the school systems here (or at least in the Midwest), the teachers do not force homework on kids. It is also not practical for the teachers to send customized homework matching each child’s learning level. There might be groups of kids in a class doing two digit multiplication, while some others are still working on one digit multiplication.

So why is homework important? Homework reinforces the concepts your children learn in school. A child’s confidence level is increased by practicing the concepts at home, the concepts which otherwise they might be struggling with in school. It is also a good habit to get into a routine of sitting down and doing some learning at home. Building this into their weekly routine will help them in the years to come when the school work will start to pile up on them.

I have to warn you though, if your child is not used to doing “homework”, he/she is going to absolutely hate it. It will take some time to get used to the idea and to make it a habit.

So how do we find homework? We have to adapt to a new mindset, a new system. As they say, “When in Rome do as the Roman’s do”.

Your child’s teacher sends you different ideas to help your child’s learning at home. It might be through weekly emails or it might be through the work your child brings back from school. The teacher also might hint in the daily planner to practice these facts (for example, multiplication facts) at home.

My 4th grader’s teacher sends us weekly emails, usually Sunday night or Monday mornings. Below is an excerpt from one of her emails.

*In math we are continuing to work our way through decimals. From decimals we will also be discussing converting measurements using the metric system as well as elapsed time. One strategy to work on at home would be to ask your children if it is 5:55, what time will it be in an hour? An hour and a half? OR if it is 5:55 right now, what time was it an hour ago? An hour and a half ago?*

From the teacher’s notes above, I understand that they are learning decimals in class this week and when I talked to my daughter she told me that she is already doing decimal multiplication. So I will be looking for worksheets so that she can practice decimal addition, subtraction and multiplication at home. The teacher has also pointed out that my child could practice the concept of elapsed time at home and has also provided examples for the same. From the note above, I am not sure though what metric conversion they are planning to do in class. So I will be looking out for the work she brings back from school or even ask the teacher for clarification.

Now, if you ask me, that’s a lot of homework for a week! And this is only math. There is reading, writing, science and/or social studies for a 4th grader. It will be a struggle to get all this done in a week. And also, yes, that’s a lot of work for the parents too!

I will be sharing some homework ideas/ resources soon.

As always, leave your comments below or feel free to send me your feedback or any ideas you would like to share with me at smithas2centsworth@gmail.com

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