When talking to teachers, parents often express concerns about homework. They usually expect homework assignments to be spelling lists or arithmetic questions. Homework that requires the practice of isolated skills has much less value than activities that tie children’s school learning to their daily lives. This article outlines some homework tips for parents that families can use at home to help their children make those important connections.
Children should read at least 15 to 20 minutes a night with an adult. If you read books together that are at a higher level than your child reads at independently then you are able to help your child understand difficult concepts and vocabulary. When you choose books, make sure they are from a variety of genre such as poetry, non-fiction, mysteries, or science fiction. Suggested reading lists for your child’s age group can be found on-line or at your local library.
Your child needs to practice their writing skills in order to develop and improve them. These skills are taught in class, but there are not enough hours in the school day to provide the amount of practice that develops the mastery and confidence that is needed to succeed in school. There are a variety of writing activities that your child can do at home. They can write shopping lists, send letters to family members in other communities, send e-mail messages, keep a journal, or create greeting cards for special occasions. It is a good idea for your child to create a personal dictionary. Use an inexpensive notebook to create one for young children where they can record the correct spelling of frequently used words or people’s names. Help your child to spell the words by encouraging them to sound out the word – try to avoid telling them the correct spelling whenever possible. This will encourage them to develop their own strategies for discovering the spelling of difficult words.
There are many home activities that can reinforce the understanding of mathematics in young children. Advertising flyers can be used to total the cost of real, or imaginary, shopping lists. Real world applications such as cooking, carpentry and sewing will help children understand measurement. Board games, card games, and dice games are all fun, family activities that help your child to reinforce many number skills and develop problem solving strategies.
As children reach Grade 3 they are beginning to develop an awareness of the world around them . Talk with your child about places reported in the news. Hang a world map in a convenient location and as your child learns the names of places, mark them on the map. Whenever you travel, mark your route on a road map and have your child calculate distances between the places you are going to visit. Whenever you travel, encourage your child to keep a journal in which they can record the weather, notes about places of interest, or drawings of special sights. When doing these activities, your child is practicing important academic skills and, at the same time, creating a wonderful souvenir of your trip.
It is important that children know how to express their thoughts and ideas in a clear manner that others will understand. Engage your child in conversation by asking them about their friends or their day at school. Avoid questions which require just one word answers. “What did you do at school?” inevitably gets, “Nothing!” as a response. Try to ask specific questions about a specific class, the field trip, or a recent assignment. Showing interest in your child this way yields positive results. Your child will feel special because you are showing a genuine interest in them and their activities. More importantly, you will be setting a pattern for communication that benefits the whole family as your child enters their teenage years.
This article provides only a small number of home activities that reinforce children’s academic learning. Be creative and develop your own, unique activities. Not only will they help your child to benefit academically, but unique family activities will also create strong family ties that last a lifetime.