Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Low(er) Stress Homework

I have a kindergartner. He has homework. We have homework issues. Sound familiar?

After a long day at school, it's no surprise that Mister J is just not interested in doing homework. He'd much rather be watching Dinosaur Train or Word Girl, playing Wii, or going to basketball practice. Truly, who wouldn't? However, the homework must get done. In addition to math homework each night, a weekly writing assignment, and a science or social studies assignment, Mister J is also supposed to read 15 minutes each day. I was having Mister J read our bedtimes stories, but it really wasn't working for us. He was tired, and so was I, so we weren't reading anything too challenging. Add it all up, and there were a few ... problems.

1 - Doing all of the homework in the evening is a big stressor for our family (yes, the whole family!), especially on nights when we have other activities scheduled.
2 -We were doing homework at bedtime. This is just not cool.
3 - We were selecting less-challenging books because we were all tired, which wasn't helping Mister J develop his reading skills.

About a week ago, Mister J's class was scheduled for a visit to the library. He'd listened to some of the Magic Treehouse books on CD during the holiday break and really enjoyed them, so I suggested that he select at least one during his library visit. He came home with three! THREE! When were we going to find time to read those?

(light bulb flashes on)

If we could listen to audiobooks in the Mommy-van, why couldn't we do our 15 minutes of daily reading on the way to school in the morning? Genius, I tell ya!

Aside from the benefit of spreading out the homework load across the day, I see lots of other pluses to this system:

1 - It's a way to slowly get into 'school mode' while still having fun (he really enjoys the stories).
2 - He's reading out loud - working on fluency and self-confidence
3 - Since he sits behind me instead of beside me (like when we read at bedtime), he's much more likely to try to sound out the words on his own instead of just asking me. Of course, being less tired also helps.
4 - Miss M is observing this, too - so there's a benefit there, too!

The Magic Treehouse books are challenging for Mister J, so he often spells out words that he doesn't recognize. Then, we just use some of his reading strategies to figure it out. I also think that talking through the reading strategies helps to reinforce them for times when he's reading independently. At the moment, I don't think he's using these strategies as much as he could be, so I am pleased that I can reinforce them while we do our reading homework.

Homework in the morning Works for Me!

Have a Works-for-Me Wednesday tip that you'd like to share? Head on over to We Are THAT Family to link up to the fun!

No comments: