Thursday, April 23, 2009


Grr. . .I had all these great photos and links to add to past Teaching/Tutoring Tips posts. . .and then my computer "wigged" out on me (oh my hubby would be proud of me for using such language!) and they are gone. Grr. . .
Until another time. . .

But I figured I should post anyway.
Because it is Thursday.
And just because I am annoyed, why should you suffer, right?

So I will chat about homework.
(I can tell we are all leaping with joy over this topic!)
I may change my perspective on this when I am working with my own kids on their endless hours of homework, but I have to say at this point, I'm kind of a fan of it. Not loads of it, but some of it. Not the careless practice 20 math questions that won't even be graded or looked at except to say that you did homework. But I am a fan of taking what you learned in school and then applying it in a different setting. That is how you know you've really learned it. (How many of us have gone to workshops, or classes, or even church, and then when we have to talk about what we learned, or even what happened, the brain starts spinning, and spinning and spinning. . .and what did we learn about again?)
And I'm a fan of practicing skills that grow with us, like reading. That is something that we all need to do in life no matter what age or place we are in, so. . .practice it! (and try to enjoy it in the mean time!)

I've taught and I've tutored and I've helped kids do homework, so I get the frustration that goes along with it all too. As a teacher, I feel that I have the responsibility to make homework directions clear. Easy to understand. Easy for event hose not in class today to understand. But as a parent, guardian or that chosen lucky person who gets to help a child do homework, there is also the responsibility to help with the homework. (Notice I said help, not do it with them or for them. Us teachers find out about that--kids love to talk--and doing it for them isn't helping). Helping may be limited to establishing homework routines or positive work spaces, or even be offering strategies or alternative methods of learning. Helping ALWAYS entails being involved.

Carol Meek wrote a wonderful article (in my humble opinion) in the Winter 2009 Christian Home and School magazine (a publication of CSI) with the title, ABC's of Homework Helper Hints. I think all parents, grandparents or anyone who supervises children doing homework should read this and keep these fine tips handy as a reminder of a few of the simple and great ways to help make homework time a success. Carol Meek is a teacher, parent and grandparent who does help with homework and she offers a few tips. I'll quote A, B, and C for you:

A-Always make sure your child has the necessary supplies for the homework (i.e.sharpened pencils, paper, dictionary, ruler)
B-Believe in your child's ability to do the work.
C-Care about your child's homework and care about him or her.

She goes on to give a short, simple, but very valuable tip for every letter of the alphabet. Me, being a teacher, decided to see what words i could come up with for school-friendly word choices. for example: KIDS.

K- Kindness

I'd love to give you all the "descriptors" she followed each letter with, but I might get in trouble for reproducing a published work. So, please, check this article out! It's very short, easy to read, and practical.

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