KinderGals: Easy Steps for Meaningful Homework

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Easy Steps for Meaningful Homework

Do you assign homework to your kids? Do they do it? Do they bring it back? I have even had kids tell me that their mom did it after they went to bed. So...what is the answer? Should we assign homework or not?
I answered this question by first asking myself, "Why am I sending home homework?" Here's why:
  • I want parents to spend time with their kids.
  • I want learning to be celebrated.
  • I want kids and parents to value educational opportunities.
I could say more, but those about sum it up. Now that I knew the answer to my first question, my second question..."How can I do this? How can I make homework all the things?"
This series of questions led me to setting up homework bags for my kids to check out each week. Here's how we do it:
To begin, each child needs a 2 gallon Ziploc bag. I use the freezer bags so that they will last all year.
The children store all of the needed items inside the Ziploc bag. The first item in the bag is a 2 pocket folder. In the folder, I have a page for parents to record the bag (each bag is numbered), the date, and their signature. There is also a parent response page. This page allows the parents to tell me anything I need to know...are pieces missing? did their child have difficulty? were the directions not clear enough?
The Ziploc bag also holds the game. I used a large envelope (they come in brown too). On the front of the envelope, I laminated and glued the cover to the game.  I added a piece of ribbon to make a handle.
Inside the envelope I store the game pieces and the direction card. The directions card tells the parents "the standard" and how to play the game. There are also additional activities they can play with the same game. The kids are going to keep the bag ALL week. The additional activities provide new ways to use the resources each night.
I also add a few books, usually 3 or 4, to the Ziploc bag. These books are for the parents to read to their kids.  So many of our kids don't have a library of books at home. This gives the parents something they can read each night. The other letter in the photo is used separately. This letter is attached to the front of a brown envelope like the one that stored the game.  This envelop contains a book for the children to read to their parents.  They bring this envelop back and forth daily. I can decide to send home the same book, or a new book each night. You can grab these two forms FREE at the bottom of this blog post.
I teamed up with my good friend Adam Peterson to put together a unit of homework bags all related to FALL.
The unit has 10 different games.
Each game is available in color AND black/white. You choose which one works best for you.
The parent direction cards for each game are also included.
You will also find all of the forms needed to keep your parents organized!
Pictures are provided to identify each part of the unit.
General directions for your use are also included. We also added a supply list for each bag. This will make it easy to check to be sure everything has been returned.
We used this form to list each child. Then, we could keep up with which bags they had and which bags they still needed. Since there are 10 bags, you may want to make a few sets of each. This way, every child will get a back each week. I had the kids return the bags on Friday so that I could get them ready to go home again on Monday. If a child didn't bring his/hers back on Friday, I didn't always have enough time on Monday to get them ready.
It is amazing how many parents STILL talk about these bags even when their kids are grown. The parents LOVE them! No more tears at homework time!
 All of the items can be found in this Homework Play Unit.
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