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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Homework?

No, we won't have any official homework in first grade. Years ago, when I was completing my Master's Degree in Educating Diverse Learners, I wrote my thesis on the value of homework. The research all agrees that there is no real benefit to homework in elementary school and some value in middle school and high school. (For more on this topic check out articles/books by Alfie Kohn or Harris Cooper.) The research does say that children still should do lots and lots of learning at home but in a more natural way as they go through their life - reading with family members, counting out silverware, measuring ingredients for a recipe, learning what time they should leave for school and on and on.



So I am only going to recommend that you do three things with your child on a regular (but not necessarily daily - just almost daily) basis:
  1. Talk, talk, talk about anything and everything. Not only does this help them learn about the world and how things work in it, it will also help them develop their vocabulary. Need help with topics? Check out Wonderopolis or The Kid Should See This for cool stories and videos on a wide variety of topics.
  2. Read, read, read. Read to them, have them read to you and read together. Find great books that you will love and enjoy. We don't want this to be a chore - ever!
  3. Check out Bedtime Math - in a variety of forms: website, app and books. This site gives you an interesting story to read to your child and then gives you problems to solve at 3 different levels - wee ones, little kids and big kids. There is a new story each night and lots of research that shows that this site really helps.

For those of you who want more ideas, check out the Resources page of our crew blog for lots of online ways to practice academic skills. We use these sites in class during our Exploration Station time and they can all be accessed from home, too. Your children love some of these sites and would enjoy having more time on them. A few sites are subscription services that the district has purchased for us but you can still access them from home using your library card number from the Douglas County Public Library but most do not require this.

You can also visit the Parent Resources page for even more ideas. There you will find links to articles, books and videos that will help you teach your child at home. If you are looking for more structured activities, check out the Sunshine Math and Math Home Links for EDM for printable math problems that you can give your child. These are in the Math section of the Parent Resources page.

Again, none of this is required at all. The items in my top three list above are highly recommended but still not required. These sites are also great for sick days, breaks from school, rainy, snowy or hot days when your child is looking for something fun to do. We never want any of this to take away too much from time spent playing - indoors or out. Play is the best way for kids this age to learn. Enjoy exploring all of the resources and let me know which ones you and your child like the best.

Important Dates
9/7 Love and Logic Class for Parents begins 6:00 pm
9/23 No School - Professional Development Day for Teachers
9/30 Renaissance Challenge Day (formerly called Boot Camp)
10/3 - 10/17 Fall Break
10/19 Crew Pictures and Individual Re-Takes
11/8 No School - Professional Development for Teachers
11/14 - 11/18 Book Fair
11/23 - 11/25 Thanksgiving Break
12/19 - 1/3 Winter Break 

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