To Give or Not to Give...Homework {A Kindergarten Perspective}

So I'm going to be completely honest here people...I'm not a huge fan of homework for little ones...especially kindergartners! More and more free time, recess and social interaction is being taken away from our littles and they really need it! So that being said I try to encourage parents to give their children time to be active and get outside after school.  But inevitably, so many parents actually beg for homework. I mean it is great to see that they want to be involved in their children's learning, so its hard to argue with that.

My solution is nightly reading homework which realistically should take no more than 10-15 minutes/night.  Totally doable on the car ride home, or while mom is cooking dinner. Here are what my reading bags look like:
And here is what's inside:
First, I include a leveled reader that is at students INDEPENDENT reading level, not instructional.  I do not want my students to struggle through their homework anymore than I want parents struggling to help their child read.
Now don't get me wrong there are definitely parents that are great at coaching their kids through a book, but there are also those that say "sound it out" 392 times when the word is "some" and can't possibly be "sounded out."  So I send books that students will feel successful with as fluency practice.  I use the printable books from Reading A-Z because I don't have a huge leveled library in my classroom. Unfortunately no matter how hard I try to teach my kiddos to take card of the books, inevitably some get lost, come back missing pages, have their baby sister's beautiful artwork all over them, fall in a toilet, or whatever other kind of mayhem happens in real life with a five year old.  I do ask students to bring the books back, but I have printed 5 copies of each book from Reading A-Z and bam no worries when they go missing, I just print more!
Next is a nightly reading log.
Every night that students read, they write the date and title of their book. (Side note: I like to encourage students to do it themselves for a little extra writing practice, especially those with some fine motor issues.) Then parents sign and when I see it at school they get a sticker. There are 10 spots on a page so if a student reads every night they fill it up in two weeks and get to chose a Reading A-Z book to take home to keep! That's right the prize is more reading ;) The best part is they can actually color in their book when they take it home....ooooohhh. They're always dying to color those little readers so this is actually  big deal in their little world. Gotta love kindergartners!
You can grab my printable reading log FREE here.
The last thing in the bag is a sight word ring.  At my school we teach 2 sight words a week and expect our students to know 75 by the end of the year.  I add 2 words to each bag each week and students add them to their ring when they get home.  After reading their book each night I ask them to  quickly practice their sight word ring.  Every so often as I reassess the words my students know I will go through and the words off of their rings so they don't grow to be too big. No need to drill the same sight words they've known consistently for months!
And there you have it! Easy peasy homework in kindergarten.  I will say that I do have a small packet of worksheets that I send home with students in case parents really want some more work for their kiddos, but I don't really spend much time checking it in or looking through it.  I find that those pages are more for students to practice and show their parents what they can do, so I try not to spend too much time dealing with the paperwork of it all. The packet usually includes handwriting page, a sight word page, a math page and a writing prompt each week. Nothing too fancy!

6 comments:

  1. I love your stance on homework. Reading is a crucial habit to build and foster at home early, but I agree that little ones should be able to have time to play. Time to imagine. Time to build. :)

    Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where did you get your bags? I love that they have a handle so kids are unlikely to hold them upside down!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jordyn Fernandes you can find them on Amazon!!!! 6 bags for $5-$6

      Delete
  3. I love the idea of sending the leveled book, do you change the book nightly or do they read the same book all week?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I change the book nightly, (or when they bring it back, if they forget a night here or there) then I don't send one on Fridays.

      Delete
  4. Hi can you send me the link to print out the books that you use for this.
    Thanks and this is such a great idea, I homeschool my daughter and this will be great to implant with her for her to read to herself. (she's just learning to read. :)

    ReplyDelete