Showing posts with label Homework. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homework. Show all posts

Monday, November 19, 2012

Honor Teachers for American Education Week

How I came to be the teacher I am today......

I have been an educator for thirteen years now and I absolutely love getting up every day and going to school. Now, that wasn’t always the case. As a child going through elementary school I struggled with my reading and speech which caused me to be placed in the remedial classes.This made me feel isolated and different from my friends. After elementary school, next came middle school. The dreaded middle school, I hated school even more. I always made good grades but I was the shy, quiet kid that didn’t really fit in. But I have to say that I had some of the best teachers in middle school and here is where I met my favorite teacher of all time. I believe this is also where my love of science developed!

Study and homework reinforce the
skills we learn in class.
His name was Mr. Fischer. He was a wonderful teacher that loved what he was doing. His class came alive and he always had us doing something fun. My favorite days were when we dissected anything! I know, I am a girl and girls are not supposed to like that kind of stuff but I sure loved it. He taught me that school doesn’t have to be boring. You can have fun and students will learn better when class is interactive and hands on.

From here on out I was inspired to become a teacher, thanks to Mr. Fischer. He believed in me and always encouraged me to do my best in everything no matter what anyone said. He gave me the confidence in myself that allowed me to open up and participate more in class. To this day I always think about my 7th grade science class and I try to model my science class and my teaching after Mr. Fischer's.

This week is American Education Week and it is a great time to honor the educators who have made a difference in our lives and to commit ourselves to ensuring that every child gets quality education. The National Education Association has some great ideas for how to celebrate educators this week.

The joys and obstacles of teaching......

I love teaching. Each day is an adventure and you never know what each day might bring! I feel lucky and blessed that I have the opportunity to teach children and that the parents put their trust in me to educate their children. With that said, sometimes the biggest hurdle in education is parent support. What can parents do to support their child’s education? The most important thing I can say is get involved! Research has shown that students with involved parents are more likely to:

•    Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
•    Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
•    Attend school regularly
•    Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
•    Graduate and go on to post-secondary education

So what can you do as a parent? Attend open house and meet your child’s teachers, go to conferences, attend PTO meetings, become a mentor or volunteer at your child’s school. Schools love when parents come to school functions because it shows that they really do care about what is going on in the schools. It also shows your child that you as a parent hold education as a high priority. Parents have the most influence and are the biggest role models for their kids. Show your child that education is important by getting involved!

One of the most powerful things a parent can do to support their child’s education is to study and help their child with homework! Now I know the subject of homework is a touchy one. There is so much controversy over “to give homework or not” and how much homework is too much.

What are the benefits of homework? Homework is the extra practice of a particular skill your child has been working on at school. Now, no one ever has a problem with baseball or football practice, right? Practice helps you get better! That is what homework does…it helps your child get better, the more you practice the better you become. Now I know parents have very busy schedules but making the time to study and share in your child’s homework time really does benefit your child. Most children long for the opportunity to share what they have learned with their parents. I tell my students all the time to go home and share what you learned today with your parents and some kids say, “My mom doesn’t have time or she doesn’t care!”  This saddens me because homework time is a great way to bond with your child. There are some great tips to help your child with homework in our previous article, Ending the Homework War.

Believe me, I know sometimes homework time can be a struggle but from personal experience students do benefit and they really love when their parents get involved and take the time to help them study.

How to talk to your child’s teacher

How do you talk to your
child's teacher?
Okay now that you are involved in your child’s education, how do you go about talking to your child’s teacher? Having a positive relationship with your child's teacher can help your child be more successful in the classroom. Some good tips to parents for better communication with their child’s teacher are:

• Establish a good relationship from the first day. Be in contact with your child’s teacher often and maintain it throughout the year. It’s important to discuss issues face-to-face or over the phone. Email can be misinterpreted too easily.

• Always put the child’s needs first. Explain in detail what you see as the concern and how it’s affecting your child. Be sure to listen to the teacher’s perspective and ask questions if you do not understand any of the information they provide.

• Offer to meet with the teacher to discuss in more detail.

• Ask the teacher what you can do to support his or her educational efforts. Work together to put a plan in place for how the issue can be resolved, including follow-up communication from both the parent and teacher.

• Approach with a smile and a positive attitude … it’s contagious!

Parents and teachers are like a team. All good teams are successful if they work together! Let’s work together to make sure that the children are successful at school and in life. Get involved and show your child that education is a top priority and that with a good, solid education they can go far in life Now, will every day be easy? No, it will not, but keep at it and someday your child will thank you for being so involved in their school lives!

study homework
Inspired to become a teacher
by her 7th grade science teacher,
Kim Walter now teaches science.

Kim Ryan Walter
Fifth Grade Teacher at Midway Elementary School in Georgia

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ending the Homework War

Do your homework!

Homework, homework, homework, where to start?  For many years homework in my household meant one word, TORTURE.  I use to think that homework was back to school for parents; pure dread.  We have had our share of the ups and downs of getting homework done.  

Our oldest didn't need much help and most of the time I didn't even know if she had homework.  For our youngest, however, homework was a bad word. She was diagnosed with Dyslexia and high anxiety, so homework had us jumping through some hurdles. It took some time to figure out how to conquer homework with her, but after some research and trial and error, we won the battle. We found that being in a calm, organized and stress free environment along with the right tools did the trick. 

The National Center for Learning Disabilities has some great tips for homework and developing organizational skills that can turn homework into a peaceful time of night rather than a time they dread all day. Here are some of my favorites:

Get Involved 
Ask questions about their homework. Many teachers assign all of the homework that is due by Friday, at the beginning of the week.  Help your kids manage the work load out throughout the week so it does not seem overwhelming. Do the amount of work your child is capable of without getting frustrated. Time management for kids is half the battle to be successful with homework. It and teaches them to not procrastinate. 

Quiet Time
Make sure that homework is done in a quiet place. Turning off the television, radio and shutting off any social media on the computer gives them time to concentrate on homework. It's a good idea to set up a "homework nook".  It doesn't matter which room it's in as long as there are no distractions and it's a place where only their homework gets done. I include a few healthy snacks so that they can take a break, if needed.

The Right Tools
What do I mean by right tools? Well, keep plenty of pencils, erasers, rulers, a calculator and scrap paper in the homework nook. I have experienced homework gone bad when we didn't have the right pencil or a calculator.  One time Emily's pencil didn't have a good enough eraser and she went to erase and she ripped her paper. Talk about frustration and anxiety! Her whole paper was ruined and she was afraid she'd be in big trouble with the teacher. Things run a lot more smoothly when you have the right tools available.


organizational skills, time management for kids
Homework solutions to end the homework war
When kids are doing homework motivate them to succeed. Looking over their shoulder and pointing out mistakes will discourage them and they might stop trying.  What worked for me was pointing out the things Emily did correctly and then going over mistakes later. Using a sticker chart as motivation can help for kids in elementary school.  Give your child a reward once the chart is complete. Incentives can be easy things like a special dessert, watch some television or getting ice cream as a special treat.

Do homework at the same time everyday.  Kids usually thrive with schedules, so if you are consistent they will be more positive about homework. Doing homework should not be any different than brushing their teeth or eating breakfast every morning. If it is something they know they have to do everyday, they will do it. I made a Chore Chart at my house and included the following things:
  • Brush your teeth
  • Make your bed
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Do your Homework
  • Take a bath

Homework Resources
There is plenty of help out there if you need it to conquer the homework blues.  If you find that your child is struggling, a trip to the library is a good change of scenery and a great place to find resources that can help. Discovery Education is a website with free resources to help your kids with motivation, different subjects and even free webinars for parents.

Your local library may even have resources for parents as well as elementary and high school age kids. 

Looking for online help? Here are a couple of great resources. 
  • Homework Helper has links for each grade level, quick reference guides and links to more online resources. 
  • Multnomah County library has online help by subject, rather than grade. It's available nationwide, too.

Homework Passes
A homework pass in our house was more valuable than gold. Ask teachers how your child can get a homework pass. Doing some extra chores, extra homework sheets for extra credit or reading some extra pages from one of their books are possible ways to earn passes. Some teachers also give out homework passes for good behavior. If your child comes home with one, praise them and let them know how well they are doing. It will build their self-esteem and provide them a strong platform to succeed in the future.

Being a Good Role Model
Our kids follow what we do. If they see us enjoying a good book, they will want to read. If they see that we set aside quiet time to get work done, they will follow the example.

For me, keeping a positive outlook about homework helped the most. Many parents feel that teachers give too much homework.  Even five year olds get kindergarten homework and parents even get burn out.  I use to feel this way too but now that my children are older I am thankful for all the hard work they have put in.  It has definitely paid off and they are now excelling in high school.

What we need to do is teach our children that homework isn't just a chore but a way to make us smarter.  It reinforces what they have learned at school during the day. Homework is actually a way to practice better skills to make them a better student.  It's no different then playing a sport and having to go to practice to make you better. Practice makes perfect on and off the court.

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer