Degrees and Certifications:
All students will be given an agenda book in which to write down their homework assignments and other reminders regarding school. Homework is given Monday through Thursday evenings. I don't typically give homework over the weekend or during school vacations, unless students are working on ongoing projects, or there are special circumstances. I ask that parents look over the assignment book, so you'll know what is expected for homework. Students should bring their agenda book to school each day. It is their responsibility to make sure they do not lose their books. When students have completed a full week of homework assignments, they will earn a ticket for our class raffle. I pull 5 raffle tickets each Friday during class meeting, and winners can choose from our prize box. (Other chances to earn tickets come from class jobs, excellent behavior, or as acknowledgement for fantastic academic improvement/work).
Typically homework is given nightly for Math, Spelling/Grammar, and Reading. Students are expected to read 25 minutes a night. I don't ask students or parents to fill out reading logs. By fifth grade, reading daily should become a habit. Students don't have to read for 25 minutes in a row. if they want to read for 15 minutes while waiting for dinner, and another ten minutes right before bed--I'm okay with that. The most important thing is to make sure they are reading as much as they can. Reading out loud to a sibling, reading a magazine/newspaper, and reading a chapter book are all acceptable. The more your child reads, the more likely they are to find that book that hooks them and creates a lifelong reader. I know that not every student is there yet, so if you or your child would like a separate reading log to help track their reading, let me know and I will supply you with one.
I usually assign students a packet for Spelling and Grammar that is handed out on Monday and is due back by Friday. Some students like to complete their packets early, especially if they are active in sports or other activities. That is fine with me, but I ask that students wait to turn in their packets until Friday, so they will have the words handy to help them study for Friday's quiz. In Spelling, we focus on learning Greek and Latin prefixes, roots, suffixes, and their meanings. This helps greatly with vocabulary development. We have quick quizzes on both Spelling and Grammar on Fridays.
Math homework is individualized for each student based on their understanding of the topic in class. Those students that had a little trouble in class will complete "Reteaching", which reviews the concept at the top of the worksheet and then asks the students to complete a few problems on their own. "Practice" is typically what most students will take home for homework. It consists of a few more problems than the "Reteaching" worksheet. It's important to note that "Reteaching" and "Practice" are back to back, so if a student is assigned "Practice" but has a little trouble once they are home remembering what to do, they are more than welcome to complete the "Reteaching" assignment instead. That also applies to a student completing "Reteaching". If you are home working on "Reteaching" and the "a-ha!" light bulb suddenly kicks in, please feel free to move onto "Practice" instead. The third option is called "Enrichment". These worksheets are sometimes simply harder problems working on the same math concept, and other times they may be related to the math concept learned in class, but they are designed to expand and stretch the mind. There are lots of problem solving, multi-step problems, and logic puzzles found on the Enrichment worksheets. All of the math worksheets that accompany our math program "Envisions" can be found on the HBB website under the Envision tab. This is helpful for students who may have forgotten their homework in class.
Occasionally I will assign additional homework from other subject areas like Writing, Social Studies, or Science, especially around the time we are preparing for exams. I try to be fair with the amount of homework I assign students. I don't expect any student to have to work more than one hour on homework each night (and that includes the 25 minutes of reading). Of course if you leave your homework packets until late Thursday evening...
I consider homework important because it gives students the opportunity to review material we've learned in school, and allows me to see if they fully understand what they're doing when working on their own. It is important for me to know when students don't "get" their homework. It would be helpful if parents could write a note across the top of the page, "Johnny didn't understand this at all". Please don't allow tears/frustration when completing homework. Homework is intended to be review of things we've already learned in class. If you feel your child has given their homework a fair effort (this might include logging onto Envisions and re-watching the learning videos for the math topic) then call it a night, and jot a note to let me know your child needs more help in this area.
Parents, please communicate with me regarding homework. With four children of my own I understand that sometimes the unexpected pops up at home and there is simply no way to get homework done that evening. Just write me a note explaining, and we'll work something out. I believe fundamentally in getting children their recess break, so I don't like taking away recess in order to make up work that should have been done at home. However, it is also important to instill a nightly routine that includes reading and homework. This will make the transition to middle school much easier. Please help your child succeed by making homework time an expected part of their daily routine. Thank you!