Tonight there was a write up in the Nelson Mail newspaper about a radical ‘new’ way of doing homework. Not so radical and not so new. I have been setting homework in this ‘new’ radical way for the last three years. I based it on a book by somebody and I can’t seem to lay my hands on it! Maybe someone can enlighten me. Before that I was the queen of the fill in the gaps, what is the capital city of… kinda girl. Not anymore. I even put a folder with year’s worth of homework in it on Trade Me and some poor sucker bought it for $10.
I teach Year Four (8 year olds). Nowadays we have a theme to the weekly homework that compliments something we are focussing on in class. After the theme has been chosen we brainstorm using Kidspiration. I save this as a pdf and children get a copy in their homework books. At the beginning of the year we start with very basic suggestions but get more interesting as the range of topics builds up. After we have done a bit of everything we dabble our way across the curriculum and key competencies.
A bit extreme but I have one one occasion podcasted the homework into the classroom when I was home with the flu! If you take a listen you will hear just how sad and crook I was!
Along with the focus brainstorm each child gets a grid with their homework activities for the week. It builds up over time so that each week has a range of academic, social and cultural segments with a section each week for home work- doing something to help the smooth functioning of home.
I give out the homework on a Friday and children return it on a Thursday for us to discuss, comment on and for me to write new words in their spelling notebooks for learning. This way gives the kids a whole week to work on it so if they get stuck in they could do it over the weekend and it leaves parents more able to contribute rather than rushing through the Monday-Friday thing with all the workday stresses.
If there is something on or homework doesn’t get done for a week life goes on but if children just don’t do or say they have left it at home they get a note that goes home to remind them to bring to school so I can help them with sections at lunchtime.
I have received great positive feedback from parents about my system and I would definitely never go back to the old system.
People via Twitter and the commenting have told me that the book is by Ian Lillico- you can find out more about him by following this link.
What do you do for homework in your class?