Building good work habits - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-15-2011, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Just curious, mamas with older kids - what have you done to encourage good study habits, and if you could go back to the beginning would you change anything?


DD had homework this week and part of me is going, homework in kindergarten, really?  I know I signed up for this because we picked a school with a traditional learning program and we were told right up front that it isn't for everyone and they are big on homework and parents signing the agenda every night and such.  I figured that was a fair trade for what looks like excellent quality of instruction and great opportunities for extracurriculars, but I feel kinda guilty about making her do worksheets.  Mind you, this is all me - DD is excited about doing worksheets.  


I am trying to look at this as a good opportunity to instil good habits, like doing homework right away, sitting at a desk, having your supplies organized etc - while she is still young enough that she actually wants my help.  But still...homework in kindergarten :( 

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#2 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 06:11 AM
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Mine got homework in K. I can't stand it.  I actually didn't make them do some homework they had gotten over a vacation in K. I thought that was just over the top.....Ours is a regular PS though, not something special I signed on for.

We have a special place for homework and backpacks ,that they unload every afternoon and I check. Normal days I days I give them a snack and send them out to play for at least a hour before we do homework. If someone has a practice or something they might be stuck doing it right after school.  I expect them to work hard on their homework and do their best. I expect the teachers to give appropriate homework.( I.E. things they have already gone over well in class and will not take my still young kids very long to do)  My oldest will often times choose to do her homework first thing and get it out of the way. I NEVER fudge a reading log. If you didn't read I'm not signing it.   I'm not picky about where they do homework, but I'm very picky about where it goes when they are not working on it. I think having a specific homework spot helps them be more organized and instills good habits. I'm not sure if any of this is a all that helpful. So far we have not dealt with any huge homework battles....

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#3 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 07:24 AM
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Home work in Kinder was a great way for my kids to show themselves to me. They were so proud of what they could do. I kept a positive attitude about it and would congratulate them on a job well done. I would certainly create a routine as it makes it easier as they get older. However that routine is completely up to your life schedule. Homework in kinder isn't a bad thing though, some kids need the repetitive at home reminders of what they learned that day and some don't.
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#4 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 08:13 AM
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Maybe this will get a few eye-rolls, but the first thing I would do to instill good work habits in a kindergarten student is help my dc stay engaged with learning and preserve the sense of fun. 


In kindy and the early years, a lot of homework was mostly a chance to show off what my dc learned that day or what they could do. I liked getting a sense of what they were working on in class. They loved showing off. They liked to teach me or their dad or their sibling, which also reinforced whatever the lesson was. Sometimes we used it as a springboard to other things. If they had an arithmetic worksheet, we might get some coins or dice or cards after it was done, or even during, and keep on playing with numbers. Spelling lists often had rhyming words because they were working on a simple rule, so we would make up silly poems or songs and other word play. If they were frustrated with the work, it was often better to try a different approach for understanding rather than struggle with one that wasn't working. 


It got tougher when the homework was stuff they don't enjoy. I found that happened in later grades, when the assignments got longer and the subject wasn't interesting. 


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#5 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by meetoo View Post
I'm very picky about where it goes when they are not working on it. I think having a specific homework spot helps them be more organized and instills good habits....

for us it's been more about the organization than the work. Now as part of our bedtime routine they prep their lunch for the next day (they are older, but a Kindergarten could help with their lunch) and they make sure everything else is in the pack ready to go - homework done and put away, anything that needed signing is signed, etc. They also lay out their clothes.


We used to have some morning struggles, so getting as much stuff together they night before became important to us.


I think that the more you teach your little one to be *responsible* for getting the work back to school, the better. For my kids, that ended up being the harder part.  Even the simple act of having them put it back into the backpack for themselves is helpful.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 10:49 AM
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We've found that "good" study habits are all in the eye of the beholder really and kids should be given some space to figure out what works for them.


My DD 14 needs to take a break after school to do something personal or non-academic before starting her homework. That can be taking a shower, playing her instrument or futzing around on facebook (though at this age, she usually has activities right after school and does her homework at night.) She then sprawls out on the floor or her room surrounded by books, papers and a laptop. DS 10 likes to do his homework the second he gets home. Since most of his homework is online, he either sits at the family computer or takes DH's laptop and sits in his reading chair in his room. Any written work he prefers his big chair and a clipboard. Both are excellent students and I've never had to nag them so I just leave them be. Both their schools have online grading so I do occasionally check to make sure they are staying on track.


It's a lot of trial and error in the beginning. I'd try different things and see what works. Some kids like to sit on their bed, the floor, a favorite chair. Others like a desk or to sit at the family table while dinner is being prepared. Some go straight to it. Others need a break. Some do better finishing it all at one sitting. Others really do best breaking up the work in small 5 or 10 minute segments those early years. I think it's fine to start with some structure but I'd remain flexible and to hand over ownership of the homework as soon as possible. 

Married mom, DD 18, DS 15, and a Valentine's surprise on the way!
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