Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Episode Thirty Five: Homework

Hey Team!

Part way through last year my middle boy started school. I still can't believe I have two kids who go to school. We're all getting old! School has been a friggin nightmare for us, I can't lie to you. My eldest boy has been let down by his school a few too many times to mention (probably best left for another post). It had made me incredibly apprehensive about my middle boy starting school, but we got there. Part of that was starting him at a totally different school to his older brother on the other side of town. I'm happy to report that so far it's been a success. 

His transition into school was made a bit difficult with his ear problems. He, unfortunately inherited my propensity for ear infections and had his first set of grommets when he was younger. Moving into school he was basically so deaf he wasn't picking up much of what his teacher was saying. Poor guy. After getting that sorted with more surgery, we played catch up with some of his learning at home. Part of this was re-learning letters and their sounds (letters sound pretty mangled with glue ear, unfortunately).

This was a simple process of making cards for each letter (capital letters on one side and lower case on the other). To start off with I held up each card and asked him what letter I was holding. If he got them right, they went into the correct pile. If he got them wrong they went into a 'to learn' pile. What I found was that the letters that sounded similar (F or S) needed a bit of reinforcement. So, each day for a week after work I held up the cards with the 'to learn' letters and quizzed him again. By the end of the week we were humming along nicely.

We practised the sounds of these letters which needed to be re-learnt (is that a word?!). This was a really simple and easy process. We were lucky that he had a foundation from which to start from and a familiarity with some letters. But really, little exercises can go a long way to reinforcing what happens at school. I'm not a huge homework fan - both as a parent and when I was a school kid - but I can certainly see the benefit in bringing what's happening at school to home life. Pointing out instances of letters, objects or phenomena they're learning about at school in your time together is an easy way to do this. It can't hurt, right?

Investing in your children's learning can seem like a bit of a drag - especially if you're like me and you want to spend your time with your children actually having fun and doing cool stuff. But, if you can show your children that learning doesn't have to be torture and you can reward some of that learning with praise and admiration - well, it's not so bad. You can do ten minutes a day here and there and then move on to the playfights on the trampoline. Deal? Deal!

Have fun!

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