Homework sanity saver – colourful markers

Not every teacher believes in homework.

homework with markers

I both agree and disagree with this. I agree that homework in the early grades is probably not necessary but at the same time agree that a gradual move to complete a couple of things at home in the middle years of elementary school is not the end of the world.

At some point, kids will have homework. They have to LEARN how to do homework. If a kid who never had homework, ever, suddenly has to do 20 minutes a couple of times a week, it’s going to be a learning curve.

Or, in our case, drama, noise, resistance.

My youngest never had homework right up to the end of grade 3. She is the most enthusiastic school girl you’ll ever meet and she is always prepared and has all her supplies and loves her teachers and her school and her friends and it’s all good.

This September, she started Extended French Immersion in grade 4. Now, every Monday she receives a list of ten French words she has to translate (understand their meaning) and also learn how to spell. The test on these words is on Friday. She has all week, both at school and at home, to learn her words.

The list of words focuses on the sounds they practice all week. Last week they practiced the sound ‘ou’. (ouvre, to open, rouge, red). This week they are covering the sound ‘eu’. Like, le feu (fire), un peu (a little).

Well let me tell you something about how she approaches this so-called homework: she doesn’t want to do it. She also fears tests. She flat out refuses to believe that tests are nothing to be afraid of if you arrive at said test well prepared.

Long story short, I bribed her with an old notebook and colourful markers. My girl is known as Little Miss Colouring Everything all the Time and does so constantly and passionately. She loves to draw, doodle, colour things. So that’s what worked. She copies the words out with colourful markers, both in French and in English. Later on, we do a practice test and if she starts to freak out I tell her we can do an open book test. “Keep your list beside you and see how you do”, I say to her. When she stumbles, she glances at her list, and I say “that’s ok, maybe you can write the word out an extra two or three times, that way you’ll remember it better tomorrow”, and she does.

So far, it seems to be working. Bonus point, her older brother does the same thing (minus the markers). She looks up to him, so this is a good way to help her feel comfortable. His challenge, however, is legibility. He writes in pencil with is left hand, smudges the words, writes messily. We’re working on it, but there too, is resistance. But that’s a topic for another day.

In the meantime, mom supervises homework, cooks supper and sips wine. 🙂



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