Since when did first grade become so much work? At the beginning of the year, Maggie was so excited to be in first grade and to finally have homework. To her, having homework was synonymous with being a “big kid.” She has since changed her mind and has decided that kindergarten is really where it’s at. She told me that she didn’t know that first grade was going to be so hard, and that she misses getting to play and do artwork like they did in kindergarten. “All we do is read and do math!” she lamented to me yesterday. She also expressed to me that she has changed her mind about that whole wanting homework business.
I have to agree with Maggie in that regard. I had no idea that first grade homework would require between 40 – 45 minutes of our attention every night. I can understand sending home their reading books to practice their reading skills every night, but it is a lot more involved than that. Every night, Maggie and I sit down at the kitchen table and work on:
1) reading that day’s story from her reading book
2) reading an extra book that is sent home for practice
3) completing a page or two of additional reading worksheets that deals with phonics and coding words
4) completing a page or two of math worksheets
5) practicing her spelling words for the test that week
6) memorizing a new Bible verse every night
I try to give Maggie a break as soon as she gets home from school so that she has some time between schoolwork and homework. Most nights, it is not too big of a problem to get her homework completed - we do try to get it done before dinner so that it is done and out of the way. Some nights though, it is difficult to do so. If we have any other obligations right after work, we are sometimes sitting and doing homework at 7:30PM after dinner is over. Completing homework with a tired, teary girl can be somewhat challenging. When that happens, we often have to put it away and just work on it in the morning after breakfast.
I do have to say that Maggie’s reading skills have improved dramatically since the beginning of the year. Her confidence in reading is really growing as well. I'm still not wild about 45 minutes of homework each evening, but I know we'll make it through. Curiously, last week, Aleita's preschool teacher sent home a note saying that if we wanted to do some "homework" with them, she would provide it, and it would be scored and returned to them. I politely checked the "no" box and returned the paper back to school with Aleita. Her time will come soon enough.