At this very moment, the Grinch is creating those joy-killing Vacation Homework Packets. Don’t let him get the best of you. As your children trudge home with heavy hearts and back packs, take a few of these suggestions to help you cope:
- Do the packet right away. Do it yourself if necessary. You know you will wind up doing it one day, probably by yourself, at the end of the vacation. Why ruin an entire week with the specter of that homework?
- Better yet, have your child do the homework immediately and totally independently. If he/she can’t do it, either the teacher hasn’t taught the material effectively or your child hasn’t been paying attention or both. If you wait until the end of the vacation, everything will have been forgotten anyway.
- In either case, and especially with complicated projects, you might want to demand reimbursement of public funding or tuition. Schools are paid big money to teach. If you have to do it, you should get paid, too.
- Read the Common Core. Whenever I ask people why we are torturing children, I hear that it is required by the Common Core. Check it out. The Common Core does not require anything more than has always been required. It has just rephrased common sense. They are rephrasing it again at the New York State Education Department and calling it Next Generation Learning Standards.
- If your children are in primary grades, read the Common Core with special care. I have attached the Common Core ELA for K. You will note that there is no requirement for students to be reading in kindergarten. As appropriate, most required tasks are oral. When it comes to writing, the children should be able to “Print many upper- and lowercase letters.” and “Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book.” After doing that, they are supposed to be TAUGHT foundational skills in first and second grade. There is no requirement for them to discover how to read on their own.
- Once you and your child have done your required reading, do some happy vacation things and talk about them (i.e. have those “mediated experiences” that the great Reuven Feuerstein recommended). Read lots of anything you like. (Stephen Krashen, Timothy Rasinski and other literacy eminences agree that just reading a lot makes you both a good reader and a good writer.)
Let’s put the Happy back in Happy Holidays. You deserve it.
PS: At the end of your restful vacation, you might want to treat yourself to Tell Me about It, our exciting oral language development workshop at the National Museum of the American Indian. This workshop is for grown-ups only. Kids should be running around in the fresh air, developing their muscles and their social skills.
We have great things planned for 2019. We guarantee that our workshops are never boring. The only homework is to put what you have learned into action the very next day.