Home can be such a TEDIOUS weekly task. I know its one of the last things we think of as teachers and I know I used to find myself scrambling to get ready each week. Every single year I change up my homework routine because every year I hate homework more and more. It can be such a time suck making individual packets for EACH kid each week. It is never ending.
One of the other reasons why I get frustrated is when I spend a ton of time prepping homework and it doesn't get returned or it is not completed consistently. I found that sometimes homework prep was NOT WORTH MY TIME. Because of this, I decided to create my Life Skills Homework for the entire year last summer. I never blogged about it because I wanted to give it a go for an entire year to see if it as something that was easy to manage, the students benefitted from it and my parents were on board. I am happy to report that after a whole year of using my Life Skills Homework, it was an overall success for everyone!
So what is included in my Life Skills Homework????
My Life Skills Homework is just a simple ONE PAGE sheet that is sent home for the entire week. I send the new homework home on Friday's so that it allows families the opportunity to work on it over the weekend. This can help for the families that have a lot of services during the week.
Let's break down each week a little further. The first component is a simple reading long. Whether your students can read or not, it is important to still expect book skills at home. I encourage families to read to their child, allow their child to read to them, or encourage sibling bonding over a book. I think there is something special when an older sibling is abel to take the time to read with their brother or sister.
The second component to the Life Skills Homework is the weekly chore. I get asked by parents ALL the time how they can help their child. I emphasize the importance of life skills at home all the time. Sometimes it can seem so simple for us teachers what this means. As a parent, I can also understand how vague this could seem. I decided to incorporate a different weekly chore EACH week to help the student get exposed to as much real life chores as possible. I love this section of the homework because sometimes the students will have had a HILARIOUS time with the chore. One of my favorites this year was from a parent that fill out the form for their child. She shared that her daughter preferred to use the broom as a microphone and sing!
The next section of the Life Skills Homework is either "Learning through Play" or "Learning through Conversations." I carry these two over the year depending on the monthly themes. I think it is so important to learn to "play" at home. So many students are glued to the TV, you tube or computer and forget how to just play. Through this homework I am able to provide simple ideas for families such as I Spy, tag or board games. Learning through Conversations is also great because sometimes I can provide important discussions that can take place at home with the entire family.
My favorite part of the homework is the sharing component. I added this on my weekly homework because sometimes our students need a little "help" with their sharing. Families are able to write a quick note explaining what their child brought to help me, help them, share with the class. I also encourage toys, pictures and stories for sharing. I even get texts from my parents full of pictures from the week! This makes Friday mornings during morning meeting so fun as each child is given the opportunity to share. One of the biggest hits this year from sharing was a Minion Fart Gun! True story... LOL
This simple system worked SO well for me. It was just ONE sheet a week that I had to manage. My homework product has 8 different sheets a month. This allows teachers to choose the ones that work best for them! I like it because it worked for all levels of students in my class. I did not need to differentiate for students. I did add some work for students who needed or required it. I would just use this Life Skills homework as a cover sheet for their homework packet.
Be smart... make copies for the entire year this summer and just store in your filing cabinet. I like to run them off and make about 3 extra for each set. I do this because if I get new students throughout the year I don't want to have to go run ONE more copy each week! Every Friday I just pull out my filing cabinet and send home. NO THINKING REQUIRED!!!!
I am ALSO excited to try something new this year. Erin from You Aut-a Know created these awesome Take Home Games for homework. I think this paired with my Life Skills Homework will provide a well rounded homework routine for my families. These take home games and my Life Skills Homework will build a lot of vocational skills, social skills and build independence.
I'm ACTUALLY excited for homework this year! How bout you?
Interested? Grab my Life Skills Homework below: