Most parents in a recent survey voted for HOMEWORK for the kids. 

A few were totally opposed stating that it caused such upheaval at home and created chaos between the parents and students. But most people thought it was great discipline and the children learned a lot by doing pages of math and answering the questions at the end of the geography textbook. 

Both parents and child do become frustrated trying to accomplish learning. 

Some parents fell somewhere in between: some were OK, but thought the heavy loads of late have been too much. Those busywork display board projects are maddening. Several teachers joined in the voting for reasonable amounts but preferred longer school days. Some parents wanted freedom for the kids when the school day was over. 

I would like to propose another idea that should please parents, kids, teachers, grandparents, and the general population. These daily activities in the home extend the skills taught in the classroom:

• Sorting clothes to be put into the washing machine teaches likenesses and differences.  

• Retelling sequences of events from a TV show teaches main idea.  

• Letter writing to pen pals, grandparents and relatives teaches letter writing and language skills.

• Summarizing sports events teaches comprehension and organization of thoughts. 

• Playing board games and keeping score teaches decision making, math facts, following rules. 

• Planning a pretend shopping spree with a set amount of money to spend teaches decision-making and math facts. 

• Studying maps for an imaginary trip to a chosen destination teaches map reading, weather, and finances. Putting together a booklet of food groups including likes and dislikes teaches decision-making and organization. 

• Going for a walk or bike ride looking for specific categories of birds spotted, flowers, or house numbers teaches observation skills and organization. 

• Reading newspaper stories on certain subjects, politics, sports, and tragedies and reporting them orally teaches reading, organizing thoughts, and speaking skills. 

• Doing a comparison of prices in two different grocery stores teaches observation skills and math skills. 

If parents and teachers can agree, spending one or two days after school can eliminate boring paperwork.  

JoAn Martin is a retired teacher with five published novels. Reach her at or

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