I'm a fifth grade math teacher.
I'm also a mom of two girls that are currently in third and fifth grade.
I thought that helping my own children with homework and studying would be a breeze. Boy, was I wrong! 🤯
AS A TEACHERMOM, I HAVE REALIZED A FEW THINGS:
- As a mom, I often had a hard time figuring out exactly what my children needed to study. If they were taking a test on fractions...what exactly did they need to know?
- We as teachers need to honestly do a better job of giving parents the resources that they need to help their children study or complete homework. I KNOW that we have a million things on our plate already, but trust me, THIS WILL HELP YOU!
- Most parents want to help their children but they honestly don't know how (cue all the social media posts about their hatred of Common Core Math).
- Parents should know what their child will be learning during the current school year even if they don't understand all of the strategies that will be used.
- At the beginning of the school year, I send home a 5th Grade Math Parent Guide that lists all of our learning standards for the year AND gives them sample problems.
- This is also the best way to help the parents who ask for MORE ways to help their child at home.
- I've made the honest mistake of sending math problems on homework that were way too tough. The child struggled, the parent was frustrated, and I've received a few too many frustrated emails along the way.
- I strongly believe in spiral review math homework, but I keep it simple. I stick to 6-8 math problems focusing on algorithms only. I leave the higher level word problems for math practice in class. It's as simple as something like this daily decimal practice sheet:
- This way, students are still practicing math at home, but they are problems that the students should be able to complete independently.
- This ALSO gives parents a snapshot of what their child is learning in math.
- When my child's teacher sends home a math study guide, I am able to see the problems that she needs to know and use those to practice with her. I can also see what she is struggling with and create "new" problems to help her study further.
- A study guide does not have to be complicated. Simply create a document that lists concepts that students will need to know for the test.
- ✓Quick Tip: if you are using these types of problems on homework already, simply keep the same homework format and change the numbers around.
- I often attach our math standards to the top of the study guide and tell parents when the test will be. I include a parent signature to make sure that parents will see it?
- I wrote about it on this Instagram post, and it really resonated with a lot of teachers:
- By the way, you should NOT be doing this all on your own. You work with a team for a reason. Split the workload! You can do the study guide this month, and your coworker can take your template and do the study guide next month. I have a hard time saying this because I am someone that has a hard time asking for help, but it will save your sanity. We cannot do it all.
- I can't tell you how many times my daughters have told me "I have a test tomorrow!" the day.before.the.test. 😩 ALL kids do this.
- This tip has been a game changer in my classroom!
- Every month, I send home a calendar that lists all of our upcoming events, test dates, and due dates.
- Actually, I send home a printable copy, an email copy, AND I give each child a copy for the binder. Just to be sure!
- Parents have told me countless times how much the appreciate these! I encourage them to place the calendar on their refrigerator at home.