Enrichment Questions Answered…
A few questions have been raised in regard to the enrichment. We think the questions and answers would benefit all parents and students. At Back to School Night we mentioned that you should not spend more than 15 minutes on homework with your child; unless of course your child wants to, and in that case by all means, keep working! When the homework assignment is something like, "Write one thing that makes you special," these are some ideas of how your child can complete the assignment:
1. Student sounds out the words and writes down the letters/sounds he/she hears. This is called invented spelling and we highly encourage this. Praise your child for the sounds heard and wrote down. They may ask if they spelled it right and my response to them usually is something like, "That’s great! You heard the /f/ sound in that word! I can tell you sounded it out and that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. Let’s try the next word!" I would say that even if "F" is all they wrote for the word "Freckles." We emphasize invented spelling here at school and try to remind the students that they are still learning and they do not need to write like "grown ups" yet. If you would like to "translate" or write with the correct spelling underneath the writing, that would be fine. That is what we do here as well during our writing time.
2. Student draws a picture to show the way he/she is special. If having them sound out the words is too much for them, let them draw a picture and they can dictate the words to you. Please write their words for them to alleviate frustration.
3. Student copies your handwriting. The student can tell you what he or she wants to say, you write it (in D’Nealian handwriting, preferably) and the student copies your words. This works if your child really wants to write, but might not have the full confidence to try it alone.
4. Student traces your handwriting. This is similar to #3, however instead of writing it all on their own, it is traced on top of your writing. This works well if you "dot" your letters (make them with dotted lines rather than solid lines).
We do not want children to become frustrated with homework. It won’t always be fun and exciting, but it should not be frustrating. If the above ideas are not working for you and you would like some more ideas on how to work with your child, we will be more than happy to talk with you to try to find some strategies. The students in Kindergarten are at such different levels that we have to allow for this flexibility. This is how we can differentiate our instruction through homework. Even if your child can consistently sound out most words (not necessarily spelled correctly, but can sound them out, or use invented spelling) some days he/she might just need to draw a picture instead, and that is just fine. We recognize and work with these needs and strengths in the classroom on a daily basis.