How To Create The Perfect Homework Center by Cristina Margolis

December 06, 2016

How To Create The Perfect Homework Center by Cristina Margolis

Nowadays, children start getting a pretty hefty load of homework beginning in Kindergarten.  Children start their elementary school years learning how to write, spell, read, and add/subtract.  It is a very exciting time in a child’s life, but it can also be an overwhelming one.  Getting your child to sit still and concentrate on their homework can be challenging, so I created a fun, stimulating, and engaging Homework Center with all the bells and whistles (literally).  I cannot stress how important it is for your child to start developing good study habits from the get-go, which is why creating a Homework Center is so important for your child.  Be sure to get your child involved as much as possible when creating their Homework Center.  The more they feel they contributed, the more willing they will be to use it and the more fun they will have when using it.

As you can tell from the actual Homework Center pictured below, I am a very organized person.  I thrive on organization and I love having everything in its place.  When things are organized for children, they are able to concentrate on the task better and become more efficient when completing their homework.  The Homework Center has 11 sections, which I will discuss more in detail below.

 

1. Title

 Give your Homework Center a title. Let your child  decorate it with things they  love. They can draw  pictures around it or  place stickers on it. Let your  child get creative and have fun with this!

 

 

 

2. Alphabet and Number Reference

 Your child will be doing a lot of writing. They will  occasionally make a  mistake and write a letter or  number  backwards, which is completely normal.  They are still learning. The more they practice,  the better they’ll  get. If they are uncertain about  the  proper letter or number formation, having this  reference front and center is great and also an  excellent  way for them to check their work. This  particular handwriting style is called Zaner-Bloser.  (If you Google “Zaner-Bloser Manuscript Handwriting,” there are plenty of reference charts you can download for free.)

 

 

3. Counting Fingers

 When children begin to count, they start  by using their fingers.  Each finger is  numbered and the written word of the  number is directly above the cresponding  finger.  By seeing both the actual number  and the number spelled out, your child will  learn how to spell numbers 1 through 10.  By seeing the words so frequently, they  will ultimately become Sight Words for your child (words your child will recognize by sight).  A fun way to incorporate the Counting Fingers section is to actually trace your child’s hands onto the Homework Center and color them in or have your child make their own handprints with Crayola Fingerpaint.  (Don’t worry, Moms and Dads!  It’s completely washable!)

 

4. Sight Words

 Your child is going to learn so many Sight Words!  The  best way to learn them is by writing them on  flash cards  or small pieces of paper. Learning  about six Sight Words  per week is ideal, so be  sure to replace the pocket with  new Sight Words  each week. Don’t forget to occasionally  review  the previously learned Sight Words as well. Get  creative with the pocket!  It is a lot of fun for  children to  have a pocket to slip their Sight Words in and out of. Be  sure to add the Peel and Stick  Googly Eyes to the pocket  for some silliness!  Kids love silliness!

 

 5. Colors of the Reading Rainbow

 The Reading Rainbow is coming up (#6).  This is simply another  pocket to hold the colors of the Reading Rainbow.  Six popsicle  sticks (Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) will be held  in this pocket at the beginning of every week.  On one side of  the  stick, spell out the word of the color.  (Ex. Write “red” on the  red  popsicle stick)  For an added lesson on colors, write down  the  number that the color appears in the rainbow on the other  end of  the stick.  (Ex. Write “1” on the red popsicle stick)  Your  child will  learn the correct color formation of the rainbow.  (In  case you  don’t know it, Moms and Dads, the order is: Red,  orange,  yellow,  green, blue,  purple.)  You can buy 100 Multi-Colored Wooden  Craft Sticks and use the extra for arts and crafts projects.  (The possibilities with colorful popsicle sticks are endless!)

 

 6. Reading Rainbow

 Your child is going to read, read, read!  Every  time they read a book, they will  place a color  of the rainbow (popsicle  stick from #5) in the  rainbow pocket. They will know the order of  the colors of  the rainbow by looking at the  number on  the popsicle stick.  This not only  teaches  them the correct color order of a  rainbow,  it teaches them about ordinal  numbers.  (Ex. Orange is the second color of  the  rainbow.)  Once your child has read six  books, which is the goal of the week), he  or  she will have created a Reading Rainbow!  (I found the rainbow cutouts at The Dollar Tree.  To make the pocket, I simply cut the rainbow off of one cutout, leaving just the cloud.  Then I glued the bottom and sides of the top cloud to the bottom cloud.)

 

 7. Goals

 Ask your child what they want to be when they grow up.  To reach  that goal, let your child know that they must try their best and as  long as they do, they will be able to reach that goal.  Again, feel  free to get creative with this section and don’t forget to let your  child help out.  In this particular student’s case, she wants to be a  doctor and she loves flowers, so we personalized her goal with a  flower and Doc McStuffins stickers.  We also included positive  messages, like “Believe” and “You Can Do It!”

 

 8. Rewards Chart

Children love rewards!  Whether they are stickers, candy,  or a small toy, be sure to set up a rewards system for your  child.  After your child completes their homework every  day, draw a star in one of the boxes.  If your child loves  stickers, they can place a small sticker in the box as an  alternative.  Your child will enjoy seeing their stars or  stickers accumulate and once your child fills up their  rewards chart, reward them with a special prize.  I found  the small rewards charts at The Dollar Tree, as well as the  fish tank cutout for the pocket.  Cute, huh?

 9. Buzzer

 These are so awesome and fun!  These are buzzers that  your child can record something on.  I cannot stress how  much children love to be silly, so either you or your child  can record a silly sound.  (My daughter recorded herself  saying, “Scoobadydoodabunzies!”  I know.  Silly.  But it  made doing her homework fun for her.)  When your child  knows the correct answer while doing their homework,  they hit the buzzer and hear the sound they recorded.  It  makes them feel like they are playing a game and they  get a kick out of hearing the sound.  The buzzer can be  re-recorded too if they would like to hear a new sound.  I  bought a multi-colored four pack of the Learning  Resources Recordable Answer Buzzers in case my  daughter wanted a change of color.

 

 10. Pointer

These are great for children who enjoy some movement.  When your child is referring to the Alphabet and Number Reference (#2), they might lose their spot.  Using a pointer will help with this and keep them focused.  I noticed that children also love to use pointers, because it makes them feel like a teacher at school.  I bought a multi-colored three pack of the Learning Resources 24-Inch Hand Pointers in case my daughter wanted a change of color.

11. Counters

When doing their math homework, children find it easier to use counters.  This is especially useful when your child begins to do word problems.  By using counters, your child has a visual.  Counters are also a great learning tool for children who learn hands-on and/or tend to fidget.  There are many different types of counters available, but I chose to use a set of 100 Learning Resources Mathlink Cubes.  I like them, because they come in 10 different types of colors and also because they can connect to one another.  This is fantastic for when your child needs to count by 5’s, 10’s, or 20’s, etc.

 

 


Thank you to Cristina Margolis for this amazing idea! To find more from Cristina on her website, click here!

 





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