Thursday, February 28, 2008

Homework Helpers

Honor usually has a nap after school every day. She will be up until 8:30pm, so she needs the sleep still. Brian has varying times that he arrives home from school - depending on his after-school activities. Often, the first thing he does when he gets in the door - after putting his stuff down and hugging me - is to go look for his sister. If she is sound asleep, he will kiss her and let her be. If she is waking up a little, he will try to hurry the process along. I like that they miss each other during school - never mind that they often see each other at lunch recess!

Brian does his homework (usually only 20 minutes of work, plus reading a book with a 'reading log' short activity). He can get done in about 40 minutes... if he can refrain from playing. It is tough. Sometimes though, homework is what Honor wants to do, with her brother, as 'play'.

Brian's class was given an hieroglyphic alphabet project. They had to write their names in heiroglyphs and make it into a cartouche to be added to a class poster. Brian thought this would be so much fun that he actually called Honor in to do this with him. He did his work, and showed Honor how to write the letters of her name too.

The last two weeks I have also recruited Brian to help Honor with her homework project. Once a week, she has a mystery bag to fill. She must choose an object, then think of 3 questions to ask her classmates - clues, so they might guess the object. Once I explained the concept to Brian, I set them off to work on it. Honor picked the object, and with a bit of help from her brother (only a bit, she's actually good with this) came up with the questions, and Brian wrote them down for her. They both signed their names on the paper.

We are also in the habit of quizzing Brian on his spelling words at dinner. I have told him that if he gets all his words correct - PLUS all the challenge words (only earned if he gets 100% on his regular words pre-test) - then I will let him choose dinner (ie. probably McDonalds!) one night. I am not above a little bribery. Honor likes to spell too, and is branching out beyond the handful of words that she was previously comfortable with. She is trying very hard to sound things out now and is getting more accurate. It makes for a fun activity at the table. One thing that I haven't figured out how to do yet is give Honor a goal, like Brian's dinner-deal. She doesn't have spelling tests! She hasn't actually asked yet, but if she does, I guess I will have to come up with something.

I hope the kids continue to work together like this. I realize that there might be some natural sibling tensions as they get older, but I like it when they cooperate.

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