In my opinion, this is what nightly homework should consist of for a Grade 1 French Immersion student:
5 minutes of reading in French
10 Minutes of “work” in the Travail à la maison workbook
This is a total of 15 minutes of homework per weekday. No more than 15 minutes a day! I cannot emphasize this point enough! (Saturday and Sunday are optional homework days, if you want to make it a part of your weekend routine that is your child’s choice; I do however, recognize that families (mine included) are really busy on the weekend and family time is really important! 🙂
Reading in French is hard work, especially when you are just beginning to learn a new language. During Home Reading, please follow these tips to support your child complete his/her nightly reading homework:
- Sit beside your child while he/she reads
- Have your child hold the book and turn the pages
- Encourage your child to track (point to) the text as he/she reads
- When your child encounters a new word, model strategies to help him/her decipher the written word
- Encourage your child to take risks when reading (especially when sounding out new words)
- Praise your child for good effort after the 5 minutes (it takes a lot of mental effort to read in a new language)
- Stick to the time limit (if your child wants to continue beyond the 5 minutes it has to be his/her choice to do so)
- If your child is finished the reading selection before the 5 minutes is up, ask your child questions about the text, re-read the text for extra practice, read a song from the French songs vocabulary page on this blog, or read an old reader in his/her reading folder
After your child has completed his/her five minutes of French reading they can now begin the ten minutes of “work” in their workbook. Unlike the home reading this homework is meant to be done mostly independently. You may need to encourage your child to get started by talking about what he/she is going to do in the workbook, but after a decision in made, leave your child alone to work independently. If your child says something like “I don’t know what to do!”, then you can suggest a few ideas (2 or 3) and have your child choose one of your suggestions. The “work” can be a huge range of different activities. Please see Homework Help for a wealth of ideas for what your child can do during these 10 minutes. Your child might need a few minutes to decide on a task, but after he/she begins get in the habit of putting a kitchen timer on. When it dings, your child can stop. It does not matter what is accomplished in the 10 minutes of “work” in the workbook, when the time is up, homework time is over! (If your child wants another few minutes to finish a sentence or colour in a picture, that is ok but it has to be his/her choice.) One last thing… VARIETY is really important. Some students insist on doing the same thing every night for their homework. Encourage your child to “mix-it-up”!! Make it fun! For example maybe you can designate Monday for math, Tuesdays for writing, Wednesdays for cutting and glueing, Thursdays for drawing and Fridays for Free Pick! This can also help make the decision process a little easier.
In grade one, the main purpose of homework is establishing a consistent routine of sitting down to do a bit of independent work. The purpose of homework is not the product in the workbook (although the extra practice does help), but more having your child engage in the process. I make every effort to look at the homework books daily to see what your child has been working on. I often will show the homework books to the class so others can get new ideas for what they can do, and, so students feel like there is an audience for this work besides the teacher. I will also post examples of homework on this blog so students can see their work “online”.