New Homework Policy

The inspiration I had for my blog topic actually came from a post that I saw on Facebook a couple months ago. It was a picture that I saw that had been sent home with a student in elementary school. This is the letter:

I found this letter extremely interesting and I really liked the idea of it. I do however understand that lots of parents work away and some children go to different homes every night, so this is not always a possibility. However, I do believe that parents or guardians can have a major impact on how their child does in school, and the habits that they practice at home are extremely important to a child’s success. The difference between home lives from this year’s practicum class and last year’s is quite drastic. I knew that several students in my class didn’t come from homes with many rules. For example, lots of them were able to stay up until late hours of night playing video games, which greatly affected how they behaved and performed at school the next day. From my own personal observations, I have found that getting a good nights sleep and a good meal is essential to a child’s performance and engagement inside the classroom.

I’m not saying that all children must do these things in order to do well in school because that is simply not the case. However, I think that what they do outside the classroom really affects how several children do in school, and also in their own physical and mental health.

In the letter, the teacher talks about:

Eating dinner as a family
Reading together
Playing outside
Getting your child into bed early.

I am going to research these 4 things to see if they really do have an affect on student success:

Growing up, I ate dinner with my family almost every night. This was a way for us to talk about our days, and spend time together. I never realized how much this affected me in the long run, but it really did. Even as an adult, eating meals with other people is something that I cherish, and truly believe can help foster social skills and improve mental health.
From a Science Daily Article focusing on young children in Quebec, “When the family meal environment quality was better at age 6…these children seemed to have more social skills, and they were less likely to self-report being physically aggressive, oppositional or delinquent at age 10.”
“The presence of parents during mealtimes likely provides young children with firsthand social interaction, discussions of social issues and day-to-day concerns and vicarious learning of prosocial interactions in a familiar and emotionally secure setting. Experiencing positive forms of communication may likely help the child engage in better communication skills with people outside of the family unit.”

By this point in our degree, we should all know how reading everyday can truly benefit children. However, reading with parents or guardians from a young age can affect many skills that a child uses in school “Benefits of shared reading include facilitating enriched language exposure, fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills. They are also valued as a shared social opportunity between parents and their children to foster positive attitudes toward reading.”

Physical activity is also super important for children, and playing outside every day can promote social skills, increase attention span, reduces stress, and increases vitamin D levels. Although these may not directly correlate with school engagement and performance, it is pretty clear to me that this might impact how they do.

Finally, how does getting your child to bed early affect how they do in school? I looked at an article comparing sleep and daytime functioning in adolescents. “Sleep is a primary aspect of adolescent development. The way adolescents sleep critically influences their ability to think, behave, and feel during daytime hours.”

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