When Emily started Kindergarten, I knew that the age of homework had begun. She’d had some homework over the years from her Preschool daycare, but the majority of that work was project-based, came home very irregularly, and usually involved gluing a bunch of yarn and buttons on some posterboard to design a flag, a family tree, or a self-portrait.
As a Kindergarten Teacher I had sent daily worksheets home for my students to practice the skills that were taught in the class each week. So I naively assumed that Emily would be bringing home something similar, and that all she’d ever need to complete her homework was a pencil and maybe some crayons.
Boy was I wrong!
Emily’s teacher sent home a couple of worksheets – but I could tell right away that the assignments that year would be more involved than putting pencil to paper. Her very first task was to look through magazines to find pictures of anything that started with the letter “F” and glue them onto the paper that was sent home. I was totally impressed. I thought it was such a fun way to do homework, and perfectly age-appropriate. Emily lived for those types of tasks! I had never been able to give assignments like that because the students I taught didn’t always have access to scissors, glue, or magazines that were child-friendly enough to submit (“B” is for bikini-clad woman lying on car… not exactly something I could hang up in the classroom).
That first assignment had me running around the house looking in the writing desk, the computer desk, the bathroom magazine holder, the kitchen table drawer, our nightstands… basically I was looking all over the house to gather together all the supplies that Emily needed to complete her homework.
And I realized that I was not going to do that for the rest of her academic career! There had to be a better way to enable her to complete her homework independently that didn’t require a daily mad-dash around the house for materials.
Enter the Homework Basket!
I found this caddy in Target’s Dollar Spot (although I think I paid $2.50 for it) and knew that it would be perfect!
Here’s what I put inside (some of these items were added over time as needed):
- child-friendly magazines & junk mail with pictures on it (Toys R Us, Target ads, etc.)
- glue sticks
- construction paper
- crayon box (full of crayons, of course)
It worked like a charm! Since Emily did her homework downstairs on the dining room table I decided that the best place to put her homework basket was on top of the dryer, which sits in the closet right off the dining room. It was perfect. Whenever it was time for Emily to start her work she was able to open the closet, grab her basket, and get right to work. She had been an independent child since birth and she loved knowing what to do all by herself. And since I was juggling a 3-month old colicky Julieboo at the time, it proved to be wonderful for me too!