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Five Points To Consider About The First Grade Homework Contract


If you conduct a survey among school age children, chances are most of them will list homework at or near the top of their “What I don’t like about school” list. Children hate it but teachers apparently love it. Parents usually find themselves caught somewhere in the middle.

We have seen many changes in the focus and direction of public education in the twenty years. From the implementation of the high-stakes testing of No Child Left Behind to the complete overhauling of the mathematics and language arts curriculums under Common Core, education in general has been in a state of flux and turmoil for multiple years now.

One practice that has been widely assimilated into most school districts is the use of homework contracts, usually starting in the early elementary grades. This is usually predicated on the idea that first graders who develop good homework habits will carry those habits forward in the coming years. Some of the points worth considering in regard to the use of these first grade homework contracts are:

  1. The purpose of homework. Teachers utilize homework to reinforce classroom learning and to help develop good study habits as children progress through school. This reinforcement and cultivation of study habits is rarely a successful undertaking without active parental involvement. As grown-ups, one thing we all understand is what a contract means.

  2. The importance of reading. Studies will support the assertion that students who lag behind in achievement do so because of deficient reading skills. Students who read to their parents on a daily basis, or whose parents read with them, are statistically more likely to complete high school. A homework contract reinforces the need for this activity at home.

  3. Instilling the importance of completing assigned tasks. A first grade child who does not complete an assignment within the given time frame may receive a low grade. An adult employee who does not complete an assignment may receive a termination notice. Learning early that completing tasks is important can improve quality of life later.

  4. Practice makes perfect. Any musician, athlete, or artist can attest to the validity of this statement. It is also applicable to the process of learning, regardless of the subject. Learning is an active process in which the person doing the learning must actively participate. Homework reinforcement encourages active participation in the learning process.

  5. Study habits must be cultivated. A child will not succeed in high school or college if he/she doesn’t know how to study effectively. These skills must be cultivated over time. A homework contract in the first grade supplies the foundation on which these skills grow.
 

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