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Written by Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

Featured in KIDBOX’s The Scribble Newspaper

All too often, homework turns peaceful evenings into fighting matches between parents and kids. What can be done to stop the arguments? Here are a few ideas from our very own Peggy Kaye, featured in KIDBOX’s The Scribble newspaper, to limit any homework woes.

Homework basics:

Set daily times for homework and vary that as little as possible. Establish one location to do homework every day. Build a homework routine!

How long should homework take?

The National Education Association recommends 10 to 20 minutes of homework a day for first graders, with a 10-minute increase each school year — meaning sixth graders might have an hour of homework per day. If your child has a great deal more (or less) homework, consider talking to the teacher or principal.

Should you help?

It’s fine to help your child with work, but if you do so frequently (or if one topic seems especially challenging to your child), it’s best to let the teacher know.

Below are some grade specific tips to help your children with their schoolwork:

First and Second Grade Tips

  • Make a 100 chart (10×10 squares), and after doing homework each day, have your child check off one square. For every 10 homework days, have a small CELEBRATION — a special treat for accomplishing so much.  A celebration can be as simple as an acknowledgment for their work. On the 50th day and the 100th day, do something very special to celebrate this special milestone!
  • Make a sign to put on the table or desk where your child works. The sign announces that it is homework time.
  • Create a decorated one-of-a-kind HOMEWORK BOX. Fill it with everything your child needs for homework: pencils, pencil sharpener, crayons, scissors, and glue.

Third and Fourth Grade Tips

  • Typically, third and fourth graders have many rote memory tasks, such as memorizing multiplication and division tables. Instead of drilling through problems relating to memorization, try to make homework more fun! Use a checkerboard and tape math problems on the black squares. Play checkers as usual, EXCEPT you and your child have to solve each math fact before placing the checker on that square!
  • For spelling and math tests use the LITTLE BIT trick. Have your child study a little bit, about seven minutes, but study two different times a day.
  • Have them start their homework early each day so that they have free time when it’s done.  Encourage them to do the hardest assignment first to get it out of the way!
  • Have your child grade their own homework! Is the work neat? Completely done? Carefully checked? Then they can give themselves an A+.

Fifth and Sixth Grade Tips

  • Before the school year begins, establish rules about what can and cannot happen before homework. Try ideas like doing homework before screen time, playing games, or building models. Reading, eating, or a chat while doing homework are fine, but all else can wait until homework is done and checked.  This will help children stay focused and present during homework time!
  • Have your child begin the year by picking out a classmate as their STUDY BUDDY. A study buddy can send them pictures of homework they might forget to bring home or remind them of pages they have to read.
  • Get a desk-sized calendar and turn it into a work schedule. This is not an assignment book. This is where your child says exactly what they will do each day to finish projects due in a week or two weeks. A schedule helps them avoid the I-HAVE-TOO-MUCH-TO-DO! blues.

KIDBOX makes it easy, fun, and affordable to shop for children’s clothes by delivering name brand looks that match your child’s style straight to your door.  Get $10 off your first full KIDBOX with code HOMERSTYLE.

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As part of our mission to provide all children with the best educational start possible, HOMER has teamed up with the educators at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to keep young patients learning while they undergo treatment.

Through donated HOMER subscriptions, the teachers at CHOP are able to enlight and enrich days in the children’s wing with lessons, stories, and songs that foster creativity, critical thinking, empathy, and phonemic awareness.  

Educators at CHOP find the Personalized Pathways on HOMER particularly valuable, as they allow children to learn at the right level and pace, engage with content surrounding their passions, and add digital fun into their time in the hospital.

One CHOP patient arrived for a checkup post-treatment and, upon return, asked for HOMER by name. Another went from limited knowledge of base letters and sound associations to being able to recognize 20 out of the 26 letters in the alphabet.

At HOMER, we’re overjoyed to be working with the CHOP learning team to help grow young minds and brighten difficult days for the families that visit the hospital.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is the nation’s first hospital devoted exclusively to the care of children. Built on a foundation of delivering safe, high-quality, family-centered care, the Hospital has fostered medical discoveries and innovations that have improved pediatric healthcare and saved countless children’s lives. To learn more about CHOP, please visit https://www.chop.edu/.

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It’s that time of year again – when kids trade in swimsuits for backpacks, and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils fill the air. New school years comes with new beginnings…and new emotions, often with a mix of anxiousness, excitement, and anticipation around every detail – even the first day outfit!

Your child’s unique personality is reflected in their style, and it’s important for children to take ownership of what they wear, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them out of the house in shorts on a chilly day.

Here’s how you can navigate the wardrobe woes to foster self expression while also being school and weather appropriate:

Let Them Choose

Little ones can feel less in control when everything is decided for them. Instead of giving your 3- or 4-year-old free reign of the closet, pre-select two appropriate outfits. Then, let your child choose between them. And if your budding fashion designer mixes styles from the outfits, so be it. A mismatched look isn’t the end of the world!

Then Choose Your Battles

What if your child wants to wear a dress…Every. Single. Day? If you’re concerned about cooler weather, warm tights and layered cardigans will do the trick. And if you’re worried about comfort, choose soft fabrics and breathable knits.

And Always Accessorize

Let personalities shine through the details. For kids who love jewelry, try beaded bracelets or an engraved necklace. Hairstyles, headbands, and even a streak of vibrant hair color are easy ways for kids to personalize their look. And unexpected touches, like bold patterned socks, can really make them smile 😄

KIDBOX makes it easy, fun, and affordable to shop for children’s clothes. Every season you’ll get a box of clothes from brands like Puma, Jessica Simpson, 7 For All Mankind, Splendid, Vintage Havana and more, specifically picked for your child’s style and delivered to your door.

The best part? As a HOMER member, you’ll get 15% off your first full* KIDBOX – visit KIDBOX.com today and enter the promo code “HOMER” at checkout. For every full box you keep, you’ll get to donate an item of clothing to a child in need.

*You must keep all items in your KIDBOX order to receive the 15% discount.

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Summer is here, but that doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! Our HOMER experts recommend reading every day to keep children’s interests growing and minds active while school is out.

That’s why the HOMER team curated a Summer Reading Challenge, full of fun ways to keep your child engaged all summer long.

Starting June 27th, for each week this summer, your child will have the chance to participate in our Summer Reading Challenge! Once your child has completed the challenge in HOMER by August 12th, you will receive a certificate to congratulate them. Follow the instructions below and download the reading list here.

  1. Choose a story from the Summer Reading Challenge menu in HOMER.
  2. Print and cut out the sun we provided.
  3. Write the story’s title in the sun, then decorate!
  4. Punch a hole in the sun and use string to hang it up in your child’s room.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for every story they read!
  6. We’d love to see your child’s decorated sun and hear about their favorite stories. Please share with the HOMER community by tagging #HOMERReadingChallenge and we’ll select one lucky family to receive a special story prize pack.

Be sure to share your fun in the sun learning moments with us!

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As you embark on your springtime activities, you may find yourself in the car once or twice. One of our amazing HOMER moms, Crissy Goldman, from Ventura, California, shares a springtime game that would be perfect to play en route to outdoor play places and anywhere in-between. The great news about this game is that you can refer to topics your child learns about in HOMER’s Discover the World section.   

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