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Homework Helpers        < Previous        Next >


Make a 'Fridgesite'


Q. I don't have much time. What's one simple thing I can do at home to help my child focus on learning?


For most families, the refrigerator is "command central" for all kinds of family activities, from schedules to spirit-lifting. It's the perfect spot for a frequent reminder of scheduled tests, big homework assignments that are coming due, and special school events and activities that the whole family should know about.


It can also be a place to provide a daily dose of at-home learning that will support your child's regular schoolwork, or add to it without your child really being aware that he or she is learning.


Homework can seem like drudgery. You need to support your child's teachers and schoolwork, but you have a lot more freedom and flexibility to provide your own style of "homework" for your child to learn from. Best of all, this kind of "homework" has no grades - no tests -- no pressure - so it's pure learning enjoyment for you all.


Here's what you do: instead of a website on a computer, create a "fridgesite" on your refrigerator. All it takes is some kind of a frame, such as a piece of colorful construction paper or even a nice, mortised mat, perhaps 8-inch by 10-inch. Your child might want to decorate this background frame. You probably already have a set of kitchen magnets, or buy new ones for this purpose.


Besides posting the "big days" such as tests and project due dates for school so that everyone in the family is aware of it, "post" a new piece of "news" or a conversation piece or an item of curiosity or a learning tool on your "fridgesite" each day. Examples:


         a new vocabulary word written on an index card complete with its definition and the pronunciation copied out of the dictionary.


         an article or paragraph clipped out of a newspaper or magazine.


         a funny greeting card.


         a postcard from a friend.


         a brain teaser.


         a quote from a famous person.


         an email joke.


         the child's test paper, report card, book report or artwork.


It doesn't matter what you choose, because your family will come to enjoy finding out what's new every day. The fridgesite may quickly turn into a revolving responsibility for everyone to share.


Meanwhile, they'll be practicing their reading skills, learning to analyze, building their memories and vocabularies, and having fun learning - out of school - simply by your faithfulness in putting up something new each day to capture their interest.


Each day, you might take yesterday's posting down and tape it into a spiral notebook for future reference. Then replace it with something new and fabulous for that day's "posting."


One thing about fridgesites: they make learning COOL!

Homework: One of the best vocabulary-builders for middle-schoolers and older is A.Word.A.Day, a free daily email from It would be a good source of content for your "fridgesite."


By Susan Darst Williams Homework 03 2008


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