Home Learning Ideas

Year 2

Reading at home

Make reading fun

Reading at home needs to be fun and easy – something you both look forward to, a time for laughter and talk.
  • find a comfortable, quiet place away from the TV for the 2 of you to cosy up and read for 10-15 minutes
  • if you or your child start to feel stressed, take a break and read the rest of the story aloud yourself – keep it fun
  • make some puppets – old socks, cardboard tubes, cut-outs on sticks – that you and your child can use to act out the story you have read. Or dress up and make it into a play
  • play card games (you can make the cards yourself)
  • read songs, waiata, poems and rhymes - sing them together, too.
Here's a tip - when they are reading, your child will still be coming across words they don’t know. When this happens, you could remind them to think about what they already know to do when they get stuck. If that doesn’t help you might ask "What word would make sense that starts like that?" or "What do you know about that word that might help?" If they still can’t work it out – tell them and praise their efforts.

Take your child to the library

  • help them choose books to share
  • find other books by the same author or on the same topic (or look for more information on the web – you might have to be the reader for this one).
Here's a tip - help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

Talk about reading

  • Talk about the story and the pictures, other stories you have read, and experiences you have both had that are like those in the story
  • Sometimes you can be the listener, sometimes the reader and sometimes you can take turns. They might like to read to the cat, the dog, their teddy or a big brother
  • All children like to be read to, so don’t stop reading to them – no matter how old they are
  • Encourage your child to read all sorts of things – the TV guide in the newspaper, street signs, food labels. Simple recipes are great – you get to eat what you’ve read about, too.
Here's a tip - talk with your child all the time – and give them time to talk with you. You can use your first language.

Writing at home

Make writing fun

  • encourage your child to write – on paper or on the computer. It is OK for you to help and share the writing. Give lots of praise
  • enjoy the message and don’t make your child anxious about spelling or neatness
  • make a photo book and get your child to write captions
  • scrapbooks are fun, too. Old magazine or newspaper pictures about a favourite subject, dogs, your family, motorbikes or the latest toy craze, pasted on to blank pages – with room for captions or stories, too
  • play with words. Finding and discussing interesting new words can help increase the words your child uses when they write. Look up words in the dictionary or on the Internet or talk to family and whänau to find out more about the meaning and the whakapapa (origins) of the words.
Here's a tip - talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together. Use the language that works best for you and your child.

Give them reasons to write

Help your child to:
  • write lists – ‘Things I need from the shop’, ‘Games to play when I am bored’, ‘Things I want to do in the holidays’. The last one can be cut up and go into a box or bag for a lucky dip when the holidays finally arrive
  • write out recipes or instructions for other people to follow (especially fun if the instructions are for an adult)
  • keep a diary, especially if you are doing something different and exciting. Your child can draw the pictures or stick in photos. Their diary could be a webpage on the computer
  • write letters, cards, notes and emails to friends and family and the Tooth Fairy – you might write replies sometimes, too
  • cut out letters from old magazines and newspapers to make messages write secret messages for others to find in their lunch box or under their pillow.
Here's a tip - display their work. Put it on the fridge. Be proud of it. Share it with others.

Talk about their writing

  • Make up a different ending for a favourite story together and get them to write it down
  • Ask them to write about pictures they draw. Get them to tell you the story
  • Keep writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, any time.
Here's a tip - don’t worry if your child’s letters are sometimes backwards or words are misspelt at this age. The important thing is that they have fun writing at home and are making an effort.

Mathematics at home

Talk together and have fun with numbers and patterns

Help your child to:
  • find and connect numbers around your home and neighbourhood; eg find 7, 17 and 27 on letterboxes
  • count forwards and backwards starting with different numbers (eg 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, then back again)
  • make patterns when counting forwards and backwards (eg "5, 10, 15, 20 then 20, 15, 10, 5 and 30, 40, 50, 60 or 12, 14, 16, 18, …")
  • do addition and subtraction problems by counting forwards or backwards in their heads (eg 8 + 4, 16 – 3)
  • count the number of poi in a kapa haka performance learn their ‘ten and...’ facts (eg 10 + 4, 10 + 7) double and halve numbers to 20 (eg 7 + 7 is 14, half of 14 is 7).
Here's a tip - being positive about mathematics is really important for your child’s learning – even if you didn’t enjoy it or do well at it yourself at school.

Use easy, everyday activities

Involve your child in:
  • sorting (washing, odd socks, toys, cans) while tidying up
  • telling you what their favourite things are – food, sport, colour reading - notice and talk about numbers.
  • ask questions about the pictures like “how many birds are there?”
  • a shape and number search together wherever you are, like numbers of shoes, shapes of doors and windows.
Here's a tip - mathematics is an important part of everyday life and there are lots of ways you can make it fun for your child.

For wet afternoons/school holidays/weekends

Get together with your child and:
  • use mathematics words during play (treasure hunts, obstacle courses, building huts) - "under', "over", 'between", 'around", "behind", "up", "down', "heavy", "light', 'round", "your turn next","before", "after", "left" and "right", "square", "triangle" – you can use your first language
  • play with big cardboard boxes using words like "inside", "outside"
  • play games and do puzzles; eg jigsaws, "I spy something that is longer, bigger, smaller than..."
  • do water play using different shaped containers and measuring cups
  • bake – talk to your child about the recipe/ingredients and how many pieces you need to feed everyone
  • dance to music and sing/clap to favourite songs make and play stick games with tī rākau or newspaper rolls play with a pack of cards - make up addition and subtraction problems using numbers to 20 look at a calendar – "how many days/weeks until an event?", "how many days in the month?", "how many weekends?".
  • Encourage your child to look for patterns.
Here's a tip - the way your child is learning to solve mathematics problems may be different from when you were at school. Get them to show you how they do it and support them in their learning.

Year 3

Reading at home

Make reading fun

  • Have fun singing along to karaoke songs or playing board games together
  • Read to your child every day. You can use your first language
  • Have a pile of reading materials available – library books (non-fiction and fiction), kids’ cookery books, simple timetables, newspapers and magazines, catalogues and any other reading that supports your child’s current interest
  • Encourage your child to retell favourite stories or parts of stories in their own words. Play card games (you can make the cards yourself) and board games together.
Here are some tips -
When they are reading, your child will be working at solving unfamiliar words by themself. If they need help you could ask them to work their way across the word looking for things they know that might help. At this level, reading involves bringing everything they know together to solve problems and build understanding. If they can’t work it out – tell them and carry on with reading.
If you or your child starts to feel stressed by what they’re reading, take a break and read the rest of the story aloud yourself – keep it fun.

Make it real

  • Reading makes more sense if your child can relate it to their own life. Help them to make connections between what they are reading and their own lives and experiences. For example, "that’s a funny story about a grandad – what does your grandad do that makes you laugh?", "We saw a big mountain in that book, what is our mountain called, and where did the name come from?"
  • Look for opportunities for your child to read wherever you are – signs, advertising billboards, junk mail, recipes
  • Show your child that reading is fun and important to you by letting them see you reading magazines, books, newspapers.

Find out together

  • Visit the library often and help your child to choose books about topics that interest them
  • Talk with older people or kaumātua in your family about interesting stories and people from your child’s past that you could find out more about together
  • Ask your child questions (and support them to find the answers) to widen their reading experiences. For example, "What’s the quickest biscuit recipe?", "What time is the next bus to town?"
  • Help your child with any words that they don’t understand – look them up together in the dictionary if you need to.

Writing at home

Writing for fun

  • Talk about interesting words with your child, especially ones that are fun to say, like "hippopotamus" or "ringaringa". Short and simple games could involve finding how many little words can be found using the letters in the word ‘elephant’
  • Work together on the small word games found in the children’s section (or word section) of the newspaper
  • Make up a story or think of a pakiwaitara (legend) or traditional tale and act it out with costumes and music, write down the names of the characters or tïpuna (ancestors)
  • Make up a play with your child. You could help your child to write the play down. Use puppets they design and make themselves to give a performance to the family
Here's a tip - keep writing fun and use any excuse to encourage your child to write about anything, any time.

Writing for a reason

  • Writing for a real purpose can help your child want to write.For example, writing invitations, typing emails or writing and posting small notes
  • Personalising notes by cutting, decorating, sticking or stamping are great skills for coordinating fingers and being creative. Postcards are a good size for a sentence or two and they are cheap to post, too
  • Encourage your child to write what they need to pack for a holiday, dictate your shopping list to them, or get them to write a list of jobs that need doing.
Here's a tip - talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand what your child’s picture or story is about, ask them to explain.

Supporting your child's writing

  • Talk to your child about what you are writing – let them see you making lists, writing emails, filling in forms
  • Keep envelopes, banking slips, forms you don’t need so that your child can do their own ‘grown up’ writing
  • Display your child’s writing where others can admire and read it
  • Play with words. Find and discuss interesting new words – this can help increase the words your child uses when they write – look words up in the dictionary or on the Internet or talk to family and whānau members to learn the whakapapa (origins) of the words.
Here's a tip - be a great role model. Show your child that you write for all sorts of reasons. Let them see you enjoying writing. You can use your first language – this helps your child’s learning, too.

Mathematics at home

Talk together and have fun with numbers and patterns

Help your child to:
  • find and connect numbers around your home and neighbourhood
  • name the number that is 10 more or 10 less than before or after a number up to 100
  • make patterns when counting in groups (skip counting) forwards and backwards, starting with different numbers (eg 13, 23, 33, 43…, …43, 33, 23, 13)
  • try making different types of patterns by drumming, clapping, stamping, dancing or drawing patterns that repeat
  • find out the ages of family or whānau members
  • do addition and subtraction problems in their heads using facts to 20 eg 10 + 4, 15 – 7
  • use groups of 10 that add to 100 eg 50 + 50, 30 + 70.
Here's a tip - being positive about mathematics is really important for your child’s learning – even if you didn’t enjoy it or do well at it yourself at school.

Use easy, everyday activities

Involve your child in:
  • telling the time – o’clock, ½ past, ¼ to
  • learning their 2, 5 and 10 times tables
  • repeating and remembering telephone numbers they use a lot
  • reading and sharing a book. Ask them questions about numbers in the story – use the number of pages as a way to practise number facts, too
  • doing a shape and number search when you are reading a book or looking at art (like carvings and sculpture)
  • helping at the supermarket – ask your child to get specific items (medium-sized tin of red beans, 2 litres of milk, 250g of mince).
Here's a tip - talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together.  Use the language that works best for you and your child.

For wet afternoons/school holidays/weekends

Get together with your child and:
  • play games – board games, card games and do jigsaw puzzles
  • make your own advertising pamphlet – cut out and sort images to go on it, make pretend money to spend
  • grow seeds or sprouts – measure the growth each week
  • fold and cut out paper dolls and other repeating shapes
  • trace over repeating patterns (eg kōwhaiwhai patterns)
  • go on a treasure hunt – make a map with clues and see who can get to the treasure first
  • dance to music and sing/clap to favourite songs – make up a dance sequence each – can you copy each other?
  • both take turns closing your eyes and describing how to get from the front gate to the kitchen, from the kitchen to their bedroom, from home to school
  • do timed activities. You hold the watch and they count how many times they can bounce a ball in a minute
  • play guess and check games (use different shaped jars) – how many beans, buttons, pegs in the container?
Here's a tip - the way your child is learning to solve mathematics problems may be different to when you were at school. Get them to show you how they do it and support them in their learning.

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