According to a 2012 study done at the University of Notre Dame, which I am extremely loosely paraphrasing, students who studied new materials before bedtime had better retention and recall of this knowledge than those that studied earlier in the day.
A similar bit of knowledge came home on one of our children’s classroom newsletters and lead me to think that it’s maybe a positive thing that my kiddos end up doing much of their homework right before bedtime – because I’m not always crazy about our routine!
Most days, directly following school there are sports practices and lessons, and even if they don’t directly involve each child they are likely still riding along to drop off and pick up siblings. Nights we travel to away games mean arriving home pretty late also. Occasionally we study spelling words in the car or free read during a drive, but that’s a far from perfect plan as well. It’s easy to misplace important papers and books when we are hauling them all over the place.
Enter, the bedtime box! I decided to embrace this school of thought and felt that it really would work best for this crazy stage that we are currently in. I began with a nice shoebox sized tote with a lock on lid. I cut the words in purple vinyl to give it a clear label for the girls. I’m sure you can use any size or type of box or basket you like. It just makes me feel good to name items in our home especially when we are trying to create a routine around them.
So here’s the rundown of what’s inside our bedtime box:
Flashcards, multiple types
Spelling word lists when they come home each week and 2 homemade (laminated cardstock) dry erase boards plus 2dry erase markers to practice spelling words with
Blank notecards , I often will jot a quick note for their teacher and slip it in their folder at this time also before school bags are repacked
A few crayons, for the girls to use on their weekly flash card tracking sheets
A couple pens and pencils for me to sign assignment sheets with and record reading minutes.
Small pair of scissors and a roll of scotch tape(Each month the girls begin a new page of tracking sheets for teir home reading minutes which I cut apart week by week and tape to a corner of their closet door.)
After anything is completed that might be categorized as homework, we pray together and tuck them in for the night. Then they are allowed to do free reading in their beds until they fall asleep. Sometimes they’ll shut the light off when they get tired and put their books away, other nights I come back 20 minutes later to find their little faces sandwiched in between the book that dropped on them as they zonked out. I just love the habit of reading myself to sleep.
Have fun creating your own personalized bedtime box!