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#1 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 12:07 AM

Can we talk about getting your kids to bed at a decent hour when both parents have a full time job outside of the home and the child attends school and has homework?

 

I keep repeating to myself, "one week left of school....one week left of school...one week left of school..."

 

My DD is just now going to bed and it's 9:44. She's 7 and a half. I know it's terrible. Tonight has been a disaster. DH got tickets at the last minute to go the baseball game so I'm by myself. I told DH that I didn't mind if he went to the game so I can't blame him.

 

DD usually finishes most her HW in afterschool but she didn't do any of it today because she was too busy playing. I don't begrudge her playtime so I told her that she meant she needed to finish her HW before she could go play with the neighborhood girls. I made the mistake of stopping at Panera for dinner. I was tired and couldn't face the idea of cooking since we were by ourselves. I should have known that was a mistake when DD admitted she hadn't finished any of her HW but I already had the idea in my mind and didn't want to cook.

 

We actually didn't home too late and I told DD to start her HW. I think it took an hour before she actually started doing her spelling. We have a new puppy and DD has a hard time not focusing all of her attention on the puppy. Maybe I should have said the dog has to be in the backyard until all of the HW is done? She never got to go outside to play with the neighborhood girls.

 

It probably took about 30 minutes for DD to write 15 spelling words which should take about 5 minutes.

 

Then she had to do her reading comprehension questions. She usually does this assignment in afterschool all by herself. Because I was there she claimed she didn't know how to answer the questions and wanted me to tell her the answers. There were tears. That took about another 30 minutes.

 

Before I knew it, it was 8:30 and DD hadn't even read anything yet. She read and then she was hungry and ate her snack while I read to her and went to bed at 9:45.

 

I realize that this is all of my responsibility. I should have taken more control over the situation.

 

I read all of the time online about kids older than my DD going to bed at 8:30 and I can't even fathom it. How can a reasonable bedtime be achieved when a child has HW in the evenings? Should there be consequences if HW is not finished in afterschool?

 

These late evenings take a toll on both of us. She's tired and cranky and takes it out on me. I get frustrated with her being up too late and take it out on her. It's a really bad cycle that I don't seem to know how to stop.

 

 



#2 school17777

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 12:41 AM

I am a sahm and my kids pretty much never went to bed by 8:30 once they were school aged and in activities. Even if the youngest isn't in stuff, the older one is and I can only be at one place at a time. I commiserate with you.
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#3 SKL

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 01:37 AM

I changed my kids' bedtime from 8:30 to 9:30 when they were in KG.  They don't have to wake up until about 7am, so that would be fine ... but in practice, they hardly ever get to bed by 9:30 either.  When my kids were 7, at least one of them was often up until 10pm doing homework (or necessary review of what they were learning in school), because that's how long it took with her speed of processing.

 

And yes, I have had evenings very much like what you described in your OP.  Stopping at Panera to "save time" which actually makes us lose time.  Feeling bad about that decision later, knowing the kid is losing sleep because of that.

 

I have a few thoughts from experience in the trenches.

 

1) It's OK if that happens once in a while.  Forgive yourself and let it go.

2) Do you really have to do the reading on a late night?  Can you just do some extra reading another day?  How about during breakfast the next morning?

3) Can you read while she's doing something else, like brushing her teeth and putting on her PJs?  How about keeping an audiobook in the car for days when you're cutting it close?

4) Her "needing help" was probably because her prime time for academics was past.  Again, let it go, but if this is a recurring theme, try to get the "thinking" homework done earlier if possible.  Knowing my kids, I would have done the reading comprehension first and the spelling words last.

5) You can do homework at Panera - we did it many times, between activities.  Whatever works.  :)

6) Yes, it's a good idea to set up incentives for getting the homework done efficiently.  When my kids were 7, I would let them watch an "educational video" after homework IF they finished by X:00.  It would usually be Liberty's Kids, Magic Schoolbus, or Carmen Sandiego.  (Or sometimes I chose a video more aligned with what they were studying at school, if they had a test coming up etc.).  I don't knowingly let them have their pet with them on heavy homework nights, as it is distracting.  But yes, that can be an incentive to get it done before bedtime.

 

Tonight my kids didn't have any "activities" and should have been able to easily finish everything before bedtime.  But instead, we all had to pile into the car to take someone to the airport (unexpectedly), got stuck in a traffic jam, and then had to do ~3 hours of homework in between eating and getting ready for bed.  They finished at about 9:25pm and then asked if they could please have some free time (to watch TV).  I shouldn't have, but I let them have 20 minutes, because it sucks to be 10yo and spend your whole evening working / doing what others want.  Then I sent them upstairs to get ready for bed while I finished some laundry.  I come upstairs and my kid is shaving her legs - which takes her some time, as she's not an expert yet.  Sigh.  Actual sleep happened sometime after 10pm.  Oh well.


Edited by SKL, 17 May 2017 - 01:38 AM.

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#4 SKL

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 01:44 AM

Oh, and there were times when I had consequences if work wasn't done in aftercare.  I made exceptions for work that genuinely required parental help.  I am trying to remember what my consequence was, LOL.  I have to admit that I've never been very good at consistent discipline - I tend to forget what I've threatened.  :p


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#5 SKL

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 01:47 AM

Also, at that age, when I was driving my kids to & from school, they used to do their required reading in the car.  And we'd drill spelling and memory work in the car.  Sometimes even math facts.  Fun times!  :p


Edited by SKL, 17 May 2017 - 01:48 AM.

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#6 winterbaby

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 05:57 AM

I don't work but in the afterschool many of my kid's peers use they require them to spend time on homework if the parents request that. I think 7 is too young to have consequences for not doing that on her own if there is nobody prompting her. If the afterschool won't be proactive you could arguably take the attitude that it's not your responsibility when she's not in your care so you won't make her stay up to make up for it.

I just tend to think sleep is non-negotiable. 8:30 is too early unless she gets up uncommonly early but I think ten hours in bed, nine and a half at the outside, is important. Without that you are going to see cumulative knock-on effects in behavior and performance.

I had a lot of trouble with bedtime for slightly different reasons and what helped was having a fairly rigid schedule in mind for the evening. Dinner comes after homework. Have foods in the house to where you don't have to "cook" or waste time running around if you're tired or fed up. If you treat homework as the last thing up until it's almost bedtime and then all of a sudden it's so important it trumps the biological need for sleep, that's not healthy. Evenings where things really don't work for reasons beyond your control, consider letting homework slide at this age.
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#7 AggieMama

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 08:20 AM

I have the same problem with my kinder and 1st grader. On Monday my kinder fell asleep as soon as we got home for 2 hours. This was a good because we were up late that night because family was in town, but this is a normal thing. Kinder falls asleep a few times a week on the way home from school. I try to get them to bed by 8 because we get up at 5:45 or earlier. I have to be at work by 7. 1st grader usually has an hour or more of homework. She does get some done at after school, but it's not enough to get her to pass her spelling tests. Spelling is her weak area. At this point in the year I pretty much see homework as useless and we're just trying to get through the last 112 days of school.
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#8 friscomom

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:27 AM

My kindergartner and 5th grader both go to bed at 8.30..at the latest by 9. They get up at 6.30 and I have always noticed that they are always bleary eyed and lethargic if they have gone to bed at a later time the previous night. I realize that it might not work for everybody, but it works for us. DH and I both work full time. For the boys, homework is not very substantial, though. They get the sheets on Friday and have until the next Friday to submit it. We almost always finish the homework over the weekend and then do afterschooling activities the rest of the time. Does your daughter have homework that needs to be submitted everyday? Could she catch up on the weekends? If there are penalties associated with not turning in homework, then requiring her to finish her homework before engaging in other activities would be a good strategy. That said, it happens to all of us, working or not! So don't beat yourself up over it.


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#9 vonfirmath

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:40 AM

Can we talk about getting your kids to bed at a decent hour when both parents have a full time job outside of the home and the child attends school and has homework?

 

I keep repeating to myself, "one week left of school....one week left of school...one week left of school..."

 

My DD is just now going to bed and it's 9:44. She's 7 and a half. I know it's terrible. Tonight has been a disaster. DH got tickets at the last minute to go the baseball game so I'm by myself. I told DH that I didn't mind if he went to the game so I can't blame him.

 

DD usually finishes most her HW in afterschool but she didn't do any of it today because she was too busy playing. I don't begrudge her playtime so I told her that she meant she needed to finish her HW before she could go play with the neighborhood girls. I made the mistake of stopping at Panera for dinner. I was tired and couldn't face the idea of cooking since we were by ourselves. I should have known that was a mistake when DD admitted she hadn't finished any of her HW but I already had the idea in my mind and didn't want to cook.

 

We actually didn't home too late and I told DD to start her HW. I think it took an hour before she actually started doing her spelling. We have a new puppy and DD has a hard time not focusing all of her attention on the puppy. Maybe I should have said the dog has to be in the backyard until all of the HW is done? She never got to go outside to play with the neighborhood girls.

 

It probably took about 30 minutes for DD to write 15 spelling words which should take about 5 minutes.

 

Then she had to do her reading comprehension questions. She usually does this assignment in afterschool all by herself. Because I was there she claimed she didn't know how to answer the questions and wanted me to tell her the answers. There were tears. That took about another 30 minutes.

 

Before I knew it, it was 8:30 and DD hadn't even read anything yet. She read and then she was hungry and ate her snack while I read to her and went to bed at 9:45.

 

I realize that this is all of my responsibility. I should have taken more control over the situation.

 

I read all of the time online about kids older than my DD going to bed at 8:30 and I can't even fathom it. How can a reasonable bedtime be achieved when a child has HW in the evenings? Should there be consequences if HW is not finished in afterschool?

 

These late evenings take a toll on both of us. She's tired and cranky and takes it out on me. I get frustrated with her being up too late and take it out on her. It's a really bad cycle that I don't seem to know how to stop.

 

Does afterschool not have a time set aside for Homework?  My son is 9 years old, in 4th grade, and he has a time in after school that can ONLY be used for homework or reading.  Sometimes he reads instead of working on other homework... We talk about that.  Yes, if I picked my kid up from afterschool and homework was not completed, we would not go out to eat (If we needed to pick up food, that is what we would have done. Grabbed food to take home and then worked on homework). And it would be expected that homework would be started while I was setting the table to eat. Homework would be set aside to eat, then gone back to. IF there is time nad one task is completed, then a 10-minute break to do something else is allowed. THen it is homework time again.  So far 9p is our "Absolute latest" to stay up and work on homework.  (his normal bedtime is 8-8:30p) My son is a morning person, so I'll wake him up early to finish homework but he needs to get to bed at a reasonable time.We normally have an activity on Wednesday night, but I have held him out of that/modified the activity when he had a lot of homework to complete because there usually isn't any time at all once we got home.

 

DS needs redirection sometimes. I see him reading a pleasure book/playing/fidding with something. I ask "Is your homework done?" and if the answer is No. Tell him to get back at it.  On his own, he will not just go do homework.  I have also learned, if he tells me homework is done, I need to see it. SOmetimes then he "Remembers" that he forgot something (And no he is not good at writing it down. Something we are still working on)

 

Edited to add our schedule: The bus comes just after 7:00am. Kiddos get up 6:00am to be ready on time (We like our slow wake ups...)

 


Edited by vonfirmath, 17 May 2017 - 04:02 PM.

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#10 underthebridge

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 12:04 PM

I have been thinking about your post all morning. I think there are so many parents who are in your shoes. 

 

If your DD gets her homework done in after school, does she get to bed at a reasonable time? If so, then you just have to find a solution for the swiss cheese days when DH is gone/homework isn't done at after school/homework takes longer than normal, etc.

 

I think there are two takeaways - first, nobody can have it all. If your DD doesn't do her homework at after school, she won't be able to play with the neighborhood girls. I would state as a fact of life. Second, most seven year olds need more scaffolding to do homework, particularly after a long day.

 

What is your ideal schedule? How much sleep would be ideal for your DD? The way I judge whether my kids are getting enough sleep is if they wake up on their own on school days. If I have to rouse them, they are not getting enough sleep. Also, what is your view of the importance of homework? Is it ok to skip or do homework at breakfast? For a seven year old, some would opt for sleep over homework. Personally, finishing homework is a high priority for us. Our school assigns a homework packet to be done over the week, so we can load some days more than others. 

 

Most seven year olds are too young to take the responsibility of doing their homework independently at home after a tiring day. I am guessing from your post that you came home around 6:30? Then it took 3 hours to complete homework and reading/snack. On these days, you have to sit DD down and monitor her so that she does things in a timely fashion. I am sure you have a million other things to do after a full work day, but knocking the homework out of the way first is priority one (if your viewpoint is that homework is essential). It sounds as though she could have finished her homework in 30-40 minutes. So that would put you at 7/7:15. If your goal is an 8:30 bedtime, she will have time to read and be read to. I am not sure why you offered to let her play with the neighborhood girls - unless you could bend time and space, it seems impossible!

 

I don't work full time, but on most days we come home from after school activities around 5:30/6pm. The 5 yo's bedtime is 7:30 and the 8 yo's bedtime is 8:15/830. This means lights out and all reading is finished. Homework is done while I get dinner ready and my 8 yo can now do it independently. I used to scaffold her by having her sit next to me while I cooked. Now I scaffold by putting her in her bedroom WITHOUT DS5 underfoot, at a desk with proper lighting, a clear workspace, and all the materials needed. After that, we eat dinner and have a quick bath (and I mean quick!). Then, piano practice for DD8 while I get the 5 yo ready for bed. By this time it is 715 pm. I read to DS5 for 15 minutes and he reads a book to me. During this time, DD8 brushes her teeth and reads to herself or finishes any homework or work assigned by me. At 730, I read to DD8 for 20-30 minutes and then she turns on her bedside lamp and she reads to herself. She usually reads for 15-20 minutes. This is our ideal schedule. On the days when things go haywire, we compromise with less time reading by me and by DD8, skipping piano and practicing in the morning instead.

 

As I write this, I realize that scaffolding DD to do her work independently is very important to our schedule and it didn't happen quickly or easily. It took a lot of time sitting next to her for her to be able to prioritize staying on task. 

 

Good luck, OP. It should get a little easier once your DD can work independently on her homework, but you have to help her get there.

 

 


Edited by underthebridge, 17 May 2017 - 12:06 PM.

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#11 mommyoffive

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 03:15 PM

I am not a working mom.

 

 

 

What time does she have to wake up for school? 

I think that matters.  Some parents have that I know have to wake their kids up at 5am to get on the bus.  Others don't .   How much sleep is she getting a night? 

 

 

Is she in aftercare? 

Do they have time for homework there?  That would be helpful.    Or does she have time to play there and could just come home and work on homework instead of playing? 

 

 

On days when you know you are on your own, or just to make it easier how about using the crockpot?  It saves you some time.  When you come home your meal is made.  No running around and you don't have to make food.  I am a lazy cook with the crockpot.  I just do things that are dump and go.  

 

Or easy meals.   No shame in cereal, oatmeal, eggs, noodles, ...........   We have a lot of those meals while dh is gone.  Food is food.   Lots of times my kids are on their own for meals when dh is gone.  They know how to make things that I count as supper.   PB and J, ramen, wrap, egg rolls, sausage, and more.

  

I used to want to go pick up food too.  We have done it a few times and I realize that it doesn't save us time at all.  It costs us more time.  By the time we drive there, wait in line, get our stuff, go home, then start eating.  It took more time then if we just had made something. 

 

 

 

I think by having aftercare doing her homework or making sure you have a plan for supper could get you back to going to bed earlier.  


Edited by mommyoffive, 17 May 2017 - 03:19 PM.

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#12 mommyoffive

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 03:16 PM

Also, at that age, when I was driving my kids to & from school, they used to do their required reading in the car.  And we'd drill spelling and memory work in the car.  Sometimes even math facts.  Fun times!  :p

 

 

Gotta make use of the car time too!  


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#13 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 08:19 PM

Thanks for the responses, everyone. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one!

 

We get home between 5:30 and 5:45 on a normal day.

 

Homework is not important to me. DD's homework is busywork, IMHO. However, if the homework is not completed, she is kept in at recess. Adequate recess time is very important to me. Hence HW has become important to me.

 

We've never done much work in the car. We live about 15 minutes from school so there isn't much time. Also, I use that drive time to talk to DD about her day.

 

DD wakes up at 7 on weekdays.

 

I really hate to withhold playtime with the neighborhood kids. She doesn't get much free playtime. She's at school most of the day. She goes to aftercare but it's structured.

 

I have figured out that a plan for dinner is the key to restful evenings but there are days when I can't manage it. I know that sounds lazy.

 

I think I need to involve my DH more. I think there is a lurking resentment towards him at work here too. I think I also feel genuinely sad for DD that she's got so much pressure in only the 1st grade. I didn't have homework at that age and we would play every day school until dinner time. Then it was family time with reading and/playing games and bed at a decent time. My parents had time for themselves after we went to bed. It was a simpler life and probably a better one too. I mourn for that.

 

 


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#14 vonfirmath

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:28 PM

Agreed. In 1st grade, my son had very little homework. He had to read every night. Weekly spelling lists to work on. And I think some practice math worksheets. nothing that took much time.


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#15 winterbaby

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:00 PM

Kept in from recess! I'm sorry. That's really wrong. I can see why you want to avoid that.

 

I would never have been able to work in the car as a kid, I'd get motion sickness. If afterschool is structured they should definitely be helping make homework happen.


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#16 Bluegoat

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:03 PM

I'm really not in your position at all, but I might consider making a serious effort to change the school policy on homework for her age.  Because I think you are right, unstructured play is still really important at that age, and I think sleep is necessary for school performance too . 

 

If that won't work, I might see what I could fudge - like, what if you just didn't do reading? 


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#17 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:07 PM

I'm really not in your position at all, but I might consider making a serious effort to change the school policy on homework for her age.  Because I think you are right, unstructured play is still really important at that age, and I think sleep is necessary for school performance too . 

 

If that won't work, I might see what I could fudge - like, what if you just didn't do reading? 

 

I don't know if anything can be done about HW. I've kind of griped about it to other parents and teachers and they look at me like I'm crazy. I honestly think I am one of the few parents who thinks HW in elementary school is bad. 

 

The only HW that I can imagine fudging is the reading requirement. Everything else is turned in and DD would be kept in from recess if it's not turned in. Nightly reading is the only HW that she actually benefits from so I hate to stop that. Plus DD is very honest and when asked by her teacher if she reads every night she would answer truthfully. If we don't read every night then we'd be assigned a reading log. Of course I could lie but DD would be complicit and I don't want to teach her that's it's okay to lie to her teacher. 

 

I think the solution might be doing some things in the morning and completing the week's spelling packet on sunday evenings. Our math work during the summer helps because it makes the math HW very easy for DD to complete quickly. 


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#18 SKL

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:17 PM

Do you have to report on the reading you & she do every single day, or is it weekly reporting?  If it's weekly, then you have some flexibility in how you break it down.  Like doing extra on Saturday.  And yes, if you know the spelling homework in advance, I'd definitely do that on the weekend.

 

Also, can audiobooks count as reading?  Because I realized kinda late that they do count for my kids.  If you aren't sure, ask - you have nothing to lose.  :)  That could give you additional flexibility.

 

Panera is one thing, but there are times when kids have valuable experiences that take up their whole weekday evening.  Trying to keep the weeknight homework as light as possible will allow you to make choices that are better for your daughter.


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#19 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 08:43 PM

Kept in at recess for not completing busywork at home. That's awful. Can you have a meeting with your teacher about this? Not complaining about homework; they are welcome to send what they want, but about being kept in at recess?

 

My oldest is only in K, but our nanny makes sure his reading is done before we get home. He gets weekly homework that usually gets done on the weekend. My kids are in bed before 7:30 p.m. every night, even when we don't get home from sports until after 6:30 p.m. because they wake up really, really early.

 

If the homework is worthwhile and at a useful level for your child, great. If it's busywork (and our weekly homework is definitely busywork), I'd push back about the recess rule. 


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#20 Plae2009

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 12:02 PM

I would talk to the after care program about making sure it gets done before she leaves there. I wouldn't want her to loose play time but she may have an extra incentive to get it done in a timely manner at aftercare since her friends are there. With that much homework I would think other parents would be in this position too. I would also talk to the principle at the school about the homework policy. There is plenty of research out there that shows very little benefit from homework and if you could get a few other parents on board and petition the principle everyone would benefit. Talking to the teacher might help but it is going to be hard for a teacher to assign less homework if the administration is not on board. Our school district just changed their position to not require any homework at all because there is really no research that shows any benefit


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#21 Lecka

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 08:41 AM

I would talk to the teacher.  Either ask if you can excuse homework, or if you can have homework earlier so you can do it over the weekend.  Or something the teacher suggests.  I would go in flexible but expect the teacher to have some suggestion to keep "it's due tomorrow" homework to a minimum (or none!) for this age group. 

 

I have had teachers in lower grades be pretty flexible.  They want kids to have good experiences and this is not one. 


Edited by Lecka, 01 June 2017 - 08:41 AM.

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