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#1 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:16 AM

I had this realization yesterday. School's been out for week and what a nice week it was! DD's happily reading every night. She breezed through the new Mercy Watson book night. She checked out a whole stack of new books about animals and is plowing into them. I've discovered mornings are the sweet spot for writing and she's done her copywork and freewriting without complaint in the morning. Our evenings are blissfully free.

 

I was so irritated last week about the recommendation that she do work with the online phonics program. I think I've figured out why I was so irritated. It was like an intrusion of school into our personal lives during summer. I'm so glad we've decided not to worry about it over the summer.

 

When school is in session, our time in the evening is never our own. We're always jumping through school hoops. It drives me crazy and I really resent it.

 

Why is school so intrusive in family lives? Why do they feel they have some ownership of that time in the evening? It seems like it represents some of cultural phenomenon that shows that they don't trust families. And why do families so willingly cede that time over to school? Do families not trust that they have a right to run their own lives?

 

Sorry for the diatribe but it strikes me as strange.

 


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#2 Kassia

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:21 AM

This is exactly why we ended up homeschooling.  I couldn't take school taking over our personal time and family life.  Especially when it didn't seem to have any value.  My DH and I fought summer homework, but got nowhere even though there is no research showing that it does any good.  My son is admin at the Stop Homework facebook page.  


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#3 SKL

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:40 AM

For kids past a certain age, I think it's because people have been convinced that our kids will be failures in life if they don't slog academically.

 

For younger kids, I'm not sure ... if your child is in public school, you could probably just decline to do homework past a certain time of the day (e.g., after normal working hours / after pickup from aftercare / after 30 minutes have been done).  What are they going to do, kick her out?  (My kids were in a private school, so yeah, they could be kicked out.  :p)

 

I think there comes a time for all of us where we consciously set aside times that are our kids' and our families'.  If we don't, then that just doesn't happen, and that isn't healthy on any level.  Once some sacred "free time" is carved out, it's up to us to guard it.  That means we also don't fill it with our own "enrichment" work etc.

 

At some point I asked around for opinions about what is a reasonable amount of after-school work for my kids, and picked a number, and I tried to stick to it.  Before 5th grade, that mostly meant putting off afterschooling to another day.  But starting in 5th, school homework began to create a significant overflow 2-3 days a week.  I am still working on how to resolve that issue.  Hoping some ideas I have for next year will pan out.


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#4 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 03:37 PM

DD's in private school so in theory she could be kicked out. That doesn't seem to actually happen though unless there is some kind of significant behavioral issues. I'm sure they'd want to keep us as a family. DD's bright and well behaved. We pay full tuition because we are not Catholic.

 

I read about a school in NY that stopped assigning homework. Instead the child was supposed to do a presentation of what his/her family did with its free time. It rubbed me the wrong way. Isn't our time in the evening our time? Why do we owe the school any explanation of how we spent that time? Some parents were pretty upset about it because poorer families did not have access the same kind of activities.

 

There seems to be an attitude that the school has some kind of ownership over the child outside of school hours. And parents concede it. I used to hear about how parents were so whiny and entitled, always telling teachers that their kids couldn't possibly have done...whatever. But what I see is that parents go along with whatever the school says. Back when DD was in K in public school, I thought some of the discipline was a little over the top but the parents of the kids who got in trouble (mine never did) didn't object. i witnessed some things that were very unfair and the parents shrugged.

 

At DD's new school, kids are sometimes held back even though the academic expectations are above grade level. The parents agree to allow it.

 

HW by itself is incredibly unfair to our children (and us parents, too) and we shrug and assume that the school knows best. The testing is unfair. The unrealistic academic expectations are unfair. Why is no uprising from parents?

 

The only way out of this is to homeschool and I watch more and more of the HSing families in our acquaintance signing their kids up for charters and part time school programs. Here in AZ, there is a new voucher program that will give thousands of dollars to families who HS. You can bet there will be strings attached to that money. The voucher program will allow more kids to attend DD's private school too. But the state is going to require more testing from the private schools. The school will start to align more with the public schools so the testing matches. No one at school is concerned about this either.

 

 


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#5 SKL

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 04:32 PM

In out state, they did do away with the extreme testing due to parents and teachers having fits.  (Just in time for us, whew!)  So I do think parents are putting their foot down when things get really ridiculous.  There also seems to be a trend toward less homework - or at least a limit on homework.

 

I guess I don't feel like they totally think they own our kids.  I mean, yes, some things rub me the wrong way, but mostly I feel like the teachers want to have their own lives and they want us to have our own lives.  I did have one teacher tell me that having her own kids was what changed her.   She now realized how many other things families need & want to accomplish outside of school.  So I guess there may be some teachers who haven't reached that realization yet.

 

I know they recommended summer activities for your daughter.  I wonder, though, if they felt like parents want those recommendations.  Probably some do.  You can take it or leave it, I guess.

 

One year my kids had summer homework.  It was a packet and they were supposed to complete their choice of 40 activities iirc.  Some of these were quick things, others not so quick, and some downright annoying.  For example, do xyz with your dad (my kids don't have a dad) etc.  I remember being pretty ticked when I received that packet, because I had my own plans for the summer already.  Later I found out that some parents refused to do any of it, and there was no penalty.  Hmm.  Since then we haven't been given any summer bridge homework.

 

My sister's kids go to a Catholic school, and the school posts summer bridge work for all grades on its website, which seems to be required.  Not sure how I feel about that.  I have to admit that I downloaded their bridge work last year and forced my kids to do it, LOL.  I plan to do the same this year.  Since I do have a kid who forgets things, it's convenient to me to have a nice review package to remind her what's what before school starts again.  If I only had brilliant kids, summer bridge requirements would probably annoy me.



#6 SKL

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 04:39 PM

As for holding performing kids back, I'm not a fan, but there are many parents who actually ask for this.  Where I live, it is very common for kids born in late Spring / Summer to be old for their grade.  When I was a kid, there were usually 1 or 2 kids every year who "flunked" in my class.  At least nowadays they usually don't require kids to repeat after 1st grade.



#7 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 04:44 PM

Actually I don't think it's that the teachers believe they have a right to our kids' time but rather the school. I always get the feeling that the teachers don't approve of all of the HW demands. Most of them have families of their own. I feel like it's the school and I mean that term in a very broad sense encompassing all of the educrats who run the schools and the school systems and the elected officials in charge of it all. Although in some sense I can't blame them for wanting some ownership over the home. Schools are held accountable for the test results of their students and we know that the real driver in test scores is the home.

 

I think you're right that parents are driving a lot of this. I've heard that parents throw fits when schools get rid of elementary school HW. And who is voting for our elected officials that increase the testing? It's mostly parents.

 

I'm in a grippy mood today so forgive me but I feel like the whole system is rotten to the core.

 

 


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#8 winterbaby

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 04:58 PM

I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it if the quality of the curriculum wasn't so poor. (Public school here.) I have to remember to be judicious about how many of the logical, historical, etc., errors in assignments I actually take out my pencil to write a correction to, because I don't want to be "that parent." But it could honestly be something almost every night. My top prize for the year went to an explicit instruction to give vocabulary words definitions that use the word you're trying to define. Also they shove their politics down the kids' throats at an age too young to engage critically. And teachers are actively complicit in making my autistic child the butt of subtle humor she doesn't understand. And we're expected to use a gamified online math program that gives her sensory input issues with all its irrelevant sound and moving images. And and and... I could go on. Praying so hard that it works out for us to homeschool in the fall. But actually I'm not sure I would object to the time commitment if it were quality curriculum taught with true professionalism.
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#9 SKL

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 04:59 PM

I'm wondering if it is specific to some states.  Though I think maybe it could have been said about our state a couple years ago, when they were requiring the tests that everyone protested.

 

I think the homework load in my state is a mixed bag.  I have friends who say they don't even know what their kids are doing in school because their kid handles it all.  I don't hear a lot of people complaining about the homework load being too high in general, though it is too much for some individual kids.



#10 SKL

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:20 PM

Yeah, my 7yo niece seems to be having a problem similar to what winterbaby mentioned, with the teacher marginalizing the oddball kid.  Secondhand info, so I won't get into the details, but it's crazy.  And that is at a Catholic school.  Thank God the year is almost over.

 

The other thing my sister's kids are expected to do is read specific "story books" at home.  You know, those stupid "leveled readers" that no thinking person can stand to read.  :p  I was lucky that my kids were always allowed to choose their own independent reading.


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#11 winterbaby

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:27 PM

Oh, don't even get me started on the quality of the literature they use! Or the way they teach them to tear it to pieces with inane questions and analysis rather than truly appreciating. I think there is really something to Dorothy Sayers's critique of how schools push analysis way too early. I love EngageNY math so I took a look at their ELA... for third grade they had Peter Pan and I thought "hey! great!" But the assignments were all about understanding the author's technique and how a fantasy story "works" under the hood. In third grade! What a spirit killer! But of course, they're miles ahead of most places in using real books like Peter Pan at all.
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#12 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:32 PM

I'm wondering if it is specific to some states.  Though I think maybe it could have been said about our state a couple years ago, when they were requiring the tests that everyone protested.

 

I think the homework load in my state is a mixed bag.  I have friends who say they don't even know what their kids are doing in school because their kid handles it all.  I don't hear a lot of people complaining about the homework load being too high in general, though it is too much for some individual kids.

 

To be clear, the HW demands at DD's school would be considered "reasonable" for today. I'm a real oddball because I think ANY HW in early elementary school is inappropriate.

 

I'm reminded of a fascinating article that I read a few months ago about "experts" and motherhood. I have no idea where it was so can't find site cite. IIRC, it was about how society has made mothers feel as if we don't know anything so we must rely on experts to tell us how to raise our children. I think that's at the root of what is going on here with schools.

 

I was equally annoyed when I would take DD to the pediatrician when she was a baby and the ped would try to give me unwanted advice about sleep training and things like that. He was well meaning and he told me the same thing he told all of the other parents. He thought that I wanted his advice, apparently because everyone else did. But there is a difference between medical advice and parenting advice. How to get your child to sleep (barring some unusual issue) is the latter. But we have blurred lines.


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#13 winterbaby

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:33 PM

nm


Edited by winterbaby, 04 June 2017 - 07:52 PM.


#14 SKL

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:48 PM

To be clear, the HW demands at DD's school would be considered "reasonable" for today. I'm a real oddball because I think ANY HW in early elementary school is inappropriate.

 

I'm reminded of a fascinating article that I read a few months ago about "experts" and motherhood. I have no idea where it was so can't find site cite. IIRC, it was about how society has made mothers feel as if we don't know anything so we must rely on experts to tell us how to raise our children. I think that's at the root of what is going on here with schools.

 

I was equally annoyed when I would take DD to the pediatrician when she was a baby and the ped would try to give me unwanted advice about sleep training and things like that. He was well meaning and he told me the same thing he told all of the other parents. He thought that I wanted his advice, apparently because everyone else did. But there is a difference between medical advice and parenting advice. How to get your child to sleep (barring some unusual issue) is the latter. But we have blurred lines.

 

Ugh - lost my post.  I don't disagree that parents seem to have fewer rights these days.  My pet peeve is how parents aren't allowed to give their kids independence.

 

Some of that is parent-driven too - every time something goes wrong at school, "why weren't you watching more closely?" 

 

Also some of it is standard CYA, and yes, that annoys me too.  Especially when it is supposedly coming from a doctor who spent less than 60 seconds with my kid and never even made eye contact.  :p


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#15 Kassia

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:52 PM

To be clear, the HW demands at DD's school would be considered "reasonable" for today. I'm a real oddball because I think ANY HW in early elementary school is inappropriate.

 

I'm reminded of a fascinating article that I read a few months ago about "experts" and motherhood. I have no idea where it was so can't find site cite. IIRC, it was about how society has made mothers feel as if we don't know anything so we must rely on experts to tell us how to raise our children. I think that's at the root of what is going on here with schools.

 

I was equally annoyed when I would take DD to the pediatrician when she was a baby and the ped would try to give me unwanted advice about sleep training and things like that. He was well meaning and he told me the same thing he told all of the other parents. He thought that I wanted his advice, apparently because everyone else did. But there is a difference between medical advice and parenting advice. How to get your child to sleep (barring some unusual issue) is the latter. But we have blurred lines.

 

:iagree:



#16 winterbaby

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 05:54 PM

To be clear, the HW demands at DD's school would be considered "reasonable" for today. I'm a real oddball because I think ANY HW in early elementary school is inappropriate.

 

I think so too. They have more than enough time to teach the basics (though I think three months completely off is a bad idea, especially at that age when three months is an eternity). But they spend that time teaching third graders to deconstruct J.M. Barrie's narrative technique etc. - basically, ed school theories about how kids' understanding develops have taken over to the point that the theories themselves are being taught to students in place of actual subject matter - so they need parents to teach the basics in the evening. 


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#17 swellmomma

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 06:06 PM

And this is why we will be returning to hsing everyone next fall.  It turns out I am the worst ps parent ever.  I have refused to make d do hw all year, told the teachers it was never going to happen.  DD spent a week in and out of hospital recently and the school put the package of homework together, told them I would pick it up but told them I make no promises of it being completed or handed in. DD is missing 2 days of school this coming week because my work schedule will prevent me from getting her there and I am not even a little bit sorry. She has 2 main teachers and both have commented on what a delight she is in class, helpful, respectful, vast background knowledge etc. She has good marks, they are finally getting OT help for her as I had been pushing all year because I knew there was an LD, So the OT comes in once a week to work with her now. She has had some good experiences and made some friends but it is time to be done there.  Thankfully I chose a school for her this year that understood from the beginning that I am philosophically opposed to ps, that I was using them to suit my own needs this year not because I have no other options, and I have been honest with them from the beginning. I can't even fake being a good ps mom, I simply am not.  And yet her teachers say how much they wish I would enroll her next year too because they have told the next teacher about her and she wants dd to be her student. They support me homeschooling again, just say they are going to miss her and how she is the perfect student they wish all students would be like (though I am sure I am not the mother they hope for lol, though I generally just leave them to do what they do, I am not the pushy mom or dictating how they do their jobs etc, so maybe they don't mind me and my refusal to follow ps protocol lol)


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#18 Tanaqui

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 08:28 PM

I was equally annoyed when I would take DD to the pediatrician when she was a baby and the ped would try to give me unwanted advice about sleep training and things like that. He was well meaning and he told me the same thing he told all of the other parents. He thought that I wanted his advice, apparently because everyone else did. But there is a difference between medical advice and parenting advice. How to get your child to sleep (barring some unusual issue) is the latter. But we have blurred lines.

 

I've never understood why people ask pediatricians for parenting advice. If I want advice on childcare, and for some reason I don't want the advice of my parents, sister*, neighbor, or close friend with children my kids' age or older - then I'll ask a daycare professional or a teacher! Somebody with experience on how kids of the appropriate age group behave! Unless my pediatrician has several children, he can't possibly know better than those people.

 

(Mind, he's stellar at telling me things like "yes, this is strep" or "yup, also strep" or "okay, um, I think your kid has strep again" and "you need this vaccination". Gold star for all the things he definitely knows better than most of us.)

 

* Or brother, but I don't have one of those.


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#19 Tanaqui

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 08:32 PM

As for ridiculous homework demands, the younger kiddo had one of those in first grade. Delightful woman, didn't understand my kid at all (didn't try very hard, although she is probably the only teacher who recognized her dyslexia... which makes her also the only teacher who didn't acknowledge she was reading a year above grade level!) - but her idea of appropriate homework for first grade was ludicrous.

 

The worst of it is she had a habit of labeling some things "optional" and then complaining if we didn't do them. Honey, you said it was optional. We didn't want to do it. Therefore, we didn't do it. We took the option. (There was also the winter assignment of marking down the time of sunrise and the position of the shadows. We had a long commute to school that year. We were on the train at sunrise. Wasn't gonna happen. She seemed to think we could find a way to do it anyway. Couldn't get her to understand that we had no intention of even trying.)

 

It is telling, I think, that her oldest child at the time was three. I would be surprised if she's still expecting her students to churn out that level of work now that her kids have gone through first grade.


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#20 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 09:34 PM

Winterbaby, that's terrible!

 

I've never actually read any of the unschoolers although I've got an Ilich book in the queue in my Kindle. But I know that one of their critiques of "school," is how it maintains class distinctions. I would put LDs in the same bucket.

 

What I remember from school was that there a hierarchy and the teachers worked to maintain the hierarchy. For some *odd* reason, the best at everything kids tended to be from the wealthiest families. Hmmm....makes you wonder doesn't it? It's almost as if the structure of school was created to reward a certain type of child. If you're not the right kind of kid, they don't have much use for you.

 

I have an unpopular theory that some teachers are old fashioned bullies.

 

 


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#21 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 09:40 PM

Ridiculous homework is definitely ridiculous and should be optional.

 

But perhaps contrary to most on here, I love my boys' school. Their teachers have different passions and interests than I do, so the kids get exposed to shading techniques with pencil and learn a jazz-hands dance for International Jazz Week. Okay, so my K'er's interests in art mirror mine, but at least he had the opportunity. My kids write better than they could if I had them at home. My kids behave better for their teachers at school. 

 

OP, there must be some way to get your kid's homework done before you're home from work. It really makes all the difference. I won't make the kids do homework after dinner at least at the ages we have now, because they go to bed too early. I get home around 5 p.m., DH around 6 p.m., and the kids are in bed by 7 p.m. Particularly that last hour all together is not going to have homework.

 

 


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#22 winterbaby

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 09:44 PM

Towards the end of high school I ended up on the wrong end of an ugly social dynamic and even at the time I remember being gobsmacked that the teachers would be so immature and unprofessional as to reinforce it with their own actions. But they did. Some, both then and in my kid's situation now, I sense were the popular kids in school - or wanted to be. (I grew up in a materialistic UMC urban environment where popular and bully were synonymous.) Others, I think, are so institutionalized they can't step back and get perspective on the shallow values the kids are playing out around them every day.
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#23 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:06 PM

Ridiculous homework is definitely ridiculous and should be optional.

 

But perhaps contrary to most on here, I love my boys' school. Their teachers have different passions and interests than I do, so the kids get exposed to shading techniques with pencil and learn a jazz-hands dance for International Jazz Week. Okay, so my K'er's interests in art mirror mine, but at least he had the opportunity. My kids write better than they could if I had them at home. My kids behave better for their teachers at school. 

 

OP, there must be some way to get your kid's homework done before you're home from work. It really makes all the difference. I won't make the kids do homework after dinner at least at the ages we have now, because they go to bed too early. I get home around 5 p.m., DH around 6 p.m., and the kids are in bed by 7 p.m. Particularly that last hour all together is not going to have homework.

 

I can't even imagine a 7 PM bedtime. We get home about 5:40 and DH is home around 6:30.

 

We have a few months until we have to deal with HW again but I already have a plan. Mass homework (about that sunday's Gospel reading) is to be done on saturday. She'll finish the week's spelling packet on sunday. That will just one HW assignment a night. I'll encourage her to complete it before I pick her up. I feel like I can't impose consequences for not doing it in afterschool because she might say that she needed help. But the daily HW should be pretty short. That means our evenings will be reserved for play and reading.



#24 winterbaby

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 04:41 PM

Mass homework (about that sunday's Gospel reading) is to be done on saturday.

 

OT but can you share a little about what that is like? I make a point of having my kid go over the Sunday readings on our own but it's mostly just because the translation used in church is over her head so we look at it in an easier translation. But I have toyed with having her do a short reflective assignment about it, so I'm looking for ideas.
 



#25 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:03 PM

I find her Mass homework to be a little frustrating. You are supposed to read the Gospel, exactly as it is read in church, to your child and the child has to answer three questions about the reading. They are very simple questions like "where did Jesus go?" The child is also supposed to color a picture of a priest with that sunday's vestment colors, write in the name of the Sunday, e.g. Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, and draw a picture of the Gospel reading. 

 

I find it frustrating because often the version that is read in church is difficult for a child (or even an adult!) to understand. For example, one reading had a admonition against "lust." DD asked me what "lust" meant and I told her it was a grown up thing. I would prefer they use a version from a children's Bible. The questions were always simple and age appropriate. Certainly no questions about lust! 

 

 


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#26 Mainer

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:05 PM

I teach at a private school, and as far as I know, most kids don't have much homework. Even the elementary students have some, though - and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I can see how HW fosters responsibility, yadda yadda yadda... but I question if it's worth it academically to do more work at home when time is so short between getting home and going to bed. Since the research is mixed, it truly is a conundrum. 

 

Let's say a school has a policy that there has to be homework most nights (like ours does). For elementary, it's usually something like read 20 minutes each day, and finish a math packet (4-5 pages) by Fridays. How does that sound? As a parent, if there has to be homework, what would you like it to be, and how much time should it take? 

 

I really want to know, because I'm mulling over possibilities for next year. 


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#27 winterbaby

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:23 PM

I find her Mass homework to be a little frustrating. You are supposed to read the Gospel, exactly as it is read in church, to your child and the child has to answer three questions about the reading. They are very simple questions like "where did Jesus go?" The child is also supposed to color a picture of a priest with that sunday's vestment colors, write in the name of the Sunday, e.g. Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, and draw a picture of the Gospel reading. 

 

I find it frustrating because often the version that is read in church is difficult for a child (or even an adult!) to understand. For example, one reading had a admonition against "lust." DD asked me what "lust" meant and I told her it was a grown up thing. I would prefer they use a version from a children's Bible. The questions were always simple and age appropriate. Certainly no questions about lust! 

 

I see... Have you considered subbing in a translation of your choice? My church uses the New King James Version and it is just over my kid's head. At home we use the New International Reader's Version, which is not a children's version as such but is supposed to be at a third grade reading level. So I don't think it necessarily avoids these issues but it kind of softballs them in a certain way. Like for Matthew 5:28 it says "Don't even look at a woman the wrong way." Yours is younger than mine but in the past I have talked about sexual morality in terms of men and women getting distracted flirting with each other instead of focusing on the things they need to do in life, and focusing on looks instead of on who we are as persons. Things that are tough or inappropriate for children are an issue throughout the Bible though (right now I am really struggling with how to discuss Genesis 22, for example). I like the idea of drawing their attention to the liturgical colors but there are only so many of them - doesn't coloring the same color weeks in a row get old? And in my church (Lutheran) the Sundays often have obscure names like "Exaudi" or "Rogate" - actually I could stand to get a better grip of what's going on there, myself. Maybe I should include that. But for the readings I was thinking I could just have her summarize them in a sentence or two, or just choose a part that particularly struck her to use as copywork. Another problem about Sunday readings for kids (or anyone) is they often plop you into the middle of a situation in the story and you have to read back to know what's actually going on.


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#28 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:53 PM

I have considered using a more child friendly version but it is not always available. We're Orthodox Christians and our Orthodox children's Bible is not complete. Sometimes the sunday reading cannot be found in our children's Bible. 

 

Also, DD needs to be able to answer the question and the children's version might not provide the answer. 

 

I understand the vestment color thing. It does get a bit old doing the same color day after day but there is theological significance in the color. DD colors the vestments the colors used in the Orthodox Church, not the Catholic Church, because that is the sunday liturgy that she attends. 


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#29 Sadie

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:44 PM

The intrusion of school into home life is one of the things that made me take dd1 out of kindy. The short time dd2 spent in bricks and mortar school found me irritated beyond belief at the same thing. So, I hear you! Anecdotally, many parents resent it. However, also anecdotally, many other parents are the ones pushing teachers to assign more to be done at home. Sometimes teachers have the message that, at lower grades, homework etc has no benefit, but that hasn't filtered out to fellow parents. 

 

Enjoy your summer! 


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#30 SKL

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:10 PM

I teach at a private school, and as far as I know, most kids don't have much homework. Even the elementary students have some, though - and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I can see how HW fosters responsibility, yadda yadda yadda... but I question if it's worth it academically to do more work at home when time is so short between getting home and going to bed. Since the research is mixed, it truly is a conundrum. 

 

Let's say a school has a policy that there has to be homework most nights (like ours does). For elementary, it's usually something like read 20 minutes each day, and finish a math packet (4-5 pages) by Fridays. How does that sound? As a parent, if there has to be homework, what would you like it to be, and how much time should it take? 

 

I really want to know, because I'm mulling over possibilities for next year. 

 

I think the amount of homework depends on the age.  I'm OK with having some more as they get older.  I like the idea of having a packet to finish by Friday (especially if it is handed out the previous Friday) - but realistically, that may not be ideal to reinforce what is taught in school, unless the teacher is very good at sicking to a schedule.  If the homework is just to review stuff learned previously, then that would work ... but I rather like having some homework that reviews what's been done in school today or yesterday.

 

What I would like is for anything that is flexible as to when it gets done, please assign it at least a couple days before it's due.  Ideally the previous Friday, so the family can decide how to spread it out over the week.  Please don't send kids home with 3-5 new assignments that are due tomorrow.  :)  And please allow at least one weekend before the test for kids to study.  Also, please post the homework so the parent knows about it before it's due.  :)
 

And, please be open to discussion about individuals' homework burden.  I think it stinks that my kid needs a diagnosis in order to get a little consideration such as what I said in the previous paragraph.

 

I'm not against homework.  It helps my kid.  If it wasn't assigned, I'd assign some myself.  But it's not more important than sleep and exercise.  :)


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#31 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 08:15 PM

I teach at a private school, and as far as I know, most kids don't have much homework. Even the elementary students have some, though - and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I can see how HW fosters responsibility, yadda yadda yadda... but I question if it's worth it academically to do more work at home when time is so short between getting home and going to bed. Since the research is mixed, it truly is a conundrum. 

 

Let's say a school has a policy that there has to be homework most nights (like ours does). For elementary, it's usually something like read 20 minutes each day, and finish a math packet (4-5 pages) by Fridays. How does that sound? As a parent, if there has to be homework, what would you like it to be, and how much time should it take? 

 

I really want to know, because I'm mulling over possibilities for next year. 

 

My kids are at a private school. Homework in K is just reading; homework in 1st is reading and spelling at least, possibly some math. Other years have more homework, particularly project-based work to be done on the weekends. No worksheets either in school or as homework.

 

If there has to be homework, I want it to be fairly independent for my child. They can ask questions, but I don't want to sit with the entire time and tell them exactly what to do. I'm happy to teach my kids things, but I want to teach them what I want, not the school method, which I expect them to have learned at school. I don't want to see worksheets that are significantly below my kids' level. Nothing should have coloring.

 

Ideal homework is targeted at my child's developmental level (so there's no way all the kids in the class get the same math homework), meant to be done independently unless it's project-based or reading out loud, and not time-consuming. Also, spelling homework should be optional or suggested tips, not required pinterest-worthy lists of spelling activities that take hours to achieve. Give the list, make it optional, and be in contact with parents if their kids aren't spelling up to snuff.

 

FWIW, I'd love to see some math that my K'er does at school. I'd even tolerate worksheets for that. 



#32 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 09:22 PM

I teach at a private school, and as far as I know, most kids don't have much homework. Even the elementary students have some, though - and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I can see how HW fosters responsibility, yadda yadda yadda... but I question if it's worth it academically to do more work at home when time is so short between getting home and going to bed. Since the research is mixed, it truly is a conundrum. 

 

Let's say a school has a policy that there has to be homework most nights (like ours does). For elementary, it's usually something like read 20 minutes each day, and finish a math packet (4-5 pages) by Fridays. How does that sound? As a parent, if there has to be homework, what would you like it to be, and how much time should it take? 

 

I really want to know, because I'm mulling over possibilities for next year. 

 

I prefer to have a packet to complete by the end of the week. That gives us flexibility throughout the week.

 

A big annoyance for me in PS was when the school had some kind of activity at night but there was still assigned HW.

 

Reading as HW is annoying. Of course kids should be reading every day but I don't like the idea of assigning minutes to read. Some kids will stop reading at 20 minutes because 20 minutes has been reached. Although I know that without the 20 minute standard, some kids won't read enough. It's a balancing act.

Maybe a better way to do it is to expect kids to always have a book that they are actively reading. Some kids would read more or faster than others but the idea would be to encourage reading for pleasure not as assigned HW.

 

I also prefer only one type of a HW a day, e.g. math on tuesday, reading comprehension on wednesday, etc. When DD was in K she had math every night which was a lot. I really see no reason why math HW is needed. Elementary school kids should be taught well enough in school to not need math HW besides practicing math facts.

 

I like the 10 minutes per grade standard but the HW should just be work. Not a lot of superfluous things that add on time like coloring.


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#33 swellmomma

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:04 AM

Winterbaby, that's terrible!

 

I've never actually read any of the unschoolers although I've got an Ilich book in the queue in my Kindle. But I know that one of their critiques of "school," is how it maintains class distinctions. I would put LDs in the same bucket.

 

What I remember from school was that there a hierarchy and the teachers worked to maintain the hierarchy. For some *odd* reason, the best at everything kids tended to be from the wealthiest families. Hmmm....makes you wonder doesn't it? It's almost as if the structure of school was created to reward a certain type of child. If you're not the right kind of kid, they don't have much use for you.

 

I have an unpopular theory that some teachers are old fashioned bullies.

 

I am glad that is not the case in dd9s class.  Truth be told we are the poorest in her class, enough so that her teacher went and bought her new shoes because the ones she had were way to small but it was going to be another 3 weeks before I could even consider new ones.  Teacher got a pair on deep clearance for her to help me out (boy did dd's feet grow though, 4 sizes in 6 weeks). Felt like crap for that one, unfortunately new shoes for her were last because I had just bougt new ones a few weeks earlier and other kids also needed some, but anyway, dd is a favorite student, and best at everything (okay not everything, but pretty well and well regarded by her peers) yet definitely not from the wealthiest family. She just has a home rich in literature, science, learning all the time etc. Most of the other families do not. Many don't even own more than a handful of books at home, even the wealthiest ones (bookcases filled with books and not vases etc are not aesthetically pleasing)
 


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#34 swellmomma

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:08 AM


 

I'm not against homework.  It helps my kid.  If it wasn't assigned, I'd assign some myself.  But it's not more important than sleep and exercise.  :)

 

See I am very against it (even my teens high school did not assign homework, yet the elementary did.  Anyway, she is already in school all day, evenings are for extracurrics, family time, rest etc.  No kid needs to be doing school 7+ hours a day plus more at night. There is more to life and developing a well rounded human than academics.  If they can't accomplish all the work in those 7 hours that is on tem to better manage their time, not up to us to give up the few precious hours in the evening for other endeavors to more homework.  Plus dd is just done by the end of the day. She gives her all at school, maintains As and Bs despite her LDs, her brain is fried by the time I finish work at 6pm (she comes to afterschool care if not at an activity after school). 
 


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#35 swellmomma

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:12 AM

I teach at a private school, and as far as I know, most kids don't have much homework. Even the elementary students have some, though - and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I can see how HW fosters responsibility, yadda yadda yadda... but I question if it's worth it academically to do more work at home when time is so short between getting home and going to bed. Since the research is mixed, it truly is a conundrum. 

 

Let's say a school has a policy that there has to be homework most nights (like ours does). For elementary, it's usually something like read 20 minutes each day, and finish a math packet (4-5 pages) by Fridays. How does that sound? As a parent, if there has to be homework, what would you like it to be, and how much time should it take? 

 

I really want to know, because I'm mulling over possibilities for next year. 

 

Honestly, as a parent I would still refuse to do it. You as teacher are free to assign it, but it ain't going to happen in my home.  In my home I finish work at 6pm, get home for 630 if there is no evening extracurric. The earliest we eat dinner is 8pm, then bath, prepare for next day and bed.  There is not a single minute of that evening time that I would waste on homework. That is my home policy and my home policy trumps any the school has.  Unless the school is going to provide a maid, chef, chauffeur, pay my salary etc they have no say what happens past 330pm when the dismissal bell goes.


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#36 vonfirmath

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:30 AM

I teach at a private school, and as far as I know, most kids don't have much homework. Even the elementary students have some, though - and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I can see how HW fosters responsibility, yadda yadda yadda... but I question if it's worth it academically to do more work at home when time is so short between getting home and going to bed. Since the research is mixed, it truly is a conundrum. 

 

Let's say a school has a policy that there has to be homework most nights (like ours does). For elementary, it's usually something like read 20 minutes each day, and finish a math packet (4-5 pages) by Fridays. How does that sound? As a parent, if there has to be homework, what would you like it to be, and how much time should it take? 

 

I really want to know, because I'm mulling over possibilities for next year. 

 

As a parent, I prefer there to be homework.  What you describe sounds like what my kids have -- except the math packet had fewer pages when they were in the days when they had to read every day.  Even this year, in 4th grade, my son usually only had 4 pages of math a week (Not given in a packet at the beginning of the week. Given every day.)  He also had to read in his book club book and complete an assigned task over the reading (Task changed by week. Different people in the group had different roles, and tasks associated with those roles). He also had weekly vocabulary words to work on.

 

But it was only in homework and grading it afterward that I would notice where my son was struggling/not understanding something.  The work being done in class only came home every 2-3 weeks and long past he remembered why he got a bad grade (Sometimes it was not paying attention in class, not not understanding. Etc)


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#37 SKL

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:31 AM

See I am very against it (even my teens high school did not assign homework, yet the elementary did.  Anyway, she is already in school all day, evenings are for extracurrics, family time, rest etc.  No kid needs to be doing school 7+ hours a day plus more at night. There is more to life and developing a well rounded human than academics.  If they can't accomplish all the work in those 7 hours that is on tem to better manage their time, not up to us to give up the few precious hours in the evening for other endeavors to more homework.  Plus dd is just done by the end of the day. She gives her all at school, maintains As and Bs despite her LDs, her brain is fried by the time I finish work at 6pm (she comes to afterschool care if not at an activity after school). 
 

 

My views for my own kid might be different, because my kids have a lot of stamina.  Especially the one who benefits most from the homework.  It is no problem for her to put in an hour reviewing what she's learned, and it gives me a chance to see what's up and help shore up weaknesses where I can.  She actually doesn't mind it.  I might feel differently if I had a kid crying or falling asleep on her homework every night.

 

I'm not sure how best to accommodate differences like this.  It's great to say the school should get it all done in the 7 hours at school, but that just doesn't happen for some kids, even in a good school.  Personally I'd rather do some work at home than have her unable to keep up with her peers at school.  My other kid doesn't need it, but she finishes her homework a lot faster, so it isn't an issue.

 

I dunno, maybe it should be voluntary, but then many of the kids who need it most will skip it.

 

If we pressure the school to do more at school, then the kids will have less movement and social time at school.  I don't want that either.



#38 winterbaby

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:36 AM

How will that work though if it comes to HW that isn't just busywork or practice but integrated with expectations for classwork, e.g. extended assignments where parts are to be completed at home to be ready for further work in class, such as a multi-step writing process? Reports, presentations? While philosophically agreeing that school hours should be sufficient for their education I don't think I could put my kid in the position of being chronically out of step or incomplete on major projects.

#39 SKL

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:49 AM

How will that work though if it comes to HW that isn't just busywork or practice but integrated with expectations for classwork, e.g. extended assignments where parts are to be completed at home to be ready for further work in class, such as a multi-step writing process? Reports, presentations? While philosophically agreeing that school hours should be sufficient for their education I don't think I could put my kid in the position of being chronically out of step or incomplete on major projects.

 

Our school seems to have moved to doing that sort of thing in class.  I think this is to prevent parents from doing too much or giving the kids an advantage via better resources.  I am of two minds on this.  I'm mostly positive for the usual reasons people hate homework / home projects.  But on the other hand, what about the kids who legitimately need more time or help?  My kid stayed after school many times to get her projects done.  Which is fine, as long as (a) the teacher accommodates that and (b) the family has the ability to arrange transportation etc.  Another issue was that she didn't remember part of the in-class instruction re how to find information on the internet.  The teacher didn't have time to go over it with her.  Finally, after much angst on my daughter's part, the teacher assigned one of the advanced students to re-teach her that part.  (But only after telling her off for being slow.)  So far things have ended OK, but if she gets a teacher who won't give her the time or help she needs, she will be screwed.  :/

 

I know it's not an easy issue for the teachers to address.  They have to be "fair" to all while simultaneously being "fair" to the individual.



#40 Heigh Ho

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:50 AM

I went to homework free schools, and that's what I prefer.  We worked hard in class.  My sons' schools slacked in class and sent the unfinished work home, calling it homework, then bought test prep books and crammed for state exams. The results are that the district ranks dead last in acheivement for its demographic nationwide.

 

The only homework I want to see  is the suggestion to get exercise and be fit, read to your child, give your child time to read to himself, and cook/sew/craft with the child so he can practice his math and measuring.

 

 


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#41 swellmomma

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 10:55 PM

How will that work though if it comes to HW that isn't just busywork or practice but integrated with expectations for classwork, e.g. extended assignments where parts are to be completed at home to be ready for further work in class, such as a multi-step writing process? Reports, presentations? While philosophically agreeing that school hours should be sufficient for their education I don't think I could put my kid in the position of being chronically out of step or incomplete on major projects.

 

My older kids were in ps for 3 and 2 years respectively and 1 year now for grade 12. In the early years it was all busy work with no integrated stuff.  It was worksheets to fill out, spelling words, reading etc (my kids all read daily for the most part, I just suck at filling out the stupid sheet of paper, but also I feel reading time should be organic, as in some days they will read for an hour or more, some days not at all, assigning a time period daily turns it into a chore they learn to hate).  Anyway, never projects,reports or carry over stuff etc.  Oldest was in 2 different schools for elem and now the alternative high school and never was it anything like that.  The alternative high school does not assign homework ever.  They go for a 4 day school week and just progress through their subjects at their own pace during regular school hours.  The School ds13 was in is the same at dd9, in the 2 months he was there homework was again always just busy work, and that was for grade 7, for dd9 again always busy work.  She has never had a multi-step project, report etc that was assigned to be done at home.  It is always piles of worksheets.  She has never been out of step with major projects because they are all done at school. She has not missed out on anything all year by not doing the stupid worksheets, and is already registered to return to homeschooling in the fall.  She just needs to finish up the last 14 school days of this school year.



#42 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:48 PM

Honestly, as a parent I would still refuse to do it. You as teacher are free to assign it, but it ain't going to happen in my home.  In my home I finish work at 6pm, get home for 630 if there is no evening extracurric. The earliest we eat dinner is 8pm, then bath, prepare for next day and bed.  There is not a single minute of that evening time that I would waste on homework. That is my home policy and my home policy trumps any the school has.  Unless the school is going to provide a maid, chef, chauffeur, pay my salary etc they have no say what happens past 330pm when the dismissal bell goes.

 

Our school had parents who refused to do the homework because they also felt it was unnecessary for their children. The homework was only reading, and for those very behind, a small amount of writing practice. The kids of parents who refused the homework fell behind. The homework was five to ten minutes per day.

 

Why can't your youngest do the homework at her afterschool care? Of course there isn't time if you're getting home at 6 p.m. and still need to cook dinner. But your child has plenty of time in her day. Also, plenty of schools and teachers pressure the children to do the homework, and it's unfair to your child to send them in expecting to defend your personal views.

 

Alternative high schools with a compacted curriculum are generally for students who have fallen behind due to illness, behavioral problems, or life circumstances. The high schools don't give homework because they don't expect the high schoolers to be able to complete homework. My brother attended one of these high schools after behavioral/drug problems and finished on time despite failing earlier classes. I went to a regular high school and had massive amounts of homework, but I've also completed a graduate school and work in management. My brother is in a blue collar profession and got his associates degree with on-the-job training. 

 

It's good that you had a teacher who understood your situation and didn't take it out on your kid, but as general advice, it's unwise to philosophically ignore homework.


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#43 winterbaby

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 08:08 AM

 Also, plenty of schools and teachers pressure the children to do the homework, and it's unfair to your child to send them in expecting to defend your personal views.

 

This is a key issue, for me. By sending her to school I have already agreed to a certain degree of compromise with other people's educational priorities. How far that goes is always a judgment call, but I try to err on the side of not putting my child in the middle of anything. I already have enough of a problem with her feeling emotionally conflicted because they teach a certain political perspective (very different from mine) as objective truth and she "doesn't know who to believe."


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#44 Mainer

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 01:42 PM

Thanks for the opinions about homework. I'm in special ed, so my class will be small and I can solicit opinions from parents. The trouble starts when many kids have a long bus ride, after-school sports, and so on... and I'm well aware that bedtime may be (should be!) 8pm! I'm not really a fan of reading for X minutes a night... kids may not do it, first of all, and they may not even be reading something at an appropriate level. It's very tricky. I hate homework too!


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#45 Bluegoat

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 07:13 PM

I teach at a private school, and as far as I know, most kids don't have much homework. Even the elementary students have some, though - and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I can see how HW fosters responsibility, yadda yadda yadda... but I question if it's worth it academically to do more work at home when time is so short between getting home and going to bed. Since the research is mixed, it truly is a conundrum. 

 

Let's say a school has a policy that there has to be homework most nights (like ours does). For elementary, it's usually something like read 20 minutes each day, and finish a math packet (4-5 pages) by Fridays. How does that sound? As a parent, if there has to be homework, what would you like it to be, and how much time should it take? 

 

I really want to know, because I'm mulling over possibilities for next year. 

 

One of the main questions I think teachers need to ask, is whether the kids are actually able to do the work at home.  Many seem to assume that there will be a parent who is both available and able to direct the child.


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#46 Tanaqui

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 07:19 PM

Also, teachers always say "this will only take 20 minutes", but in practice, it doesn't. They need to beta test their homework load - perhaps by asking parents to honestly report how long it took their kids to do it, or saying "Set a timer. Once you've passed X number of minutes, move on to the next assignment, even if your child has not completed the first assignment. Your child should not be working more than Y minutes in total."


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#47 Mainer

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 08:14 PM

Yep, that's a great idea!



#48 SKL

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 09:31 AM

Yes, in my kids' school, their grades will suffer if they don't finish all the homework on time, so they are not going to stop after x minutes.  If the teacher agreed to not penalize partially completed work, the teacher might get honest feedback from my family.  But, that might encourage some kids to goldbrick in order to get out of doing a reasonable amount of homework.  So again, I'm sure it's hard to find the balance.



#49 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:30 PM

But what difference do grades make in elementary school? There are no real consequences to lower grades until a few years later. I'd let my DD suffer a lower grade for not completing HW.

 

 



#50 Heigh Ho

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 07:31 AM

It depends on your school.  Ours does penalize for lack of hw completion by not allowing the child to enroll in honors courses. They will also put the child in a lower level math course than needed...no 8th algebra for example, even if they aced the final and state exams for the preceding years. 

 

Also, realistically, if your child can't complete the homework in the assigned time, there is a problem.  Even the arts and crafts from middle school social studies could be done in twenty minutes.  The schools here keep it to 10 min X grade level, which is the PTA recommendation.


Edited by Heigh Ho, 14 June 2017 - 07:32 AM.

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