Back to school: Let's talk homework!
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Thread: Back to school: Let's talk homework!

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Default Back to school: Let's talk homework!

    Homework has pretty much always been a given in high school, but it's being given now on a regular basis in elementary schools. There is a wide range of supposedly-expert opinion about the issue. Those in favor of homework for elementary kids are saying that it helps kids build good time-management skills, avoid the pitfalls of cramming for tests, better retain the information learned, and have an opportunity to explore the subject in more depth than the time at school allows. Those against it will tell you that there is no correlation between how much homework young children do and how well they comprehend material or perform on tests, and that homework cuts into a child's social & physical activities and also into precious family time. Some parents refuse to make their kids do routine daily homework at all, while others enroll their kids in after-school homework clubs so it gets done before the kids even get home, and some parents even switch schools because of the homework load difference between individual schools. Some teachers use the threat of extra homework as punishment for misbehaving in class, while others drop homework as a reward for good behavior. Some schools have set policies so parents & teachers have the same expectations about homework, and some districts have set policies to standardize homework load between schools.

    Where you do stand on the homework spectrum? If your child is in elementary school, or if you're familiar with your school's or district's policy, what is it's official homework policy? Did you have homework in elementary school? If so, do you think it helped you in the long run? If not, do you wish you had?
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    I've never been a fan of homework even at the high school level. I'm okay with reading a chapter of a book or doing a long term project but I hate the little worksheets most teachers send home. If there isn't time to go over material at school we need to re evaluate how we set our kids up in their school schedules.

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    I am going to answer even though my children are currently homeschooled. DD1 did go to private school for 2 years before being homeschooled and I have several nieces and nephews that go to school and homework has been a huge issue.

    I am going to say some homework is a very good thing. First, It allows the parents to know how their child is doing in school. It is a terrible shame if the parent does not know their child is failing until the report card comes home. Second, a teacher with 30 or more students per class can not possibly pay each student adequate attention. Homework allows the parents to help fill in the gaps.

    That said, I feel homework should be reasonable. In elementary school, say 30 minutes per night max. High school, an hour or so. I have one niece that struggles in school. She has routinely had homework that has taken from the moment she gets home from school until bed with a short break for dinner. I have several nieces and nephews in this same school and all have at least 2 hrs per night of homework. I have also heard of similar stories from parents at the school that Alyssa used to go to. Now these are both private schools, but regardless, I think that is ridiculous.

    ETA - My sister has since hired a private tutor to help my niece with her homework, but she still spends a TON of time on it.

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    I think a little homework is ok for Elementary but the younger ones are usually tired so schools who give more than an hour's homework I think are being counterproductive. My son is in 2nd and they do 30 mins of reading homework daily (their choice of book so long as it's challenging enough), create sentences using spelling words, and one page of math homework, and some memorization work. It took my son about an hour; I can tell that's about all he can manage and still focus. He gets out of school though at 3:45 and starts at 7:30.

    eta, I use a timer to keep my son focused otherwise he procrastinates, finds other things to do, or stare off into nowheresland
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    I think there is too much homework in our elementary school. They ease into it, and the kindergarten and first grade homework makes sense to me, it's not a whole lot. But I don't like it cutting into my time with my fourth grader, it does bother me. We have a new babysitter who picks them up after school and spends the next few hours with them, and I'm hoping she can help with homework and flag any issues for us, because I want to come home and hang out with the kids, not nag them.

    It's funny thought because I was a nerdy academic kid and I would have loved tons of homework. They didn't give us any until fourth or fifth grade and I wanted it! But as a working parent, I don't want the kids wrapped up in homework all evening. When we only have a few hours together at the end of the day, 30 minutes is too long!
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    I favor less homework for kids, especially elementary kids. School work should be done at school, home time should be for family.

    My kids are only in grades 1 and 2, so we don't really do homework yet. Their school has a home reading plan which involves reading with a parent every day and I fully support that. They do weekly spelling words which we also go over every day. It takes maybe 20 minutes which I think is reasonable.

    We didn't get much homework in elementary school until grade 6 or so (just a few projects before that). Even in high school, homework mostly consists of completing what wasn't done in class. I don't think I've ever done more than 2 hours of homework/day ever. My experiences definitely formed my opinions about school/homework.

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    My kids both go to private school and the homework is about the same at either school (5th grade and 7th grade) Both of them have reading to do, not a set amount of time though, so they do that while laying in bed. Then they both only have to do what they didnt finish in class. For one kid that is math, the other it is her spelling packet. For both of them those are the areas they struggle the most so being able to help them gives me a great opportunity to see where they are struggle and to see what I can do to fill the gaps.
    I have always understood that the general rule is no more then 10 mins per grade. At one point last year our 4th grader was doing almost 2 hours a night and I did go to the teacher on that one, it was cutting into all the family time and her physical exercise time. She also had a take home test sent home one weekend, Dh told her she was not doing it and called the teacher on Monday and told her that DD would be doing it on Monday and that weekends are family time
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    I am going to say some homework is a very good thing. First, It allows the parents to know how their child is doing in school. It is a terrible shame if the parent does not know their child is failing until the report card comes home. Second, a teacher with 30 or more students per class can not possibly pay each student adequate attention. Homework allows the parents to help fill in the gaps.
    I'm going to disagree with both of these points. To the first, there is absolutely no correllation between homework and how the child is doing in school or on tests. That's actually one of the arguments *against* required homework! To the second, class sizes in California for 3rd grade & below are mandated to be 22 students or less, I believe, so that argument doesn't hold water, at least not in my state. And finally, it is the school's job to not leave gaps in my child's education, not my job to fill them in. I'm an auditor, not an elementary school teacher.

    Our school policy is 10 minutes of homework per grade level, plus reading, but our district policy says no more than 30 minutes at the elementary grades, so that might be an issue next year when Tiven is in 4th grade. We have one 4th grade teacher who routinely assigns over an hour of homework every night, plus homework on non-holiday weekends, and that is so not going to fly in my home. When Tiven reaches 30 minutes, unless she's totally been procrastinating, I sign off on the rest and I've told her if a teacher tries to make her do it at recess, she's to tell me because that isn't right. And weekends are family time, period.
    Last edited by Spacers; 09-07-2012 at 12:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    I'm going to disagree with both of these points. To the first, there is absolutely no correllation between homework and how the child is doing in school or on tests. That's actually one of the arguments *against* required homework! To the second, class sizes in California for 3rd grade & below are mandated to be 22 students or less, I believe, so that argument doesn't hold water, at least not in my state. And finally, it is the school's job to not leave gaps in my child's education, not my job to fill them in. I'm an auditor, not an elementary school teacher.

    Our school policy is 10 minutes of homework per grade level, plus reading, but our district policy says no more than 30 minutes at the elementary grades, so that might be an issue next year when Tiven is in 4th grade. We have one 4th grade teacher who routinely assigns over an hour of homework every night, plus homework on non-holiday weekends, and that is so not going to fly in my home. When Tiven reaches 30 minutes, unless she's totally been procrastinating, I sign off on the rest and I've told her if a teacher tries to make her do it at recess, she's to tell me because that isn't right. And weekends are family time, period.
    I have to disagree with this. I think turning over your child's education to someone else is foolish. I think the school and teacher can only be players on the team. I am saying this as a teacher and a parent. People that think schools can take a class (even if it is a small class) and meet each of their educational needs in 7 hours a day are not really aware of the huge chasms of differance in different children's learning needs. Then you start adding in that your child is most likely in class with children that dont get to eat everyday, dont have pencils at home, play video games for 10+ hours after school and all the other things that deeply effect learning ability and you have an environment that is not good for learning. I think most teachers do it pretty well, I do have great respect for what they do. But I think teachers should not shoulder all the responsibility for my child on their own, at the end of the day I think all the responsibility is mine
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom3girls View Post
    I have to disagree with this. I think turning over your child's education to someone else is foolish. I think the school and teacher can only be players on the team. I am saying this as a teacher and a parent. People that think schools can take a class (even if it is a small class) and meet each of their educational needs in 7 hours a day are not really aware of the huge chasms of differance in different children's learning needs. Then you start adding in that your child is most likely in class with children that dont get to eat everyday, dont have pencils at home, play video games for 10+ hours after school and all the other things that deeply effect learning ability and you have an environment that is not good for learning. I think most teachers do it pretty well, I do have great respect for what they do. But I think teachers should not shoulder all the responsibility for my child on their own, at the end of the day I think all the responsibility is mine
    I completely agree. I have ALL of my child's needs in mind and feel that I am responsible for meeting ALL of them, including her education. Her teacher is my partner in this venture. One doesn't have to be an "elementary teacher" to teach his or her own child and help with homework.

    That being said, I'm not a huge fan of homework (because I highly value social time and pursuing hobbies) but agree that it is necessary at times in small amounts.

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