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Increased Homework
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iocasta posted:
What is everyone's work load like? What kind of homework is being assigned?

Levi's teacher is increasing the amount of homework this last trimester to prepare her students for second grade and good home study habits. It looks like the increased work is in the form of more research and writing projects. They are studying Monarch Butterflies (each student as his/her own caterpillar to study) and Mexico. One evening this week he had to read this epistolary type book, a series of 16 letters written by children visiting different places in Mexico to a friend highlighting some interesting point. He then had to write and draw about two facts he read to be returned the next day. Plus he had his regular word study homework. He was rather upset over the amount of work. It didn't take that long to get it all done, 30 to 45 minutes. I have to say it is good for him to get use to more work and I'm glad it isn't mindless work sheets. He has a big project due next week. They have to select a place in Mexico and research it. From their research they have to create a travel poster outlining five facts about the are they choose plus create a drawing. They are to use multiple resources in their project.
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baby1at35 responded:
Wow. We haven't seen an increase. It has been a set and steady pace so to speak. Honestly though I wish Tre's teacher would press reading more. I have implemented my own program with him to help and I know summer school will help as well. Tre loves writing (which is strange that he does great in writing but reading is a bit behind). The will catch up to each other soon !
Henry's workload has remained the steady 30 minutes a night with Friday basically off and spelling on the weekend. I really love how she has it organized 15 mins reading activity, 15 minutes math and spelling. Works really well to get into that routine. Not sure what 3rd grade will bring.
Me (43) 2 busy boys 7 yrs and 6 yrs
 
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mrswhitecastle responded:
I'd have been upset with 45 minutes of homework! You know, I don't really understand the push for homework. I don't understand why homework is necessary in K and 1st grade. Why are we pushing our kids so hard? It seems like we are trying to get our kids to grow up sooner and faster than ever before. I know I didn't have homework until 3rd grade, and even then it wasn't every night. I was in Honors classes and graduated with a Bachelor's degree. I seem to have done just fine without doing homework those first 3 years in school. Are things so different today that we have to force these kids to sit and do homework? IMO, homework should be saved until the child is old enough to do it themselves. How much are these projects being done by the kids, and how much is being done by the parents? I've seen the Kindergarten projects, and please, there is NO way a 5/6 year old did it themselves. So, what is the point of homework when the parent is the one doing it anyway?

OK, I'm off my soapbox now. I think I'm more ready for Summer break than the kids are! That sounds about like what Emily is doing right now at the end of 2nd grade. I am worried about what 3rd grade is going to bring...
Emily (8) Elizabeth (6)
 
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iocasta replied to mrswhitecastle's response:
Up to now Levi's day to day was about 10 minutes of word study Monday-Thursday that only started in January. There is an expectation of reading 20 minutes per day which he does riding the bus to and from school and to swim practice like his parents do, so I don't even count that as homework. Reading is a family expectation as well. He has had occasional math type homework, which he knocks out in less than 5 minutes. We are asked to do math games. We don't do them often because we are always posing math questions to Levi whenever the opportunity arises, which generally occur several times a day. Like did you know there are 3 billion seconds in a little over 96 years. I have started to have him send his two aunts short notes (3 sentences) on postcards each week to strengthen his writing skills. I understand the need not to give kids busy work just to give them work. But I do think learning good study habits early helps out in the long run. Plus they should learn that learning doesn't begin and end at the school house door.
 
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mrswhitecastle replied to iocasta's response:
I hope I didn't come across as attacking you. I did not mean too.

I think this just struck a chord with me this week. Both girls have been in tears this week over homework. It's depressing to see your Kindergartener dreading homework already, and in tears while doing it.

I'm also tired of homework pushing out other activities that we do -- piano, swimming, religious activities, family activities, and them just being kids playing outside and riding their bikes.

DH has had to work late a lot this week, so homework has fallen on my shoulders. If they each have 30 minutes of homework, that is an hour I spend on it. They get home at 3:30, but start bed time routine at 7. That's 3.5 hours they have at home, and when an hour of that is on homework, it doesn't leave much for dinner, playing, practicing piano, and spending time together. Forget doing any other after school activity.

I know I probably sound awful, especially to all the busy working parents who have even less time available. Like I said, I think I'm ready for summer! (I'm also hoping that I don't come across as attacking anyone. I really, really don't mean to.)
Emily (8) Elizabeth (6)
 
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iocasta replied to mrswhitecastle's response:
Oh gosh no. Discussions with differing opinions and differing circumstances are important and makes this board interesting. Homework at this age should never be so much or difficult to make a child cry, especially in K. You want them to love learning not dread it. This is the philosophy of the EC and LS divisions of Levi's school. I think in SK he had some small thing or project once a month, tops. Levi was upset because he knew (or so he thought) it would cut into Minecraft time. And when we sat down to do it, he was into it. He was amazed to learn about cliff diving and that there were pyramids in Mexico. That is how it should be. I think because of his school's approach to homework is so humane (for lack of a better word) is why I don't mind it. If it was a chore that induced tears, I would have a different opinion that is for sure.
 
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earleyml1012 responded:
I don't have a child in school yet but I just wanted to throw out my opinion on homework. Personally I think the US is behind in comparison to other countries and so schools are trying to catch up by giving the kids more homework. Don't quote me on this but I read some where that kids in China go to school much longer during the year than US kids and they spend longer on their studies/homework in the evening. I'm sorry but I think sports, other activities, tv, videogames, etc have become more important in our country than school. Sure I think being on a team is important to build and grow in working together as a team to accomplish something but when our kids are better at kicking a ball around than they are reading/writing/etc. something is wrong with our country. I believe that starting the kids off as soon as they start school with homework is setting the stage for what is expected of them through out school. Plus younger kids are more eager to learn, so if we ingrain homework in them when they are young it may not be as bad as they get older...just my opinion. Plus can't we make homework fun and part of family bonding time? Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about since my oldest is only 4 but I honestly think homework is very important.
 
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earleyml1012 replied to earleyml1012's response:
Ok, my husband (just talked to him about this) thinks that it's not fair for kids to be punished if their parents aren't available (working 2 jobs, single parent) to help with homework when the child is too young to read instructions on their own, etc. So he thinks it should wait until they are older or be optional at a young age. Then I asked how many kids would do homework if it was optional? Thoughts?
 
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seeit2 responded:
DD (1st grade) has expectations like sight word practice, math practice, reading etc but like you they are part of our everyday life so we don't approach that as homework. She has a spelling test every Monday that we help her prep for but otherwise that is it. Things have not gotten heavier homework-wise this year which surprises me (but I'm glad about it).

As for the necessity of homework at this age, I agree with MrsW that it should be limited. IMO teacher quality is WAY more important to a child's overall success than the amount of homework they do or the number of hours they spend at school.
Esmerelda Supercalifragilistic (42) DD (6) DS (3) Just eat it, will ya
 
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baby1at35 replied to seeit2's response:
I think last year in 1st grade the homework for Henry was not productive. It was way too much and really did not contribute to his learning (hard to verbalize). His school last year really gave them no breaks ...recess was always taken away for whatever reason...there was no real somewhat quiet time ect. He came home exhausted, cranky and just plain shut down. So homework did not work.
This year Tre doesn't have any as his teacher doesn't believe in it. I do think Tre could have benefited with a bit of homework maybe 15 mins. But he has a love of learning and actually does his own homework.
Henry this year is back to loving school. His teacher has a whole system of how long she focuses during the day on each section of her lesson plan because studies show kids this age focus for a certain length of time. Much different than last year when his teacher just crammed info all day ect.
So in essence what I am saying (very long winded) homework is productive only when given to enhance the learning ... Not to cram more info down an already info. crammed child. Not sure if I am making my point (super exhausted tonight) but this is a passionate subject for me.
Last year was a nightmare in 1st grade with 45 mins a night of more worksheets and memorizing . It was not productive and frustrated him.
This year because of how his day is structured homework at home is way more productive.
Whew... very long response
Me (43) 2 busy boys 7 yrs and 6 yrs
 
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iocasta replied to baby1at35's response:
I'm so glad we don't do drill and skill (reams of mindless work sheets) or as I like to call it drill and kill. Because there is nothing that will kill the love of learning like an seemingly endless pile of worksheets. I'm glad you got the boys out of that other school and into their present one.
 
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baby1at35 replied to iocasta's response:
Exactly . 1st grade last year was piles and piles of worksheets. I would be bored as well as exhausted. I know he learned but at what cost? He hated school and thankfully I was able to get them in a better environment. It really is like night and day. I am so grateful. I think honestly last year set us behind and so summer school is here for us this year. Makes me sad but one year of summer school can be a huge benefit for the upcoming school year.
I also feel that last year homework was given more due to over crowded classrooms and lots of behavior issues so the teachers felt they had to have the parents do a lot. Problem was there was not a lot of parental involvement to begin with.
Anyway I will get off my homework box. In essence if homework is approached in the right manner it can be beneficial and if the amount is not overwhelming.
There have been lots of studies on the benefits/non benefits of homework I have read and they are really interesting. I will try to find a couple to post here.
Me (43) 2 busy boys 7 yrs and 6 yrs


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