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Homework vs. Family time


tjlove November 30, 2009

Are hours of homework ruining your family time? How much of your children's homework do you think is useful or useless? How many hours of homework do your children have each night? Post your homework wins or woes here!

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sutulat December 15, 2009

Many parents are complaining about hours of homework each night. I'm curious! I'm a teacher who only gives a small amount of homework each week. I teach 3rd grade and give students a packet of homework to take home Friday and bring back the following Friday. I ask that kids read at least 15 minutes for 4 of the nights, give 2 math sheets, and 2 spelling sheets. This packet shouldn't take more than 30 minutes-not including the reading. I give homework as a review of skills taught in class, to have students practicing using their weekly spelling words, and to teach responsibility. Does this sound unreasonable?


michellea December 15, 2009

When my kids were in elementary, I loved the homework packet approach. It allowed them to plan out their HW schedule based on outside activities and free time. It's a great way to teach planning!

Reading every day (out loud to an adult - text at or below the student's independent level) is an excellent way to build fluency - I'd hope most folks wouldn't object to this.

30 minutes of HW is appropriate for 3rd grade - the rule of thumb is 10 minutes per grade. It's also important to make adjustments for each individual student. Kids with learning disabilities may take 2, 3 or even 4 times longer than non disabled peers. It's helpful for the teachers to modify HW expectations for kids that take excessive amounts of time.

Your expectations seem reasonable to me - but I know there are many teachers that assign much more.


Child_Of_Ra December 15, 2009

I too agree with a packet approach for many of the same reasons michellea said. This practice seems to be a rarity though.

I spoke with the teacher the other day (as I mentioned I was planning to in above comment) and all went well. We are working together to get work loads down, and joining forces to ensure that assignments are not just done, but turned in! (I can only do so much, because once she's at school it's out of my hands!!) I must say, I do love this teacher! She's amazing - not just for her teaching skills, and her rapport with the kids, and her unwavering commitment to these kids... but her ability to partner with parents. She's nice too!


GEEJAY December 15, 2009

I think that is reasonable and that is what our third grade teacher does. My daughter is in 3rd grade and gets a list of things that will be due and gets a few sheets she can get done on the weekend. This works great with her 13 hours of dance she as a week. My son is in 6th grade at the same school but things changed last year to the other extreme and has gotten worse to unbearable this year as I described earlier. Your approach is the way it should be. I wish the teachers in the 5th and 6th grade would coordinate with one another so my son can have a life outside of homework. We have written e-mails and talked to the teachers but they don't seem to be able to communicate with each other or maybe I don't know how to express my deep concern. I am going to tell the teachers since 10 minutes a grade is appropriate that is all he will do is 1 hour a night and what gets done gets done. '
By the way my son is a straight A student and in the gifted program so he is motivated and does not waist time.


bw2054 December 26, 2009

Home work and academics are THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that a child can do. NOT after school activities. While homework should not dominate after school, it is really important. Lack of homework and parental involvement is one reason why we are falling behind in the world. I have seen students from other countries arrive not speaking English but leaping ahead of all other student academically because of the importance their families place on learning. These ESL parents take public transportation and borrow rides to show at conferences. I have also seen parents of local students miss scheduled parent teacher conferences and grade forums, but never miss baseball practice or dance practice. What are these values teaching our children? What are we showing we care most about? Our family teaches responsibility for team membership, but also places the value of academics where is should be, and that is number ONE. If study for a test is needed, practice will be missed. Low grades means benched player in Middle and High School. Fourth and Fifth grade teachers are preparing students for Middle School. Lower grades are preparing students for 4th and 5th. To compare these grades and their homework policies is absurd. Retention of new concepts is necessary through practice! Teachers NEVER assign homework for the sake of homework! All of these papers must be graded, and assuming they assign work for the fun of it, means that teachers LOVE to work from 7 am to 11 pm for the fun of it. They grade for hours after school and have the very BEST intentions for each and everyone one of their students. American parents need to stop complaining and start supporting their teachers, and showing their children what academic effort means. A good work ethic is what the American dream was built on.


sutulat December 27, 2009

bw0254 You must be a teacher, because you understand perfectly what we are facing as teachers! Very well put!


GEEJAY December 27, 2009

This seems like a person who has a lot to learn about educating children. So what you are saying is that school work is all that life is about. I will give you a very alarming answer to that. WE are not on top of the academic world AND we are the country with the highest obesity rate among children as well as adults. You are saying that physical activity is not important? You are saying that after school activities don't further our children's education in other ways? My daughter has learned for example from her dancing in ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop all different types of music forms, memorizing dance steps on the spot and learning an art form that a school could never provide. She has gained confidence by getting in front of 500 people on a stage to dance. She does this without missing a beat. In the future don't you think that this is an invaluable skill? I can only say I wish I had had this opportunity.
As for our boy, .... on a second thought... I think this conversation is pretty useless, a waste of time. We obviously live on different planets. I thoroughly believe a child's upbringing needs a holistic approach so that a healthy mind has a chance to rest in a healthy body.


bw2054 December 27, 2009

Do not twist my words around. In comparison to other countries, we are lower academically. Our world is all about after school activities. As you heard me say, we too have after school activities and place a great deal of value in them. Academics is the most important part of my children's lives, not after school activities. They are professional students who go to work and put in a full day as students every day. Sometimes work follows them home just as it does most professionals. We spend a great deal of one on one time with each of our children, including helping with homework. We also make sure they have a large amount of unstructured time to play and just be children. Children do not need to be structured and taken from activity to activity. I believe that dance is wonderful as are many other sports, but they do not help a student pass the SAT or get into a wonderful university do they? As for telling me I have a lot to learn about educating children, well we shall agree to disagree. Having a civil conversation without pointing fingers is one of the things I hope to pass on to my children, as all view points are important. I am a parent first and foremost and an educator secondly. I have a lot to offer from both sides of the table. I know both view points. I live in both worlds. I hope that in the future you will try to listen to others and not hear what you want to believe they said. I agreed that homework should not dominate home life. Telling the trained educator what to do to educate you child is not team work, it is bullying. You need to foster a team atmosphere as you both must work together. My question to you is what is happening in the classroom? Is your son using all of his time wisely? Setting him up to fail when papers are turned in late, and teaching him that it is 'ok' not to meet the teachers' deadline for turning in assignments is not living in the real world. If I were to tell my boss that I will only work 10 minutes on the assigned project after work, and I will get done only what gets done, I fear I would be fired. Please stop and take a look at what the long term effects are on what you are teaching you children by your words and your actions. Please seek a holistic answer to why your son has so much homework, and do not bully a highly trained educator who needs to be on your team.


MagnetMom December 27, 2009

I think we all know that we *all* want what's best for our children, and luckily for us kids are pretty resilient to parental choices. Perhaps you can agree to disagree and move on to other topics? I'd hate to see this turn into a personal attack when we're all here to learn about what's best for our kids.


GEEJAY December 27, 2009

Hi everyone. Thank you for your opinions on this matter. I was hoping to here some real good advice as to how to communicate better with the teachers that I greatly respect at the school my children attend (which I can only praise and appreciate every bit of the teachers hard work). We are all human and need a little advice no matter how much we think we are experts at what we do. I love my family dearly and I am a professional that wants my children to succeed in every aspect of their lives but formost I want them to be happy. I will fight for that.

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