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Let's Talk Homework

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

I've always been fairly pro-homework. I think that homework can be useful in teaching children about time management, work ethic, etc. Or that's how I felt until my son starting having homework! lol.gif

 

We need differentiated work for DS. His teacher is dragging her feet on even meeting with us, and I'm at the point of going over her head since she can't seem to find a time for a parent-teacher conference.

 

DS is bringing home what I consider busy work. It's basic patterns (2-3 pieces repeating) and basic addition. DS' math skills are years ahead of that work. At home, he's working on multiplication & division. We do multi-digit addition & subtraction. He plays Sudoku, tangrams, chess for fun. I bought a 2nd grade math curriculum for him that we're zipping through to learn any random skills he doesn't have. We've done fun stuff like early geometry, basic equations (simple linear equations), Roman numerals. (I am preparing all of this information for our meeting with his school.)

 

He didn't finish his homework last week. The parts he did do were a struggle. He cries and argues about why he should have to do "preschool" work. Of course to be fair, he did pay our 4YO to do 2 pages for him before we realized it. (She's cheap, too - only 10 cents per page!) Anyway, his teacher sent home this note yesterday about how he needed to complete his homework because it counts as part of his grade and that homework is very important. It was irksome yesterday, but we had several things going on after school. I did have him complete the homework and take it in today. The more I think about it, though, the more just absolutely fuming I am that this woman who cannot find a time to meet with us dares to write us a chiding note about doing work that he was figuring out on his own at age 2! I've never thought we'd opt out of homework, but I'm wondering if it's best to say that we're opting out until he can have homework that is on his level. He's begging for math work at home, which is why we're doing the formal curriculum. (The game/puzzle stuff he just does on his own.) Would we be wrong to opt out until it's more appropriate? I feel that it's just homework for the sake of homework, which I'm finding is really distracting from the actual task of learning.

post #2 of 39

 

I'm not anti-homework either, but I believe it should be meaningful work. When I read your description of the situation, my thought was to send in the 2nd grade work he completes at home instead of the busy work, along with an explanatory note (or e-mail or phone call) about why you are opting out, and keep pushing for that meeting with her. 

 

Good luck. How frustrating for you and your ds, I hope there's some progress for him soon. 

post #3 of 39

I'd talk to his teacher. 

 

I've never had a problem with homework, but my kids have never had very much.  I like seeing how my oldest (the youngest is in K and doesn't have homework yet) is doing, what he needs help with, etc.  I do give my kids work to do as they ask, mostly math problems that they do on their own.  I'd absolutely follow his lead on what he wants to learn at home and talk to his teacher about not doing what she sends home or see if she can send something more at his level.  She might not be too excited about it though.  I've had teachers who thought it was great that my kids wanted to move ahead and teachers who thought it wasn't so great.

post #4 of 39
Quote:

Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

His teacher is dragging her feet on even meeting with us, and I'm at the point of going over her head since she can't seem to find a time for a parent-teacher conference.


How do you communicate with her? I've found that email works best with most teachers.

 

I also like the idea of sending in the math work that he is doing at home with a note.

 

I'd also check into whether or not your state has gifted IEPs.

post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
How do you communicate with her? I've found that email works best with most teachers.

 

I also like the idea of sending in the math work that he is doing at home with a note.

 

I'd also check into whether or not your state has gifted IEPs.

I've emailed and written notes. DS has been bugging me to eat lunch with him. I'm doing that on Thursday, which I figure gives me a chance to say "have you found time in your schedule for a meeting yet?"

 

We do have gifted IEPs. Our district asks that we try to go to the teacher before talking to the school's gifted coordinator, but I've decided that this week is the last one I'm waiting.

 

DS is making up reasons not to go to school everyday: it's raining, I fell and bruised my shin on Saturday, I could *get* a fever during the day. I really don't want him to hate school, but I fear we're setting him up for it. 
 

 

post #6 of 39

I wouldn't opt out until you're positive that no accommodation will be made for your child period. If you opt out now, the first report the principal will get is that this child does not do his homework. It's really tough to get accommodations for a child who isn't actively proving they can do the current work. Yes, it's ridiculous. Absolutely, your child shouldn't have remedial homework day after day. I'm sure he's got test scores and everyone KNOWS he can do it but if he doesn't have the paper trail to prove it, your job just gets that much harder. I don't want you to shoot yourself in the foot. I'd keep focused on the long term goals, be very open about WHY this work needs to be done at this point (because it's the only way to get more appropriate work) and do your best to make it more enjoyable whether it's writing in your own problems for him in the margins, breaking up the homework into little bits of time, whatever.

 

If after you've had the necessary conversations and nothing will be done, by all means opt out.

post #7 of 39
Thread Starter 

Those reasons are the only ones that I've used to convince him to do the homework, but it's week 7 of school. They're still doing "finish the pattern: 1, 2, 1, 2, ___ (15-20 blanks that you have to write in). Pages of that a day would make me a little bonkers, too. 

 

His teacher said at the beginning of the year that she is not a math person. They do the minimal math, and my gut feeling is that she's sending home this work (they're tear-out sheets from a math workbook) because that's the book she's supposed to use. There are an awful lot of excuses for not doing math (which is scheduled in the afternoons); early release day, movie reward day, extra recess day. Then we have to force the kids to do the work at home, which is why she keeps telling us that she "hasn't had time" to evaluate the students yet.

 

She said that reading is her focus. They do alphabet levels on reading. DS is 5 letters in front of the next kid in his class. She has him reading silently while the other kids work on their level. Shouldn't she be thinking, "woo-hoo! You're a good reader. I think you'd enjoy this book." Instead, she said to him, "I really dislike Harry Potter" when he said that's what he was reading at home.  AAAAHHHH!!!

 

Still, I know that he needs the paper trail, but it's tough to convince a 6YO to wait.

post #8 of 39

Are there any other teachers? It doesn't sound like this teacher will ever be the one you want. 7 weeks in and you are still on this work goes beyond the "review" excuse. Go to the GATE coordinator now and then the principal. Sounds like you've done your best to wait, to schedule a conference with her ect. If she's not responsive, well, you'll have to go over her head.

post #9 of 39

***

Of course to be fair, he did pay our 4YO to do 2 pages for him before we realized it.

***

 

If these kids aren't gifted, I don't know who is.

 

Sounds to me like you've got a teacher who doesn't know or like math.  That's a terrible mismatch for your son.

 

I absolutely would not force my kid to do work that's not appropriate for him.  You shouldn't need a paper trail.  Show the principal and teacher the appropriate work your child does at home. 

 

This is how even people who liked the idea of homework get turned off to it.  If it doesn't help your child learn, what is the bleeping point?

post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

He didn't finish his homework last week. The parts he did do were a struggle. He cries and argues about why he should have to do "preschool" work. Of course to be fair, he did pay our 4YO to do 2 pages for him before we realized it. (She's cheap, too - only 10 cents per page!) Anyway, his teacher sent home this note yesterday about how he needed to complete his homework because it counts as part of his grade and that homework is very important. It was irksome yesterday, but we had several things going on after school. I did have him complete the homework and take it in today. The more I think about it, though, the more just absolutely fuming I am that this woman who cannot find a time to meet with us dares to write us a chiding note about doing work that he was figuring out on his own at age 2! I've never thought we'd opt out of homework, but I'm wondering if it's best to say that we're opting out until he can have homework that is on his level. He's begging for math work at home, which is why we're doing the formal curriculum. (The game/puzzle stuff he just does on his own.) Would we be wrong to opt out until it's more appropriate? I feel that it's just homework for the sake of homework, which I'm finding is really distracting from the actual task of learning.


YES, absolutely opt out. I never hear a better reason. My 6 yo still does his homework, but it is not that much of a problem, as it is in your case. What a way to turn off a kid to learning. And frankly, if the 4yo loves the work, I would let him/her do it. I would be SERIOUSLY tempted to turn that in, with a note (since she does not have time to meet with you) that 1.) you are opting out of homework until we can have appropriate homework and 2.) the homework she will get back is from your 4yo, as your DS is willing to pay her for it. 

 

He sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders. He has a lot of common sense. FWIW every time my 6yo gets homework, my 4 yo insists on it too. So DH makes assignments for her while I work with DS on his. But some of it is busy work, and if I could get away with letting her do it, I would. It would make both of my kids happy. DH would never go for it though. 

 

post #11 of 39

I have to say our DDs school does not grade homework.  Which makes sense.  Homework is practice for the student to ensure they know the concepts when they are assessed.  If he knows them already, he knows them already.  That makes no sense to have him do things he already knows, especially with something like math, where it is pretty black and white. I think it would be different if it was reading or writing because we can always improve and easily add new concepts/chellenges.  However, with math, improvement comes with new skills once mastery in one area is met. 

 

 

I agree with AllsionR let the 4 yr old do it. 

 

 

I just read your second post.  This teacher is not accomodating your child at all.  I would definately go over her head.  It sounds like she doesn't want to bother with him. 

 

 

The same thing happened with my DD in public school.  We pulled her and I homeschooled her for the rest of the year.  The next year we found a school that differentiated learning and focused more on meeting individual goals and growth.  We could not be happier. 

 

Most days she forgets her math book at school, but she still gets 4s (which means exceeding standards) in the accelerated math group.  THe teachers and I are fine with it because she still knows her stuff.  I would be more worried about a child who does their work every day but was still not getting the concepts. 

post #12 of 39

Opt out! And yes, at this point, I would also be going over her head. I need differentiated work for DD1, but on the other side of the spectrum. DD1 is dyslexic and behind grade level on things, she needs easier work in order not to be frustrated even though she can sometimes do higher work, at this point, it is still taxing to her. We are taking baby steps with her. I email or write a note in and I get a response and different work/schedule that very week. I could see not getting differentiated work the first month for your DS but at 7 weeks? Really. By now, she is just ignoring the problem. 

post #13 of 39

Quote:

Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

I'm not anti-homework either, but I believe it should be meaningful work. When I read your description of the situation, my thought was to send in the 2nd grade work he completes at home instead of the busy work, along with an explanatory note (or e-mail or phone call) about why you are opting out, and keep pushing for that meeting with her. 

 

Good luck. How frustrating for you and your ds, I hope there's some progress for him soon. 


I think this is what I'd do as well, though in this situation my dh would probably be ready to tell her that she either schedules a time to meet with us in the next week or we'll ask the principle to find time in his schedule. Ds is in 2nd grade (3rd year in two schools) and we've never had to wait more than a 1.5 weeks to have a conference after we asked for one -- usually on the Friday after the week we asked, though sometimes in the same week.

 

How Can I Fight for a Gifted Child? - Wrightslaw

 

Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post  Go to the GATE coordinator now and then the principal. Sounds like you've done your best to wait, to schedule a conference with her ect. If she's not responsive, well, you'll have to go over her head.

 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by MsBirdie View Post
 

I just read your second post.  This teacher is not accomodating your child at all.  I would definately go over her head.  It sounds like she doesn't want to bother with him.

 

yeahthat.gif

post #14 of 39

It looks like two separate problems to me.  The first problem is the teacher. To say she is not a math person is absolutely unacceptable. She is an elementary school teacher and teaching math is part of her job. She is setting every child in that class up for future problems. I would also be pretty upset if my DS's teacher wouldn't find time to meet with me. Like some of the pp's have said I would go over her head at this point. That is not okay. She is lucky to have a concerned parent in her classroom.

 

The second problem I see is with the homework itself. That does sound tedious and like busy work to me. My question is whether this is the level of the class as a whole. Your son is obviously ahead of the curve in math. However, if this is where the class is at for math, than I'm not sure if the homework is inappropriate (although it probably is). Just inappropriate for your son. If I were in your shoes, I would try to have your son keep doing the work until you can meet with her or the principal. That way you have a paper trail, but you are also teaching your son a valuable lesson. I would try to look at this as an oppurtunity to teach him to stick with something even when it's tough until a better solution can be worked out. I would approach it like hey, I know this is pretty boring for you, but until I talk to Ms. Teacher we need to keep it up.  Let's see how fast you can finish these worksheets. Then, I would keep him in the loop when you have a meeting scheduled so he knows that progress is being made and that you are advocating for him. Not just making him do boring and tedious homework.

 

This is a real pickle for you and it must be indescribably frustrating. Hopefully, you can work out a solution pretty quickly so your son can have a great school year. Good luck. 

post #15 of 39

I'd also start keeping a log of what is going on, every time you contact the teacher, her response, and samples of the kind of homework your son is refusing to do.

 

I'd treat it sort of the same  way I've handled some SN issues with my DD. I think you are really close to needing to write a letter to the principal of what has happened and what the teacher is refusing to do/arrange. I consider it a big step -- I don't go over people's heads to their bosses lightly. I would make multiple attempts with the teacher in a variety of ways first, and document those attempts.

 

But if she continued to stale I would go over her head.

 

I wouldn't force the homework -- it's not a reasonable thing to have a power struggle with your child over. I would document what he is currently capable of.

post #16 of 39
Thread Starter 

We're definitely keeping records. Tomorrow's the day that I go in for lunch, so I'm hoping at least a meeting time/date will come out of that. 

post #17 of 39

Good luck! Keep us posted. I'll be lurking to see how it works out for you. This is our first year in public school and the homework is pretty different from the homework we had in our little hippie private school last year. There's a lot of busy work and a lot of work that is way too easy for my dd2 (2nd grade) in math, especially. Maybe you could ask to see the math book she's using? In my dd2's case they're using the Envisions curriculum and as a part of that curriculum it seems they really try to cement the basic math facts from 0 to 19 in addition and subtraction. Dd2 already knows those, so it's all review for her right now. On her own she's not doing multiplication (much, a teeny bit), but she's ready for two digit addition and subtraction for sure. I got a paper from the teacher this week, sort of a math progress report, that said she got a 100 on her topic test. I had to sign and return a portion so I wrote on there that I "anticipated and hoped" that the work would be more challenging for her soon. I don't think she's really third grade level (although maybe), but I'd think she was probably more like a 2nd half of 2nd grade level. I haven't had a chance to look at the book yet, but we have conferences next month. The reading stuff is really easy for her, too. She's one of the older kids in her class (fall birthday, August cut-off) and really seems about 6 months ahead of the class in math certainly, and probably beyond that in reading (she's on Harry Potter 3). I don't know maybe I need to conference with the teacher sooner. It just seems too easy for second grade in general to me.

 

For my dd1 (5th grade) she's having a lot of busy work, too, and twice now she's had assignments to write songs(!) in math(!?!) and social studies(!). I think it's an attempt to "make it fun". She has also had to take apart her spelling words and alphabetize them letter by letter as in (letter=eelrtt). Her best teacher (science, & reading) doesn't give homework!

post #18 of 39
Thread Starter 

I will be meeting with DS' teacher tomorrow morning. 

 

I also ate lunch with DS today. Wow. I don't even know where to begin. There were a number of children in his class who seemed to have some major delays. One little boy actually climbed onto the table and had to be removed. The teacher has a child who has to walk down the hall holding both of her hands, and he was still trying to kick people. A couple of the kids cannot form complete sentences and would repeat things like "you mom?" while pointing at DS or "how old you?" I guess after seeing that I wouldn't be rushing to meet with me either because according to one girl at our table, "[DS] is really good. He always listens, and he knows all of the answers." 

 

When we were there for open house, I actually wondered why she had the lowest levels of books she has because I knew that DD could read them. I haven't viewed either of my children as precocious readers, but DS told me that almost everyone in his class was on A, B, or C level. Now that I have experienced the kids, I can believe that it's an appropriate level for most of them.

 

I don't know what to do. I honestly don't think it's realistic for her to accommodate DS in a classroom full of children who are still reading "this is a ball" or counting objects to 10 (that's *all* they've done in math class). Maybe I am wrong about the typical first grader, but I didn't expect to see what I saw today. I also get some of DS' concerns about going to school given the number of children who seemed unable not to hit, push, put their hands in others' faces, etc. I wouldn't respond well to that either.

post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

I will be meeting with DS' teacher tomorrow morning. 

 

I also ate lunch with DS today. Wow. I don't even know where to begin. There were a number of children in his class who seemed to have some major delays. One little boy actually climbed onto the table and had to be removed. The teacher has a child who has to walk down the hall holding both of her hands, and he was still trying to kick people. A couple of the kids cannot form complete sentences and would repeat things like "you mom?" while pointing at DS or "how old you?" I guess after seeing that I wouldn't be rushing to meet with me either because according to one girl at our table, "[DS] is really good. He always listens, and he knows all of the answers." 

 

When we were there for open house, I actually wondered why she had the lowest levels of books she has because I knew that DD could read them. I haven't viewed either of my children as precocious readers, but DS told me that almost everyone in his class was on A, B, or C level. Now that I have experienced the kids, I can believe that it's an appropriate level for most of them.

 

I don't know what to do. I honestly don't think it's realistic for her to accommodate DS in a classroom full of children who are still reading "this is a ball" or counting objects to 10 (that's *all* they've done in math class). Maybe I am wrong about the typical first grader, but I didn't expect to see what I saw today. I also get some of DS' concerns about going to school given the number of children who seemed unable not to hit, push, put their hands in others' faces, etc. I wouldn't respond well to that either.


Just to clarify, this is a 1st grade class?

 

post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

 Maybe I am wrong about the typical first grader, but I didn't expect to see what I saw today. I also get some of DS' concerns about going to school given the number of children who seemed unable not to hit, push, put their hands in others' faces, etc. I wouldn't respond well to that either.


I don't think your wrong. What you described isn't the norm based on what we've experienced but then, sometimes that just happens. Sometimes you have those grades where the natural balance is all off. Instead of every class having a couple kids who struggle, a couple kids with behavioral issues... you end up with a grade where HALF the kids have one or both of these issues (and it can go the other way too... both my kids have been in GATE programs with stronger academic peers but just terrible behavioral issues.) There isn't a whole lot you can control when it comes to which kids in your community were born the same year.

 

You might ask about other teachers. Perhaps they got luckier with their combination of kids. There may be a class with more advanced kids in it. If you go this route, I'd pull focus off the teacher and more on your trying to find a more appropriate peer base for your child.

 

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