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Is this normal???

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My nine year old just changed schools from one montessori to another and this new one seems very heavy on textbooks/workbooks.  I think all the stuff in his main class is out of these books, and he has TONS (most nights 2+ hours) of homework, which is mostly workbook stuff.  He also has spelling (every weekend has to put his 12 words in alphabetical order, look them up and write down the first two definitions, and a sentence for each  --  which is like 4 hours each weekend).  I'm kind of freaking out because he has always loved school before and I'm scared that's a thing of the past.  :(  


ETA:  He's in third grade.

Edited by rubidoux - 9/20/12 at 8:47pm
post #2 of 8

Bumping this up for attention. Anyone have experiences to share or suggestions?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks, HHM!

He's crying in the other room w/ dh trying to get through his math (a ton of corrections and two new workbook pages). I was really hoping he'd finish one subject before dinner, but I don't see it happening as they're totally fighting in there now. greensad.gif I think ds is frustrated out of his mind.

We had an hour between school and karate and I let him take 20 min to rest and then spend about 35 min on some spelling and math corrections. And now he's got this math, and then he's supposed to write a story using alliteration (this sounds hard to me but like it could be a little fun for him if it was, say, his only homework), and then he needs to finish a social studies chapter end test (several questions involving at least a sentence for each answer, last question is "write a paragraph about blah blah"), and finally four pages in his reading workbook.

I feel like I'm going to cry, too. I cannot imagine a surer way to make a nine year old hate school.

And I'm really starting to worry about when he's going to read the last 120 pages of this novel he's reading for his book report due a week from today. greensad.gif

I was really hoping that we could put our heads down and persever and maybe get better at using our time well and develop good study habits. But I feel like he's really despairing and it's hard to get a nine year old to push through that.

Eta: I haven't really talked to the teacher yet, which I suppose is the obvious thing. I guess I have felt a little bit like maybe he's way behind the curve and we have to figure out how to get him up to speed. But I don't know... Can third graders really be expected to do all this work? It's so hard to tell bc of course I could do it a whole lot faster than he can, yk?
post #4 of 8

Wow. I am no Montessori expert but that amount of homework sounds developmentally inappropriate to me, like something more appropriate for a 7th grader.  It also sounds un-Montessori...I thought M. was more hands-on? I understand the need for practicing certain skills, but I don't really understand why a 9 year old would have so much all in one night, unless:


1) he has time to do it in class and is goofing around instead? time management might be an issue?


2) has a rookie teacher with unrealistic expectations?


Maybe someone who knows Montessori more for this age, or is a parent of a 9-year old can answer. My kids are younger but this doesn't sound educationally sound to me...how is he supposed to focus on one thing when he is so overwhelmed? I remember my own hw in 3rd grade...we'd have spelling one night, math two nights, current events one night, and an ongoing reading journal, plus the occasional other long-term project.

post #5 of 8

My 8 year old is in 3rd grade at a Montessori school and he does have some homework, but not nearly what you're describing.  


They use SRA spelling and he has spelling homework M-W nights, studies for the test Thursday and then nothing over the weekend.  Homework is usually writing 10 or 15 sentences or a paragraph using the spelling words.  The list is 20 words long each week.


For math they use the Saxon curriculum and he has 15 problems from the book M-R nights.  


He also has to read a chapter book and write a book report on it once a month.  


My son's teachers view the homework and accompanying tests as "life skill lessons", based on the assumption that after Montessori the kids will go to middle school and have to take tests.  I know the learn math and spelling in the classroom using traditional Montessori materials - the textbooks only come out for homework.  


I'd encourage you to talk to his teachers.  My son was homeschooled up until this fall so we've had our share of adjustments.  His teachers have been great about making accommodations for him and helping to find strategies for him to better handle the work.  You might also talk to some other parents and see how their kids are handling the homework.


It does sound like your son's workload is a bit much, but maybe there are some other underlying issues - perhaps he's struggling to get things done during class time so he has to take them home?  Or could there be an underlying developmental issue?  My son struggles mightly with handwriting so the book report and spelling activities are very hard.  Vision problems might also contribute...


Good luck mama!

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

I think that time management is a bit of an issue (he doesn't goof around, but he does seem to take random 3 to 10 minute pauses, sometimes during and/or after each question).  Another thing is that he's not very motivated at all.  :(  Ugh.  Right now he and I are recovering from clashing about it.  He was doing really well moving through an assignment in a timely fashion (with me sitting there maintaining some pressure), actually he got one assignment totally done and then half way through the second one he claimed that he only had to do half of it (which I don't entirely believe  --  I don't think he's lying, but I think he's convinced himself its true or might be true), and then he claimed that, in fact, he only had to do one question less than half of it.  So, I told him he needed to do that last question of the first half and he just lost it.  Then I kinda lost it.  :(  


Another thing about it that I didn't quite realize is that it's sort of snowballing.  He's getting a little bit farther behind each day.  In a way, that actually makes me feel better.  If he was starting each day with a clean slate and getting 3 hours of homework every night I would feel doomed, but this way maybe we can catch up.  When I think of the actual work on his plate though, it is so hard to imagine how.  :(  I think we need to work him really hard for a weekend to catch up, but that will be hell.  And it sucks that he happens to have a book report due this monday.  


I talked to some people at his old school (who have heard stories about the new school from older kids who made the transition) and to a mom who's son had a really hard time at the new school, and by all accounts everyone has had a very hard time with all of the homework and several people have moved their kids out after a couple of months or the first year.  I know of at least one family who seem quite happy with it after moving over, though (at least it seems like they must be since they moved all three of their kids over).  I am still holding out some hope that we can make it work.  There are some really good things about the school and then there's the problem that we don't have enough money to be putting another deposit down somewhere else and probably losing a whole month of tuition.  Sigh...

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Omg!  We finished his homework tonight!  :)  I hope we can start keeping up...

post #8 of 8

Jayne, how is it going?  My heart goes out to you, that sounds like a difficult situation.  I specifically asked the admissions director at my daughter's school and they said very little, if any, homework until about the 4-5th grade level.  They have schedules and goals/plans for the week, but nothing at this level of intensity.  Do you know any of the other mothers?  I've become very friendly with a few mothers in my daughter's class and we share notes.

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