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How much homework does your child have and in what grade? - Page 2

post #21 of 109

It looks like our family is in for a real eye-opener. DC is in 5th grade and has homework for the first time ever. We're on our first week of homework and it appears to be about 1-2 hours 3 days/week. We'll be experiencing a learning curve this year as well, which we'll look at as a gift to prepare us for 6th grade. Your DC's school sounds wonderful - perhaps the homework will ebb and flow or maybe your DC will get faster at it? That's my hope for my DC.

post #22 of 109
Thread Starter 

I think last week was an especially rough week with a lot of stuff due all at once, but I'm not sure what is up with all this writing from the Science teacher. She's already had to do three 1-2 page research papers w/ sources for him in the first month of class. That's not including other homework projects from him (poster, design an experiment, plus the science packets). She was just beginning to learn how to write papers last year in 5th grade (persuasive essays, etc) and now she's having to cite sources in science papers. Other than that I really love the science teacher. He's very hands on and funny and smart. 

 

I think the English homework is actually a reasonable amount, but there was just a lot of end of week/end of the month stuff due last week. 

 

The writing for her elective (outdoor skills) is pretty weird in my book, too, but I think some of it may be class work that she's not getting done. They do spend most of their time outside learning about knots and poisonous plants and other outdoor skills, but what up with the writing?!

 

She hasn't had that much from the social studies teacher and the math seems like a reasonable amount too. It's just *wham* when it all comes together like that.

 

I don't think I'm going to make too many waves, but there have been several parents who are concerned about the amount of work. I think we just need to learn to organize and prioritize and focus.

post #23 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

I don't think I'm going to make too many waves, but there have been several parents who are concerned about the amount of work. I think we just need to learn to organize and prioritize and focus.

Maybe just a casual comment or note to the administration would be a good idea. I often lend my support for changes in a really casual way for things that I'd like to see change but that aren't all that important to me. That way, I figure I add my voice to the choir, yk? 

post #24 of 109

My DD1 is in 7th grade and gets maybe 2 hours per night, while DD2 is in 4th and has maybe 15-30 minutes, plus reading (which she does regardless, so I don't check to see that it's 30 minutes exactly every night). DD1 does not have study hall, but does have band two mornings per week, a yoga class after school one day, plus a Saturday activity. It's do-able, but mostly because the workload varies somewhat, we don't have a daily after-school activity, and she is very focused. She generally wants to start working on homework right away rather than taking a break after school.

 

I had an idea that used to help me in school and seems to be helping DD1. We are pretty much morning people, so after a full day at work/school, sometimes we just can't concentrate at night. We both tend to wake up early to finish stuff rather than staying up late if we're in a crunch. I at least double my speed and concentration by doing this. Timing may be something to consider.

 

PS After seeing Race to Nowhere and hearing the comments specific to my community, I am definitely concerned about high school as a parent who has kids who need their downtime.
 

post #25 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragana View Post

 

I had an idea that used to help me in school and seems to be helping DD1. We are pretty much morning people, so after a full day at work/school, sometimes we just can't concentrate at night. We both tend to wake up early to finish stuff rather than staying up late if we're in a crunch. I at least double my speed and concentration by doing this. Timing may be something to consider.

That's a great tip! I wish we were morning people. 

post #26 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

I think last week was an especially rough week with a lot of stuff due all at once, but I'm not sure what is up with all this writing from the Science teacher. She's already had to do three 1-2 page research papers w/ sources for him in the first month of class. That's not including other homework projects from him (poster, design an experiment, plus the science packets). 

beanma i am curious. does he draw up a timeline for them? so everything is not due at the same time.

 

i cant imagine dd coping with that kind of varied hw without a timelline of when to turn things in. she is not that organized yet. 

post #27 of 109
Thread Starter 

No, not a timeline. He didn't assign it all at once. It was just daily assignments. Last Tuesday's assignment was a 1 page research paper on tardigrades in space, including two different references, reading a science packet (4 pages or so), answering the questions in the packet, and defining the science vocab words. It was due Thurs, two days later. The week before that on Tuesday he assigned a 2 page research paper with 4 different references due for Thurs.

 

Students do have planners and should write all their assignments in their planners. I am trying to get dd1 to do this consistently, but she's a little flaky on it. 

post #28 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

No, not a timeline. He didn't assign it all at once. It was just daily assignments. Last Tuesday's assignment was a 1 page research paper on tardigrades in space, including two different references, reading a science packet (4 pages or so), answering the questions in the packet, and defining the science vocab words. It was due Thurs, two days later. The week before that on Tuesday he assigned a 2 page research paper with 4 different references due for Thurs.

 

Students do have planners and should write all their assignments in their planners. I am trying to get dd1 to do this consistently, but she's a little flaky on it. 

beanma it seems like he is assigning at least one page of research and writing a day. for 7th grade that is not unusual in our area. references imho are not extra work because you need to cite from where you got the info. meaning you have to research different sites to look for your info.

 

research and citing while writing papers have been part of dd's curriculum since 4th grade. they did get a timeline and everything was not due the same day though. 

 

OT - i really enjoyed reading up on tardigrades (i thought it was a typo winky.gif). i didnt know what they were called, but its a fun thing. 

 

all the 5 middle schools i know and the other elem schools, all hw is due the next day. unless its project work, then they have different due dates. 

post #29 of 109
Thread Starter 

She's in 6th grade, not 7th. And it's always assigned in chunks like this. All the teachers assign in these chunks so the kids (and parents) have to figure out how to prioritize getting it all done w/o letting it all pile up at the end. Dd1 has actually done a pretty good job with that overall. This week has not been as crazy as last week, but last week was pretty crazy.

post #30 of 109

oops sorry about the 7th grade. beanma what about 4th and 5th? did the teachers break down the task for her? or did i miss that she is in a new school with new rules. 

 

for us 4th grade the teacher broke up the task and taught them how to research, how to manage their time, how to write their report. everyday she'd work with them - even for a few minutes as a reminder. 

 

5th grade she has a seperate white board to organize hw and children write it down.

 

i'm glad that your dd is pretty well organized. that is a challenge for dd inspite of the teacher helping out so much. 

post #31 of 109
Thread Starter 

Middle school starts in 6th grade here, so yes she's in a new school. Doesn't middle school usually start in 6th? (Back in the olden days when I was a kid I went to one year of Junior High (7th, 8th, 9th) before they built a middle school and then went there for 8th.)

 

No, my child is not organized at all! Didn't mean to give that false impression. She will never in her life be organized! She is, however, with plenty of parental reminders, managing to not end up with a huge pile of homework to do all on Thursday night most of the time. It's a big learning curve for her, but I think she is developing some skills that will help her later on.

 

She did not get any instruction on writing research papers or citing sources prior to this year. She did get a little bit of instruction on writing persuasive essays and maybe something similar in her social studies/writing class last year in 5th grade, but there was no writing papers in science class last year at all.

 

I don't think I got explicit instruction on writing a research paper until maybe high school. It's all a bit hazy, though, could have been sooner. I remember writing plenty of papers, but not usually for Science. I wrote History papers and English papers, etc. I think the only thing she's had to write for English so far has been a book report. She's done far more writing for Science than any other class including English and Social Studies. I think that's a bit odd, but overall I really like her Science teacher.

post #32 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

No, not a timeline. He didn't assign it all at once. It was just daily assignments. Last Tuesday's assignment was a 1 page research paper on tardigrades in space, including two different references, reading a science packet (4 pages or so), answering the questions in the packet, and defining the science vocab words. It was due Thurs, two days later. The week before that on Tuesday he assigned a 2 page research paper with 4 different references due for Thurs.

 

Students do have planners and should write all their assignments in their planners. I am trying to get dd1 to do this consistently, but she's a little flaky on it. 

My ds has the planner, too, and he is not good at using it.  The only class he really needs it for is math, and that teacher has some assignments due daily and other weekly.  Luckily, because the math teacher gives soooo much homework and does not give full credit for late work (1 day late 50% reduction and nothing after that), she does post their assignments on a website and will also text message it.   I am under the impression that a large part of the grading in math class is on organization instead of math.  Maybe it will help by the time ds gets to high school.

post #33 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

Middle school starts in 6th grade here, so yes she's in a new school. Doesn't middle school usually start in 6th? (Back in the olden days when I was a kid I went to one year of Junior High (7th, 8th, 9th) before they built a middle school and then went there for 8th.)

Duh. pardon my menopausal brain. of course new school. shy.gif however where i was elementary goes upto 6th grade or 8th grade and middle school is 7th and 8th grade. another part of the city under a different district mostly has k - 8th and the few middle schools they have start in 6th grade. so for dd who will be transfering in 6th grade, she will start middle school in new district.

 

No, my child is not organized at all!

AHA!!! then dd has good company. it is because of that dd gets study hall all the time (during lunch recess) as she forgets stuff to bring home, do  - you name it she has done it. however her teacher is understanding too. if she missed due to some reason like illness she will forgive that.

 

She did not get any instruction on writing research papers or citing sources prior to this year. She did get a little bit of instruction on writing persuasive essays and maybe something similar in her social studies/writing class last year in 5th grade, but there was no writing papers in science class last year at all.

this is really sad to hear. dd's school (she's been in 2 schools - regular public schools) and both schools start some sort of research skill in first grade (using library books in the beginning and then introducing computers). they had to do a science project in 1st grade and had to do a paragraph writing. their first paper was in 2nd grade. but now that you mention it - yes dd's writing was more in science than english. by size. she did more writing for english from 2nd grade on (paragraph maybe once a week), but long research writing (a one to two page paper) was done in science. the good part was she was allowed to type for science, but had to handwrite for english which was the bummer. they learnt different sorts of paragraphs (persuasive and argumentative in 4th grade). 

 

not sure if this is the case with your school district but every middle school has a feeder elementary school mainly so that the children have continuity. well, dd next year is going to break that continuity as she is going to go to a brand new district. hopefully she wont have many holes.  75% of the kids in her class will go to the middle school associated with her school. 

post #34 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

this is really sad to hear. dd's school (she's been in 2 schools - regular public schools) and both schools start some sort of research skill in first grade (using library books in the beginning and then introducing computers). they had to do a science project in 1st grade and had to do a paragraph writing. their first paper was in 2nd grade. but now that you mention it - yes dd's writing was more in science than english. by size. she did more writing for english from 2nd grade on (paragraph maybe once a week), but long research writing (a one to two page paper) was done in science. the good part was she was allowed to type for science, but had to handwrite for english which was the bummer. they learnt different sorts of paragraphs (persuasive and argumentative in 4th grade). 

 

Well, I'm probably downplaying the writing she has done previously, but the whole citation thing is definitely new. Has your dd been using the standard MLA citation since 1st grade?

 

I guess what I'm most surprised about is she's been asked to do all this writing (and I do find it unusual to do so much writing in Science, but not necessarily inappropriate), yet the kids haven't  been given explicit instruction about how to organize their papers beyond the instruction on using MLA format for works cited. The English teacher told them to do a book report, but didn't tell them anything about how to do it and reportedly just wanted to see what they came up with. 

 

Her Science teacher last year was fantastic also, but didn't ever give homework. I don't know, maybe she wrote papers in class but I never saw it. She did score very high on the state standardized science test they give in 5th grade so I guess the way he taught worked for her.

post #35 of 109

no the MLA was introduced last year in 4th grade. but citation training began in 2nd grade when they learnt not to use wikipedia to cite. the teachers showed them how to create a simple bibliography - like author and illustrator and title  and publisher or article name, author and webaddress. last years science and mission report was supposed to have been done in MLA style but wasnt insisted upon. some kids did it in full MLA style. many didnt. to help them the teacher had the source of research color coded so all book excerpts were in yellow, website in pink, newspaper in blue.... but they didnt have to cite each and every info. but they needed to know where they got them from so that when she asked questions they were expected to know where they found it. they had put in so much effort that they DID know when she asked them. but they had to have a perfect bibliography. 

 

not sure if your dd knows about this. http://www.bibme.org/

 

you know that's what surprises me - that your dd hasnt been given specific instructions. dd has been getting age appropriate instructions since first. 4th was when they went all out. the teacher spent a LOT of time in class teaching them how to do the report. they had to do a science report AND history - missions and gold rush report. the gold rush was explicitely stated to have no parental help. dd did it totally on her own. last year i have to admit she did perhaps 15 reports total (including your own business venture and they even had to go find out if they needed a business license, and yes with help from parents - guidance not doing all the work, the kids did find out on their own and i loved their ideas) - all of which involved AT least a page of writing and lots of research. this year so far it seems more homework and less project work. 

 

woah!!! i wonder if the teachers expect your dd to already know all the guidelines. i wonder if they expect the kids had been taught in the early grades. 

post #36 of 109

The thread is reminding me of "Race to Nowhere."

 

I think some of this is a little crazy. Gotta say, neither of my kids were writing research papers in elementary school, but both do well with them in high school.
 

I think that when a child switches from having the same teacher pretty much all day to having a different teacher for each subject, it can be quite an adjustment. There's the random spike in work load PLUS the organizational part. For many kids, which ever year this hits (6th or 7th)  is rough. I'm not convinced doing this switch even younger than we used to is a step in the right direction. 

 

Beanma, does the school have a specific writing focus or writing goals in their mission? One thing that happens here is the big high schools require VERY little writing, even in AP classes, because the teachers just can't grade it. In a lot of high school classes here  -- even the "good" high schools, the kids are may be going to do one 5 page paper the entire year in a challenging class.

 

The charter's and privates tend to go overboard the other direction because it's one of their "selling points."  Being in a school by choice means smaller classes and sometimes even fewer classes for the teachers. Ergo, more time for teacher's to read students' writing.


Edited by Linda on the move - 10/4/12 at 11:40pm
post #37 of 109
Quote:

Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

The English teacher told them to do a book report, but didn't tell them anything about how to do it and reportedly just wanted to see what they came up with. 

I feel like DC's school has done this sort of thing in the past. Maybe it's a way for the teacher to evaluate where she/he needs to begin instruction. That seems fine to me and maybe is kind of interesting, even for both your DC and the teacher. P.s. I just asked DC and she said her teachers ask them to do things like this a couple times/year. So, not uncommon in my DC's world. 


 

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

Well, I'm probably downplaying the writing she has done previously, but the whole citation thing is definitely new. Has your dd been using the standard MLA citation since 1st grade?

 

I think your DC's writing instruction seems plenty age appropriate. I think that meemee's DC's writing instruction is either introduced earlier than average or the way the school chooses to talk about their writing instruction process is more detailed. 

 

DC's school doesn't use any computers and they do to papers on science and book reports but DC said (I just asked her) that they don't cite sources yet. Her class is going to the public library this year (5th) and I suspect they will introduce citations this year. It's not a complicated aspect of writing and it can be introduced and understood when needed, imo. It's a cool thing to learn early, if that's something that the school thinks is important but there are way more important aspects of writing that need to be built over years and that's where I'd prefer to see a school focus. 

post #38 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

I feel like DC's school has done this sort of thing in the past. Maybe it's a way for the teacher to evaluate where she/he needs to begin instruction. 

 

Yes, I think that was the English teacher's intention and I'm fine with that. And I'm really okay with the science papers. Dd1 is getting pretty good at cranking them out and her progress report was good so her level of writing doesn't seem to be hurting her grades. I would like to see the expectations for a paper outlined a little more clearly, personally, but it doesn't seem to be bothering dd1 and her grade is not suffering so probably I should just tell myself to shut up about it already. 

 

I don't know if they expect kids to already know the basics of writing a research paper or not. It's a charter with an emphasis on environmental science and art and not a particular emphasis on writing. The kids come from a variety of backgrounds, but they have a lot of kids who were homeschooled thru elementary and are now having their first building school experience, so I'm sure kids come in with a wide variety of skills. Maybe all this writing is the science teacher's way of teaching them by having them just do it?! He did point the class to some of the citation building sites — easybib was the one he recommended.

 

Overall we're pretty pleased with the instruction and there's a lot of hands-on work in Science in particular so that's great. The papers just surprised me. It seems to be less of a big assignment and more of an everyday thing here. When I was in school it was a big fat hairy deal when I had a PAPER DUE (aaaaghghgh) and now it just seems to be part of weekly homework. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. When I was in school (back in the Paleozoic era) we spent a lot of time learning how to properly format and craft a research paper and a thesis with an introductory paragraph, conclusion, and all the in between bits, too. They often came out pretty stilted so maybe it's better to learn it in a more organic fashion. I do try to help her organize her thoughts and paragraphs (hate reading papers—or internet posts—that are all one giant paragraph with no indentation), though, because she will just go all over the place otherwise. 


Edited by beanma - 10/5/12 at 7:38am
post #39 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

The thread is reminding me of "Race to Nowhere."

 

I think some of this is a little crazy. Gotta say, neither of my kids were writing research papers in elementary school, but both do well with them in high school.

 

I've been reading it and thinking exactly the same. I live in a different country. My ds wrote his first formal research paper last week, in 11th grade biology. He did an amazing job. He's been reading research papers and primary sources for several years, out of a desire to learn things, to follow up threads of interest, to exercise his skeptic's muscles. He's had good models and he has come to understand the true purpose of research. Learning the mechanics of writing his own papers took him a couple of hours, not 8 years -- because he was developmentally ready. He loved doing his paper and was really proud of it. He wrote it on a science topic he is passionate about and has copied it into his blog full of things he's done that he wants to keep forever. I can't believe that 2nd graders really need to be introduced to the MLA manual. What a joy-killer. Will they ever greet the writing of research papers with passion and pride and motivation if they get such an (IMO) inappropriately long head-start at them? How many research papers do most adults need to write? Even working research scientists write maybe three or four a year. Why is it that children should need to write dozens a year from age 7 or 8? In what way is this appropriate preparation for real adult life? 

 

My kids researched things all the time when they were young. But they typically shared what they had learned verbally (out of excitement) if at all. Mostly they researched out of a desire to learn. Which is the best motivation of all for research, in my opinion. I can't imagine that their desire to learn would still be as strong as it is now if they had been saddled with the requirement to write a daily paper about what they were learning for all those years.

 

Maybe I'm just totally not getting it because of some cultural disconnect between Canada and the US. Because wow, daily research papers in 6th grade sounds totally insane to this Canuck.

 

Miranda 

post #40 of 109
Thread Starter 

Well, I see your point, Moomin, and I am calling them "research papers" as shorthand for a paper where the student is asked to research a topic and write a page or two about it and cite their sources, but maybe that's a little bit confusing. It's not the big fat formal research paper I did in college or high school, but it does have the citation part. It's a few paragraphs— a page or two—and more like weekly instead of daily. (I just meant "everyday" in the sense of "ordinary" not "every day".) Dd1 is interested in doing the research part, too, and the teacher is so engaging in the classroom it seems to spill over to the homework and she's excited to find out more about the topics. Getting started with the writing has been hard at times, but I've shown her how to develop a shorthand outline for herself by jotting down points she wants to share as she reads (usu .edu sites on the net) and then building paragraphs around those points. It seems to work for her.

 

The science teacher does also teach AP Env Science so he has pretty high expectations for his high schoolers and some of that may be filtering down to the middle schoolers, too. 

 

I really want to help her develop her keyboarding skills, though, because if she's going to have to do this much paper writing it's going to be so much easier on the computer where corrections are as simple as the delete key and cut and paste. Her typing skills aren't there yet. She does fine on the computer to navigate the web, or bang out a short email to grandma, but actually sitting down and typing something long would be hard and frustrating for her. I'm having both kids do the BBC Dance Mat for just a few minutes daily in hopes that will at least provide a foundation for touch typing instead of hunting and pecking. I'm not a true touch typist. Mainly use my index and middle fingers, but I can do 50 wpm on a good day and that's reasonable for your fingers to keep up with your brain (at least my brain—it doesn't operate at 120 wpm). I hope they can get more comfortable with typing so it will be easier for them.

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