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How much homework does your child have and in what grade? - Page 4

post #61 of 109
This is a good thread. My ds had to do "research papers" in K (he is now 8). I am not even joking, but I'm also putting research papers in quotations for a reason. They were Kindergardeners, for crying out loud! I loved his K teacher. She was very caring and was honestly hoping that some kids would just pick up more non fiction books to read (or their parent would read to them) in a subject area that interested them. It was an optional assignment, other than the packet of hw that came home every week, that took about 15 min to complete each night. My son did a "research paper" on turkeys; dolphins; and something else I'm forgetting right now. He was my first child in a typical public school, at that point I wasn't thinking about burn out, he was so excited to do it because he got a prize from the teacher for the optional work (candy or toy). It took us time going to the library to get out books; time to read the books; then more than an hour for him to write down facts he found interesting and draw a picture. After the first "paper" DH and I asked his teacher during the school conference to please not offer candy or toys for optional projects, our son had made it clear at that point his real reason for wanting to do them--he loved the candy!!, duh, wouldn't any 5 yr old--and we wanted our son to do something of that nature that took so much of his time because he *wanted* to learn about it. She agreed. DS stayed in that school where hw increased every year--30 min in 1st grade a night, 45 min by 2nd grade. Burnout was real, and it did indeed happen to him. We finally managed financially to pull him out a month into 2nd and put him in a tiny private school, where they get 3 recesses a day until 3rd grade (its now 2/day). I used to be a big no-homework fanatic because of our first experience. Race to Nowhere, Indeed. However at his new school he not only has more play time in school, but also time to read (they have 20 min of DEAR--drop everything and read each day), so I don't even mind the 15 min of hw he has a night.
post #62 of 109

My son just started High school, 9th grade this year and it does seem he has a few hours of homework every night, often even on weekends.

It has been gradual. He did not have a lot in elementary school although there was more in the 5th and 6th grades. Homework increased in middle school but did not seem that much. It was not every day and there was rarely anything on the weekend. The fact that the homework increase has been gradual was help him son slowly get used to it.

post #63 of 109

My oldest is in kindergarten, we've had 1 worksheet so far, that took 5 minutes to complete - it was 4 very easy math exercises.
 

post #64 of 109

My problem with the homework loads is it always seems we are preparing them for the onslaught that is coming next. For example, in 4th grade they say, "well in 5th grade you're going to have a lot of homework so we have to get you ready." Which means the 4th grade load is increased. Why not let them be where they are? Settle into the space they currently hold and then they can learn what's coming when it comes. My feeling is the first year of high school SHOULD be about learning to handle the load. That's part of what they are learning. I think we need to let children be children and stop creating their college resume day after day. 

post #65 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by BernadetteNoll View Post

Why not let them be where they are? Settle into the space they currently hold and then they can learn what's coming when it comes. My feeling is the first year of high school SHOULD be about learning to handle the load. That's part of what they are learning. I think we need to let children be children and stop creating their college resume day after day. 

this is what a middle school teacher told me. he said the kids who come from no or minimal hw backgrounds REALLY struggle the first few weeks of school - many mostly the whole first year. they suffer coz i think their hws are graded. 

 

those who are used to the volume of hw fit right in and are able to participate all activities and afterschool stuff the school is able to offer. 

post #66 of 109
My DD is in third grade and has an average of an hour to an hour and a half of HW a night. If she isn't managing her time especially well, it may take her more than two hours. This does not include special projects, such as research papers/posters/construction projects, which may take 5-10+ hours.

It's nuts.
post #67 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

this is what a middle school teacher told me. he said the kids who come from no or minimal hw backgrounds REALLY struggle the first few weeks of school - many mostly the whole first year. they suffer coz i think their hws are graded. 

 

those who are used to the volume of hw fit right in and are able to participate all activities and afterschool stuff the school is able to offer. 

 

My kids have certainly not struggled. They had absolutely *no* busy work as homeschoolers prior to high school. Very, very light expectations for bookwork and output. Upon starting public high school they have embraced homework and the organizational challenges it presents with great zeal. All three of my teens have actually enjoyed the schoolwork they did at home, and I think that's rather unusual. Perhaps part of the reason for their unusual attitude is that they didn't have to deal with it until it was truly a necessary part of learning. I honestly think that this is one of those "earlier is not better" situations. Sure, with my kind of laid-back no-busywork approach a few kids will not be ready for the organizational demands of homework upon arriving at the threshold of high school. The solution would be to provide zealous support to those kids during the first year or two of high school. I mean, really, why spend 8 or 10 years acclimatizing kids to high school homework loads when a few weeks or months of support for the kids who need it when they get there would suffice? Why burn out so many kids by turning homework into a hoop-jumping chore for many years? Why create so much stress at home for parents and their relationship with their kids? Why put such pressure on the schedules of such young children? 

 

Miranda

post #68 of 109
Thread Starter 

loraxc, that's horrible for 3rd grade!

 

My dd1 managed to make a 20 minute assignment last 2 hrs tonight. Luckily she didn't have much other homework, but she is the queen of making things take longer than they need to. She was happy enough about it all, just making it last way too long.

post #69 of 109

Joining the other older Moms on the bench - I too, started K in '68. And yes, I remember homework.
 

post #70 of 109

This thread is really interesting for me becasue we are an unschooling family with a 12-year-old who wants to start 8th grade in the public school this coming fall. She is excited about the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activites and to meet a ton of new kids and have daily interactions with them.

 

My goal is to support her in all she wants to do. I definitely want to be involved in every area of her life and studies that she wants me to be involved with. She currently spends a few hours a day working on academic subjects and asks for help with anything she needs help with. She decides how much time she wants to spend on any given topic.

 

I'm guessing that, once she starts school next fall, she will see how different this really is from unschooling all day. I think/hope she'll enjoy the broader social circle and dramatically increased frequency of peer group interactions, and I imagine she'll just have to weigh all that against the loss of free time. Maybe she will thrive on being so busy. We'll just have to see.

 

If she decides to stay in school, I see the following possible outcomes.

 

a) She will learn to manage her time so that she can enjoy all the social stuff and still do a great job academically. She is a very organizationally-oriented person and likes writing schedules for herself.

 

b) She'll focus on the social stuff and just do what it takes to get by academically.

 

c) She'll do a combination of a and b; this is probably the most realistic outcome.

 

I just really want to help her create and pursue the kinds of experiences she needs, in order to meet her own goals for her life. And I'm working to get past the feeling that I have failed her in not having been able to continue meeting her needs by homeschooling her all the way up to young adulthood.

 

Part of me thinks (hopes) that she just needs a point of comparison and then she'll be able to choose the option that is best for her and just be reasonably HAPPY and not keep feeling like she doesn't "have much of a life."

 

The other part of me remembers that 8th grade was the most horrendous year of my life. I was miserable and bored and didn't feel like I had much of a life even though I was in school, and even though I was in extracurricular activities. This part of me thinks that complete, or even reasonably-predominant, happiness, may be a long time in coming, whichever choice she happens to make.

post #71 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

a) She will learn to manage her time so that she can enjoy all the social stuff and still do a great job academically. She is a very organizationally-oriented person and likes writing schedules for herself.

THIS is a FANTASTIC skill to have for the academic needs of middle and high school. it pretty much guarantees no problems as this is the biggest issue for most middle school kids. heck even in college its a huge issue.

 

b) She'll focus on the social stuff and just do what it takes to get by academically.

that would be a GREAT life skill attitude to have. 

post #72 of 109
Quote:

Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

 

I just really want to help her create and pursue the kinds of experiences she needs, in order to meet her own goals for her life. And I'm working to get past the feeling that I have failed her in not having been able to continue meeting her needs by homeschooling her all the way up to young adulthood.

 

We started out as homeschoolers and my kids started school when they were 10 and 12. I grieved when we realized that this was the best thing, and I felt like a bit of a failure. With some time to get over it, I'm now really happy with how things worked out. My kids are happy and thriving and their needs are met.

 

I was a good mom when I homeschooled. I was a good mom when they went to public school. I'm a good mom now and they are in a private school.

 

How our kids is educated is such a side note. I used to think it was a really, really big deal. But I was wrong. What matters is how we talk to our kids, and to what degree we are able to respect their point of view.

 

On the transition for your DD -- it may be exhausting and confusing at first. She may mess up her organization a few times before figuring out what works for her. But she will be meeting so many new people and doing so many new things. She may doubt if she can do it. Help her find her strength. Believe in her.

post #73 of 109

Thanks to both of you ladies for your encouragement! I do think that this will be a very positive experience, and I also know that it's a case where I need to set aside my own wretched experience of what was called "junior high" back in the 70's when I was in school (just to compare notes on who's an oldie, I started kindergarten in 1969 and graduated from high school in 1982).

 

I just need to remember that we are completely different people. School doesn't have to suck for her just because it did for me.

post #74 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

I just need to remember that we are completely different people. School doesn't have to suck for her just because it did for me.

 

 

yes -- there's no way to save our children from our own bad experiences. But I do understand the drive to do so!

 

BTW, both my kids love school and wouldn't want to go back to homeschooling. They don't have any regrets about homeschooling when they were younger, the transition was tough, but right now they both really enjoy school.
 

post #75 of 109
Thread Starter 

mammal_mama, we have often considered homeschooling, and have many close friends who homeschool. I was definitely attracted to the lifestyle and we could have managed it w/o much difficulty, but I think for dd1 school has really been the right choice even if it hasn't always been the easy way. She is very quirky and can be pretty intense and spirited, but also very, very anxious. She's also very disorganized and very unstructured ("irregular temperament" to use the jargon). She does not particularly like the structure of school and is quite happy to have large blocks of unscheduled time at home, however, I think the most telling sign that school has been the right choice for her is that her anxiety levels are actually much more reasonable now that she's back in school. When she was out of school over the summer she was very anxious and craved reassurance quite often. She kept being worried about small physical pains ("Mama, my pinky toe hurts"), but now that she's in school that has all faded and receded away. She still has anxieties and always has and always will (born that way—we saw it when she was a baby), but now her anxieties are more appropriate (did she remember to turn in her homework, can she get it all done, etc, although surprisingly not much test anxiety). She's making friends and I think doing pretty well in school. (Haven't got first quarter report cards yet.)

 

I absolutely hated 8th grade (class of '82 carrot.gifhere, too) and was pretty concerned about the move to middle school (6th grade for dd1), but aside from the homework issue we have been pretty pleased with the charter we've chosen (with her input) for her. It's smaller than the big middle schools and a little more flexible and less structured, although still pretty schooly. 

 

Since I started this thread her homework has been much more reasonable. I don't know if someone spoke to the science teacher or what, but she's been having less homework lately and it seems like an appropriate amount. She actually had two days this week where we did something else after school. Fingers crossed it doesn't get bad again.

post #76 of 109

beanma, how neat that we are both the same age! I'm glad things are working out well for your dd and the homework is getting more manageable.

post #77 of 109
Thread Starter 

whoo-hoo class of '82!! thumbsup.gif

 

And re: the homeschooling not being the best fit for dd1 I do want to say that's just for her. I know many folks who homeschool and it works great for them and their kids. I think, though, that there are many good things about school (as well as bad things like too much homework) that aren't necessarily apparent on the surface. We've found that for dd1 the good outweighs the bad. I hope your dd has a great time in school and that the good far outweighs the bad for her, too.

post #78 of 109
Thread Starter 

#$*&^!^!!!

 

I jinxed us.

 

Tonight dd1 has:

 

 

Quote:
Homework - Research water bottle rockets, air pressure rockets, model rockets and what characteristics are needed in order to make the highest flying rocket. 1 page with 2+ refs in MLA format. Build your perfect rockets or rockets. Consider what kind of body, nose, fins and ballast you will need.

 

which is a totally awesome assignment, but it was assigned today and is due tomorrow. She also has Math, Social Studies (read a packet and answer the questions) and got her English assignment for the week (vocab/spelling packet, reading, journaling, book report due at end of the month). We'll totally drop the English for tonight, but the rest will still probably take her 4 hrs. I think it could be done in 3 by another child, but I'll be lucky if it doesn't take her 5 to do the Social Studies, Math, and Science combined. I think the Science alone is a 2 hr assignment for the average kid if not longer. How long do you think it would take? Dd1 could probably spend a week on it. I think most kids could, really.

 

How long would it take your middle schooler to do the above assignment—a paper, plus making at least one model?

post #79 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

How long would it take your middle schooler to do the above assignment—a paper, plus making at least one model?

Well, I have a 5th grader but it would take her a week. Seriously. 

post #80 of 109
Thread Starter 

Yeah, well, it's 10 til midnight here and she's finally finished. She's not a fast worker, but I think it's pretty ridiculous. I think it would take me, as an adult, 3 or 4 hrs to do that assignment and feel decent about the quality of my work. For the paper part alone it would probably take me an hour to 1.5 hrs. I emailed the teacher and the guidance counselor about the homework load. It's just too much if it's like this very often.

 

I want to ask the Science teacher to research Van Gogh, Picasso, and Lichtenstein and tell what makes each one great. Write a one page paper with at least 2 MLA citations. Then do a sketch in the style of one of the three. How long would that take you?

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