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Struggling with the afterschool program to allow my child to do homework at home! - Page 2

post #21 of 32

I don't think an afterschool program that includes homework time needs to be a negative. Both of mine are just a bit older than your oldest (#2 graduated last June, #1 2 years earlier. Both attended an afterschool program where there was homework time. And yes, I did expect them to at least make a start on it at that time. That didn't mean that I never looked at or went over their homework with them. It simply meant that they got a headstart. Didn't affect either of their academic careers.

 

It really comes down to what works best for each individual situation.
 

post #22 of 32

Your longer explanation really just makes it seem like you maybe don't want your son in the after-school program at all, which I think is reasonable. My family's experience with homework is nothing like yours. My husband and I both took math well beyond calculus, and neither of us needed "comfortable, structured time" for homework. Neither of my children need our help in any way with homework. To me, if they can pop it out in 5 minutes while at after-care, that's just less for them to do later. Of course, one of us looks over it, and they've always gotten the answers right...just like they do in class. I don't find that your idea that doing homework in after-care is the sole, or even a major, reason that high school students aren't doing well a convincing one at all, and I think you are being incredibly judgmental about people who prefer their children to do homework at after-school care.

post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 

I am glad we can all speak from our experiences. I think each family needs to figure out what works best for them, as many of you have said. We are figuring that out for our family. Peace to all of you!

post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolvingMama View Post

Hello again everyone. I agree that there is so much richness in perspective on MDC! I enjoyed and appreciated reading your posts. I will explain a bit more about my perspective here, in answer to some of your questions. One thing that this issue has taught me is how very differently, and very strongly, parents feel about homework. I see that "agreeing to disagree" respectfully is where many of us will stand, all with the best intentions for our children.

 

I don't think I mentioned that I have an older son. He started school in the same K classroom that my younger son currently attends, with a different teacher, 12 years ago. He is now a senior in high school and applying to college, excited for the next jumping off phase of his life. When he started school, there was no afterschool program; there was a "bus room" for the students whose families live out of town, which was really a recreational time. My son's dad picked him up after school for the first few years and he did his homework - usually a sheet of math and reading - at home, with his parents, establishing a routine that has empowered him to develop independent study skills that serve him as a Calculus student now, and will as a college student later, and through his life as an adult learner. 

 

I was teaching at our little school by the time the afterschool program started - when my older son was in 5th grade. In the time since the program began, here is what has happened:

  • 1. Most parents no longer expect homework to be done at home - they EXPECT the afterschool program to "do" it with their children. Some actually get angry when the homework is not done by the time they pick up their children. The afterschool program does have a parent contract that emphasizes the importance of parents checking their children's homework and making sure it is complete.
  • 2. The children do their homework in groups, copying off one another's papers, and don't do careful work. The 2 adults working have no way of going over each problem or question with each student.
  • 3. The noise level is high.
  • 4. The students who are in 9th and 10th grades now - with no afterschool program anymore, and very little parent involvement since kindergarten in homework - aren't doing their homework. They are failing classes left and right and have no developed homework skills. The 6th, 7th and 8th graders are starting to show this tendency, too, even though they get some homework time at afterschool. Parents are upset that they themselves have to help their children, and they haven't had to yet, so everyone is struggling. These are just MY observations as a parent and as a teacher, who sees the students at school.

 

My older son had very limited homework in K. It's kindergarten, for goodness sake! However, my younger son has a packet of about 12 pages of math, reading and writing to do over the course of a week. 

 

I want to establish homework at home as a comfortable, even fun, family time, that is a PART of all that we do. Of course we play games, go for walks, build with straws and connectors, and make telescopes, treehouses, construction sites, etc.... at home. It isn't going to be either homework OR family "quality" time. It's all family time, and it's all learning. 

 

Thank you for helping me form my own opinion about what to do for our son....if they're going to assign homework, he'll be doing it at home, and enjoying the afterschool program as enrichment on a limited number of days. We may be a minority, but I see the big picture for him, based on my experiences with his older brother and in teaching all of the kids as they have come up through the afterschool program. There is richness socially for him there, but innumerable ways of providing experiences and fun and social opportunities with his family, as well.

 

Thankfully,

 

Laurie


What an extremely thoughtful and mature response Laurie. You have clearly taken the time to really think about what works best for your family, and why you have the goals you have.

post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolvingMama View Post

I was teaching at our little school by the time the afterschool program started - when my older son was in 5th grade. In the time since the program began, here is what has happened:

  • 1. Most parents no longer expect homework to be done at home - they EXPECT the afterschool program to "do" it with their children. Some actually get angry when the homework is not done by the time they pick up their children. The afterschool program does have a parent contract that emphasizes the importance of parents checking their children's homework and making sure it is completel

let me speak for those parents who expect their child's hw being done in afterschool.

 

they pick their child up from a.s. at 6 and the kids are either in bed by 8/8:30 pm or getting ready to be in bed. 

 

what i want to make sure you understand is that just coz the hw is done at a.s. doesnt mean they dont check the hw when the kids get home. most of dd's class has working parents. the two hours they have at home is spent on school projects or home projects and hw checks not hw. for most kids including mine, hw was a pain in the neck. it is busy work which most of them get and its something i never wanted to have to have dd do at home. 

 

now from about K to even 3rd - parent involvement in hw is to a minimum unless they need help. actually i would say for us - i was only involved if dd needed help or she had class project to do. she has needed more help from 4th grade when she had a lot of projects, and in 5th grade where she had queries. 

 

dd has been in 2 a.s. programs. yes while many children could 'cheat' their hw, most of them dont really. in fact in her first a.s. program dd loved doing hw there because they did it under the trees outside. sometimes we still do this. 

 

but i am all for hw being a fun time. dd is not in dc anymore and so she does hw at home. in fact our home is full of the neighborhood kids ranging from 5th grade to junior in highschool doing hw together helping each other out. of course dd now has a different definition of family time and doing hw together is not one of them. but yes i have been more involved since last grade when dd had a project a week. the teacher always gave us a weeks time so that the parents who work had the weekend to help their kids with their project. 

 

i still dont know what dd has for hw unless she needs my help. but i know what they are doing in school through projects they bring home - even for math. i also know from what she and her friends tell me about stuff they are excited about. like the differences in plant and animal cells or how to take notes. 

 

so what  i wanted to tell you is that when i had limited time with dd i wanted it filled with stuff she and i wanted to do. not something she was forced to do. in fact even now that is how it is. 

post #26 of 32
Quote:

Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

our home is full of the neighborhood kids ranging from 5th grade to junior in highschool doing hw together helping each other out. 

 

This is "me too" post in terms of there being many pathways to enjoyable, responsible study habits. My kids were unschooled until high school. When they started school they did so in part because they wanted a life apart from home and family, and I honored that by given them complete responsibility over their schoolwork, including deadlines, projects, structuring homework, deciding when and how it was done. Despite not having had any assigned schoolwork previously, their academics being rather capricious and self-led, they have never had any difficulty completing homework that was assigned once they began school. They're diligent, efficient, and responsible, and they get top marks; dd18 graduated first in her class and my middle two (16 and 14) are doing great as well, consistently honor roll kids. And, like meemee, my kids love study groups ... clusters of kids from various grades and courses doing homework together at our kitchen table, helping each other out, keeping each other company. Obviously as an unschooling parent I was very aware and supportive of their learning during their early years. But that didn't require helping them do bookwork every day.

 

To the OP, I would venture that if there are 9th and 10th graders in your school who are struggling with academic responsibility, there are plenty of reasons besides that they didn't do homework with their parents' help every evening when they were 5 or 6. I'm not saying that the path you're choosing with your son won't be effective, but it's simply not true that lack of daily home-based study time will create a risk of high school failure. 

 

Miranda

post #27 of 32

i will get back to this thread after i have read it, we have similar dilemmas, but i found an unusual solution....

post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

I don't understand why this is an issue, either. He is apparently developing a homework routine - which is part of what you have been trying to accomplish. As for seeing what he is learning, maybe you could do as another poster said her child does - have your son mark what parts of his HW he had trouble with and then you and/or Dad could go over it with him in the evening. Or simply review his work together if he doesn't indicate any problems.

 

Alternately, you could review his HW packet when he gets it, and incorporate the concepts his class is working on during activities when at home in the evenings to solidify his understanding. Review his work the night or two before it's due so the two of you can go over areas he's not quite grasped - and reinforce those over the w/e.

 

Don't view HW as the only way you can "teach" your son. Your influence on him involves many more teachable moments than HW. Why waste those opportunities on his doing additional HW - or the same HW a second time. That's busy work, and the three of you could utilize your time together in much better - and enjoyable - ways. IMO, anyway.
 

This is basically what I would have said, especially the last paragraph.

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolvingMama View Post

Thank you everyone, for your input and perspectives. I am sure we will find a solution that works for our child and keeps the learning fun! I didn't mean this to become a negative discussion, so I'll bow out now. 

I didn't see it as negative at all, and I'm glad you came back!  :)

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

We are a totally rewards-free family and way back 11 or 12 years ago my eldest dd was taking piano lessons with a teacher who was all into stickers and prizes as rewards for practicing time. There were weekly awards, and then bimonthly group classes or recitals where the students with the most minutes logged were given larger prizes. I realized that it would draw more attention to the prizes if I spent all sorts of energy explaining to my dd why she wasn't going to be participating in that system. It would likely make them more alluring to her, being unattainable. So I just let her play along, logging her practice time and cashing in for rewards. I'd throw out little comments like "Isn't it weird that some teachers think they have to pay kids to learn? As if you don't want to learn anyway!" She took her cues from me; she never really thought the rewards had much importance. (I also bought her extra stickers that she could use to decorate her piano book and practice chart. She could plaster them anywhere, or dole them out to herself for successfully doing certain tasks -- whatever she wanted. I guess in economics terms I was flooding the market, printing money to devalue the currency.)

 

It all worked wonderfully. Within a couple of months the reward system was totally off her radar. She earned rewards like crazy, but they were just the accidental result of good piano practicing habits and they had absolutely no importance to her as currency. 

 

If the Rainbow Bucks are part of what's bothering you about your ds's homework, I think there are ways to play along while trivializing the system and taking away its power.

 

miranda

LOVE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolvingMama View Post

Hello again everyone. I agree that there is so much richness in perspective on MDC! I enjoyed and appreciated reading your posts. I will explain a bit more about my perspective here, in answer to some of your questions. One thing that this issue has taught me is how very differently, and very strongly, parents feel about homework. I see that "agreeing to disagree" respectfully is where many of us will stand, all with the best intentions for our children.

 

I don't think I mentioned that I have an older son. He started school in the same K classroom that my younger son currently attends, with a different teacher, 12 years ago. He is now a senior in high school and applying to college, excited for the next jumping off phase of his life. When he started school, there was no afterschool program; there was a "bus room" for the students whose families live out of town, which was really a recreational time. My son's dad picked him up after school for the first few years and he did his homework - usually a sheet of math and reading - at home, with his parents, establishing a routine that has empowered him to develop independent study skills that serve him as a Calculus student now, and will as a college student later, and through his life as an adult learner. 

 

I was teaching at our little school by the time the afterschool program started - when my older son was in 5th grade. In the time since the program began, here is what has happened:

  • 1. Most parents no longer expect homework to be done at home - they EXPECT the afterschool program to "do" it with their children. Some actually get angry when the homework is not done by the time they pick up their children. The afterschool program does have a parent contract that emphasizes the importance of parents checking their children's homework and making sure it is complete.
  • 2. The children do their homework in groups, copying off one another's papers, and don't do careful work. The 2 adults working have no way of going over each problem or question with each student.
  • 3. The noise level is high.
  • 4. The students who are in 9th and 10th grades now - with no afterschool program anymore, and very little parent involvement since kindergarten in homework - aren't doing their homework. They are failing classes left and right and have no developed homework skills. The 6th, 7th and 8th graders are starting to show this tendency, too, even though they get some homework time at afterschool. Parents are upset that they themselves have to help their children, and they haven't had to yet, so everyone is struggling. These are just MY observations as a parent and as a teacher, who sees the students at school.

 

My older son had very limited homework in K. It's kindergarten, for goodness sake! However, my younger son has a packet of about 12 pages of math, reading and writing to do over the course of a week. 

 

I want to establish homework at home as a comfortable, even fun, family time, that is a PART of all that we do. Of course we play games, go for walks, build with straws and connectors, and make telescopes, treehouses, construction sites, etc.... at home. It isn't going to be either homework OR family "quality" time. It's all family time, and it's all learning. 

 

Thank you for helping me form my own opinion about what to do for our son....if they're going to assign homework, he'll be doing it at home, and enjoying the afterschool program as enrichment on a limited number of days. We may be a minority, but I see the big picture for him, based on my experiences with his older brother and in teaching all of the kids as they have come up through the afterschool program. There is richness socially for him there, but innumerable ways of providing experiences and fun and social opportunities with his family, as well.

 

Thankfully,

 

Laurie

I'm sort if famous (infamous?) on MDC for being altogether very anti-HW, but after reading this, I agree with you that you should stick to your guns and insist that HW remain your special time with your kiddo.  Best wishes to you!

post #29 of 32
I think kids struggling in high school is something that goes deeper than homework. To me, and my dd's teachers, homework is skill practice and not a time for parents to have to get deeply involved with reteaching. If your district tends to give homework that requires parent involvement beyond telling a kid to do their homework and checking to be sure they did then I can see why so many kids are struggling in higher grades when they aren't able to do the work independently and their parents don't realize the homework requires their participation. I would call that a school issue that requires more communication with parents about how much support their kids need with homework and by maintaining a homework philosophy that isn't embraced by a community that expects kids to learn at school.
post #30 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thank again, everyone. As a final note, here is how we are handling this situation. Having a whole week off last week helped me put things into perspective and reground our family together again as the main support for our children.

 

On Mondays, I will pick up his homework folder as usual in the morning from his teacher. If he can, my husband will pick little mister up when his kindergarten morning is over and they will go home and do family stuff - which could include homework but might just as well include digging, building something, or just - whatever! We will look at his packet when I get home later, and work on it as usual through the week. At this point, the homework packet has not been "unfun" and has been something he is happy to show us. It is not a drudgery, nor do I want it to be so.

 

On other days, he will attend the afterschool program when DH is working, or when there is a special event, like the monthly birthday party or the first Wednesday science day, and always on Fridays for the "Fun Friday" events. This way, he will get the great enrichment of the program, while taking the homework out of the afterschool program - for HIM. This is our choice, what we are going to try for our family, with our family's values, not a judgement of what other families do.

 

It feels good to be making decisions based on what is good for our son, and explaining them to him, and not taking the easy way out and giving in to the pressure we were getting to make the program work for the program. No apologies - we are trying to make the program work for our son without detracting from what they are trying to do for kids, who have many different kinds of family situations and expectations.

 

The high school issue is related to the afterschool issue, and I brought it up because there really is a direct link in our small community that I have seen over the years. Of course there is more going on! That is a whole other topic. 

 

Thank you to the private messagers who offered such kind words! I always learn something from this forum.

 

Peace,

post #31 of 32

Great update, thanks. It's really nice to see how to work through a situation and sort it out in a way that suits a specific family. Thank you for sharing that.

post #32 of 32

I'm glad that you found a solution that works for your family. I think that skipping the parts of the program when they work on homework but participating in the fun parts of the program is ideal.
 

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