Originally Posted by TiredX2
A few things I have felt she shouldn't have to do (because they were so obviously below her level) but... I ended up having her do them. Why? Because if she wants to stay in her school she DOES have to do the homework. (One of her worksheets I had her let her brother, 4, do the "work" and dictate to her to tell you how easy it was).
That is one way to get more time with your child, just do the homework for him.
This has turned into a great discussion. I love stik's comment:
|I think that one reason it's often difficult for high school students to take homework seriously is because they had WAY TOO MUCH meaningless drill-and-kill in early elementary school.
That is a great point. If we really think about what we want kids to accomplish by doing homework, the best answer I can come up with is practicing skills they need help with (but then parents are left to help them so this is not a great idea) or showing to us teachers that they can take a concept and produce a body of work that demonstrates they understand the concept. The argument that elementary age kids need homework in order to compete in the global market is just a thinly disguised way of making the school day longer. But, since teachers are not at these extra school hours, it becomes the responsibility of the parents to "teach" the children at home. It is different for high school students who have the intellectual capacity to at least try to figure things out for themselves by reading the text or calling a friend for help. Elementary students have to turn to their parents for help and that is not fair to families. Parents should not have to spend their precious evening family time helping with (or doing) their kid's homework.
Another reason the argument that kids need homework in order to compete globally is bunk is that the kids who are performing at the top of test scores internationally are experiencing a wholly different type of elementary education than our children. Giving our children more math worksheets to work on at home is not going to help them get math scores comparable to children in Singapore or other high performing countries. (I am going to use Singapore as my example country because I actually know something about their school system.) The school experience we give our children is completely different. We prize individualized education in America. We prize thinking outside the box and creativity. In Singapore, they prize teaching children to get the correct answer to a problem. You cannot expect children to be able to get all the answers correct AND be able to question the problem solving method and be creative about solving the problem. Why do you think we have far more Nobel prize winners in this country? Because you have to be able to take a risk creatively to accomplish something new and unusual like solving a scientific puzzle.
The only kind of homework activity I believe to be meaningful to elementary students is to do a project at home, like a book report. I like to give them a huge list of ideas for presenting a story and let them choose how to convey to us, the whole class, via a presentation, the plot and main ideas of the story. For older elementary kids, I might assign a genre and have them point out some specific stylistic elements (irony, character development, etc) in their report. Kids have a lot of fun with this and it helps them develop reading and study skills that DO translate into skills they can use in high school and college, particularly if you add a writing assignment to the book report. They get to be creative and have some fun doing a presentation and practice speaking in front of others. The only problem with this is that inner city kids often don't have money to buy or access to materials needed to make a book report. They may not even have paper. So, then we teachers have to supply them with the materials (shoe boxes, paper, glue, etc.). Since I used to work in a school that did not have paper or crayons to use in the classroom let alone give out to students, that type of homework, sadly, was just not possible.
So, anyway, I am sorry to hear that so many of you teachers have to report your homework grades on the report cards. What would happen if a child still did not do his/her homework? Would they be threatened with retention or would it just be a small strike against them on their report card? Because, honestly, if my child came home with a bunch of busywork crap, I think I would either do it for her quickly or just send it in unfinished with a note saying:
"This is a waste of my child's time and precious forest resources. Please stop sending this kind of paperwork home. I accept the responsibility that this means my child will get a poor grade in the homework section of her report card. I will, however, work at home with my child to develop her study skills by having her read nightly and (if she is over 3rd grade) keep a reading/writing log. Also, I will work with her to further expand her knowledge in the other academic areas through enrichment activities such as bug collection and identification, testing and examing the water in our pond, encouraging her to read books from many genres, including non-fiction, biography, and historical fiction, and taking her to local museums, science centers, and arts activities. And, I will endeavor to limit her television viewing time and replace it instead with quality family discussion and play time."