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kids do not have to do homework - Page 3

post #41 of 59
Originally Posted by boongirl

I also love the irony when recess is taken away from certain children (i.e. BOYS) for being "rowdy." Like they're going to be any better behaved in the afternoon...
post #42 of 59
Do teachers realise that kids can tell the difference between homework set as it is Xs day to set homework (we have weekly subject homework timetables) and between homework which is worth doing and will probably help us learn? In England we have national exams GCSEs (years 10 and 11 or 9th to 10th Grade), AS-Levels (year 12 or 11th Grade) and A2s (year 13 or 12th Grade). Part of those exams consist of courswork which are essays and long reasearch projects and people do them with a reasonable degree of punctuality and a lot of effort. However these are automaticaly prioritised above other homework (and used as an excuse) as these actually count to qualifications we will need to succed in life. Thats why if you look at homework submissions between years 9 and 10 : , the year 10s do a bigger percentage of it (courswork and the begginings of exam stress).

Homework is undeniably stupid unless its something you are struggling with and need to practice or its interesting.

From the ages of 7 to 11 we had to keep a reading journal and record the dates we read preferably every night, what we read and what pages we read and a comment on whether we liked it or not. When I was about 10, I started make it up 2mins before it was checked listing books I'd read in the week with randomly assigned dates, and giving the standard comment of 'Good.' I was 10 years old and had already worked out that some homeworks are set at specific groups of people (in this case people who wouldn't spend every waking minuite of the day reading out of choice). No-one cared, from the schools point of view, they knew I was doing well and so said nothing.

At my elementary school, if a parent wrote a note saying you couldn't do ur homework for whatever reason, that was fine.
When we got older into Senior School (Junior High +) the age old excuse of 'I lost the sheet worked wonders.' The teachers had more important things on their minds then caring and in our school reports have mainly been based on tests and attitude in class (That's my impression, but I could be wrong).
post #43 of 59
Thread Starter 
Before my daughter was born, I taught for two years in a tough, urban, public school. I had a grade 4/5 class the first year and a grade 5 class the second. I had 4 students both years. One of them had a serious anger issue. He was known to go from being calm to throwing chairs or upturning desks at a moment's notice. I worked very hard with him to find alternative methods for dealing with his anger. By the end of 5th grade, he was much calmer and more mature and I consider the work I did with his family to be a success story. I found out about halfway through my two years that his 3rd grade teacher had dealt with his anger issues solely by punishing him. She once kept him in from recess for 6 weeks in a row! No wonder his anger had gone unchecked! No wonder he had difficulties! I cannot imagine how that teacher thought that punishing him in that way was going to help him. I also cannot imagine spending that much of my recess time with a very angry boy. Unbelievable, but true. And sad. And, what is worse is that the principal took the teacher's side against the wishes of the parent. No wonder that mom was so suspicious of me for a while. She had lost respect for teachers.
post #44 of 59
Originally Posted by Dar
Um, Dar's daughter doesn't go to school because Dar is a radical unschooler and doesn't agree with this philosophy, either (although there are many things about school that bother me far more than kids losing recess... but that's another story and probably not appropriate for me to post here). However, it is the prevailing school philosophy IME, and if my child chooses to attend school (or if a parent makes that choice for a child), that's the way the game is played. Part of the rules of school are that kids do homework. Really, the ACLU is not going to get involved in recess issues... there is no unalienable right to recess.

OMG I was cracking up when I read that someone assumed that this was "your" philosophy!

Anyone who has read your always interesting posts had to have been amused.

Your very well taken point was that if you choose to send your child to public school, you must know that there are certain things that are going to happen that you may not agree with. Of course you can try to change them, but you may not suceed. And the fact that you think it is "wrong" does not in any way make it illegal.

My very unradical philosophy has no problem with homework and my little rule followers would never ever think of not doing their homework.

But that is why we are in school. Its right for us. It may not be for everyone.
post #45 of 59
My very unradical philosophy has no problem with homework and my little rule followers would never ever think of not doing their homework.
Me, too.

My kids go to an excellent public school. The principal and teachers, while reasonable and approachable, do not go out of their way to accomodate every whim of the parents. They aren't living in constant fear that a family will pull their child out of the public school system.

I do think my kids get a bit too much homework and I agree that some of it is just silly. But much of it is not. If my daughter does her assigned math homework well, she usually does much better on her math test than if she does a perfunctory job. If she studies her spelling, she gets more of the words correct on the weekly spelling test. I don't have a problem with her being assigned that kind of work.

If I really objected to what is a major part of the educational package at our public school, we would do something different, rather than just think it's OK for our kids to opt out of homework.
post #46 of 59
I'm a second grade teacher. The only regular homework I send home is the day's reading book to read at home and bring back the next day. Occasionally I'll send a math workbook page home to review/practice that day's math lesson. That's it.

I don't know HOW many parents call/email/come in and ask why their kid doesn't have homework, could i send extra stuff home, even if it's just copies of practice sheets. thing is, I don't HAVE anything to copy! so I just explain to them if they want their kid working every night, go to the library, get some books, read those. Or buy some flash cards and practice those each night.
post #47 of 59
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama

I also love the irony when recess is taken away from certain children (i.e. BOYS) for being "rowdy." Like they're going to be any better behaved in the afternoon...
Oh my gosh! I totally get you here! I had a mom come in b/c her son had a bad report card-- she told me that he needed to stay in for ALL recesses! I was like, "NO WAY! I'm not doing that to myself!!!"
post #48 of 59
dd is in 3rd and has a ton of homework. Her homework counts towards her final grade. They are only suppose to have X minutes of homework but it often takes her much longer since she has a motor delays. Also she HAS to have her handwriting EXACT (she has suspected OCD..for real) or she will erase and erase and take doubly long.
post #49 of 59
I'm a year away from teacherhood and just thought I'd throw in something I had noticed.

My internship last semester was in a semi-rural 3rd grade class - the only third grade in the school. I know of several times during my internship (I was only there 8 days during the semester) that the entire class was held in from recess because they hadn't turned in homework. It wasn't an effective discipline method for that class, at all. Neither was writing an essay over whatever they did wrong in class.

My stepson, 6, was held in from recess the other day for hiding homework in his desk. ITA that the large majority of homework is busywork - I'm very honestly looking forward to him homeschooling next year: less junk paper all over my house, more time he has to enjoy being a kid, and LESS fighting to get him to work on his work! Unfortunately, he isn't the kind that gets it done in school and pretends he doesn't know what he's doing at home. He is very smart, but has no clue what he's doing half the time because he doesn't listen in class when it's explained to him and won't take the time to read the very simple directions when he gets home. He just wants to argue for 20 minutes about not knowing what to do (sigh). Then there's the effort for trying to get him to do it right. He seems to think the name of the game is 'How quickly can I get it done?' and then has to keep working on it for the next 15 minutes because it's important to DH and I that he is able to get a correct solution for two single-digit numbers!

I hate, hate, hate worksheets. I especially hate the ones where they are supposed to color it afterwards: surely there's a more meaningful way to get the information across! And for teachers, who really wants to grade all those?

I really like the idea of assigning homework as daily reading and writing projects to be turned in at the end of the week. Thanks for the ideas What I've been told here is, get through the first 3 years doing it the way the school wants you to and then you can do it your own way. Looking forward to that

I'm also of the belief that children NEED the recess time. It's a bit of stress relief for them. I'm perfectly fine with my stepson being held in, though, because we have had an issue with him not bringing home papers all semester. When he hides the papers in his desk, it feels like the teacher and myself are both being lied to - the teacher is thinking he's taken his work home, and we're thinking he didn't have any work. No busywork is fine with me, but I want to know if he does have it!
post #50 of 59
My schoolers know they can unschool/hs with their us/hs siblings any time they want. These choose school, so my feeling is that you need to do what they ask. If you're not interested, stay home.

That said, most of the homework makes sense. My schooled kids do faaaaar less homework than my ex pat friends kids in Asia, that is so freaking for sure.

We have friends who finally left Korea because their teen kids couldn't take the pressure any more (high teen suicide rate there, although so is ours). We have no real clue about what other people in other countries do.

Case in point--I can see someone saying "Did you know it was against French *law* to assign children writing homework?" But as our French friend posted, the kids do have homework, just not written. The grass is not always greener. But what is true is that American kids are not going to be able to hack it later intellectually. We might not like our kiddies to take tests, but when they do, they are blown away by the rest of the developed world. Ask a Japanese or Korean parent how much time they spend helping their children with homework.

Of course, our kids might not be able to find North America on the map, but they do know who wins American Idol, so that's something.
post #51 of 59
Originally Posted by boongirl

The worst that can happen, in my experience, is that the little homework section of the report card may not have a very positive grade on it.

Or your child can be kept in from recess to work on it daily. I think this would be far worse! But then some schools already don't do recess anymore.
post #52 of 59
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sparklefairy
Or your child can be kept in from recess to work on it daily. I think this would be far worse! But then some schools already don't do recess anymore.
If you read the whole thread, you will see that the idea of not having homework and taking an active stance in your child's classroom against homework is not that they will be punished for it but that the school and teacher will grow to see what a waste of time and trees homework really is If your child is consistently being kept in from recess because you don't want them to do homework, then you need to make an appointment with the principal to have this policy changed or one with the superintendent to state your case. You could even take it to the school board.

Read the whole thread to learn more. And, maybe get the book!
post #53 of 59
My son has moved up to 5th this year and I have to say HW is much easier on him this year. His teacher gives it all out on Monday and it's up to them when they do it for the week. They just have to have it all completed by Friday. They still have recess every day for 30 min and they also have PE twice a week in the gym where they exercise and focus on sports. I have no problem with his school regarding HW or play/recess time.
post #54 of 59
Originally Posted by Dar
In every district where I've taught, homework has been part of a student's regular grades, and elementary school students who don't complete homework at home have to stay in at recess to do it. That's SOP in two states, and a total of 4 districts (including the very large one I work for now).

Some kids with IEPs had their homework modified, but I can't imagine a teacher allowing a student to be excused on a regular basis because of the parent's desires. Schools make exceptions for things like religious holidays, but not parental choice. If you don't like the homework policy, you can find a private school that better suits your families or just suck it up...


I would have failed if I didn't do my homework. grades weren't even waited where i went to school (which was good because you could bomb a test and still pass so long as you were willing to work). lids who didn't missed recess, got sent to the principals ofice, and if things still didn't improve thier parents could be charged with neglect.

If homework is part of the curriculum then either work to change it or do or find a new system. but I don't like the idea of just blowing it off. If a teacher is spending all her time dealing with dissenters she will not have time to focus on teaching. if you don't like the rules change them but don't just ignore them.
post #55 of 59
My dd is going to start school next week after being homeschooled for preschool, K, and 1st grade levels. I can see both sides-- if a parent is not willing to help the child with the work then the child suffers if the work is graded. On the other hand in the higher grades I absolutely think some kind of homework is needed. In grade school we had to memorize multiplication tables for example. Some (like me) take longer to learn that kind of thing so my dad made flash cards for me. When they start taking a foreign language or literature classes, there is a lot of outside work that's necessary to make it in the class. At that age the students should be self motivated to do the work and be taught study skills to get it done.

My dd's school requires homework for all the kids daily. It's a charter school and they have clearly posted the homework policy in the handbook. My 5 year old will do about 15 minutes a day of homework. By 5th grad it's an hour a day. As a former homescooling family we are comfortable with homework as long as it's productive and useful and not just busy work. Like if her homework is going to be to read out loud for 15 minutes, great! If it's going to be tracing or something, not so great.

The thing about the charter school is you can take it or leave it. If you don't like it, take your kids to another school. They expect parents to be involved. They use homework to help the parents know what their children are studying in school and as a cue to the parents to communicate with with the teachers if their children are not understanding the homework and therefore probably not understanding the lessons in class.
post #56 of 59
Ok I'm running out of time so I haven't finished the whole thread but......My Ds is still in preschool so this is an issue we haven't faced yet but I have given it a lot of thought. Now in my opinion the public school system in an western industrial economy is really designed for two things.

1) Keep children safe/busy so their parents are free to work away from them
2) Teach childen how to be good workers

Now homework teaches children a very clear lesson about work, and the question for me as a parent is really is this a lesson I want my child to learn? That they can't leave work at work and do home at home? There is an old labour saying "8 hours for work, 8 hours for rest, hours for what we will" that comes form the struggle for the 8 hour work day that I believ applies here, but children need even more rest and what we will.

Anyway as far as following the rules if you choose to send your children to school I think thats silly. As far as I'm concerned the only reason I would feel guilty about NOT sending my kids to school is that I think there is a real risk to all the very active(ist) concerned parents pulling thier kids from the public system and leaving it to those who don't have other options. I actually view my role as a parent (and this is true for daycare/preschool to) as to try to change the things I think could be better.
post #57 of 59
My dd is only three and a half and is attending a private Montessori, so I'm not as stressed about homework as others may be (because there is a lot of flex room in that area)...

Having said that, I went to public school, and still have three younger sibs in public schools (well, actually - two in separate school, one in public) and even though they don't always like it, homework is mandatory and it's collected and graded the next day. Also, my parents have to sign their 'homework' book (which they like, keeps them in touch with the teacher).
post #58 of 59
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by lilyka
If a teacher is spending all her time dealing with dissenters she will not have time to focus on teaching. if you don't like the rules change them but don't just ignore them.

If homework is part of the curriculum then either work to change it or do or find a new system.
Exactly. The system needs to change. A lot of teachers I know would be more than happy to stop giving out homework. It is a pain in the butt to deal with broken copy machines (and they always break after someone finishes their HUGE homework packet so the rest of us can't copy our huge homework packets on time.) And, they waste a ton of paper. You give it out, it is almost completely not meaningful or it creates problems for the kids because they need so much help completing it. It takes time away from more important endeavors to correct it and then it ends up in the recycle bin. In under a week, it has been recycled and forgotten. I find it much more meaningful, grade-wise and in use of my time, to have kids do a project. It matters to them so they can put their all into it and it does not get recycled after so short a shelf life.

We all spend so much time learning about how to be crunchy and natural. Homework packets are a huge waste of paper. I do not subscribe to a newspaper because it is a collosal waste of resources. Homework takes time away from actual teaching, takes time away from families, causes frustration among students or is completely boring, and is a huge, huge waste of paper. The whole system needs to change. Schools have got to stop wasting so much paper. Getting rid of homework packet is a great way to start.

When I was teaching, the average teacher in my buildings was using a ream of paper a week just on homework alone. When you factor in all the other copying you have to do to create worksheets and the like, paper is a hugely used resource in school. We can do better.

If homework is part of the curriculum then either work to change it or do or find a new system.
Well said, anarchamama
post #59 of 59
Has anyone read Alfie Kohn's new book about homework? I just read it today, and I think I might start a new thread, later tonight...
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