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#1 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son's kindergarten teacher (who I really like for many reasons) sends home a little newletter about what they're doing every month. I just got December's. On it, it had the following:

"Homework folders are due every Thursday! I have been giving the children a small treat on Thursday morning if they remember to bring their homework folder to school. Good habits start early."

My ds told me that the treats are usually starburst or some other small candy.

What do you think?
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#2 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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I will put on my flame suit and say







I am fine with it ................







:






I, peronally, would do a sticker, or a coupon for an extra book / choice of book at story time (but that would be tough in a class where, assumabley most are getting the treat) or something like that .... not a candy ......

But I am ok with the reward thing.

I agree good habits state young and I also accept that internal motivation for things (getting chorse or homework done, cleaning up toys) is a long time in coming and has to be taught SOME WAY.

I also understand that what a teacher can do with a room full of kids is a lot differnt that what a mom can do with one or two or even 6 or 7 at home in an AP enviorments.

I know my DN's teacher was useing candy that way and Sis bought here a bunch of little toys from Orential Express .... the kids were earning a treat at the end of the week, one a week, and sis got her tons of bouncy balls and little things like that, and the teacher awarded them on Friday afternoon ....... so that she would not use food / candy ........

One one level i agree with sis -- food is a nuteral in our family, it is there, and it is not based on good or bad ..... though treats can be earned by the family as a whole ......................so sis helped the teacher find an alternative ......

but

in general

the idea of a small treat once a week for remembering their homeowork folder ................ i am ok with that (I would rather the treat not be candy).

I am wearing my flame suit as i know few, if any, will agree with me

Aimee

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#3 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 01:19 PM
 
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I wouldn't like it, but unfortunately schools are based on a behavioral system. It's all reward/punishment based. Getting away from that is one reason why people homeschool. I don't homeschool, but I grudgingly accept that schools are what they are.

Something other than candy would be better though. If my daughter got a piece of candy first thing in the morning, she'd start having tantrums by about 9 to 9:30.
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#4 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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I wouldn't be too crazy about candy as a good work habit breeder, and I would find a nice way to ask her to exclude my son from this reward system. [Or I would just turn his folder in on Friday ]
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#5 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 01:21 PM
 
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I have no issue either however I would have liked to know in advance. We try to avoid HFCS and trans fat so I would have brought in an alternative to commercial candy.

We don't use a reward system at home (anymore!) but I have no issue w/ the teacher using one. A lot of my son’s friends have reward systems at home and I explain it to him but talking about "different families/different rules". This has been a great jumping off point to discuss other families traditions, celebrations as well as mundane things like different bed times, TV habits etc.

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#6 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 01:29 PM
 
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I would have a problem with starbursts in the morning. Like somebody mentioned, if my ds got that first thing in the morning, he'd be having a low blood sugar meltdown and hour later!
I would suggest to the teacher that she use a non food item.
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#7 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 01:34 PM
 
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I don't think it's a good idea. I agree with PP that stickers or a non-food item would be a good alternative.

People should eat because they are hungry, but in our society there are so many other reasons people eat, which is why obesity rates continue to increase. Advertising has a lot to do with it. Also making your child finish everything on his plate even if he is full can lead to him eat more than he should. Rewarding with food can also cause weight gain and reinforce other reasons for eating other than hunger.

Again, reward with things other than food.

The interesting part of the teacher's comments is "Good habits start young." Exactly! So why is she giving them candy???!!!

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#8 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 01:48 PM
 
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I think it's ridiculous that kindergartners have homework folders. I also am not sure how a parent making sure a child's homework folder is in his backpack is helping kids start good habits early.

But you are probably looking for input specifically about the starbursts & other candy the kids are receiving. For me a small candy (especially once per week) is not a big deal so I don't think that part specifically would bother me but using it as a reward that some kids don't get (I can imagine my DS feeling pretty upset if I forgot to send the folder and he didn't get one) & having homework folders that are due (it used to be the school sent a folder of what the child did at school home to the parents not the other way around)--that stuff does bother me.
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#9 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your thoughts. When I read this, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but I wasn't sure exactly what my issue was or if I was making something out of nothing. I know one piece of candy a week is really not a huge deal - we have stuff like that once in a while here - but I do feel like maybe she should have let us know.

It struck me too as kind of ironic that she said, "Good habits start early." Exactly, so why would you undermind that with using a reward system and using food as a reward instead of nourishment?

And Needle in the Hay, you're exactly right. HE's not the one remembering or forgetting his folder at this point, it's ME. Maybe I should get the candy!

I actually don't have too much of an issue with the homework itself for my DS in particular. It's only one worksheet and then a book or 2 to read/have parents read to the kids, and they have the whole week to do it. And the worksheets are actually little activities to do rather than working on the paper. My DS is actually liking school more now that homework has started and he's pretty pround to be able to read the books she sends home for him.

I'm not sure I should say anything about it to her right now though. Like I said, he's finally starting to like school a little, and a lot of that has to do with her working with us to challenge him with appropriate work. I don't want to seem like I'm nitpicking right now. But, maybe eventually? I don't know.

But thanks. It always helps to talk things out the awesome mamas on MDC!
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#10 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 02:37 PM
 
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And Needle in the Hay, you're exactly right. HE's not the one remembering or forgetting his folder at this point, it's ME. Maybe I should get the candy!
Yes you deserve it!
I'm glad to hear the kind of homework he has is activity type stuff and that he likes it.
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#11 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Needle in the Hay;10018338]I think it's ridiculous that kindergartners have homework folders. I also am not sure how a parent making sure a child's homework folder is in his backpack is helping kids start good habits early.


We have folders for school and I love them. We call them communication folders and it is a good way to send info back and forth to school.

Why is it the parent's job to remember? A 5 year old can keep track of a folder if he knows he needs to take it each day (or each thursday.) When my oldest started school I told him it is his job, just like dp goes to work to earn money and I take care of the children. His job is to do the best he can at school. So he remembers that he needs to have sneakers on Tues for gym, and he remembers that he need to have his library book for fridays, etc.

My 4 year old knows it is her job to remember her backpack for preschool. (I pack what she needs, but she has to get it to the car and into the school. I don't remind her.)

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#12 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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Why is it the parent's job to remember? A 5 year old can keep track of a folder if he knows he needs to take it each day (or each thursday.) When my oldest started school I told him it is his job, just like dp goes to work to earn money and I take care of the children. His job is to do the best he can at school. So he remembers that he needs to have sneakers on Tues for gym, and he remembers that he need to have his library book for fridays, etc.
I agree

My sister and i made a calander for her boys -- posted on the fridge -- with each day of hte school week and what they need (libary books return day or whatever) . Each night the boys corss of today adn look ahead to tomorrow -- yes Sis makes sure everything they bring homeor tell her about gets posted ... she has them help ... but they have to look at it.

Like her or I looking at the day timer today to see we have to take the baby to the doctor tomorrow

not only do they learn it is their responiblity -- they learn a WAY to do it ....

Just a thought.

AImee

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#13 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 05:25 PM
 
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Why is it the parent's job to remember? A 5 year old can keep track of a folder if he knows he needs to take it each day (or each thursday.) When my oldest started school I told him it is his job, just like dp goes to work to earn money and I take care of the children. His job is to do the best he can at school. So he remembers that he needs to have sneakers on Tues for gym, and he remembers that he need to have his library book for fridays, etc.

My 4 year old knows it is her job to remember her backpack for preschool. (I pack what she needs, but she has to get it to the car and into the school. I don't remind her.)
But just because YOUR child can remember, doesnt mean ALL children can remember.

I also think that you are assuming all parents are as involved as you are. Your five yr old only remembers, because you've instilled in him that its important....what if you had alot of other things going on in your life (whether because you were working three jobs, or had six other kids, or because you had issues like drug or alcohol dependancy, or because school issues just werent important to you...), and therefore your child didnt get the support at home to do his homework or remember to bring it in? So that child gets punished because his mother dropped the ball?

I personally think that rewards are often just the flip side of punishments. Imagine being the only five yr old in a class who forgot his assignment, and having to watch all the other kids enjoy their treat. Personally, i dont think thats a very effective way to teach "good habits".....my son will never forget (and he's 11!)when he brought cupcakes into his K class for his birthday, and was told one particular child couldnt have one because he didnt finish his work. It was sad. These are 5 yr olds! If a child is forgetting his homework, the teacher should come up with creative/effective ways to help him remember it (and may include talking to the parent to see if there's an issue at home)....not singling out the child for punishment.


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#14 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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I do not mind children having sweets.
But I do mind children being rewarded - let alone rewarded with food.
But then again our house is an UP house - We dont do praise/rewards.
And then of course theres a whole lot else I dont agree with but you have decided to send your child to school so I guess you just have to go with it...like homework...and homework folders...etc lol

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#15 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 06:48 PM
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My ds was getting two or three treats a day from his K teacher--not just once a week. So I took in a bag of change (mostly pennies) and asked her to give him a coin for each reward, rather than candy. She was fine with it, and so was ds!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#16 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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I personally think that rewards are often just the flip side of punishments. Imagine being the only five yr old in a class who forgot his assignment, and having to watch all the other kids enjoy their treat. Personally, i dont think thats a very effective way to teach "good habits".....my son will never forget (and he's 11!)when he brought cupcakes into his K class for his birthday, and was told one particular child couldnt have one because he didnt finish his work. It was sad. These are 5 yr olds! If a child is forgetting his homework, the teacher should come up with creative/effective ways to help him remember it (and may include talking to the parent to see if there's an issue at home)....not singling out the child for punishment.


Katherine
So true!

Things like this are one reason I'm glad we unschool.

I remember one time in Sunday School, my dd was so sad when they played a game with teams and the kids on the winning team got to pick a prize from the prize-box. When something's perfectly fun in and of itself, there's no need to remove the focus from the fun thing, and direct it to a prize. Of course, dd was happy the week before when her team won. My point is, she would've been just as happy just playing the game, you know?

But I'm thinking, why not just let the games be for fun, and just have times when you periodically let everyone pick a gift from the gift-box? Of course, I love UP like ann_of_loxley does. I realize I can't re-structure my children's outside world to match my personal ideals -- so my answer is just to support my dd and let her decide if she wants to be involved in something or not. She still likes Sunday School, and she knows it's her choice, so there must be enough positives to outweigh the negatives for her.

I wouldn't make a very good school parent, because I'd leave it up to dd to decide whether she wanted to work on homework or do something else with her free-time. Of course I'd remind her to take the folder, and the work in it might actually get done, if dd happened to decide she wanted to spend part of her free-time working on it.

It does make me sad that children are being rewarded (or punished by having to watch other children get a reward they don't get) based on what kinds of parents they have.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#17 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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I effing hate arbitrary rewards.....but then again, I am likley to unschool next year and so I dont have to worry about it.

If I were leaving him in school though, I would probably have to be ok with what they are doing.

Just one little candy probably wont hurt...unless someone is allergic to dye.

My ds ONLY cares about "treasure box" at school and I have to try and sound excited when he gets it. Even though its usually a cheap plastic toy from China OR candy.
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#18 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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At first when I read this I was o.k. w/ it, though I would too want to know ahead of time what the treat was as Evan is particular can't just have any candy or food. The more I read though, I agree w/ those who are against the whole system. I tend to think 5 is a little young to put this reponsibility on them. Yes, they should remember on their own, but if they don't are you going to just let them forget their stuff? That seems silly to me at this age. We have a communication journal too that I have to read everyday and the teacher updates me on his day etc. For me I choose to never let it leave school, I read and sign it right away and just leave it w/ the teacher b/c I'm a forgetful person and I'm well over 5. I am not totally against rewards as there needs to be something to work towards in most things, but at this age I'm not sure they understand enough to not just be sad if they didn't get a treat.

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#19 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 08:01 PM
 
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yea No Child Left Behind!

BOOOOOOO!!!!

Thats why its soooooooooo important that a 5 yr old can perform at a 10 yr olds level.
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#20 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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I see all kinds of things wrong with this.

First of all, I don't like food being given as a reward at all. Secondly, candy in the morning? Also not good. And I agree with the others that have said that the parents are basically the ones responsible for sending back the homework folder. My 6-year-old (who is in public K this year) can barely remember to wear shoes to school--okay, that's an exaggeration, but I do have to remind him about his folder and backpack every. single. morning. If I didn't, he wouldn't bring it. I'm not trying to say anyone in this thread is fibbing, but I really think that, if you never have to remind your 5-year-old to bring their folder to school, you have an *extremely* exceptional 5-year-old.

I think you should definitely speak with the teacher about this. I'm assuming you have a good relationship with her, so I bet she'll hear you out and value your opinion.
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#21 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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they should give YOU some candy!
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#22 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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Honestly, it's not a battle I would pick.
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#23 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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At first read, I was irked with the candy, the homework folder and the good habits part. But after reading the comments, and seeing the different points of view, I guess it is not so bad. We try to limit candy, not use rewards for incentive and don't really want to send dd to school because of silly homework BUT these things end up happening anyway, despite our best intentions.

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#24 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 08:48 PM
 
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Kindergartners, while too young to reliably remember to bring in their homework folder by themselves, ARE old enough to start learning responsibility and to help remind mama or papa to get the homework folder ready.

I don't really have a major problem with getting a small reward for remembering to do something that helps routines run smoothly- and to appreciate something positive even if the "routines running smoothly" part doesn't feel like a direct reward to the child.

But I have a huge problem with candy being given out as rewards. First, I have a problem with the whole "food as reward" issue and developing unhealthy eating habits (so homework routines are more important than learning to eat only when you're hungry?) and I'd throw a major fit if my child was being fed synthetic colors or flavors at school, when we avoid them. Yeah, I could send in approved candies for this purpose, but I'd my other objections still stand.

If it were my child, I'd contact the teacher about using stickers or small toys as rewards instead of candy.

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#25 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 09:05 PM
 
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I dont like a food reward at all. Especially because we're vegetarian, starbursts have gelatin and he cant eat it. Id hate to have to go thru all their candy to make sure its okay for him to eat. Stickers are fine, but not food.
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#26 of 91 Old 12-15-2007, 09:14 PM
 
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Wouldn't bother me.

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#27 of 91 Old 12-16-2007, 01:11 AM
 
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Wouldn't bother me. Probably b/c I would be a hypocrite if it did seeing how I have given DS a treat here and there for using the potty. : (Am I gonna get flamed now?)
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#28 of 91 Old 12-16-2007, 10:42 AM
 
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I effing hate arbitrary rewards.....
It isn't arbitrary. If you do X, you get Y. How the heck is that arbitrary?

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Thats why its soooooooooo important that a 5 yr old can perform at a 10 yr olds level.
????? I think taking care of personal items is a necessary skill for life. It irks me terribly when my son's friends lose mittens, coats, etc and the mom says "don't worry. That happens." What about trying to track the lost item down? Asking around, etc. She buys gloves by the dozen for her one child. There is no justification for that in my mind.

I don't think an individual reward is the right thing, but I don't think the expectation is too high. I've seen the "If everyone brings their library book the class gets a star. Once you have X stars you can pick out two books to take home." That still puts pressure on the one kid who forgets every week. But it can't always be pressure free- that is how we learn.

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#29 of 91 Old 12-16-2007, 02:49 PM
 
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I think taking care of personal items is a necessary skill for life. It irks me terribly when my son's friends lose mittens, coats, etc and the mom says "don't worry. That happens." What about trying to track the lost item down? Asking around, etc. She buys gloves by the dozen for her one child. There is no justification for that in my mind.
While I'd certainly help my child try to track the lost item down, if another parent chooses to buy gloves by the dozen, why should she have to justify her decision to anyone else?

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I've seen the "If everyone brings their library book the class gets a star. Once you have X stars you can pick out two books to take home." That still puts pressure on the one kid who forgets every week. But it can't always be pressure free- that is how we learn.
Bolding mine.

Learn what?

I disagree that humans have to be under external pressure to learn. My children have done a tremendous amount of learning, where the only pressure was that of their own enthusiasm for the subject at hand. I guess passion for life is a form of pressure, and we're not "pressure-free" as long as we have the urge to get out there and try new stuff --

But I see that as a whole different ballgame from a pressure-cooker situation where a child has to watch his classmates get a treat while he misses out. There are just so many factors that can affect a 5yo's ability to remember his folder every week.

Maybe a few 5yo's have the inner organization to think of it on their own, but I think the majority are simply getting rewarded because their moms are on the ball (or punished because their moms are too disorganized or have too much on their plates).

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#30 of 91 Old 12-16-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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I would jump on the teacher about the candy but that is becaus emine RARELY have sweets like that and my eldest is on the Fiengold diet, so.....
Also, I agree, it depends more on the parent at this age. I babysit for a girl whose mother has NO organization at all in her home. She is always losing her shoes, homework, etc... I feel it is not right for her to be punished if she brings her folder home, sets it on the table and then it gets buried under a stack of laundry or something.....
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