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#31 of 45 Old 01-21-2004, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally posted by Greaseball
If the religious excuse can keep unvaxed kids in ps, and keep kids out of certain classes, why can't it keep them away from homework?
For one, it's not an excuse, people actually have religious reasons for not vaccinating. Two, if you were a teacher would you buy that as a reason? Think about it from their point of view. Not only would it make their life harder, but it would your child's as well. None of the other kids would like it that they had to do homework but your kids don't. It wouldn't work.
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#32 of 45 Old 01-21-2004, 09:51 PM
 
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Originally posted by Openskyheart
Here's one example: We were threatened (not me personally, but all families at the school) with being reported to Child Protective Services if a child was *late* more than 4 times a semester.
Yup. I got a note like that this year for my son that's in K. It said they would take all the necessary steps to ensure he came to school, blah blah blah. He's in K and it's not even required. I was a bit when I got that letter to say the least.

The school can make your life a living hell. If you're not going to allow homework then you should just keep them home. It'll be easier on all of you.
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#33 of 45 Old 01-21-2004, 10:15 PM
 
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I am moving this to Learning at School since it is about a ps child with homework issues. Maybe someone in that forum can give you some concrete advice on how your sister can approach the teacher/system.
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#34 of 45 Old 01-22-2004, 12:20 AM
 
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Whew! Well, welcome to this board. Thanks Laralou!

After reading all the debate about HS vs. PS, it seems like the child is still in PS for now. He does have some issues, and maybe they are contributing to his homework difficulties. If you sister is interested, she could approach the teacher to find out more about the amt. of homework. If the child does have a diagnosis of some kind (depression or some other emotional disturbance) he would probably qualify for "accommodations" which might reduce his workload after school. If parents don't ask or push, usually the school assumes everything is o.k. and the child is functioning fine. To get on accommodations, there would need to be a note or letter from the doctor and your sister would ask for a 504 plan. This could help provide any accommodations that your nephew needs to make his school experience more successful, short of an IEP (special ed).

Hope this is helpful. I'm sure others will have more to contribute if they can make it through this thread!!!

 
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#35 of 45 Old 01-22-2004, 12:59 AM
 
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Article on Homework Burdens

I agree with Lauren a 504 and IEP needs to be in place for this child. Mental illness is a legitamate reason to reduce homework.

Teachers are being forced to by educrats/bureaucrats to assign homework. The schools policies on assigning homework not what the teacher see as a child/ren’s need.

I also think if a child is goofing off in class and does not complete schoolwork finishing it at home is acceptable. BUT I disagree assigning much if any other homework than that except on an as need bases. I do think the parents need to get the teacher more involved and figuring out how long it should take and why it is taking him so long (if more than expected).

I homeschool, It on average including lunch and other breaks takes about 5 hrs to do my 9 and 5 yr old’s lessons. I will admit my nine year old has made his day very long because he just did not want to do. He has now learned do it right the first time and you are done and free, but we have had days. I am sure these days will happen with my other children. I think all children go through phases and days of “I DON’T want to.” Some times they you just have to, like they have to brush their teeth.

Please don’t think I am an ogre. I do take time to look at what and why the day is going the way it is. I have put up the books and changed lessons but when he needs to work on fine motor skills and refuse to do any and all activities (including simple crossing monkey bars) you have to put the preverbal foot down.

My son went to kindergarten and one month of first grade. He had no homework in kindergarten, except twice which was make a craft for a special thing going on in school. In first grade he had spelling and this packet (one worksheet a night) for homework. Our special ed teacher for my hard of hearing child was apualled. Her same age child in the neighboring school district didn’t even have spelling words yet. These schools had the same ratings. She was very understanding why my son hated it and did not disagree with me pulling him out. She did/does have the socialization fears but she was blunt that not enough socialization was far better than him hating to learn. LOL
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#36 of 45 Old 01-22-2004, 12:44 PM
 
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Not all homework in our house is "meaningless" work. What looks like busy work to me is often interesting to my kids. If they do their homework, I'm not going to flip through it and tell them off for wasting their time. On the other hand, if my 9 yo dd gets half way through something and stops, she could be discouraged because the work is too hard or because it is too easy and she already knows how to do the thing the lesson is teaching her. If she asks for help, I'll give it to her, but if she doesn't want help, she's not forced to do the work. If not completing homework backfires on her and her marks are poor, then another lesson is learned, too.

I would never encourage a child to do homework just to get more marks, but I'd never discourage a child from doing homework just because I thought she'd be better off doing something else. They are both actions of authoritarian adults acting like they know better than kids what to do. Some kids want to get good marks, and if they want to do homework then let them, I say.
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#37 of 45 Old 01-22-2004, 01:33 PM
 
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I'd never discourage a child from doing homework just because I thought she'd be better off doing something else.
That's a good point...if my kids want to go to ps and do lots of homework, I'd wonder where I went wrong, but I'd have to let them do it! I think kids need to choose the kind of education they receive.

What I'd like to do, when they are old enough, is take them to tour every public and private school in town and have them choose one.
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#38 of 45 Old 01-23-2004, 03:02 PM
 
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I will admit first off we homeschool. But I thought I would share my away from homeschooling experience.

When dd started Kindergarten we were told that she would be bringing home 30 minutes of homework everyday. Nothing for weekends or holidays. As she progressed thru school they would be adding 30 minutes of home work per night per grade (ie 1st grade 1 hour, 2nd grade 1 hour 30 minutes) and they would also have "projects" that would need to be completed on top of that. (science, history usually taking another 20-30 minutes per night), AND anything they didn't complete during school time. This was a maganet school, with the focus on the "3 R's". During K. we had her tested for a gifted program, which she was accepted into and we switched schools for 1st grade. Being that it was in the same school dist. it had simular homework rules... but the kids could stay in from recess and do the homework so they would have nothing to take home. In her first grade class she had 15 minute am recess, and then 45 minute lunch/pm recess.
When she went to 2nd grade they had taken away the am recess, and also could not afford a PE teacher so the kids had no PE. They cut the art and music programs and made them only for 4th and 5th graders. Her 2nd grade teacher told me that alot of the "fun" stuff was not going to happen much anymore due to the fact that the school wanted to get better marks on the standardized tests. That would be starting with the 3rd graders, and she had to perpare the 2nd graders for this test.

It could be that the OP's nephew was "goofing off" but it could be normal procedure for him to be bringing home that much homework. My dd had a mathphobia and at least twice a week would bring home extra math to do on top of her normal homework. If he is having problems in a subject he could be having to do that ontop of regularly assisinged homework. The "no child left behind" act has really messed up public schools. They are so focused on the testing, and not on the learning. Learning is fun! I think it is a same that little kids are already "hating" school, or only liking lunch. It is almost like they have nothing that intests them. And I know not every subject is wow amazing to every child, but I remember teachers having the room to make it fun and exciting, now it has to be "THIS WAY" or they get the boot. It can burn out the teachers, and it burns out the kids way to early.

OP also said her Nephew was on AD... and this just started since Novemeber... weird. I mean I can see that with his parents not together, he would have some issues to deal with, but then to add on top of that mounds of homework, whether by his desing (ie "goofing off" and daydreaming) or by the schools with maditory homework. Maybe what he needs is some understanding, if he is depressed and dealing with home issues, it very well could be hard for him to focus at school, maybe he is daydreaming of a life with both his folks, or what is going to happen to him and his mom, or whatever 4th graders daydream about. Not a sin in my book, and not a reason to spend 3 hours every evening doing homework. If he is just dragging it out, maybe that is how he gets him mom to spend sometime with him. I am sure the seperation hasn't been easy on her, and she maybe working more, and he may have more responsiblities, and maybe he just wants her with him, even if it is her harping on him to hurry up. I mean sometimes we look at kids as mini adults and they just need to "deal" with what ever life dishes out, but 9 year olds just don't really have it in them yet.

OK just my 10 cents.

H

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#39 of 45 Old 01-23-2004, 04:54 PM
 
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The child's mother should start out talking to the teacher and perhaps to the administration, to find out what is really going on. Most of this thread is really idle speculation in a lot of ways (my post included!).

If the child is really getting that much homework per night, she might want to work with the teacher and the administration to see if that is what they intend or if something strange is going on.

It is very possible as others have pointed out that they child is just goofing around. We use PS, and sometimes my dd takes far longer to do her homework than she should because she doesn't just sit down and do it. We are working on using this experience to teach her the benefit of applying herself to a task and finishing it, and I think she is starting to see the light. It carries over to other tasks far beyond homework.

The child may also have very poor study or organizational skills--some do. There are techniques that your SIL might read up on, or that the teacher might recommend that could help your nephew get organized and pare down the amount of time he spends.

My dh is a high school teacher. He has students who never turn in the required homework. It is nearly always the case that these same students have at least one study hall a day, and when he checks with the study hall teacher, these same students never make any attempt to do any schoolwork during these periods. He tries to work with the students and the parents to help them learn to use their time more effectively and solve a few problems at once.
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#40 of 45 Old 01-23-2004, 05:37 PM
 
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Some great conversation in here! We have no kids yet, but have been doing "research" for the past several years - just to prepare & satisfy some babylusting hormones without actually HAVING a baby yet Just thought I'd explain first why I'm here when we don't have kids...

My younger sis has a six yr old, in first grade, who is beginning to bring home at least an hour of homework & a few hours on the weekends. My sis is a single mom who served in the Air Guard for most of her after-highschool life but is now back in college, bio-sciences. She now has her job, her mothering, her own homework & also her daughter's homework to handle in the short 24 hour days. Bless her is all I can say... & any other single mama's dealing with similar circ's. I honestly don't know HOW she manages, she doesn't have the homeschooling option. Anyway, just wanted to drop in & agree that kid's homework amounts are a little much these days. & not every kids can just sit down, focus on the work & get it done in time to play outdoors... some have learning disabilities or artistic personalities & just don't operate in the cut&dried homework regimine very easily or beneficially. Therefore, they get punished for taking too long or worse, held back in school due to poor grades. Which gives in to poor self esteem, a subconscious disdain for school & larger problems down the road.

Anyway, it's very sad to me & it would be awesome to have public schools that carry mostly homeschooling ideals. (Do they exist & I just am unaware?) Seems like a huge problem to not have more/better alternatives to pub schools. One thing from these great posts that stuck out was the idea that if we keep kids busy they'll get into trouble less... makes sense given how the rest of this government operates. The ol' "STOP FREE-THINKING WHILE WE STILL CAN!" attitude. which is all fear-based anyway...

it seems that if they'd stop cutting art & music programs from pub school curriculums & offered more FREE afterschool programs for public schooled kids, they'd still be off thew streets & also be gaining the benefit of creativity.

just my two cents... & best of luck to all of you mama's & papa's & your kids who deal with the huge HW loads
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#41 of 45 Old 01-23-2004, 05:53 PM
 
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Where do people get the idea that play is OPTIONAL? It isn't a luxury, a frill, or something that one should have to work for - it's necessary for a happy, healthy child!

I never had homework in K. It was all about playing with dolls, singing, running around, and unstructured art projects. I have yet to see how this has hurt me. More homework doesn't make a better, smater child. It just makes a child who has more work to do.

I think most parents realize this, but can't convince those in charge.
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#42 of 45 Old 01-23-2004, 05:59 PM
 
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The child in the OP is not in K, he is in 4th grade. Alas, in most places, a child in 4th grade must be subjected to a host of standardized tests. This is not the teacher's idea, and it generally is not the administration's idea. It is required by law. The administration and the teachers are evaluated on how the students perform on these standardized tests. That is where much of the emphasis on homework comes from.
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#43 of 45 Old 01-24-2004, 02:09 AM
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Probably there aren't any teachers who'd be willing to do this - for fear of losing their job, letting their students down, etc. etc., BUT - I've often wondered... what if as a teacher you *did* just let your students learn whatever they were interested in? I mean, at least all the kids could vote on the things the wanted to know about/learn the most and then take turns or find links between them or whatever. Have a full year of child-led learning with *nothing* required, no homework,no testing, just genuine learning based on curiousity and interest. How much worse would those kids fare on the standardized tests at the end of the year? Or how much *better*?

That's the idea behind unschooling - that kids don't have to be forced to learn, they want to! But if we force them to learn things that *we* think they should learn, instead of letting them follow their own inclinations, that it takes the wonder out of the whole process. (This is not to say that we can't ever introduce kids to new things/ideas that they haven't been exposed to before.) I think that most unschooling and eclectic/laid back homeschooling parents find that some of the most amazing things that their kids learn, they learn on their own - things we often would have never thought to teach them.

This is of course off topic from the initial poster's question, and of no help to the situation she's describing!, but just some more thoughts to put out there.

xo - Kelly

Handmade dress shop owner and mama of five - our littlest just born in December! ♥

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#44 of 45 Old 01-24-2004, 07:46 PM
 
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T sort of....

I am suprised by a lot of the responses here, due to the fact that quite a few people have blamed the kid for "goofing off" first. Like the first impulse is to not be on the childs side. Some how it must be his fault, because it couldn't be the system "we" have created, that doesn't take into account a childs natural instinct to daydream, and also, the OP did say that the child just resently had these problems and was put on anti-depressants. That seems like a lot to pin on a kid... something else is going on.

I wonder if the boy was/is not finding a lot of interest in what he is doing. Maybe his mom should step up and attempt to make the HW a little more meaningful. It does take a little extra on the part of the parent, but it is worth it. When my DD was in PS, and she had the butt load of HW, I would sit with her (and yes I have other kids, and a house to take care of, a husband and a part time out of the home job), and we would talk about what she was doing, if it seemed like just a repeat of what she had done that day, we would spice it up... ie with math...a sheet of double and triple number adding or subtracting we would pretend it was money and she had so much and needed to get stuff at the store. Other times what worked best was giving her down time right off the bat, coming home having a snack and playing outside or in her room or whatever. I found both of those things a lot more helpful then harping at her. It could be that the reason me sitting with her helped, was because what she really needed was time with me.

H

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#45 of 45 Old 01-24-2004, 11:25 PM
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I have to chime in! I agree with both ideas about homework and homeschool! I'm a huge fence sitter huh!

Anyway, I would check and see that the kid is not goofing off. It may sound harsh to some but there is some truth to it.

And guess what? I have the perfect example. My son and our neighbor are both in the same class in 4th grade. My son NEVER (and I do mean never) has homework. The neighbor has 3 hours a day. My son is a great student and loves school. He manages his time well and finishes all work in class. His teacher gives him ample time. My neighbor is a poor student and doesn't do much in the way of managing time at all. He has homework every night. Same teacher! (We won't discuss why his mom can't work with him and meet his needs as to why he is CONSTANTLY unprepared... that is a different topic..) If it were me, I would take the neighbor out of public school and homeschool him.

My son is thriving and getting his needs meet in public school so he is fine. If the OP nephew is managing time well and still has 3 hours of homework then something needs to be done. Homework is just busy work!

Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
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