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Old 01-20-2004, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just learned today that my nephew who is in the 4th grade (public school) has three hour + of homework each night!!! I can't believe it!!! I am so upset. The poor kid doesn't have time to even play outside or participate in afterschool activities because he has so much darn homework!! He is depressed and has been on anti-depressants since November....we won't even begin to get into how I feel about medicating him that way...this all just came out this afternoon. I don't GET it....why would my SIL allow for this to happen?? I don't want to blame her, because she is a divorced single parent and her plate is mega full, but this is her CHILD!!!

The family flipped when DH and I told them we plan on HS our kids when the time comes.....my MIL actually suggested HS when she heard about this poor kid and the difficult time he is having.

Is this the norm?? I am going CRAZY over this!!

Abby

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Old 01-21-2004, 12:03 AM
 
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My dd is in Grade 4 and can spend that amount of time on homework a night, but it is because she daydreams and messes around. In truth, the only homework she is given other than studying spelling, is unfinished schoolwork, so it's her own fault. She is not overloaded. Before jumping to conclusions, I'd check out that angle first.
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:16 AM
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Many schools require grades 4+ to give 30 min per subject per night, so it sounds very likely. The numerous hrs of homework are just one of my many reasons for pulling DS out of PS.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:23 AM
 
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QUOTE]Originally posted by Irishmommy
My dd is in Grade 4 and can spend that amount of time on homework a night, but it is because she daydreams and messes around. In truth, the only homework she is given other than studying spelling, is unfinished schoolwork, so it's her own fault. She is not overloaded. Before jumping to conclusions, I'd check out that angle first. [/QUOTE]

The above quote has got to be one of the most disturbing replies to a post here (the homeschooling thread) that I have ever read. I had to double check to make sure that I was on the homeschooling board. I can not believe what some adults (teachers and parents) are subjecting children to these days. Can anyone point out a study or reason behind giving a 9 year old 3 hours of homework? And to justify it by saying that it is necessary because the 9 year olds "mess around" and "day dream" during the school day (and after) is appalling. Please recognize that kids at these young ages are meant to be dreaming. That is where some of the best ideals come from, by having time to dream.
To the OP, this sadly is becoming the norm, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are communities all over the country that are starting to question the wisdom of so much homework. As for your SIL, encourage her to talk with some of the other parents in her child's class. Maybe there are more parents at the school that are feeling the same way (that it is too much homework) but feel that they are the only ones who do. Also ask her to find out if her local school district has a homework policy(if they do, make sure it is being followed) and if not, perhaps the parents can meet with the administration and work toward establishing one.
One of the main reasons why we homeschool is the fact that we believe that children need time to be children. Time to play, explore, challenge and work on their own and in their own time. I hope that my suggestions can help to lighten the load for your nephew.

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Old 01-21-2004, 02:27 AM
 
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It sounds normal to me. Sad but true. they don't want kids to have time to mess around. they may get into trouble that way : Also they are under the mistaken notion that homework makes you smarter.

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Old 01-21-2004, 02:34 AM
 
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i still have only a baby, so maybe I shouldnt be jumping in here (but I plan to homeschool:LOL ) but when do children get to be active? school all day, up to 3 hours sit down work after school? how could a kid be inactive physically that long? ouch.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irishmommy
My dd is in Grade 4 and can spend that amount of time on homework a night, but it is because she daydreams and messes around. In truth, the only homework she is given other than studying spelling, is unfinished schoolwork, so it's her own fault. She is not overloaded. Before jumping to conclusions, I'd check out that angle first.
Same here for my daughter that's in 3rd grade. She could have it done in under an hour if she'd just sit down and do it. I would check that first and if it's not that someone needs to stand up for this child.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:40 AM
 
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Originally posted by ErikaDP


The above quote has got to be one of the most disturbing replies to a post here (the homeschooling thread) that I have ever read. I had to double check to make sure that I was on the homeschooling board. I can not believe what some adults (teachers and parents) are subjecting children to these days. Can anyone point out a study or reason behind giving a 9 year old 3 hours of homework? And to justify it by saying that it is necessary because the 9 year olds "mess around" and "day dream" during the school day (and after) is appalling.
I don't think she was saying that any child needs to have 3 hours of homework a night because they mess around. It sounded to me that she was saying that her child takes 3 hours to do her homework because she messes around. BIG difference. If your child has no learning difficulties and just doesn't do their school work then they should have to finish it at home. That's the natural consequence of fooling around in school.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:55 AM
 
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'If your child has no learning difficulties and just doesn't do their school work then they should have to finish it at home. That's the natural consequence of fooling around in school.'

yikes. you don't homeschool, do you?

there's natural consequences, and there's a normal reaction to getting handed a big pile o' nuthin' worksheets to waste your life on. i think THAT's the difference.

whoops, crying kid gotta split.

suse
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Old 01-21-2004, 03:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by suseyblue


yikes. you don't homeschool, do you?
I used to. Same would go for homeschool. Sometimes they didn't want to do the work but they had to anyway. That's life. When kids go to PS there is only so much the parents can control and even if the children don't like a certain subject, or a certain type of work they still have to do it. I have one daughter that loves school and has no problem doing her homework, but my other daughter hates it and takes forever to do even a small amount of work. She usually only has to read a few pages in a book and answer a few questions, spelling, and write the problems she got wrong on her math mad minute 3 x. It should take her no more than 45 minutes at the most to do all of that, but some nights she's still doing it at 8 or 9 PM because she doesn't want to do it. I wouldn't let her get away with not doing the work when I homeschooled and she won't in PS either.


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there's natural consequences, and there's a normal reaction to getting handed a big pile o' nuthin' worksheets to waste your life on. i think THAT's the difference.
That's no the type of work my daughter brings home.
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Old 01-21-2004, 04:04 AM
 
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I see mostly 10-15 min of work per grade level as a norm, so at 4 th grade a normal amount of homework would be approx 40- 60 minutes. A child that does not do some work during the day they are responsible for could easily add another 10-15 on top of that, add the dawdling or another reason is LD and then it turns into a couple hours.

If he is on medication, he could be having trouble focusing and sleeping at night - which would explain the inability to finish his work.
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why would my SIL allow for this to happen??
I don't know your sil but I am guessing she did not choose this for her child and as a parent stuff happens that you can not always prevent or protect your kids from. For example - her divorce & the depression.

What she can do is first talk to her child's doctor about dosage and meds & then talk to her child's teacher and get an idea of exactly how much time it should take to finish the work. If he is struggling because he does not understand the subject he is studying then she can prob negotiate what homework needs to be done and how to get him help to keep up. Does she know how to set up a place for him to study uninterrupted so he can focus?? Does he get a break for a snack, low blood sugar in the evening makes it hard to concentrate also. at 4th grade kids still need help with homework and an adult should be around for assistance.

Homework can be a child's tool during a parent-child power struggle. If the dc knows this is really ticking off his mom and there is a lot of anger there, he could be doing this on purpose to punish her & also it is something *he* controls and when your world is topsy turvy even the act of dragging out completing a worksheet can be empowering albeit a negative way.


fact is -- it does not matter if it is busy work or something meaningful, if it is assigned by his teacher - she must have some reason she thinks it is vip if he has been absent frequently then he could be making up work.
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Old 01-21-2004, 05:03 AM
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It seems like there are two groups of people posting on this thread (for the most part) - homeschoolers, and non-homeschoolers - and it also seems unlikely that we're all going to agree on this! Most homeschoolers feel that what they're doing is best for their kids (and often other kids, too!), and a lot of public schoolers in particular get defensive about it.

I think it's very sad that a child that young would be on anti-depressents and having four hours of homework a night (even if it is from fidgeting or lack of concentration.) We unschool, so it's no surprise that I completely agree that four hours of homework is apalling! I'm against homework at all though. I don't see the value in kids being made to do "school" work that doesn't interest them, regardless of whether they're actually in school, or whether you "school at home". There are so many things that every child *is* interested in, why force them to do things they're not interested in? (And I'm talking about studying here, not eating their peas.) Kids aren't meant to sit on their butts all days in school, trying to behave, and concentrate! in a classroom full of other kids - they definitely shouldn't have to do more once they get home. Home, at least, should be a respite.

I understand that homeschooling isn't for everyone, and that there are people who don't see, or actually do not have homeschooling as an option. I have thought before that when the kids are grown up that I'd like to teach, just so that I could let the kids in my classes plan their own curriculums, and for homework spend maybe 1/2 an hour to an hour every night reading or writing or drawing or creating anything at all that they wanted to. Think I'd get hired anywhere?!

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Old 01-21-2004, 06:39 AM
 
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I homeschool and my kids do assigned work, not only from me but from their CCD teacher at our Catholic Church and also they assign tasks to themselves to complete based on the goals they set for themselves at the beg & mid of each school year --
when my oldest ds has some college classes he does a LOT of homework

not whether or not homework is a good thing or how you homeschool is another thread -


there is a charter school I knew last year that had no homework policy but sent home weekly binder with suggestions of activities parents could do with the children to reinforce the concepts they were learning at school and it had ?s the parents could ask that were open ended - kind of after-schooling LOL
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by abbylotus

Is this the norm?? I am going CRAZY over this!!
When my ds was in school, I was told that it was expected that he would have 30 min of homework a night in the lower grades. He got home at 3:45, we unpacked the knapsack, got a snack, etc. and he'd work until dinner. After dinner he might still have some to finish, then shower and bed.

He had homework on weekends and even over Christmas and Thanksgiving breaks. This was 3rd grade. It was one of many reasons that we pulled him out to hs him.

If your sil is open to this, you might suggest the book,
Guerrilla Learning, How To Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School The author is a hsing advocate, but this book specifically addresses how to have a life while going to school.

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Old 01-21-2004, 01:25 PM
 
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When my DD was in school she had maybe an hour a week that she could not finish in class and that was in grade 7. To be honest, I think even that much was far too much for anyone to spend on pointless repetition and boring topics.

Just my 2 cents.

MM
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Old 01-21-2004, 01:34 PM
 
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If a child of this age is spending this much time on homework there's a problem. The teacher needs to be involved in finding the solution. No teacher would intend for this to happen, and most are very willing to help find a remedy. I have many friends who are teachers and they would be appalled to hear that a student was struggling like this.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:22 PM
 
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Originally posted by kel
It seems like there are two groups of people posting on this thread (for the most part) - homeschoolers, and non-homeschoolers - and it also seems unlikely that we're all going to agree on this! Most homeschoolers feel that what they're doing is best for their kids (and often other kids, too!), and a lot of public schoolers in particular get defensive about it.
I haven't posted anything defensively, nor have I seen anyone else. I don't believe this thread was started to debate PS vs. HS, but instead about a boy that is possibly getting too much homework. The point that it could just be him not finishing it in a timely manner was a good one and has nothing to do with being defensive.

Kids doing only work that they like sounds great, but in PS it just doesn't work. Kids that are in PS have to do the work or they will fail. That's just the way it is. One teacher can't do different lessons for each child on each subject. Nothing would ever get done. So while homeschoolers may allow their kids to only do work that they like or want to do, you can't expect it to be your way for kids in PS because it's just not realistic.

Like I said before, if it's not him just fooling around and not doing the work than someone needs to stand up for this child. Someone needs to find out what's going on and make some changes to help him. It could possibly have something to do with problems at home if his mother is having trouble. I think Irishmommy's point was don't point fingers at the school just yet. Wait until you have more facts. I don't like PS more than anyone else does, but it's not always their fault.

I don't understand why this was posted here when it's really about a problem in PS anyway. :


FTR, I don't think teachers should assign homework. I think they are in school a good part of the day and that should be enough time to learn what they have to learn. I think kids need a chance to be kids and time to play when they get home. JMO.
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:35 PM
 
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I have adult children who went to school. Even when they were in highschool, they did not routinely have more than 1 hour of homework per night. I can understand having extra work to complete a special project or assignment but to be assigned 2+ hours of homework a day does not make sense to me. I think that this is just another example of "if some is good, more is better."
We all need to be concerned about this issue. It affects us all in ways that we don't even think about. For example, we (in the US) now have some of the most alarming childhood diabetes(the kind typically seen in older adults because sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary choices and obesity) rates in the world, along with some the highest juvenile obesity rates. I do not think that these problems are happening in isolation, rather that they are a direct result of the lifestyle choices that we are making for some of our children today. I think that dialogs such as this need to be happening all over the country.
How children learn is just as important as what children learn. I too know that all kids can't be homschooled, but I believe that all children deserve to have an education that prepares the whole child for life as a caring, creative, healthy member of our world. I was just surprised by some of the replies here because this is a homeschooling thread.

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Old 01-21-2004, 02:50 PM
 
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Originally posted by ErikaDP
I think that this is just another example of "if some is good, more is better."

From the information given how can you know that to be true? You can't, and that's the point here. Unless anyone has more facts they don't know for sure that he's being assigned 3 hours of homework a night.


Quote:
We all need to be concerned about this issue. It affects us all in ways that we don't even think about.

We don't even know that there is any issue outside of this child's own issues.


Quote:
I was just surprised by some of the replies here because this is a homeschooling thread.
A homeschooling forum, but a thread about PS. I've done both, I am a HSer at heart, but it's not possible for me right now, so I have to deal with the evils of schools. Who better to know how to answer the question than those that may have gone through similar things?

I'm surprised at the way some HSers are acting about PSers posting here. Perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to point the finger and take a look at the facts here........which we don't even have most of. Seems like there are a lot of issues for this child. It doesn't always have to be the school's fault you know....that's coming from someone that hates PS. It could be that he is getting 3 hours of homework a night, but we don't know that because we don't have all the facts. THAT is the point. Don't be so quick to judge.
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Old 01-21-2004, 03:34 PM
 
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I think it's outrageous that schooled kids have homework at all. What, six hours a day isn't enough time to spend on academics? Gah. Most adults aren't expected to continue working on their job after official work hours, and if they are, they are free to find another job. Most kids aren't free to leave school, or to refuse to do things for school that are absurd and anti-life, without being threatened by their teachers with "having a bad record and failing in life" and by their parents who are "disappointed" or stressed out because their kids are embarassing them by not doing what the school wants them to. :
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Old 01-21-2004, 04:45 PM
 
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I'm not going to respond to the responses to my post because AnnMarie has already done so. I would love to homeschool, in theory, but I know full well that dd and I are not cut out for it. I know we would kill each other within a week. I really believe it is a personality thing, and niether of us has it. She NEEDS school for the socialization, 'cos she's not particularly outgoing.
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Old 01-21-2004, 05:17 PM
 
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Many schools require grades 4+ to give 30 min per subject per night
Well, that's horrible. Even "educational experts" would say that a 4th grader should have no more than 40 minutes of homework an evening. And if a child really "hates" homework, obviously something is wrong with the work! Hating school is not something a kid just needs to deal with; a kid needs to be in a school (or other learning-type situation) that he likes.

Some private schools do not assign homework. All work gets finished in class. I see after-school time as belonging to the child and no one has a right to invade that time by telling him what to spend it on. My kids are too young for school (thank gOD-for-lack-of-a-better-term) but if we don't homeschool I will let their teachers know that I don't allow meaningless homework in my house. If it were something truly meaningful - such as a very interesting science project - instead of pages of "problems" then I may make an exception.

Homework for children is useless. It will have no effect on future academic or career development. I bumbled my way through elementary school, got expelled from middle school, dropped out of high school, and was still able to find exactly the kind of work I wanted! Now I'm at the university (yep, another school, but it was my choice!) and doing very well academically. So it's not true that your school crap follows you around everywhere. I also never took the SATs.

I think that's one reason so many kids are obese - where is the time after school to exercise? After 3 or 4 hours of stupid story problems I sure don't want to run around the block. I remember when after school was the time to climb trees and play in mud; now kids have to "work" so they can "get by in the real world." Yeah well in the real world I never had to take work home with me!

If you have ever used the services of a doctor, lawyer, bank-guy or other "professional" you most likely dealt with someone who did not pack home hours of homework a night in grade school. One child psychiatrist says that even in college, he never received more homework than could be folded up and stuffed in a pocket. Backpacks were not used. Now kids carry backpacks that are literally damaging their spines from all the books they have to carry home with them. Rather than not assigning so much work, teachers suggest that all backpacks have wheels.
: Doctors suggest that a backpack should be no more than 15% of a kid's body weight. (But then they never had HOMEWORK IN GRADE SCHOOL, SO WHAT DO THEY KNOW?)

I would think something was wrong with a kid who didn't daydream and mess around when working on boring homework.

Edited to add: Homework is also used as punishment. I'm sure some of us remember our teachers saying, "Since little Bobby didn't clean his desk, we will all have two extra pages of homework." This also promotes bullying; guess what happens to little Bobby after school?
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Old 01-21-2004, 06:55 PM
 
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When my ds1 was in PS he had tons of homework. More homework in the 3rd grade then my PS teacher brother gave to his 11th and 12th grade students. The teachers disguised it as "family time". But really it was me yelling at him to do stuff while fighting off the younger kids. It was a nightmare. Now that we homeschool (and have for several years) it takes us the same amount of time to do our schoolwork for the day as it did for him to do his homework. I think that's sad. I'm against homework. Not PS, just homework.

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Old 01-21-2004, 07:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Greaseball
[B]My kids are too young for school (thank gOD-for-lack-of-a-better-term) but if we don't homeschool I will let their teachers know that I don't allow meaningless homework in my house. If it were something truly meaningful - such as a very interesting science project - instead of pages of "problems" then I may make an exception.
I do agree with you on homework, but your child could fail if you did that. Schools will not make exceptions for you because then they would have to do it for everyone. They could call social services and get you into trouble there as well. IMO it would be better if you pushed the issue with the school board and tried to make it so there was little or no homework. I don't see that happening though. If you really won't allow homework in your home then you are safer if you just homeschool.

If private schools can function without homework I don't see why PS can't. When my kids went to private school last year there was almost never any homework. If their teacher could finish up everything I don't see why a PS teacher can't. Their teacher taught grades K-8 in the same classroom!

Yup, homework sucks!
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Old 01-21-2004, 07:45 PM
 
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I do agree with you on homework, but your child could fail if you did that. Schools will not make exceptions for you because then they would have to do it for everyone. They could call social services and get you into trouble there as well.
They can't turn me in to social services, because school and homework are not legal requirements. Education is required, but not school. As for no exceptions, I think what I can do is say the no-homework rule is part of our religion. They have to accept all sorts of things based on religion, and they aren't allowed to ask what religion it is, or for proof that you actually practice a religion.

But it might not work, which is why I think I'd be wasting my time with ps.
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:23 PM
 
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kids in US public schools do not spend six hours a day on academics
you can do all the 'academics' equal to a half day KNGDN in three 30 minutes sessions a week

and greaseball - it is called educational neglect ((HUG)) I understand totally where you are coming from on this and would encourage you not to never ever enroll your child in public school
because you will be reported to social services eventually when your child is retained--

if your child does not do homework they will fail and most teachers have point prgrams, my older ds will tell you of pizza partys he missed out on and fun class days he spent sitting in the resource room on detention with the other kids that did not have their homework done on time

one of the last schools I taught at full time was very very poor and many parents did not have the pencils and paper to help their child do homework or the lighting or they were illiterate themselves
volunteers from the salvation army door of hope came in to tutor

the school had an afterschool program that was basically mandatory for those children where they would stay after with the staff to complete homework & they were fed at that time also

if the child could not stay because of bus ride home then they were brought to school on the early bus and got free breakfast and did their homework with the principal

this thread should be moved to the ps board so OP this child can get some advice to help her nephew instead of posters just pointlessly bashing homework in ps
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally posted by Greaseball
They can't turn me in to social services, because school and homework are not legal requirements.
They can. Wheather or not SS does anything about it is up to them. If a parent knows a child isn't doing well in school and the school has tried to work with the parent and the parent refuses to help the child - and you know they are going to look at it that way - they can turn you in for neglect.


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Education is required, but not school.
It's required unless you follow the proper rules to homeschool.


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As for no exceptions, I think what I can do is say the no-homework rule is part of our religion. They have to accept all sorts of things based on religion, and they aren't allowed to ask what religion it is, or for proof that you actually practice a religion.
You can try it, but it's not going to work. It's not that simple to get your way with public schools.

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But it might not work, which is why I think I'd be wasting my time with ps.
It won't work. If you want everything your way then don't use PS.
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Old 01-21-2004, 09:05 PM
 
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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?
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Old 01-21-2004, 09:42 PM
 
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Well...good try, Greaseball, but the religious exemption excuse is not going to fly with regard to homework. I was absolutely shocked at my short experience with having a child in public school (a small (130 kids) single school school district public school with lots of artsy creative parents who are fully involved, etc.). The administration/government basically own your child once you sign them up. 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.

To get back to the topic. I think the original poster posted on the homeschooling board in order to get feedback from other homeschoolers rather than from parents with kids in ps, but that's just my feeling about it. Different points of view, and all that.

As someone who currently has one child homeschooling, and one child in private school, I can say this: Nothing hinders family closeness in my experience as much as homework does. And, in our very academic private school, we only have 1 hour of homework 3 nights a week. 4th graders at our school have about 1 - 1/12 hours of homework a night. Kids from this school go on to the top colleges, blah, blah, blah.

Three hours of homework per night is about what I put in in graduate school - not college - graduate school. So, if this is the case, I would gently try to talk to this child's mother and feel out exactly what is happening. If it is the case that the child is "goofing off" (a concept I don't really believe in) rather than getting his work done, then I would definitely encourage his parents to talk to the teacher about it. I have a friend who was going through the same thing with her son - and they were able to have his homework reduced by half. Her son became less overwhelmed, and is now easily able to finish his homework.

Though I think public school sucks, and homework definitely sucks, in our current "No Child Left Behind" educational environment, teachers are forced to require a lot more work from children than was true in the past. I think if the teacher knew what was happening, he/she would try to help remedy the situation.

Good Luck!

Laura
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Old 01-21-2004, 10:09 PM
 
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my dd is in the first grade and she gets one math sheet a day and brings home 1 or 2 reading books home a day, all that takes about 30 minutes to do. i for one like the homework, I get to see what she is learning in math, what she is struggling with and what I need to talk to the teacher about. It has also been beneficial for me to see what kind of learning stlye she has and I can discuss this with her teacher. When she was having trouble with reading I knew exactly what the teacher was talking about, because I had noticed it myself while we were doing her reading exercisies. For me her homework is a daily review for both of us. JMO
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