Homework question - the other side of it - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
velochic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Dreaming of the Bavarian Alps
Posts: 8,198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I know many here don't "believe" in homework. We're pretty much the opposite, especially dh.

Where dh is from it's the norm to have a lot of homework. Hours in elementary and in high school spending most free time doing homework. He is a computer science professor and his stance is that there is a reason that there are no Americans in his department and that he's never had an American grad student or PhD student... lack of education and homework in American schools. My stance is that I think that kids still need to be kids, but homework is beneficial. In the early years, less homework is better, but homework is a good thing, in general.

Dd L.O.V.E.S. homework. She really does enjoy doing it and I never have a problem getting her to complete it. She's in 3rd grade at an academically rigorous IB school. They get a lot of homework, IMO. The policy is nothing over the weekend, but weekdays, it's not uncommon for her to have up to 2 hours of homework at least one day and usually about 1 hour (sometimes a little more) on the other 3 days. I would say for a whole week, she has about 5 - 7 hours of homework. It's not difficult for her at all, just *a lot* (and it is not just busy work). She also has to read 20 minutes in English and at least 15 in her target language every day (not a problem, she loves to read).

In her grade, there are about 3 or 4 kids, including dd, who are well above their grade level. The teacher told us this past week that they would like to pull her out to do some more advanced work *in class*. I can't see how this won't generate even *more* homework. Dd is not "bored" in school right now, just gets done quickly with work and then reads in class. She is "cruising", I would say, but very content with school. We do a lot of interesting, fun, but educational things outside of school. As this is already quite an academic environment, they don't have a G/T program.

Dh thinks that even if it means more homework, this is good for her. I think that if it means even an ounce more homework she shouldn't do this. I haven't really talked to dh about it much, as we are about to leave on a trip abroad and have a lot of other stuff going on. I don't want to have her start this extra work in class then pull her out of it later if it's too much. I'm thinking of asking the teacher to just not include her in the group. Actually, I don't know what to do. Dd was pulled out for some work last year, but they didn't have *NEARLY* the amount of homework they have this year.

Dd would HAPPILY do the extra homework and in fact, sometimes asks for extra work at home. I figured that there would be some interesting thoughts on this here, especially as there are a lot of "anti-homework" opinions. (I do want to say that *no* homework is not an option, nor do I hold the opinion that homework is useless, so let's please not go that route.)

Sorry this is so long. I'm just trying to let my kid be a kid, but see to her academic needs, as well. Thanks for any thoughts!
velochic is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 11:17 AM
 
nanette0269's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There have been a lot of studies which indicate that more homework does not make children more successful in school, but rather the opposite. In fact, the biggest benefit to their comprehension would be longer subject classes, but fewer overall in a day.

Basically, most homework that the public schools give is busy work, from what I've seen. Its ridiculous how much time is spent to color this and highlight that, or do 100 math problems which is something they learned the prior year. Unnecessary. And with my DSS, her homework in elementary was 80% busy work, and 20% new stuff (stuff that wasnt even discussed in class yet). Sorry...but home is not the first time they should be doing homework that has never been discussed before. Reading something new prior to a discussion in class, fine. But homework on something never discussed? Not appropriate. Now, is it reinforce key skills? Now, thats appropriate. Then, we simply need to debate the time to allot to this type of endeavor

I suppose its also a question of how your child's day is structured. My kids (although young), are in school from 7:30-5, which includes before and after care which is overhwelmingly structured play time. Their normal class times are extremely academic, outside of recess, lunch, music and spanish. When they get home, they have dinner, play, bath, read, bed. We throw in swimming classes, teeball and ballet...and there is never time for anything else. And once they enter 1st grade, there will be piano lessons as well. Weekends are family time where we do things together. So, if my young children (when they enter 3rd grade and higher) have more than 30 minutes a night of homework, it better not be a waste of time...i dont want anyone to experience any stress and have to give up something that i feel is valuable simply because some idiotic teacher needs them to color a world map for 45 minutes at night.

Maybe your husband's concern is really not about the amount of homework, but moreso about the amount of purposeful time she spends after school? If he just wants to avoid lazy nights in front of the tv, i agree. But, there are other ways to do that that may be a better balance rather than more homework (which I agree is an option, but maybe not the best, given your circumstances). How about learning an instrument? Music lessons have a high correlation to math ability, afterall. How about team sports? How about individual sports? How about more responsibility at home, as in chores? Physical exhaustion is usually a nice counter to mental exhaustion. But, it has to be balanced and age appropriate, as nobody would like a child to burn out on academics. Variety will keep her interested!

DD5, DS3...Montessori since 8/2010
Bradenton, Florida
nanette0269 is offline  
#3 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 11:33 AM
 
sunnmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: surrounded by love
Posts: 6,123
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
IIn her grade, there are about 3 or 4 kids, including dd, who are well above their grade level. The teacher told us this past week that they would like to pull her out to do some more advanced work *in class*. I can't see how this won't generate even *more* homework.
I'm not clear on how giving differentiated work in class is going to impact the volume of homework. Have you asked about the homework specifically? They should be able to tell you if the program will involve more homework, and how much.

Personally, I'd refuse more homework, if for no other reason than we have things to do as a family other than homework. There are only so many hours in the day, and we have lots of things we like to do together. Hours of school + hours of homework leaves little time to get up and get active, potentially throwing off the balance of overall healthy development.

Something to consider, is the school day shorter where your dh is from? I know some people from countries where lots of homework and "cram schools" are common, but report a much shorter school day.
sunnmama is offline  
#4 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 11:45 AM
 
ASusan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 4,839
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Another one here with a DH who will be totally supportive of homework. We have friends who, if the child is done with homework early, there is a workbook that their child must work on until homework time is over. I can see DH being on board with a plan like that. (Also shares with OP's DH that my DH is from another country and a professor. Although we still have some American grad students, the strongest students in his lab are from other countries.)

If the homework isn't busywork, if your DD genuinely likes doing it, if it doesn't cut into family time, if your DD is still getting some unstructured "down" time...then I think it would be OK. I basically made up school-like things to do in my downtime after school/weekends/evenings. It was what I liked to do. Then again, I can't recall having homework until at least 7th grade, with the exception of maybe a short worksheet I could do on the bus in the morning. AND, I am generally of the camp that less is better. But, there may be exceptions, on all levels (individuals, classrooms, schools, countries). In typical public school classrooms in the U.S., more homework isn't necessarily better.

Take your DD's lead on this; talk with her. What does SHE want to do?

Can you be supportive if the homework gets more difficult? Is there an "out" if she doesn't want to or can't do it?

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

ASusan is offline  
#5 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 12:23 PM
 
whatsnextmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,973
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
"Cruising" isn't particularly healthy. Learning "how to learn" is a particular skill often lacking in G/T kids. They can coast for years but then finally, something trips them up and requires actual study and they have NO idea how to teach themselves something that doesn't come easily (for me, it was college level French.) If she's asking for more homework, well, it seems something isn't being satisfied in school. If you have the chance for differentiated instruction, I'd take it. Kids are resiliant and while I know you don't want to just "try" it, I believe you should. So it doesn't work and you pull her out... it's really no biggie. Better to try and see than not and wonder down the road.

A higher academic environment isn't always the fix for gifted kids. The real issue is pacing. They need information to come faster to them not to just start at a higher level KWIM. Both my kids have been in "high" academic schools and can tell you, in itself, it's not enough.

For us, only the transition years have been heavy in homework. Our district really works the 5th graders hard but then, they go to 6th and think it's a breeze. Same with 8th grade. Otherwise, my kids had little elementary homework and what they get is meaningful and helpful. I'm not totally against it. It's largely to learn study skills for later in life when they may have challenges that require us to actually study.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
whatsnextmom is online now  
#6 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 12:45 PM
 
VisionaryMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,736
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
"Cruising" isn't particularly healthy. Learning "how to learn" is a particular skill often lacking in G/T kids.
*raises hand* I wish my mother had pushed for more difficult work for me. Even in graduate school, I found the content of my work not to be difficult, but I had never learned to study or work ahead in all that time. If I were you, I'd be inclined toward the harder work even if it meant more homework. I do think, though, that more difficult work doesn't have to equal more homework, so I'd ask the teachers for more info before deciding.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
VisionaryMom is offline  
#7 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
velochic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Dreaming of the Bavarian Alps
Posts: 8,198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for the replies. FTR, I'm not keen on labels, in general, so we don't really refer to her as "gifted". She "tested" into this school, but no labels were ever put on her.

She does love the homework and it is *not* busy work. Nanette - it's not a public school, it's private language immersion. The homework really is applying what she's learning (including everyday living type of things), using some logic, practicing skills learned, etc.

To answer some questions... The teacher said that it will be "in-class work only". I took that to mean "no homework", but afterward, I realized that she did not explicitly say that. I'm not convinced there will be no homework... there was last year when they pulled her out to do extra, advanced work. (But as I said before, she had very little homework in 2nd grade, anyway, so no biggie then.) It was very low-key last year, though.

She does have other interests. Extra-curricular activities - she spends a good amount of time riding (horses) and hanging out at the stables. She likes to cook and bake with me. She sews and does cross stitch, mainly with my mom (who lives with us) and she plays outside when the weather permits. She *is* and only child, though, with zero kids in our neighborhood (mostly retired/older people), and her "free time"interests kind of reflect that.

School's out at 3pm and she does some homework in the car - it takes about an hour to get home. She'll usually have at least an hour's worth of work to do after she gets home. She does sometimes play board games with my mom or color or play polly pockets. However, after all the work is done, she often likes to spend her time doing things that are math and language oriented (venn diagrams, math perplexors, banagrams, crosswords, etc.). She's tv-free during the week. In other words, the homework is not overwhelming her at all, and in fact she would gladly do more. In fact, she wanted copies of her homework that was sent for her to do on our trip so that she could "do the homework once on the way over and do it again on the way back".

Lots of good things to think about, though.

I liked what you said, whatsnextmom, about pacing. Dd does get done early and then reads in class (according to her). I agree with what you are saying. I'm not sure being pulled out to do "more advanced" is the key.

Thanks for the BTDT advice, VisionaryMom. That helps to know how it was handled for you and the results.

ASusan, I think it may be cultural, but dh's school was all day. He went to a special private school in his home country. Seeing, first-hand, his nieces doing the same work really threw me for a loop. When we are visiting, they are up at 8am on a Sunday to do homework and spending 2 years worth of Saturdays to prepare for college entrance exams. The work load is more than it was for me in undergrad. Way more than I PERSONALLY think is healthy, but "the norm" for his culture.

Thanks again everyone! Some great thoughts! I appreciate it!
velochic is offline  
#8 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 04:10 PM
 
Alyantavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, I'd probably let her do it. My son has never been tested (and I see no reason why he should be at this point) but he's very obviously advanced. He loves homework and schoolwork of any kind, so I do have him do things at home that are ahead of what he's doing in class. And I always have to ask the teachers to give him harder work because he's bored to death if he's not being challenged.

But I'm really more into following their lead even if it doesn't mesh with what the school wants or expects. Or what other parents think. You know her and how she'll do. And just because a kid likes homework doesn't mean they can't go outside and be a kid too, so I wouldn't let that aspect worry you.
Alyantavid is offline  
#9 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 04:43 PM
 
Girlprof's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,029
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You know, if she wants to do it that badly, I'd be tempted to at least let her try it. I spent an enormous amount of time as a child reading and doing logic puzzles in little books my mom got me. I also enjoyed my subscription to Games magazine, which is still going and might be another way to go, if she likes that sort of thing.
Girlprof is offline  
#10 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 06:04 PM
 
whatsnextmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,973
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Quote:
I agree with what you are saying. I'm not sure being pulled out to do "more advanced" is the key
I'm not entirely fond of pull-out situation either. To me, you either replace the simpler work or you make the pull-out something entirely different. My DS has 3 pull-outs a week. Twice a week he goes to GATE which is videography and journalism. Once a week he goes to higher level math /mandarin class (mandarin immersion and higher level problem solving.) He lives for these classes and they work because they are used to replace the natural classroom repetition that he doesn't need. The pull-outs that DON'T work are those where they pull a child out for higher level math but still make them responsible for all the regular math too. Perhaps that is your concern too?

Personally, I still say, you never know until you try. However, I also understand if you feel your child is totally content with how things are, then now may not be the time to rock the boat. Just keep an eye on the situation.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
whatsnextmom is online now  
#11 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 06:06 PM
 
GuildJenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 4,517
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't have a lot of insight into the elementary end of things.

My immediate thought about the new work, given your daughter's personality, is "why not try it" and if it's not working, go from there.

I did go to an academically rigorous high school with loads of homework. While there were a few things I'd change about the pressure at times, overall there was still time to do outside activities - it just meant a lot of doing homework on the way there, and so on. Since it was interesting homework at the right level, it wasn't a problem - not that I loved every minute of it or anything but looking back I think the richness of what we were learning really was worth it. University was kind of a step back from that and that's actually where I got into trouble.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
GuildJenn is offline  
#12 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 06:43 PM
 
pregnant@40's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 574
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would let your daughter have some decision-making input into this one.
pregnant@40 is offline  
#13 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
velochic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Dreaming of the Bavarian Alps
Posts: 8,198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
Perhaps that is your concern too?

Personally, I still say, you never know until you try. However, I also understand if you feel your child is totally content with how things are, then now may not be the time to rock the boat. Just keep an eye on the situation.
That is my exactly my concern.

I think I'll just see how it goes. This is "voluntary", so if there is a significant amount of homework *added*, I'll ask the teacher if she can do the instruction without the homework or if dd can do the more advanced homework INSTEAD of the regular homework.

Thank you all!
velochic is offline  
#14 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 10:26 PM
 
stefka's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Since this is voluntary and the teacher is consulting you before making a decision, why not just share your concern with her? That while you are supportive of the homework your daughter receives, you think an increase would negatively impact her, so you want to be sure that agreeing to in-class enrichment won't also mean agreeing to an increase in homework. Since it is likely the teacher will be designing the enrichment as she goes along, knowing your concern in advance will help her think through appropriate activities.

And while I have mixed feelings about pull out programs, it sounds like your child's teacher will be doing it, so it's really more differentiated instruction than a pull-out. And that is awesome. My third grade teacher pulled me out of regular classwork for a while and had me, among other things, write and perform a puppet show instead of read the basal reader. She is etched in my mind as the best teacher I ever had.
stefka is offline  
#15 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 01:23 AM
 
TiredX2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: it appears to be a handbasket
Posts: 20,029
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
He is a computer science professor and his stance is that there is a reason that there are no Americans in his department and that he's never had an American grad student or PhD student... lack of education and homework in American schools.
Are you in the US? I'm just shocked to read that he is a professor and has NO Americans as instructors, professors or grad students. I'd love if you PM'd me what University he works at. When DP was in grad school (computer science, he recieved his masters degree in '00 and was encouraged to continue only his PhD but wanted to go into industry) there were foreign born proffs (genearlly Eastern European) and tons of foreign grad students (genearlly Indian) but there were also a lot of American born students and teachers. I have NEVER heard of that overwhelming # of non-Americans in any University. I believe you, it's just shocking to me. Is this fairly new, or how long has he been teaching?

ETA: We also know a lot of people with graduate degrees in comptuer science that are American Born. Now, one reason at least 10 years ago that there were a lot of Indian grad students in CIS was because their degrees were not accepted by industry (but were by academia) so they were getting masters degrees and then going to work.

 

 

TiredX2 is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off