How much responsiblity should a second grader have, in your opinion? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I think too much is expected from second graders, and I'm wondering what others think. I don't remember any homework when I was in second grade. My 7 year olds get so much homework. Its really hard to get them to complete it. Then one of my seven year olds often forgets to hand it in. I cant believe all that pain and effort, on both of our parts, and then he forgets to hand it in.  He often forgets to bring home his communication folder too. I remind him often to bring it home.  My other seven year old is very good about bringing things home and handing things in. But I just emailed their teacher and she wrote that at the end of the day she tells all the kids what to put in their backpacks and sometimes my boys take things out of their desks, but rather than put them in their backpacks, they put them back in their desks again. She mentioned alot of the kids have trouble getting ready to go, but I dont know if she was just being nice.  She is going to help them pack their bags at the end of the day for a couple weeks and I am very grateful for this. I hope they can do it on their on after that. 

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#2 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 11:31 AM
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I think there's two separate issues here:

1) amount of homework;

2) responsibility for things.

I live in Europe but my DS went to an American public school kindy for a semester when we were over there. Some nights, he had close to an hour of homework a night! Crazy. I'm American and went to school in the 1970s and 1980s and we *never* had any homework until around 7th grade. Even then, there was very little til high school. I think there is, in general, too much homework in American schools and there are a fair number of posts on here about that. Maybe you can go through the archives and look for some good ways to address this issue with the teacher.

I don't think, though, that it's too much to ask a 2nd grader (I have one who just turned 8!) to bring home what s/he is supposed to, especially if the teacher reminds them at the end of the day. I also don't think it's too much to ask that homework gets turned in. I mean, if you make sure the homework gets packed in the backback, what is happening to it between home and the teachers desk? Is it in the desk? Is it possible the teacher could ask for it from your DC? Because one of your twins seems on top of things, are there issues with the other twin? (ADD? Problems with school in general?) Maybe you could communicate with the teacher and explain that you are sending the homework to school with your DC? It could be as easy as the teacher asking your DC for it daily.

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#3 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 12:50 PM
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I agree that you have two separate issues.


I think that at 7, kids should be responsible for a repetitive, daily task such as bringing home homework and taking it back to school.  If it were a one-off situation then I could understand. You have another child that can manage it, so that is evidence that it can be done.  I'm sure personality has something to do with it and it may take more work with the other.


The homework... I can't help with that one.  Dd is in an academically rigorous private school, so she has always had a lot more homework than anyone here would probably approve of.  (FTR, we are advocates of homework in our home, so my opinion would not be welcome, as dh is not American and I've seen the benefits throughout his entire family of this model of academics.)

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#4 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 01:18 PM
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I went to American public schools and we started having homework in third grade, but it was usually not much. Maybe a math or reading assignment. I'm 40, so third grade was.....1979?


I don't think we assign too much homework, but that most of the homework is uninteresting and/or busywork, and that it's given too young. I think the way my school did it was acceptable. We didn't get a larger load of homework until fifth grade or so; more projects, reports and such.


Maybe the teacher should have the kids get their backpacks ready a bit earlier, so they aren't so excited and distracted with the idea of going home for the day.

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#5 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 01:20 PM
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I'm with everyone else. They are two separate issues.


I do feel that a seven year old should be able to manage getting things to and from school. At the same time my own 7 year old was having alot of issues with this earlier this year.


A few things that helped us:


The teacher put a laminated list of what needs done in the morning on his desk. He also has another sheet of paper and he covers up all but the step he is working on so he can focus on that one thing moving down the list until he was done (he was getting overwhelmed with just the long list on his desk). The teacher and I asked him to focus on successfully getting the morning routine down for several weeks until it was more automatic. There was a reward for consistently getting it done.


Afternoon routine – Once he had the morning routine down we had him focus for a couple of weeks on the afternoon routine. They get ready to go right after Math. So I asked him to think about what he needed out of his desk while putting his math away. So that he kept momentum and didn’t start daydreaming. While the class was getting ready to write in assignment books I asked him to guess what she would ask them to write.


Organization – His school uses an organization system where each subject has it’s own color folder and notebook. My son had trouble keeping track of what went wear and consistently putting items in the right place. So I bought him on binder with dividers with pockets in them that were color coded to the system the school uses. Behind each tab was paper and anything else he might need for that subject. It had a folder in the front for to and from school items (such as lunch money and permission slips). He used the binder for every subject and then brought the binder home at night if he had homework or not (to keep him in the routine). Having only one thing to keep track of that had everything in it helped immensely. The teacher helped him get everything in his desk transferred to it and helped him put his school work in it for the first week or so to make sure he understood the organization system.


Different things work differently for different kids so I don’t know if this will help you at all. But hopefully it will give you a jumping off point to come up with your own ideas that do fit your child.

several weeks until it was more automatic. There was a reward for cosistently getting it doe.


As for the homework. Is the issue to much homework or is it inefficient use of classwork time to get work done? If it's the second I can see how disorganization and failure to get everything where it needs to be in the morning could be contributing to the problem. If it's just too much homework, that is a separate issue.

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#6 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 02:50 PM
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DD1 is in 2nd grade and is responsible for her folder every day as well. Her teacher does the same thing your children's teacher, tells them what to pack up at the end of the day. I see this as fine, some children are going to need more help and maybe with some assistance your children will catch on. 


The homework is another issue and one you probably won't be able to change other then maybe breaking it up through the afternoon/night? DD1 rarely has homework, maybe one sheet every 1.5 weeks but her school isn't into homework for young grades which is rare now days. I hear from parents of children that go to other schools (same age) and they often complain of an hour of homework a night. 

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#7 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 03:24 PM
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DS is a kindergartener, and he has a folder to bring back & forth daily. We made sure he had it at the beginning, but then moved to supervising him getting it out, having it signed (by one of us), and then putting it back. Now, we just ask to make sure he remembered. So, yes, by 2nd grade, it definitely should be possible, but I think it's a process for most kids to learn to do it.


I'm a believer in rigorous academics, and I don't have problems with the idea of homework. Whether that specific homework is beneficial may be an issues I'd have. I wouldn't want my child to bring home busywork every night, but I don't mind actual academic work to do in the evenings.  

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#8 of 15 Old 01-27-2011, 06:03 AM
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My 2nd grader is also responsible for a folder, and "mail" home.  It's become routine now, so not really a problem.  The teacher does give direction.  One idea for your ds would be to put a checklist taped to his desk listing what should be in his backpack before going home.  The teacher could work with him to look at his checklist every day at the end of school.  Sometimes a visual aid like this is helpful.  

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#9 of 15 Old 01-28-2011, 09:54 AM
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My second grader doesn't have homework but he is responsible for bringing his agenda home every day. We have problems sometimes with him forgetting his lunchbox at school, or his backpack/lunch box in the car. I think keeping track of those things is totally age appropriate and something he needs to work on. My kindergartner is also disorganized and often leaves hoodies, gloves, etc. at school or takes a long time to pack his stuff up at the end of the day. He always remembers to bring his folder home though. He has reading homework on weekdays that takes <10 minutes a night. His school says 10 minutes a night per grade so 2nd graders would have up to 30 minutes of homework, theoretically.

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#10 of 15 Old 01-28-2011, 10:56 AM
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My son's school doesn't do the mass amounts of homework that alot of schools do.  I think in second grade, we worked on spelling and did the occassional math paper.


I do think a second grader is capable of bringing homework home and then taking it back and turning it in. 

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#11 of 15 Old 01-31-2011, 12:23 PM
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My 2nd grader has a "homework packet" for the week... it is around 6 pages of math worksheets. It is up to her when it gets completed. You can do a page or so a day, none one day, etc. She always chooses to do it all Monday night so that she has no homework the rest of the week. The whole packet usually takes her around 30-45 minutes, with about 10 minutes at the end for time for us to help her with questions she didn't understand. She also has reading- a parent has to sign off that she's read 3 nights for 15 minutes a night.  Last year (same teacher- teacher moved up a grade with them), a parent had to sign off that she'd read OR been read TO which I thought was nice. We don't keep close track of this, just sign off on it... some nights she will stay up reading for an hour after bedtime (we only ask that she's in bed, not asleep), some nights she won't read at all and will color or go right to sleep.


I don't know what their teacher reminds them about as far as work or their daily folder coming home. If it's up to the students to remember, she has never forgotten. I've never asked, because it's never been an issue.

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#12 of 15 Old 02-08-2011, 08:58 AM
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When my kids were in public school they had homewrok starting in K.Grades as well. In their current Montessori they start weekly homework packets in grade 4 and no level has grades.

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#13 of 15 Old 02-26-2011, 05:43 PM
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I eliminated this problem for our family by opting out of HW.

Bring back the old MDC
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#14 of 15 Old 03-15-2011, 04:36 PM
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My 8 year old second grader doesn't get enough homework, in my opinion. They get spelling words once a week, are supposed to read aloud for 15 minutes, and  "do some math problems". Yes, that is exactly what it says on her paper nut.gif "do some math problems". Uh, yeah, okay. I have several workbooks for her that I have her do homework in everynight to supplement school stuff. She is in a 2/3 blend and does mostly the third grade curriculum and is finishing most of the third grade workbooks I bought. We need to get more!


As far as being responsible for stuff (or irresponsible!) I think that so goes with this age group. My thought on it was, that if I don't teach her to be responsible with her stuff then who will? She's not going to just magicly learn it one day. She was leaving homework and other important papers that needed to come home at school for days, lunch boxes, sweaters, hoodies,hats and anything else that wasn't attached to her, in addition to not turning in what she needed to. So I told her that from a certain day forward she was responsible for turning in what she needed to turn in, and bringing home what she was supposed to bring home. If those things did not happen, something would be taken away from her for that day. Nothing huge, but it worked. If she forgot something she was not allowed to play her DS, or go to the park, or have a certain snack that night. Small things like that. After a few days of forgetting she has not forgotten a thing since fall. Love it! Knowing there were consequences to her actions changed her behaviour. 

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#15 of 15 Old 03-24-2011, 11:41 AM
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it all so depends on the teacher.


for first and second i saw the teacher have different expectations. i also noticed what a great system they had (also written on the board or somewhere - K with pictures so kids knew what to do). 


do i expect my child to remember every single time? nope. she forgets pretty regularly. even in 3rd grade. but i think that's normal for her because she is talking to her bf and instaed of putting things in her bag she will unconciously put them inside her desk.


well natural consequences solve that. that means next day she has to stay in for recess to finish her work. so if she forgets i reason that's her own choice.


dd has always gotten time to finish hw at school and she does most of her hw there and so has v. little to do at home. at 1st grade she started the 'finish hw while we wait for our parents to pick us up club'.


at K and first she got a tonne of hw. it was v. repetitive for her. after K i was tired of chasing her. so in first i told her the truth. i dont care about hw. its up to her. fi she doesnt want to do it she doesnt have to. but she will have to deal with that with her teacher (i informed her of what was going on). she had to stay in for recess which initially she enjoyed. and then got tired of it and so chose to do her hw on her own. i asked me to remind her if she hadnt done it and it was 6 pm and she'd ask for help if she needed it. plus since i have hw too she likes that she has somethign to do too.


however it was a philosophical outlook at life that helped her. we talked about how everything is a mixture of 'good' and 'bad'. she likes playing with her friends at recess but to do that she has to do hw. so which one is bigger. friends to play with or her dislike of hw. and she chose not to make hw such a big deal anymore.


plus since i no longer volunteer in her class anymore i enjoy knowing what hw dd gets because that gives me an idea of what she is doing in school. 

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