opting out of homework - Mothering Forums
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Learning at School > opting out of homework
JollyGG's Avatar JollyGG 02:32 PM 03-30-2011

I know that some here have opted out of homework entirely or opted out of having your child do reading logs. My son has a reading log due every month and my husband and I have decided not to have him do it (there is no way he would remember to do it on his own so we are basically deciding not to remind him to do it). I would like to let his teacher know that he won't be turning in reading logs but I haven't come up with how to word that email. Right now he is simply not turning it in and then loosing the points. If I say something he may well still loose the points, but at least I tried.

 

 

So how did those of you who opted out of reading logs or homework word it when you told the teacher?



purslaine's Avatar purslaine 11:24 AM 03-31-2011

I would definitely let the teacher know (today) that this is your decision - that way  your son will not get in any trouble for it.  

 

Let the teacher know why if you are inclined, but it is doubtful it will change her stance on it.

 

Good luck


SubliminalDarkness's Avatar SubliminalDarkness 12:22 PM 03-31-2011

We did it, and the teacher didn't mind at all. I simply told her that he read a lot, and he didn't remember to write it all down. I also told her that I don't monitor his reading, he owns many books and we also borrow a lot from the library and he reads on his own daily. She knew his reading was well above grade level, and she said that was all absolutely fine. 


captivatedlife's Avatar captivatedlife 07:03 AM 04-01-2011

Let the teacher know immediately. You never know - if you are parenting your child after school hours (cooking, doing chores, talking about the weather, enjoying each other, playing music, dancing, having swimming lessons, etc) I know MANY public school teachers who would take a parent-child note about what they did instead of the assigned homework. If your child is below level in one area, I would let the teacher know what you are doing to address that issue.

 

Good luck.


ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 09:27 PM 04-03-2011

It looks like he's in about 2nd grade, right? When I taught 3rd grade and assigned reading logs, I never expected the kids to remember to write it down themselves every night. Part of my intention was to encourage parents and kids to talk about what the kid is reading. Some families do that anyway (and usually don't mind taking 30 seconds to write down page numbers or whatever) and others really benefit from an outside expectation of paying attention to what the kid is reading and talking about it enough to be able to write it down, at least.

 

I think you have gone about this all wrong. You need to talk to the teacher BEFORE you start ignoring her assignments. This is not fair to your son. His grade (and possibly relationship with the teacher if she has already started to get frustrated that he isn't doing his homework) is suffering already, and it's not his fault. If you don't want to cooperate with the teacher, why is he in school? Your role here is to support your son's academic work at home. That means checking up on his homework, helping him be organized, reminding him to fill out his reading log, etc. No one is expecting a 2nd grader to be able to remember his homework without parental support. It sounds like you don't want to give that support for this one thing, so you'd rather he just doesn't do it at all? What is the benefit in that?

 

When I taught elementary I would have happily accepted an alternate subject-appropriate activity following a conversation with a parent and assuming the alternative was not taking away from practicing any potentially lagging skills. (Although I'll have to disagree with captivatedlife; cooking, swimming, and talking are not substitutes for reading. You don't become a better reader by not reading.) But that assumes that the parents started a discussion about it in the first place. If a parent simply announced they were not going to support an important part of my curriculum with no reasonable explanation, I'd be pretty bothered by that. You don't just TELL the teacher you don't want your child to do her assignments. She will have no choice but to hold to her grading policy, which will have pretty negative effects on your son. Even if you all know perfectly well that a kid's grade in 2nd grade reading isn't going to matter much later on, it's pretty demoralizing to see bad grades on your report card, especially when you are so young and just starting to understand where you fit in this whole school thing.


blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 10:19 PM 04-03-2011

I will gently and respectfully disagree with the general spirit of ecoteat's post, though I do agree that it is best to adress these types of things from the get-go, but from BTDT as a mom I also know that sometimes things pop up as the year goes on.

 

I have opted my 3rd grader out of HW, including those stupid reading logs that do nothing for us but make an enjoyable activity a chore.  I started this pretty much right from Kindy.  (My other ds is in high school.  I didn't know I could opt him out back when he was in elementary school, but I have had him excused from "vacation HW" the last couple of years.) 

 

All I did was print a copy of our district's HW policy, which says that teacher's must assign HW (10 mins per grade, the usual) but students are not required to do it if it is "inappropriate in the case of any particular individual".  I meet with the teachers on "Meet Your Teacher Day" the week before school starts and let them know we are choosing not to participate in HW assignments.  That's all, it's simple.  They either like it or don't, I don't know which, because so far they have all been accepting of my decision. 

 

Where I live, the sole purpose of HW is to train children to think in the box for the yearly standardized testing.  They get nothing but math and spelling.  No science, no social studies.  No book reports, no projects.  HW doesn't give me a chance to see what my child is learning.  HW just sets up whining, crying, arguing, fake stomach aches...Eight to 2:30 is enough for my guys.  They're not freaking Fortune 500 CEOs, they're children.  The "punch out at 2:30" approach has worked well for us so far, so I'm sticking with it.

 

I should also add that I have always been very involved in volunteering.  I'm active in the PTO.  I go on all the field trips and I make donations to the library whenever possible.  And both of my kids are A/B honor roll students, even without the "benefits" of doing HW.  I approach the teachers kindly and respectfully, although I did have to go up the ladder to the principal the first time we got HW over winter break and I emailed the teachers to let them know we were choosing not to participate.

 

Just be kind but firm and you should have no trouble.  GL!


Callimom's Avatar Callimom 10:45 PM 04-03-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post

It looks like he's in about 2nd grade, right? When I taught 3rd grade and assigned reading logs, I never expected the kids to remember to write it down themselves every night. Part of my intention was to encourage parents and kids to talk about what the kid is reading. Some families do that anyway (and usually don't mind taking 30 seconds to write down page numbers or whatever) and others really benefit from an outside expectation of paying attention to what the kid is reading and talking about it enough to be able to write it down, at least.

 

I think you have gone about this all wrong. You need to talk to the teacher BEFORE you start ignoring her assignments. This is not fair to your son. His grade (and possibly relationship with the teacher if she has already started to get frustrated that he isn't doing his homework) is suffering already, and it's not his fault. If you don't want to cooperate with the teacher, why is he in school? Your role here is to support your son's academic work at home. That means checking up on his homework, helping him be organized, reminding him to fill out his reading log, etc. No one is expecting a 2nd grader to be able to remember his homework without parental support. It sounds like you don't want to give that support for this one thing, so you'd rather he just doesn't do it at all? What is the benefit in that?

 

When I taught elementary I would have happily accepted an alternate subject-appropriate activity following a conversation with a parent and assuming the alternative was not taking away from practicing any potentially lagging skills. (Although I'll have to disagree with captivatedlife; cooking, swimming, and talking are not substitutes for reading. You don't become a better reader by not reading.) But that assumes that the parents started a discussion about it in the first place. If a parent simply announced they were not going to support an important part of my curriculum with no reasonable explanation, I'd be pretty bothered by that. You don't just TELL the teacher you don't want your child to do her assignments. She will have no choice but to hold to her grading policy, which will have pretty negative effects on your son. Even if you all know perfectly well that a kid's grade in 2nd grade reading isn't going to matter much later on, it's pretty demoralizing to see bad grades on your report card, especially when you are so young and just starting to understand where you fit in this whole school thing.


I don't mean to be argumentative but I am genuinely immensly curious as to why you would be bothered because a parent wasn't going to support part of your curriculum (assuming that it isn't a benefit for a particular child).  I personally think it is absolutely within the realm of a parents abilities and even responsibilities to make an assessment of what works best for their child and family and decide whether or not a homework assignment is worthwhile. The system should work for the child - not vice versa.  I also disagree with the notion that 1) a lack of reading logs should affect the grade of a child who is meeting or exceeding expectations and 2) that kids in grade 2 should know about or care at all what their grades are. LOL - thats probably why we homeschool now.  

 

OP we opted out of reading logs in K  and gr 1 as well. My son was reading far far above grade level and it was a ridiculous requirement and a waste of time for our family. Like a PP it turned an enjoyable activity into a battleground. I approached the teacher respectfully and told her the effect that this assignment was having on my son who previously loved reading and discussing his books with me. The teacher dug her heels in and it just wasn't worth it (there we so many other battles to fight with this particular teacher). So I filled in reading logs randomly based on books he had read over the last month or so and handed them. As he was reading fairly complicated novels at that point she didn't bother to do any quizzing or follow up with him. 
 

 


JollyGG's Avatar JollyGG 08:24 AM 04-04-2011

I thought I responded to this post with an update. But I don't see it.

 

My son is in 3rd grade. Last time we had his reading level assessed he was reading at a 7th grade reading level. His teacher, principle and school  librarian are well aware of his reading ability as we enlist their assistance in finding age appropriate books that are a challenge and in encouraging him to read book more at his reading level. I don't choose to write down the 20 million lower level reading books that he reads in 5 minutes flat. I have a hard enough time encouraging him to try longer and harder looking books. Once the book is read I'm not starting a new battle to write it down. Plus I feel, in 3rd grade, that his homework should be able to be performed without my participation. I already took 3rd grade

 

So I simply let the teacher know that "He won't be turning in the reading log. He does read daily and as you are aware is an excellent reader. The log seems to turn what should be a delight into a chore so he won't be doing it."

 

She responded that next year's 4th grade teacher requires reading logs and a project so she wanted them to get in the practice of writing it down this year. She also see's reading logs as a way for the kids to get credit for the reading they are doing outside of class. She offered to let him turn in his reading log late for full credit.

 

None of those compelling enough reasons to do them for us so he still won't be doing them. So nothing has really changed, but now she knows that he isn't just forgetting.


FedUpMom's Avatar FedUpMom 06:01 PM 04-04-2011

Reading logs would be a great idea if your goal was to make kids hate reading.  Otherwise, forget it.

 

I collected articles against reading logs at my blog here:

 

http://kidfriendlyschools.blogspot.com/2010/08/join-chorus-against-reading-logs.html

 

I'll be adding this thread to the list!


FedUpMom's Avatar FedUpMom 06:10 PM 04-04-2011

Ecoteat said:

 

***

When I taught 3rd grade and assigned reading logs, I never expected the kids to remember to write it down themselves every night. Part of my intention was to encourage parents and kids to talk about what the kid is reading. Some families do that anyway (and usually don't mind taking 30 seconds to write down page numbers or whatever) and others really benefit from an outside expectation of paying attention to what the kid is reading and talking about it enough to be able to write it down, at least.

***

 

It is a source of constant amazement to me the way teachers talk about homework.  Believe me, this has absolutely no resemblance to the way reading logs actually play out in a family.  Parents don't feel that we're being "encouraged"; we feel like we're being ordered around.  "Others really benefit from an outside expectation?"  Do you hear how patronizing that is?  It isn't your job to tell parents how to spend time with their kids. 

 

***

Your role here is to support your son's academic work at home. That means checking up on his homework, helping him be organized, reminding him to fill out his reading log, etc.

***

 

Again, it's not appropriate for you to tell parents how to raise their kid.  If the parents feel the homework is inappropriate, you should respect that.  Parents are not your assistants, eager to carry out your every command.

 

Please, read The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn, and The Case Against Homework by Bennett and Kalish.  They've said it all.


ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 06:24 PM 04-04-2011

First off, I realize as I read back through this that I must have been feeling a little punchy when I wrote that last night!

 

Secondly, I actually don't care much about reading logs. I don't even like homework. I assign it only occasionally and only when the next day's class would really benefit from it. (I teach middle school now, but I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th as well.) BUT... I take issue with families disregarding the work I put into planning my curriculum by refusing to do it without talking to me first. I (like most teachers I know) have no intention of telling parents how to raise their kids--as long as parents aren't trying to tell me how to teach their kids in school. But this isn't about parents vs. teachers. We should be working together to find what works for each kid. What works for one kid doesn't work for every kid--we all know that, which is why most teachers would be willing to be flexible about their assignments if they are part of the discussion.


Emmeline II's Avatar Emmeline II 08:24 AM 04-05-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by FedUpMom View Post

Reading logs would be a great idea if your goal was to make kids hate reading.  Otherwise, forget it.

 

I collected articles against reading logs at my blog here:

 

http://kidfriendlyschools.blogspot.com/2010/08/join-chorus-against-reading-logs.html

 

I'll be adding this thread to the list!


shrug.gif Reading logs haven't made my child hate reading. He was a fluent reader before he started school and we spent a lot of time hanging out at the bookstore--he loves books. His log reading challenges him a bit and introduces him to books he may not otherwise read. The rest of the time he reads what he likes, which is primarily Captain Underpantsorngtongue.gif. His school isn't militant about missing days though and they don't have "read for pizza" type competitions.

 

Like many things involving school outside the home, reading logs can be beneficial (or at least not harmful) or they can have the opposite effect--but they are not inherently evil.

 


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 09:40 AM 04-05-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by FedUpMom View Post

Reading logs would be a great idea if your goal was to make kids hate reading.  Otherwise, forget it.

 

I collected articles against reading logs at my blog here:

 

http://kidfriendlyschools.blogspot.com/2010/08/join-chorus-against-reading-logs.html

 

I'll be adding this thread to the list!



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post




shrug.gif Reading logs haven't made my child hate reading. He was a fluent reader before he started school and we spent a lot of time hanging out at the bookstore--he loves books. His log reading challenges him a bit and introduces him to books he may not otherwise read. The rest of the time he reads what he likes, which is primarily Captain Underpantsorngtongue.gif. His school isn't militant about missing days though and they don't have "read for pizza" type competitions.

 

Like many things involving school outside the home, reading logs can be beneficial (or at least not harmful) or they can have the opposite effect--but they are not inherently evil.

 


 

yeahthat.gif  Agree. My kids liked filling out their reading logs. Reading logs didn't make them hate reading. 

 

I don't recall any huge struggles or hassles with them, although I will agree it was just one more thing for us to keep track of. We'd miss filling them out for a while, and then catch up with a lengthy list. My kids were fluent readers by the time they were in public school and the teachers were never concerned. I don't recall any of them ever raising an issue about it. I suppose that if it ever was an issue, I would have discussed it with the teacher and reached some agreed solution. That's what we did with other homework issues that cropped up every once in a while. 

 

 


EFmom's Avatar EFmom 10:22 AM 04-05-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post

 BUT... I take issue with families disregarding the work I put into planning my curriculum by refusing to do it without talking to me first. I (like most teachers I know) have no intention of telling parents how to raise their kids--as long as parents aren't trying to tell me how to teach their kids in school. But this isn't about parents vs. teachers. We should be working together to find what works for each kid. What works for one kid doesn't work for every kid--we all know that, which is why most teachers would be willing to be flexible about their assignments if they are part of the discussion.


There's a distinction here.  Nobody is telling you how to teach kids in school.  I'm sure you put lots of work into your curriculum.  But reading logs and homework are telling parents how to spend family time out of school
 

 


JollyGG's Avatar JollyGG 12:35 PM 04-05-2011

I'm not trying to claim that reading logs are bad for all kids or reading logs have no value. For example, as kids my brother loved cataloging and recording the books he was reading.  He still keeps extensive lists of books for fun. My reading logs tended to be made up lists of books I pulled randomly off of my shelf and may or may not have read in the last month. My son's reading logs would be of the second type. To me, that makes it a rather negative lesson and counter to other values we are working on right now.


ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 02:37 PM 04-05-2011

You're right, EFmom. I worded that like that on purpose--and I think it is absolutely true in the early grades. (We'll see how I feel about homework when dd starts K next fall!) In the upper grades it is primarily the kids' responsibility and the bar is raised. The stakes are higher, too.

 

Most teachers give homework. They have lots of different reasons for it, but the reality is that it is a part of most kids' and parents' school experience. Most teachers are also reasonable and flexible people that deserve to be respected enough to not have their intentions ignored or consciously disregarded without a discussion. The same is true the other way. If you expect your child to do a certain thing at school that supports what you do at home (things like choose water over chocolate milk or use a cloth hankie instead of scratchy school tissues or some other personal choice) and the teacher says the child can't, that would be pretty inconsiderate of the family's needs and wishes.


FedUpMom's Avatar FedUpMom 02:23 PM 04-10-2011

Ecoteat, I'd be really curious to hear your thoughts about homework as your daughter moves through the elementary grades.  It's one thing to assign it as a teacher, but it's something else to see the effect it has on your home life as a parent.  Many teachers find themselves with a whole new perspective when their own child goes through school.


EFmom's Avatar EFmom 05:50 PM 04-10-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post

You're right, EFmom. I worded that like that on purpose--and I think it is absolutely true in the early grades. (We'll see how I feel about homework when dd starts K next fall!) In the upper grades it is primarily the kids' responsibility and the bar is raised. The stakes are higher, too.

 

Most teachers give homework. They have lots of different reasons for it, but the reality is that it is a part of most kids' and parents' school experience. Most teachers are also reasonable and flexible people that deserve to be respected enough to not have their intentions ignored or consciously disregarded without a discussion. The same is true the other way. If you expect your child to do a certain thing at school that supports what you do at home (things like choose water over chocolate milk or use a cloth hankie instead of scratchy school tissues or some other personal choice) and the teacher says the child can't, that would be pretty inconsiderate of the family's needs and wishes.



But again, you (the teacher you)  are not respecting the line that is school time and family time.  Why should you have intentions about my family time?  It is  family time that is routinely disrespected, and that is pretty inconsiderate of the family's needs.

 


happymommy1's Avatar happymommy1 06:04 PM 04-10-2011

I am a classroom teacher. I do not require homework but do give rewards when the kids remember since they are 5 and 6. It is their job, not the parents, parents are their for support not to nag. Also, I think homework is for practice, including reading. Buuuut if your kid is two grade levels ahead in reading like my girls are then perhaps he needs time spent practicing something else. If the teacher docks him points, then see the principal, not all kids even do homework bc some parents dont have time or arent home.It is unscrupulous to grade on homework even if the grade is only is it done or not done. If the principal doesnt listen you can always go to the superintendent, newspaper, send an attorney letter to cease the practice etc. They are afraid of lawsuits! If we are supposed to individualize education to meet children's needs then not every kid should have the same homework, right?


Amys1st's Avatar Amys1st 10:05 AM 04-11-2011

We have had to track reading for the last two years. Since my dd is a bigworm and her sister entering kindy in the fall will be as well (loves to have books read to her) it takes all of 15-30 seconds daily to track what she is reading. Sometimes we forget, and she has a stack of books, so she just updates the list with the stack of books. Her 3rd grade is required to read 30 mins daily outside of school. For her, its a piece of cake since she reads every night before bed, or if she is really into a book, the next morning too before school. But I have heard from friends and neighbors, its difficult to get some kids to do this, 15 mins is the best the child can do. For those students, its more important to see how to get a better reader out of them or improve their reading skills and the teacher is happy with 15 mins, esp if the child is working and learning. I dont see how opting out would help this child.

For DH, this would have been impossible for him growing up, he struggled with reading, there was not a lot of specialists back in the day such as now. Kids entering kindy back then were also aged 4-5, not 5-6 and learning about reading earlier. He worked hard and did learn to read and learned how to work hard and smart and do well.

 

DD also has about 10-30 min at least 4 times a week of homework incl practicing spelling words. No homework on the weekends or breaks.

I dont have any issues with this amount of homework. Some of its busy work but most is practice for math or spelling which she needs a lot of times. Just like when she plays softball, she had to practice a lot at the beginning to learn and also still has to practice, so she can play. I could just imagine telling the coach we are opting out of practicing because its just busy work. Its as funny as actually thinking about it.

 

I agree, sometimes its a bit tedious but if there is another option and your child is actually doing the work, does well in school and learning, find that other option and work with your teacher. But if its just because you feel like not doing it, I personally feel you are not teaching your child anything good. Because believe me, there are going to be bigger and better issues down the line, well into adulthood that is not really the best thing you get to do, but you have to. Also, if your teacher who also teaches and then works at home for 1-5 hours each and every night, has to do 20-28 different options for students, because lets say everyone decides "they are opting out" because of whatever they deem important, how is she going to be able to teach?  


JollyGG's Avatar JollyGG 11:45 AM 04-11-2011

A couple of people have mentioned that he may need the practice. 

 

He is in the 3rd grade and reads at a 7th grade reading level. He is 4 grade levels ahead in reading.

 

He however, rarely self selects books at his reading level. The reading log in no way addresses this as it only looks at if the child read 20 minutes a day or not. We are working with him on choosing books that are a bit more challenging and closer to his reading level. I choose to devote my time and attention to that facet of his reading and not to mindlessly filling out a reading log that neither my child nor I remember until it's due resulting in us making 1/2 of it up anyway.


FedUpMom's Avatar FedUpMom 12:30 PM 04-11-2011

happymommy1 says:

 

***

I am a classroom teacher. I do not require homework but do give rewards when the kids remember since they are 5 and 6. It is their job, not the parents, parents are their for support not to nag.

***

 

It's ridiculous to expect 5 and 6 year old kids to remember homework.  That's not remotely age-appropriate.  If you think kids are regularly getting it done all on their own, without any involvement from the parents, you're kidding yourself.

 

Rewards can be just as coercive as punishments.

 

Is the homework worth doing?  That should always be the first question.


ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 03:53 PM 04-11-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post


But again, you (the teacher you)  are not respecting the line that is school time and family time.  Why should you have intentions about my family time?  It is  family time that is routinely disrespected, and that is pretty inconsiderate of the family's needs.

 

Do you really think there is any possible chance that a family is not going to have school obligations that must be completed outside of school? No, of course not. How you fit all those obligations into your life is entirely up to you, but the reality is that school-directed learning does not end at dismissal, especially as the students get older.
 

 


VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom 06:00 AM 04-12-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
He however, rarely self selects books at his reading level. The reading log in no way addresses this as it only looks at if the child read 20 minutes a day or not. We are working with him on choosing books that are a bit more challenging and closer to his reading level. I choose to devote my time and attention to that facet of his reading and not to mindlessly filling out a reading log that neither my child nor I remember until it's due resulting in us making 1/2 of it up anyway.

This is entirely anecdotal, but your post made me think of it. When my husband was a first grader, he *refused* to check a book out of the library if it had more than 32 pages. MIL worked as a librarian, and she asked him one day how he picked books because she noticed that the ones he brought home all were too easy. He said, "oh, I look at the last page. If it's bigger than 32, I put it back. If not, I get it." She was appalled and tried for a long time to convince him that it wasn't the best way to pick books! He's now, as an adult, a voracious reader. I don't know how or why that changed, but I think his world view tends toward, "you said I had to get a book, and this is the shortest I can get away with getting."
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FedUpMom View Post

happymommy1 says:

 

***

I am a classroom teacher. I do not require homework but do give rewards when the kids remember since they are 5 and 6. It is their job, not the parents, parents are their for support not to nag.

***

 

It's ridiculous to expect 5 and 6 year old kids to remember homework.  That's not remotely age-appropriate.  If you think kids are regularly getting it done all on their own, without any involvement from the parents, you're kidding yourself.

 

I agree. I'm not anti-homework, but the idea that the kids remember on their own isn't really accurate of 5 and 6 YO. It's more likely that 1 or 2 kids do remember, lots of kids have parents who remind them, and the rest have parents who don't care/want to do the homework, so the kids don't. I do see a lot of rewards in my son's school that are unfair because of the imbalance in what home life is like for kids this young.  
 

 


FedUpMom's Avatar FedUpMom 08:28 AM 04-12-2011

ecoteat asks:

 

***

Do you really think there is any possible chance that a family is not going to have school obligations that must be completed outside of school?

***

 

Yes, I do think there's a chance, especially in the early grades.  It used to be the norm.

 

I'm not interested in putting up with a practice that makes my kids miserable for no purpose.  I don't care how entrenched it is.  We need true reform.  We need schools that are about what's best for the kids, not just doing whatever the school is accustomed to doing.

 


FedUpMom's Avatar FedUpMom 10:12 AM 04-13-2011

In response to:

 

***

Reading logs haven't made my child hate reading.

 

Agree. My kids liked filling out their reading logs. Reading logs didn't make them hate reading.

***

 

There may be some kids who don't mind reading logs, but there are plenty others who find them to be a major hassle and a turn-off.  Why take the chance?  Reading logs should at least be made optional.


EFmom's Avatar EFmom 02:34 PM 04-13-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post

Do you really think there is any possible chance that a family is not going to have school obligations that must be completed outside of school? No, of course not. How you fit all those obligations into your life is entirely up to you, but the reality is that school-directed learning does not end at dismissal, especially as the students get older.
 

 


I think it is entirely reasonable for elementary school children that the family should not be expected to squander family time on homework, which research shows to be of no substantive benefit.  The school has the entire day for school-directed learning.  Family time should be for family-directed learning, relaxation and whatever activities the parents decide.

 

Having observed many typical elementary school days, schools squander a great deal of contact time.  If teachers think they are unable to accomplish what they need to do, schools should be looking at what goes on during the school day, not foisting stuff off on parents to do during family time.
 

 


joensally's Avatar joensally 06:34 PM 04-14-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post

Do you really think there is any possible chance that a family is not going to have school obligations that must be completed outside of school? No, of course not. How you fit all those obligations into your life is entirely up to you, but the reality is that school-directed learning does not end at dismissal, especially as the students get older.
 

 

Why?

 

 


Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 10:49 AM 04-15-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post



Why?

 

 

 

As kids get older, I think that some carefully selected homework is a good thing. My kids are middle school and high school aged and attend an alternative school that prides it's self in not assigning much homework. None the less, my kids do sometimes have things they need to do at home -- such as:

 

  • reading (lit classes use whole novels, not snipets, and kids are to read them on their own time),
  • researching and writing (they write essays and generally need to do those on their own time),
  • some math (not that much, math classes are small and very focused, and include a balance of instruction and practice time).
     

There are some weeks that neither of my kids have any work beyond reading, and some weeks when they are busier. I find the work very appropriate and meaningful.

 

I think it's unrealistic to say that you want your child to get a highschool education and never bring a book home or do any work on their own.

 

None of that has anything to do with 5 year olds!


ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 02:31 PM 04-16-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post



Why?

 

 

Partially for the same reason that home-directed learning shouldn't end when a child comes to school (well, except for religious education, but that's a whole different can of worms). In order for kids' learning to be relevant, it needs to connect to their lives somehow. If there is never an opportunity to bring the learning home, how is that going to happen? Ideally, I would love to see a positive connection between home and school where every child knows that their learning is ongoing and for their own personal benefit and necessity. Yes, I know that is a utopian vision, but I can hope, right?

 

Also, early elementary teachers aren't the ones creating the expectations for middle and high school kids, but they are responsible for preparing kids for the upper grades. I teach middle school and the biggest complaint I get from 6th grade parents about the transition to middle school is that their kids didn't have enough homework K-5 to prepare them. And we middle school teachers don't even give that much homework in my school--I rarely give science homework and when I do it's either reading background information to prepare for class or some open-ended kind of assignment. I don't even give much math homework (maybe twice a week, and it's only 15 minutes of practice). It takes years of practice for kids to develop independent responsibility. Waiting to introduce the concept of homework and organization until 5th grade (or whatever--that's just an example) is setting up most families for an unnecessary struggle.


And Linda is right, this doesn't specifically have to do with little kids, but in response to parents who seem put off by the nerve of schools to expect children to take schoolwork home at any age, I have to say you are being unrealistic.

 


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