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#1 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd1 has switched to a charter middle/high school combo this year for 6th grade and I'm finding the homework load to be quite a step up from 5th grade. 

 

Just the end of this week (Thurs and Fri) she had a 1 page paper due for Science with at least two sources, a reading packet for Science with questions to answer and vocabulary words for Science to define, a book report due for English, a journal due for English (due at the end of each month), printing out 3 favorite poems for English, a vocabulary packet due for English, math homework (I didn't see it, my DH helped her, but it was a write the equation for this and then solve it), studying for a Social Studies test on Friday and studying for an English test on Friday. Over the weekend she has a paper to write for an elective class, and math homework.

 

Whew. I'm tired just looking at that. There is a study hall period built into everyone's schedule where they can work on their homework and get help from the teachers if they need it. I'm definitely encouraging her to use that so she can reduce the load she brings home, but some nights it's just oppressive. 

 

Now, they do almost always give them a few days to complete an assignment so dd1 got the Science homework on Tuesday and it wasn't due until Thursday, but other classes also give homework during that time. She's learning to manage her time and not save it all up until the night before it's due, but it's still a heavy load. She did the paper for Science on Tuesday and the reading packet on Weds, but she still had all the English and Math due. She does occasionally get Social Studies homework, but thankfully not as much.

 

My dd2 is in 3rd grade and just has a one page math worksheet, often with just one big word problem to solve and then you have to write down an explanation for your work. She does it in about 5-10 minutes and then has to amuse herself for hours while we keep dd1, who has some focus issues, on track on her homework.


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#2 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 08:09 AM
 
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That DOES seem a lot for 6th grade, IMO. But, having said that, I think it would have prepared my daughter better for her HS. It took her a good two years to get used to the amount (and level) of homework. Now that she's in college, though, she's said that it really prepared her well, especially in terms of time management.
 

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#3 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 09:06 AM
 
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DS (11, 7th grade) has time requirements in math and band that he can break-up however he wants. He has to practice the trumpet 120 minutes a week and do 100 minutes of Algebra online. Of course, those numbers are if he wants an "A." His other classes don't give routine homework and have built in time during class to work on essays, projects, vocab and what would normally be "homework" in other schools. They also attend school 15 minutes longer a day and a week longer a year than most of the county. DS averages about 1 hour a night. 5th and 8th grade are the only heavy homework years in our district to help them transition to new campuses. 

 

DD 15 is a junior in a high school/college hybrid program. She probably does about 4 hours of homework/study a day but she's also only in class 24 hours a week (for which I'm including her required internship hours.) That's 10 hours less than your standard high school student in our area for the same amount of classes. On average, she only brings home 1-2 hours a night.


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#4 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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Ds15 is in 11th grade and gets maybe 3-5 hours a week of homework. Dd13 is in 10th grade and gets about the same. Studying is on top of that but only comes in spurts, prior to tests and exams -- on average every couple of weeks. Both make good use of in-school work-time (no "study hall," but time in class for independent work). 

 

I have to say that the amount of busy-work you're describing seems incredibly high, and seems really focused on output. I mean, "doing a vocabulary packet" and "writing out definitions of terms" that sort of thing ... if the student reads and understands the vocab and material, what's the point of doing all that? If the student doesn't already understand it, they should look up the words and/or refer to the textual material again. Whether they've done so or not will show up on any tests. Why all the paper-work?

 

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#5 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 10:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
I have to say that the amount of busy-work you're describing seems incredibly high, and seems really focused on output. I mean, "doing a vocabulary packet" and "writing out definitions of terms" that sort of thing ... if the student reads and understands the vocab and material, what's the point of doing all that? If the student doesn't already understand it, they should look up the words and/or refer to the textual material again. Whether they've done so or not will show up on any tests. Why all the paper-work?

 

Miranda

 

I would agree with you if she were in HS. In MS? I'm not sure that most kids are ready to take that  initiative.

 

Thinking back, both of my kids probably had 3-5 hours of homework a *night* in HS. Especially as they rose in grade. My oldest took all AP classes, and my daughter's HS taught all classes on a college level. And... it really did serve them well.

 

My son still spends a lot of time on HW (he's a Junior in college), but a lot of that is creative work (he's a Music Comp major) and one can't rush creativity. But it is certainly not busy work at this point. My daughter... is used to turning out a 5 page paper in a day or two. She's been doing it for four years. Her classmates.

 

For both of them, that heavy load in HS has made college that much less of a shock. I think that is something that we don't realize when they are younger. While it seems like a lot at the time, there really IS a benefit for those who are planning on going to college. The adjustment the freedom of college provides is a pretty huge adjustment on it's own. The shock of the workload on top of that can be quite overwhelming for a lot of kids. Kids who are used to it, find that adjustment easier.

 

Just something to think about.

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#6 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 11:23 AM
 
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For both of them, that heavy load in HS has made college that much less of a shock. 

 

Maybe, although my kids are very busy with extra-curricular stuff which has them working very hard, putting in a lot of hours of work that are meaningful and resulting in lots of learning. If kids have no out-of-school interests, part-time work, responsibilities, hobbies, etc., I can see how having just 30-35 hours of work on school (25-30 hours of class, 5 hours of homework) per week would be inadequate preparation for college. But when your weekends and after-school hours as a high schooler are filled with choir retreats and tours, part-time jobs, driving lessons, violin / viola practicing, trail running, rehearsals, board meetings, volunteer work and such, college is only a shock in that you discover the joy of immersing yourself completely in your chosen area of study. Dd18 is loving her college experience and finding herself extremely well-prepared ... not only for the amount of work, but at least as importantly for the responsibility of structuring that work herself. 

 

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#7 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 11:56 AM
 
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Maybe, although my kids are very busy with extra-curricular stuff which has them working very hard, putting in a lot of hours of work that are meaningful and resulting in lots of learning. If kids have no out-of-school interests, part-time work, responsibilities, hobbies, etc., I can see how having just 30-35 hours of work on school (25-30 hours of class, 5 hours of homework) per week would be inadequate preparation for college. But when your weekends and after-school hours as a high schooler are filled with choir retreats and tours, part-time jobs, driving lessons, violin / viola practicing, trail running, rehearsals, board meetings, volunteer work and such, college is only a shock in that you discover the joy of immersing yourself completely in your chosen area of study. Dd18 is loving her college experience and finding herself extremely well-prepared ... not only for the amount of work, but at least as importantly for the responsibility of structuring that work herself. 

 

Miranda

 

You're right. Neither of my kids (athlete playing in college and musician now in conservatory)) had ANY other extracurriculars going in HS. <rolling eyes>

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#8 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Re: the vocabulary stuff, in English it is to build vocabulary and work on spelling. They're using the Wordly Wise workbooks. In Science it was science terms (they're studying planets so two of the words were "rotation" vs "revolution").

 

The level of work doesn't seem inappropriate, but it's just a LOT of it. Dd1 is not at all...hmmm...let's say naturally gifted in time management, so it's a big learning curve for her to have to juggle the volume of work and with her issues with difficulty staying focused, she can really drag it out so that homework is almost all she's doing after school. I give her about 1 hour of free time right after school and then have her start in and some nights she's working until bedtime. A more focused child could probably do it in 2 hrs, but she can easily drag it out to 4. We're working on that, though.

 

Interestingly enough she hasn't been given much direct instruction on how to write these papers she's had to do. She's probably had 5 or 6 papers due in different classes since the start of school at the end of August. We have yet to get one back so I'm not sure if she's doing okay or not. I asked another parent if their child had brought home any info on a format for the book report due in English and she said that the teacher said she "just wanted to see how the kids wrote this first time." In some respects I think that's better than the completely formulaic and stilted method of each paragraph has to have 5 sentences starting with a topic sentence and ending with a conclusion, but it leaves us out in the wind a bit. I guess we'll find out when it's progress report time.

 

Aside from the homework load, I really like the school and think it's a good fit for dd1. It has a focus on environmental science and art. They've been canoeing for PE and have taken a little camping trip together as an overnight field trip. I love the music teacher. He has made these awesome found material instruments like a "twanger" (basically a dulcimer tuned to a pentatonic scale, so it all sounds good together w/ minimal dissonance) and has really sparked an interest in music in dd1 that I hadn't seen previously (former band nerd here). The science teacher is funny and engaging (but just gives a lot of homework). They've been studying tardigrades and went on a tardigrade hunt and viewed them in class. So I think it's a good place, but it's a learning curve for us all.


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#9 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 02:19 PM
 
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My dd has about 40 hours minutes a night and is in fourth grade. If she doesn't complete her school work in class she has a little more. Part of the homework is reading for 20 minutes though and that she already does on her own so it isn't really part of her actual homework but for some fourth graders in her class it is part of their formal homework. Our district follows a 10 minutes times the grade level formula but I am not sure if that ends in junior high, which is 7th grade here. The charter schools do more or less depending on whether they emphasize academics or not.
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#10 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 02:58 PM
 
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The level of work doesn't seem inappropriate, but it's just a LOT of it. Dd1 is not at all...hmmm...let's say naturally gifted in time management, so it's a big learning curve for her to have to juggle the volume of work and with her issues with difficulty staying focused, she can really drag it out so that homework is almost all she's doing after school. I give her about 1 hour of free time right after school and then have her start in and some nights she's working until bedtime. A more focused child could probably do it in 2 hrs, but she can easily drag it out to 4. We're working on that, though.

 

 

We had this issue when DD was younger. She was actually a very focused student but she was so meticulous about the work that it would take her twice as long as her peers. Her 5th grade teacher suggested we put her on a timer for writing projects and it actually helped quite a bit... not only in shortening the amount of time spent on it but also forcing DD to plan her papers out in advanced and not get lost in endless rewrites that weren't actually improving the paper. You might also consider breaking her homework segments up. She may do better at several 15 minute concentrated sessions than an hour block.


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#11 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 04:01 PM
 
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 Aside from the homework load, I really like the school and think it's a good fit for dd1. It has a focus on environmental science and art. They've been canoeing for PE and have taken a little camping trip together as an overnight field trip. I love the music teacher. He has made these awesome found material instruments like a "twanger" (basically a dulcimer tuned to a pentatonic scale, so it all sounds good together w/ minimal dissonance) and has really sparked an interest in music in dd1 that I hadn't seen previously (former band nerd here). The science teacher is funny and engaging (but just gives a lot of homework). They've been studying tardigrades and went on a tardigrade hunt and viewed them in class. So I think it's a good place, but it's a learning curve for us all.

 

My daughter's HS had an environmental science focus, as well.

 

She was also not a natural at time management, but the long bus ride to/from school and juggling her other activities forced her to learn. Your daughter will get there.

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#12 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 08:04 PM
 
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You're right. Neither of my kids (athlete playing in college and musician now in conservatory)) had ANY other extracurriculars going in HS. <rolling eyes>

 

Well, that was a little rude.

 

My point was that there may be other ways to experience a work-load comparable to college, other than hours a day of assigned homework. 

 

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#13 of 109 Old 09-29-2012, 08:42 PM
 
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Well, that was a little rude.

 

My point was that there may be other ways to experience a work-load comparable to college, other than hours a day of assigned homework. 

 

Miranda

 

And I found your post to be the same. <shrug> Diff'rent strokes, I guess.

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#14 of 109 Old 09-30-2012, 12:47 PM
 
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My DD (9th grade) has around 4 hours plus a night, however most of her classes are pre-IB, she has one advanced class (Math), and one regular class (French). She has to fit this work in plus three hours of climbing three times a week. It makes for some late nights unfortunately. My DS is in 7th grade and gets about 20 to 30 minutes a night plus reading, he does do some homework at school, mostly the reading. 


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#15 of 109 Old 09-30-2012, 03:44 PM
 
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My kids are in highschool at a progressive school. The students have built in free periods which they can spend doing their independent work, or they can use those periods playing a game with a friend, working in the green house, etc. Both my kids take what are considered heavy course loads for their school. One of my DDs brings home about 2-3 hours per week of independent work, and my other DD (who is more social) bring home may be 6 hours per week.

 

For a standard schedule and a student using their free periods to complete their work, there wouldn't be home work on a regular basis as the school feels that "home" work interferes with family life and a child's ability to peruse other things.

 

Our school is very unusual though, and has several kids who previously attended charters, private schools, or public school with aggressive IB baccalaureate programs with a very different view on things.
 

Different things are right for different kids. I sometimes wonder if my kids are missing out on stuff, and if they are preparing fully for the next step. But one of my kiddos has an anxiety disorder and the more pressured environment is soooo not right for her.


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#16 of 109 Old 09-30-2012, 06:55 PM
 
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Lots of homework seems to be the norm for high school these days. Not sure what parents can do about it as it seems to be a national trend. My kids have a ton!
 


 
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#17 of 109 Old 10-01-2012, 06:49 AM
 
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DD is in 11th grade. She has about 1 or 2 hours of homework per night.  Last week, I saw her working on math several nights, some Chem and Physics, reading a play, and completing a Drama assignment. She had to choose a monologue, analyze it and critique it. I think she is fairly organized about getting work done in class or during free time at school. She's decided to take a study period rather than an 8th class this year, so that will help with her workload.   

 

 

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Just the end of this week (Thurs and Fri) she had a 1 page paper due for Science with at least two sources, a reading packet for Science with questions to answer and vocabulary words for Science to define, a book report due for English, a journal due for English (due at the end of each month), printing out 3 favorite poems for English, a vocabulary packet due for English, math homework (I didn't see it, my DH helped her, but it was a write the equation for this and then solve it), studying for a Social Studies test on Friday and studying for an English test on Friday. Over the weekend she has a paper to write for an elective class, and math homework.

 

..........

Now, they do almost always give them a few days to complete an assignment so dd1 got the Science homework on Tuesday and it wasn't due until Thursday, but other classes also give homework during that time. She's learning to manage her time and not save it all up until the night before it's due, but it's still a heavy load. She did the paper for Science on Tuesday and the reading packet on Weds, but she still had all the English and Math due. She does occasionally get Social Studies homework, but thankfully not as much.

 

 

 

What strikes me about the list of work for the week is the amount that seems to be related to what I call "grade harvesting" for report cards. The English book report, monthly journal and test, the Social Studies test and the paper for her elective probably all fit into this category, as opposed to homework to practice skills acquisition like the math homework.  Since the students have been back to school for over a month, the teachers are probably anticipating first term reports and they need some results to include in their reporting. Generally, I find teachers like to have, at minimum, a couple of test or project grades for each subject on a report card. In middle school, if there are different teachers for most subjects, the tests and assignments start to add up quickly.  

 

For time management, it may help to use calendars or an agenda to organize her workload. In middle school, to help the students learn to anticipate their workload and organize, my kids' teachers provided weekly, monthly and term calendars with the dates for tests, deadlines for major assignments and any routine deadlines like monthly journal submissions, reading logs etc. A few teachers posted the information on class websites. This was a few years ago and I imagine class websites are more common now. We would note the deadlines in their agendas and then the kids could add in any daily homework assignments.    

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#18 of 109 Old 10-01-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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Beanma, my kids are the same grades as yours.  My ds (6th) has 45-1 hour of math homework every night.  His math is a double period, so usually has 2 assignments to complete each night.  He is supposed to read for 1/2-1 hour for literacy.  Literacy (reading/english equivalent) is also a double period, but all writing is done in class.   He also plays cello, and is expected to practice for 1/2 hour every day.  His science/social studies teacher does not feel the kids need homework in his classes because at this level they are secondary to literacy and math; when he has had unfinished work in these classes, he has finished it during his "study hall"- can not remember what he calls that time.  Ds does one extra curricular activity, Lego League.  On the LL nights, he is beat because he will be at school from 7 am (bus pick up) until we pick him up at 5pm.  All other days he gets home at 3, though.  

 

One thing I learned about ds's school is that the different teams (there are 4 with about 80 students in each) have different approaches, so not all the kids have the same degree of homework as ds.  I have compared some with another parent of a kid on a different team.  

 

My dd in 3rd gets on math sheet a week, if anything.  She is also suppose to either read or be read to for 20 minutes every day.   

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#19 of 109 Old 10-01-2012, 05:33 PM
 
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 My 4th grader has math nightly to be turned in the next day, and a reading log to complete every night that needs to be 4-5 sentences about the book she reads answering whatever questions or diagrams need to be drawn out for that night * the teacher has a monthly reading log sheet that gets sent home with the questions and stuff on it. She has to turn the reading log in every Friday* <---I feel like it is way too much for her and will be talking to her teacher about it and the inconsistancy of her homework being modified like it should since she has a IEP.

 

My 1st grader has weekly homework packet given on Monday turned in Friday. One night he has to pick a topic and write 3-4 sentences about the topic and draw a illistration. He has to read 15mins a day each night.


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#20 of 109 Old 10-01-2012, 10:45 PM
 
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5th grader. couple of nights 2 to 3 hours homework. the rest maybe half hour, maybe an hour. some weeks she brings home hw. not for very long though.

 

i think dd takes a LOONG time over writing. so if there is writing which there is she takes a long time. 

 

last year she had some great but v. intensive 4th grade projects and if i didnt keep on her she would save doing the actual report the last moment. which meant i had to be involved. 


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#21 of 109 Old 10-02-2012, 01:01 PM
 
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It looks like our family is in for a real eye-opener. DC is in 5th grade and has homework for the first time ever. We're on our first week of homework and it appears to be about 1-2 hours 3 days/week. We'll be experiencing a learning curve this year as well, which we'll look at as a gift to prepare us for 6th grade. Your DC's school sounds wonderful - perhaps the homework will ebb and flow or maybe your DC will get faster at it? That's my hope for my DC.


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#22 of 109 Old 10-02-2012, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think last week was an especially rough week with a lot of stuff due all at once, but I'm not sure what is up with all this writing from the Science teacher. She's already had to do three 1-2 page research papers w/ sources for him in the first month of class. That's not including other homework projects from him (poster, design an experiment, plus the science packets). She was just beginning to learn how to write papers last year in 5th grade (persuasive essays, etc) and now she's having to cite sources in science papers. Other than that I really love the science teacher. He's very hands on and funny and smart. 

 

I think the English homework is actually a reasonable amount, but there was just a lot of end of week/end of the month stuff due last week. 

 

The writing for her elective (outdoor skills) is pretty weird in my book, too, but I think some of it may be class work that she's not getting done. They do spend most of their time outside learning about knots and poisonous plants and other outdoor skills, but what up with the writing?!

 

She hasn't had that much from the social studies teacher and the math seems like a reasonable amount too. It's just *wham* when it all comes together like that.

 

I don't think I'm going to make too many waves, but there have been several parents who are concerned about the amount of work. I think we just need to learn to organize and prioritize and focus.


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#23 of 109 Old 10-03-2012, 10:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

I don't think I'm going to make too many waves, but there have been several parents who are concerned about the amount of work. I think we just need to learn to organize and prioritize and focus.

Maybe just a casual comment or note to the administration would be a good idea. I often lend my support for changes in a really casual way for things that I'd like to see change but that aren't all that important to me. That way, I figure I add my voice to the choir, yk? 


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#24 of 109 Old 10-03-2012, 10:53 AM
 
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My DD1 is in 7th grade and gets maybe 2 hours per night, while DD2 is in 4th and has maybe 15-30 minutes, plus reading (which she does regardless, so I don't check to see that it's 30 minutes exactly every night). DD1 does not have study hall, but does have band two mornings per week, a yoga class after school one day, plus a Saturday activity. It's do-able, but mostly because the workload varies somewhat, we don't have a daily after-school activity, and she is very focused. She generally wants to start working on homework right away rather than taking a break after school.

 

I had an idea that used to help me in school and seems to be helping DD1. We are pretty much morning people, so after a full day at work/school, sometimes we just can't concentrate at night. We both tend to wake up early to finish stuff rather than staying up late if we're in a crunch. I at least double my speed and concentration by doing this. Timing may be something to consider.

 

PS After seeing Race to Nowhere and hearing the comments specific to my community, I am definitely concerned about high school as a parent who has kids who need their downtime.
 


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#25 of 109 Old 10-03-2012, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ragana View Post

 

I had an idea that used to help me in school and seems to be helping DD1. We are pretty much morning people, so after a full day at work/school, sometimes we just can't concentrate at night. We both tend to wake up early to finish stuff rather than staying up late if we're in a crunch. I at least double my speed and concentration by doing this. Timing may be something to consider.

That's a great tip! I wish we were morning people. 


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#26 of 109 Old 10-04-2012, 06:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by beanma View Post

I think last week was an especially rough week with a lot of stuff due all at once, but I'm not sure what is up with all this writing from the Science teacher. She's already had to do three 1-2 page research papers w/ sources for him in the first month of class. That's not including other homework projects from him (poster, design an experiment, plus the science packets). 

beanma i am curious. does he draw up a timeline for them? so everything is not due at the same time.

 

i cant imagine dd coping with that kind of varied hw without a timelline of when to turn things in. she is not that organized yet. 


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#27 of 109 Old 10-04-2012, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No, not a timeline. He didn't assign it all at once. It was just daily assignments. Last Tuesday's assignment was a 1 page research paper on tardigrades in space, including two different references, reading a science packet (4 pages or so), answering the questions in the packet, and defining the science vocab words. It was due Thurs, two days later. The week before that on Tuesday he assigned a 2 page research paper with 4 different references due for Thurs.

 

Students do have planners and should write all their assignments in their planners. I am trying to get dd1 to do this consistently, but she's a little flaky on it. 


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#28 of 109 Old 10-04-2012, 01:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by beanma View Post

No, not a timeline. He didn't assign it all at once. It was just daily assignments. Last Tuesday's assignment was a 1 page research paper on tardigrades in space, including two different references, reading a science packet (4 pages or so), answering the questions in the packet, and defining the science vocab words. It was due Thurs, two days later. The week before that on Tuesday he assigned a 2 page research paper with 4 different references due for Thurs.

 

Students do have planners and should write all their assignments in their planners. I am trying to get dd1 to do this consistently, but she's a little flaky on it. 

beanma it seems like he is assigning at least one page of research and writing a day. for 7th grade that is not unusual in our area. references imho are not extra work because you need to cite from where you got the info. meaning you have to research different sites to look for your info.

 

research and citing while writing papers have been part of dd's curriculum since 4th grade. they did get a timeline and everything was not due the same day though. 

 

OT - i really enjoyed reading up on tardigrades (i thought it was a typo winky.gif). i didnt know what they were called, but its a fun thing. 

 

all the 5 middle schools i know and the other elem schools, all hw is due the next day. unless its project work, then they have different due dates. 


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#29 of 109 Old 10-04-2012, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's in 6th grade, not 7th. And it's always assigned in chunks like this. All the teachers assign in these chunks so the kids (and parents) have to figure out how to prioritize getting it all done w/o letting it all pile up at the end. Dd1 has actually done a pretty good job with that overall. This week has not been as crazy as last week, but last week was pretty crazy.


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#30 of 109 Old 10-04-2012, 01:54 PM
 
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oops sorry about the 7th grade. beanma what about 4th and 5th? did the teachers break down the task for her? or did i miss that she is in a new school with new rules. 

 

for us 4th grade the teacher broke up the task and taught them how to research, how to manage their time, how to write their report. everyday she'd work with them - even for a few minutes as a reminder. 

 

5th grade she has a seperate white board to organize hw and children write it down.

 

i'm glad that your dd is pretty well organized. that is a challenge for dd inspite of the teacher helping out so much. 


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