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#1 of 12 Old 10-10-2012, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is in 2nd grade.  He is bringing home a homework folder every week.  I don't have a problem with this.  I see bringing home work not completed in class as an effective way to teach time management.

 

HOWEVER.  He has a reading log where they are asked to read 20 minutes 5 days a week, very specifically.  My son got a note saying he could do better and no pizza certificate--granted, that was deserved, but it was also made clear that reading say 3-4 days sometimes for longer times would most likely not be accepted. 

 

From things that I have read, that requirement alone takes care of the homework 'suggested level' of 10 minutes per grade level, for 5 days out of the week!

 

Then there's the homework folder.  It typically contains 3-4 short worksheets dealing with math and various reading and writing work.  This is the assigned homework.  It comes home Monday night and is due Friday morning.

 

Then on top of that, he brings home a vocabulary worksheet that for some reason is not being completed in class.  This sheet is partially completed when it comes home.  He has to define the words--which I don't own a dictionary and currently have a non-functioning computer to do! (I am at the library as I type. I *could* bring him here, however, I am objecting to the assumption that we have the tools to complete this assignment at home.) He also needs to write a sentence and draw a picture.  There are 6 words.  This week, he has one of those not fully done in class that has a lot left to do AND one from last week where he used variations of the words in the sentences and has been asked to fix that.  (an example would be the word is "drift" and he wrote the sentence using "drifts."

I don't object to the return of that assignment as I pointed out that usage to him, asked him if he thought that would be OK with his teacher, and offered help to change the sentence to use the exact word.  I was turned down and he said he figured it was fine.  Great life lesson there!

 

One thing I have done to help him is I told him that his two nights "off" from reading log during the week are the times I expect him to do homework, Monday and Tuesday nights--so that he does not have to read and do homework on the same night.  Also that I expect him to spend part of Wed. when school gets out 2 hours earlier doing any homework that is not done and that I expect him to read that day.

 

My problem with the homework is that I feel it is too much for his age, and he is starting to regularly say that he hates school and feels like his entire life is about school and homework--not EXACTLY those words, but very close, and that is the gist of what he's saying.  That bothers me.  I am aware of the option to homeschool, it's easy legally where I live, however, it's not the best choice for our family at this time.  Please keep ideas limited to how you would address this with the teacher or principal.  I also cannot ask the teacher to change the current policy of not having the homework folder over the weekend because she is on maternity leave.  Anything I do now needs to involve working with his substitute teacher and the principal of his school.  In a few weeks, his teacher returns and other options open to us.  :)  TIA!


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#2 of 12 Old 10-10-2012, 06:24 PM
 
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DS is in 2nd grade.  He is bringing home a homework folder every week.  I don't have a problem with this.  I see bringing home work not completed in class as an effective way to teach time management.

 

HOWEVER.  He has a reading log where they are asked to read 20 minutes 5 days a week, very specifically.  My son got a note saying he could do better and no pizza certificate--granted, that was deserved, but it was also made clear that reading say 3-4 days sometimes for longer times would most likely not be accepted. 

 

That is strange that they would not accept an alternative format for reading....sometimes families have obligations or other events that make evenings more challenging than other nights of the week.

 

My DDs are in 2nd grade and they have the same '20 min    5 days a week' assignment. But they are allowed to do it anyway they want- just that the goal is 460 minutes for this month, but we are free to complete the minutes anytime or in whatever blocks of time we want.

 

 

From things that I have read, that requirement alone takes care of the homework 'suggested level' of 10 minutes per grade level, for 5 days out of the week!

 

I am of the thought that reading , at least in our house, is just part of the routine and not 'homework'. My DDs read before bed everynight. Sometimes we read together and sometimes they read to me- but we read 6 out of 7 nights because it is part of our daily routine year round.

 

Also, studies show that kids that read 'regularly' at home maintain skills and make more growth than kids that don't read outside of school.

 

Some kiddos dont like to read-which I get. Yet, it is such an important skill that spills over into everything else (math, science, etc). Read anything and let it count toward minutes. Magazines often are less 'intimidating' for reluctant readers. Find books in his favorite subject. Use online books or audio books or joke books. Anything-- the goal is through practice fluency, comprehension,an vocabulary get better just by reading. 

 

Then there's the homework folder.  It typically contains 3-4 short worksheets dealing with math and various reading and writing work.  This is the assigned homework.  It comes home Monday night and is due Friday morning.

 

We also have this. M-Th a math sheet that takes 5-10 min. A spelling sheet or reading vocabulary.

 

Usually this type of homework is 10-25 min. For our family, that is just right.

 

 

Then on top of that, he brings home a vocabulary worksheet that for some reason is not being completed in class.  This sheet is partially completed when it comes home.  He has to define the words--which I don't own a dictionary and currently have a non-functioning computer to do! (I am at the library as I type. I *could* bring him here, however, I am objecting to the assumption that we have the tools to complete this assignment at home.) He also needs to write a sentence and draw a picture.  There are 6 words.  This week, he has one of those not fully done in class that has a lot left to do AND one from last week where he used variations of the words in the sentences and has been asked to fix that.  (an example would be the word is "drift" and he wrote the sentence using "drifts."

 

I would get to the root of why this is not completed at school. 6 words, with sentences and pics would take 40 min here. Which is a bit much.

 

Why is it not done in class? Is he overwhelmened? Not sure what to do? Time is not enough? I would try to find out why because that changes how to approach trying to make sure he completes it at school.

 

Also, I am fairly sure that the library or school would allow you to check out a dictionary for home use if they knew you did not have one available. (sometimes reference materials are not allowed to be checked out) or I would try to find one at a resale shop or book store. They are not pricey and used even cheaper. Dictionaries are handy no matter what and your DS is likely to need one for many more years.

 

I don't object to the return of that assignment as I pointed out that usage to him, asked him if he thought that would be OK with his teacher, and offered help to change the sentence to use the exact word.  I was turned down and he said he figured it was fine.  Great life lesson there!

 

One thing I have done to help him is I told him that his two nights "off" from reading log during the week are the times I expect him to do homework, Monday and Tuesday nights--so that he does not have to read and do homework on the same night.  Also that I expect him to spend part of Wed. when school gets out 2 hours earlier doing any homework that is not done and that I expect him to read that day.

 

My problem with the homework is that I feel it is too much for his age, and he is starting to regularly say that he hates school and feels like his entire life is about school and homework--not EXACTLY those words, but very close, and that is the gist of what he's saying.

 

It does sound overwhelming for a 7 yr old.

 

I would try to see what you can do for a few things:

 

1. make reading not a if/or for homework- rather part of a routine. Try to make it more enjoyable and separate from incomplete work or other assignments.  Use any reading material-- books on tape, special book lights, comfortable spot, magazines, etc. 

 

2. Ask the substitute and/or principal if you could scale back on some of the homework. Maybe see if you can do 20-25 min of homework (set a timer) and simply mark how much you completed on the paper and turn it in. Or see if he can dictate to you for long written assignments if he is laboring over the writing.

 

3.Make sure he has something else to get involved in: a sport, a club, a special class. So that he feels that he there is more than school/homework.

 

4.See if your district has a homework policy regarding amount/how much/if you can opt out, etc. Some areas they have clearly defined what is and isnt OK. 

 

5.Try to find out if he carries the same thoughts at school. Some kids like school to 'stay at school' and dislike mixing home/school. Some kids simply tolerate school--- which with a good teacher and some flexibility, school can be much more engaging and interesting. Sometimes it is more than academics as well-- is the fact that he has a sub bother him? Is the sub moving through work to quickly or not explaining things? Is there a student in class that is making school unenjoyable for him?

 

6. Do you think there is more going on?? Does his ability to complete the work seem due to the amount or do you suspect an underlying concern such as writing/reading/etc. If you are worried in anyway that he is having more than standard struggles learning to write/read/complete math than please look into an evaluation to make sure that he can get support at school.

 

7. Have you had his vision checked? I only ask because a surprising amount if kiddos get glasses in 1/2/3rd grade : sometimes it makes schoolwork (and homework) a lot more attainable when a simple vision correction is made.

 

8. Anything that is 'busywork' or he knows see if you can just skip it (per OK with school). Homework should be meaningful- both for the parents by letting them know what hte student is working on and for the student to review/reinforce concepts.

 

  Please keep ideas limited to how you would address this with the teacher or principal.  I also cannot ask the teacher to change the current policy of not having the homework folder over the weekend because she is on maternity leave.  Anything I do now needs to involve working with his substitute teacher and the principal of his school.  In a few weeks, his teacher returns and other options open to us.  :)  TIA!

 

 

I hope you get some resolution soon....That sounds like too much homework for a 2nd grader. But for a young student a substitute teacher can also be stressful as well.

 

List your concerns and go in and talk with them and see if there is any flexibility to the homework amount/taking work home and reading log structure. Sometimes an in person chat can allow more leeway than an email or casual note.

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#3 of 12 Old 10-10-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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I think the amount of actual homework sounds reasonable. My dd2 had reading every day (I believe it was 20 minutes) and a math worksheet 4 days a week (mon-thurs) last year in 2nd. Can you sit with him for the 20 minutes of reading and maybe he reads a page and you read a page? My dd2 was a very strong reader in 2nd and was actually frustrated at being asked to read books that were below her level. At the beginning of the year she was asked to keep a log, but that faded by the second half of the year. I don't know if that was because the teacher realized that dd2 didn't need that or if the teacher just phased it out for everyone. The math worksheets usually took dd2 about 5-10 minutes to complete. So homework wasn't really a huge deal for her.

 

This year in 3rd grade she has 15 minutes of reading, but no reading log. The teacher just asked the parents to be sure to "enforce this at home". She also has a math worksheet (usually one word problem showing her work and writing a complete explanation of her thinking). We've been told the homework will increase each quarter

 

However, I do understand about the unfinished classwork sort of piling on. Dd1 has that problem. She was not in public school in 2nd grade and didn't have much homework from the crunchy private school she attended, but she has always struggled with what she did have unless it was a special project she was excited about.  Now in 6th grade in a charter, she still often brings home unfinished classwork and she is the queen of dragging it out and making it take longer than it needs to. It truly dominates her evenings many times. I know that when she was in 2nd grade if she had had the amount of homework that dd2 had dd1 would have managed to make it a big fat hairy deal even though it's truly next to nothing to dd2. Dd1 is easily overwhelmed and overburdened and if you add in the unfinished classwork to the regular homework load it just can send her over the edge.

 

I think it's reasonable to ask for a meeting with the sub and/or someone from the administration to discuss how you can help him to get his work done in school and to let them know that he is feeling overwhelmed and disheartened by the amount of work he has to complete at home. I would not ask for less homework, but I would ask what you and they can do to help him. I agree with KCMichigan about making reading just part of the day. It can be part of the bedtime routine or something you do together.


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#4 of 12 Old 10-11-2012, 09:35 AM
 
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yup it sounds v. reasonable for me too. 

 

my experience is v. similar to KCMichigan.

 

i am surprised any reading doesnt count. my problem was in K and first grade. i discovered due to district policy the teacher could not change the reading policy - so i just lied and said dd read the book 10 times. 

 

yup yup yup on vision checks. it blew me away how many kids got glasses and took some of their troubles away - esp. of tracking. 

 

yes on the dictionary. talk to the teacher. our school sent all the students home with a dictionary. 

 

yes to finding out why he isnt finishing hw. with dd its coz she is a talker and if she sat next to a talker that's what they'd do mostly. 

 

when dd started hating school due to hw in first grade we did an experiment. i also told her when we signed up for this school we did promise we'd do hw every night and turn it in the next day. i told her i dont mind her not doing hw - but what about school. i spoke to the teacher and dd stopped doing hw for a week. and she saw the consequences and didnt like it. i also went over through my life how there are some things i enjoy but always it comes at a cost. i love a clean house but hate doing housework. however i have to do hw to have a clean house. so there is no way around it. so instead of complaining i just do it. so for that week, i consciously spoke about my likes and dislikes as i did them. and i said - this is how life is. you can make yourself miserable and keep hating it and making life more difficult for you, or you just do it and get it over with instead of dragging it out. hw has never been a challenge since then.

 

that one week was priceless.

 

HOWEVER having said that it was also a reminder to me to make life more fun. i was able to work my schedule so that i was picking dd up from school and then it would be her time. this was when she didnt have playmates around. after school we went places, to the park, to the river, to any free event, library, play dates. i tell you i was thrilled the other day when dd described her life as a life of adventure. then we moved (stayed at the same school) and dd got FRIENDS. huge impact on her life. they created their own hw club. they all come over to my apt and i have usually 3 or 4 kids sprawled every where listening to the radio doing hw. afterschool life is so exciting for dd that she can tolerate school. 


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#5 of 12 Old 10-11-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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I would have a talk with the teacher to clarify her expectations.

 

I also talked with my ds's teacher and let her know that he might not finish his homework every day due to other activities.

 

Personally, I limit homework to 3 nights a week. I don't want ds to hate school or homework.


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#6 of 12 Old 10-11-2012, 10:46 AM
 
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It sounds like a whole lot of HW to me and it's having a undesirable effect on your DS.

 

Take home work: On the three HW threads going on lately there have been mention of "unfinished school work" coming home. I'm not so sure I think this is such a great thing. I can see it as a time-to-time thing but if it's happening over an over I would expect the teacher to be figuring out some solutions for my DC in school. It's a bad habit, indicates that something is not a good fit for that child and repeated take home work is not a good long-term solution. I would talk to the teacher about that. Ask her/him if there is something that can be done in class to help your DC complete work. 

 

Reading: I would make this part of the day - maybe bed time routine. 20 minutes before bed or just after school or even in the am if your that type. 20 minutes of reading seems like a good amount for your DC's age and is a good habit to get into.  

 

Work sheets: I can totally see how a kid who is having trouble finishing work in class would really struggle with worksheets at home, especially with uncompleted work piled on top. I would address the uncompleted work and then see if I could break the sheets up to 1 per night and see what I can do with my DC to make the work go faster. I may even use this work to incorporate some other tools like a calculator or something. 

 

All of that said, I also think there's plenty of merit to you asking for less HW.  Have asked your district what the guidelines are for HW in your DC's grade? I may do that and if you're way off the mark ask the teacher. 

 

I would also just bring up the issue of your DC being a rather slow worker. My DC was that way too. In a way I do wish we had HW when she was younger so I could have helped her learn to work faster. Sometimes really slow workers end up making mistakes or getting discouraged. 

 

Good luck whatever you choose! 


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#7 of 12 Old 10-12-2012, 04:35 AM
 
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One thought wrt the reading log. We were also expected to read 20 minutes every night. Sometimes we read 40, sometimes not at all. What is stopping you from simply making sure your child gets the required amount of reading in over the course of the week, and just filling out the log as the teacher requires? S/he's not watching over your shoulder.
 

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#8 of 12 Old 10-12-2012, 11:21 PM
 
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This is what I would do:

Talk to the teacher about the vocabulary sheets. Ask him/her why they're not being done in class and what she can do to help him get them done at school because they're a struggle at home. Go to goodwill and buy a dictionary for 99 cents, or ask the school if they have one you can borrow. The nice things about dictionaries is that they aren't really out of date for most basic words, so who cares if it's 1972 dictionary?

 

Talk to the teacher about the fact he's hating school. Find out if there's something else going on.

 

Set aside 20-25 minutes for homework EVERY night. Have him spend 10 minutes on his worksheets and 5 vocabulary. Then have him spend about 10 minutes reading aloud to you or another adult. At bedtime, read something out loud to him for about 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes of him reading + 10 minutes of your reading = his 20 minutes of reading.

Because reading is part of our bedtime routine, it's not seen as a burden by our kids. We do reading 7 days a week nearly every week out of the  year. We do skip a day very occasionally, and then I don't mind signing the log because I know we've done it for that time. I think if you make reading part of the routine, then you will be down to 15-20 minutes of other homework a day.

 

This is how we've done our kids' required reading since ds was in 1st grade. In 1st grade, ds freaked out because he has performance anxiety and the thought of reading 20 minutes out loud to us was too much. So, we split the time and introduced chapter books. He read very easy books out loud to us to gain fluency (they were below his reading level, but that wasn't the point), and then we read books to him for interest. 6 years later, we're still doing it. When your son gets fluent enough to read silently (maybe now, maybe in 3rd grade), then shift the reading time to bedtime routine. My kids set the timer and read for 15-20 minutes silently, then we read aloud. And they're 8 and 11. They could easily do all this reading themselves. The LOVE being read to. It's a great way to reconnect, which might also help your son.


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#9 of 12 Old 10-13-2012, 06:17 AM
 
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That is a good point, Lynn -- the 20 minute reading may well be satisfied either by you reading to your DC. And, certainly by short chunks of reading. But, yea, build that into the routine every day. And, I don't want to sound insensitive to how difficult that may be at first. My DC was a reluctant reader and it was hard for a couple of years but I believe that press to build reading in to the routine was a big contributor to her reading so, so much better today. Just last night, in fact, I had to tell her to stop reading and go to bed. That is an awesome thing to say to a parent of a reluctant reader! orngbiggrin.gif


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#10 of 12 Old 10-13-2012, 07:14 AM
 
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If your child is overwhelmed by homework I would be complaining to the teacher and the principal. There is a large and growing body of work that shows that lots of homeschool is harmful rather than beneficial to learning. Making your kid hate the learning process is a bad choice. I really hate what schools are doing to kids. greensad.gif

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#11 of 12 Old 11-04-2012, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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the good news isHW has become routine for ds. I also have spoken with other parents at the school and they were surprised At the amount of HW ds had they said their kids had 20 minutes a night at the most and not every night. Reading is also getting easier.He reads in the van and has accepted it as part of the routine. It helps that he has gotten into a series that a couple of his buds at school are also reading. I had offered to read with him like we did a few times last year, didn't take me up on it. He didsay I should read the firsseries
t book of the series he likes.i think I will.

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#12 of 12 Old 11-05-2012, 05:00 AM
 
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Great, thanks for the update!  We're still waiting for HW to be integrated into our routine. The school had a late start sending it home and with a bit month of after-school activities in October, the hurricane and now election week, we'll probably be half way through the year before it feels "regular". Good for you and your DS! 


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