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#1 of 19 Old 03-26-2014, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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More and more I'm hearing about friends who have kids saying, "ok, this assignment is done" or I'm doing homework with my son..." Is it me or are the PARENTS doing more of the homework lately?  From what I'm hearing with my friends, it sounds like the parents are WAY overinvolved in whatever homework needs to be done at night. When I was little, generally I did the homework.  Mom & Dad weren't involved unless I got stuck - which then they helped me sort out, then sent me back to my room to work.  

 

 In your experience, is this the case?  Or is it just me?

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#2 of 19 Old 03-26-2014, 04:12 PM
 
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Maybe some kids need to be redirected back to task more?

Not necessarily that the parents are doing homework for them

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#3 of 19 Old 03-26-2014, 06:31 PM
 
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My DC had her first required HW starting in 6th grade, which was this school year. I felt really conflicted for a while in terms of how to help her. On the one hand I didn't want to be the parent who was "building the volcano". On the other hand, my DH had a reading delay and I wanted her to have at the very least similar support at home to what her peers were getting. I felt like with her delay and an elementary school with no homework, that she would really sink if her family wasn't keeping up with the Joneses. 

 

That lasted for like 2 months. And then I had a meeting with her teacher who said we were welcome to help her in anyway we wanted so long as it was pleasurable for us as a family. He also said his preference for parent support is through enrichment experiences. Wow!  Did that change things.  

 

Now, we let DC do her work on her own. I don't know what assignments she has really at all anymore. I'm here to help but she rarely asks. She did do a big assignment using Moviemaker and I showed her what I know but that's about it. 

 

So, no, we don't help and it doesn't seem to be a trend in our area from what I can tell. 

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#4 of 19 Old 03-27-2014, 08:14 PM
 
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Depends on what you mean by "help". If by "help" you really mean "do it for them", then no we don't help. If by "help" you actually mean "help them understand how to do it" then, yes, we do a lot of that. Isn't that the whole point of homework and school in general — that they learn the material? If they didn't quite get that algebra concept in class, then, sure, I show them how to do it.

 

If they know how to do it then I make sure they get it done, but I don't interfere unless they ask me a question. I do ask to look over their homework after they're done frequently and if I see an error I ask them to look at that math problem again or think about that verb tense again.

 

Homework is not a test. It's just practice to make sure they get concepts. If I can help them understand the concepts, then why on earth wouldn't I do that?


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#5 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 10:07 AM
 
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From what I'm hearing with my friends, it sounds like the parents are WAY overinvolved in whatever homework needs to be done at night. 

 

I'd be careful not to judge. While there probably are some parents are actually doing their kids' homework, kids are all different, and the philosophy behind homework varies a lot from school to school and teacher to teacher. Our local school has a very minimalist approach to homework, and when it is assigned it's often more as an exercise in planning and responsibility than anything. My kids happen to be very good at the "executive function" skills of remembering to take note of due-dates, planning their time and staying on top of things, so they don't need my support at all. However, many kids do need guidance learning those skills and I think it's perfectly appropriate for parents to guide them through the goal-setting and planning and scheduling stuff. Some kids, for a wide variety of possible reasons, many quite legitimate IMO, resist doing homework and would simply not get it done without continual parental supervision. And I'm not talking about reasons like a poor sense of responsibility or lack of clear parental expecations: I'm talking about things like subtle learning disabilities or lags in developmental readiness, disingenuous homework assignments, unmet needs for physical activity or down-time, meaningless repetition of things already well-mastered, and so on. 

 

Some schools use homework as a method of teacher-parent communication, assigning work that will allow parents to see what their children are learning in school and how they're doing with it. They expect parents to observe their kids' working through assignments and to take an active interest in that work, so as to be kept abreast of what's going on in the classroom. Some teachers assign project work in order to allow students to explore different ways of gathering resources from home and community with the expectation that parents figure into the "home and community" equation. And sometimes homework is assigned so that students who need extra practice to consolidate their learning will have an opportunity to do that practice even if it doesn't fit into the school day. And if they're struggling to the extent that they're just not quite getting parts of it, I think it's good when a supportive parent who sees that struggle steps in and provides a bit of guidance to enhance their learning. I have a 15-year-old, and if she doesn't understand the way her textbook and her teacher are explaining something, and has checked some on-line sites and hasn't found anything that makes sense there, I certainly will help her tease apart where the gap in her understanding is so that she can continue to work through the syllabus. 

 

So I think there are lots of good reasons why parents might be actively involved in supporting their kids in doing homework. Unless you're there in their homes, seeing the nitty-gritty and getting a sense of the big-picture context of their support, I wouldn't assume it's anything but appropriate.

 

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#6 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 11:08 AM
 
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I agree with Beanma and Miranda as well. My read on your OP was a sort of half-vent/half trying to get some perspective but I do agree it's important to be careful to assume too much from casual conversations. 

 

I also really agree that parents helping kids follow through on commitments is entirely appropriate guidance.  And, I can say that with zero defensiveness or bias because we lucked into a kid who gets her work done on her own. It's a skill and not all kids are all the way there yet. 

 

Of course there are parents who do too much for kids and enable helplessness but in our area I am seeing parents meeting their kids needs in the best ways they know how. 

 

Here is an article my DH sent me a few days ago - haven't had a chance to read it: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/04/and-dont-help-your-kids-with-their-homework/358636/

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#7 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 12:02 PM
 
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I have a 11 year old 5th grader. She receives 2-3 hours of homework 5 nights a week. That is a regular night, a bad night is much more. She also is severely dyslexic, remediated, but she still has to work much harder then another student in her class has to. I would say that she can do about 50% of her homework herself, all the rest I have to sit directly with her and help her step by step. A lot of it is just going over concepts again, especially math. Things like vocab assignments she really struggles to understand. They usually read several chapters a night in their assigned book and then writing down chapter details. Books like Escape From Warsaw or this week's book, Maniac Magee, require me to do a lot of explaining about racism or WWII. And then there is the dreaded 20-25 weekly spelling word list. We could spend an hour a night alone just drilling on that some rough weeks. 


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#8 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 12:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

Our local school has a very minimalist approach to homework, and when it is assigned it's often more as an exercise in planning and responsibility than anything. My kids happen to be very good at the "executive function" skills of remembering to take note of due-dates, planning their time and staying on top of things, so they don't need my support at all. However, many kids do need guidance learning those skills and I think it's perfectly appropriate for parents to guide them through the goal-setting and planning and scheduling stuff. 

 

I'm right there with you, moominmamma. Unlike your family, though, my kids, esp dd1, are not great with executive function skills and I do try to help her learn those, too, but again, not do it for her. I help her learn how to plan and take responsibility and budget her time.

 

I ask her what homework she got assigned that day and when it's due (it's often in a few days, occasionally the next day). Then I ask her how long she thinks it will take to do it. We talk about which assignments are the priority (due sooner) and if she'll have time the next day to work on it, or if she has activities planned after school. We talk about how long it takes to eat supper and get ready for bed and she might decide that she wants to have an hour break right after school and ask me to remind her when her hour is up so she can start her homework. That way she learns to budget her time. IMO, it's really entirely appropriate to help with homework, both with budgeting time like this, and also with understanding the material. 

 

Often teachers give assignments where there is an expectation of parental help, too. They might ask you to read with your child if you have a young kid, or might ask you to help your child make a pizza model of a cell or similar, or they might ask the child to interview their parent about something and write that up. 

 

I really don't understand why people wouldn't be involved with their kid's homework. It's no different than helping a child learn anything else in life. Don't you help them learn how to cook and answer their questions, show them how to scramble eggs or do you just throw them in the kitchen with a cookbook and a frying pan and say have at it?

 

I just wanted to add, I think sometimes parents have this weird idea that they're "cheating" if they help their kids with their homework. It's not a test. If you just keep in mind that the goal is for your child to learn then you'll do okay. Don't do the work for them, just like you can't teach a child to tie their shoes by doing it for them. Show them how, have them try, correct errors, keep trying until they can get it on their own. The school teachers are teaching them at school, and you're just continuing your parent job of teaching them at home whether it's fractions or reading or history, etc.


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#9 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 12:35 PM
 
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Peony, I'm so sorry. BTDT and that's too much. I feel your pain.


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#10 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 01:18 PM
 
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My 6 year old 1st grader comes home every night with 2 books to read..2 stacks of flashcards..Plus she has 12 spelling words a week for a test on Friday..

I def have to sit and listen and help her...takes an hour alone for the books and cards...

Peony...I dread the spelling words every week too... Poor girl is in school all day then home to do homework half the night greensad.gif
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#11 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 01:47 PM
 
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Yep!  We've been in both situations now. When my DC was in 3-5th grade she did not really have homework but she did afterschool tutoring and just lots and lots and lots of extra reading help in various forms. It was HARD, hard work as a family. We are now a family that doesn't help so I can shed some light on that too. We don't refuse to help but DC seems to really want to do this on her own. I think I could probably be a bit more invested but I also think that's not appropriate given that it's not child-led at this point. So, I do think there's a balance there. I think if I pushed my way in (which I realize no one is advocating) it could start a bad cycle of dependence so we just let DC manage unless she asks otherwise. 

 

My DC is in 6th grade so the goals for HW are varied. They do include becoming autonomous and being sure students get their educational needs met at school if there are obstacles to getting work done at home. This is how they do it at my DC's school. I'm sure there are other schools with different expectations that include parents doing a chunk of education about the core material. I'm glad that's not what my DC's school does because, honestly, there is some of her work that I already don't understand. :innocent


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#12 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 01:53 PM
 
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I dread the spelling words every week too... 

 

I would dearly love to see one speck of evidence that memorizing weekly spelling lists does anything to improve spelling ability over the long term. It seems like they are the cause of millions of hours of school-child grief each year, and do little to improve spelling over the long term. My guess is that most kids who struggle to learn the list words will forget the spellings again within the space of a few weeks or months, and those who learn them easily would probably have improved their spelling at least as much by devoting the time to something more meaningful and enjoyable.

 

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#13 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 02:05 PM
 
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I would dearly love to see one speck of evidence that memorizing weekly spelling lists does anything to improve spelling ability over the long term. It seems like they are the cause of millions of hours of school-child grief each year, and do little to improve spelling over the long term. My guess is that most kids who struggle to learn the list words will forget the spellings again within the space of a few weeks or months, and those who learn them easily would probably have improved their spelling at least as much by devoting the time to something more meaningful and enjoyable.

 

Miranda


I often wonder about this because it would be a lucky week if I even glance at what the spelling words are for the week. Fortunately, I have a boy who is a phenomenal speller. I am not quite sure why. His teacher thinks he's got a photographic memory, I think it's just because he reads. A LOT.

 

Anyway, a part of me feels guilty and even arrogant (and feeling guilty about feeling arrogant) that I do not practice spelling words with my son when others do it so religiously. To date, he's only missed one spelling word (he spelled break for "brake"). I don't see what can be derived out of having him write his spelling words other than it improves his handwriting. But, he can easily do that by journaling or writing one of his stories... not homework per se, but things he loves.

 

I wonder if the homework, especially for the lower grades be geared towards a more fun exposure to words and language other than having to spell 10 different words each week. That way the spelling skill will be a by-product rather than a goal.

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#14 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 02:14 PM
 
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Regarding spelling words — I really think that is a teacher thing, rather than a curriculum or school thing. It varies from year to year and teacher to teacher whether my kids have spelling words or not. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. Lately when dd1 has had spelling words she's had to use them in a story, which the kids (7th graders) all love. No tests. They make up stories about Bob who has been stranded on a desert island with a "punctilious" businessman who is feeling a bit "pugnacious", etc, etc. It's a lot better than having to alphabetize all the letters in a word which was one spelling assignment we had one year (and I completely did NOT get that one — and that WAS the assignment, dd1, DH and I all agreed). So you would have PUNCTILIOUS = CIILNOUPSTU. We haven't had anything that stupid in a couple of years. 


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#15 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 02:35 PM
 
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starsmagick, I think you have a little one who is not in school, yet, right? Sometimes you get assignments like this one below, which is a 3rd grade assignment, apparently as much for the parents as kids. It's not my kid's homework, but you can see that sometimes the parents are really expected to be involved. It just depends on the the teacher and the school, and also the parents and kids. Some kids really need extra help, and some parents really aren't able to give extra help (work two jobs, don't speak English, etc). At my kid's elementary school there is an after school program that some of the kids attend where they do their homework and luckily my kid doesn't have much.

 

Quote:
 Monday

Cut out the words.

Ask your child to sort the words into the ‘star’ categories, like we did at school. Your child should

read each word aloud during this activity. Ask your child to explain to you why the words are sorted

in a particular way – what does the sort reveal about spelling in general? Ask your child to sort them

a second time as fast as possible.

 

Tuesday

Do a “buddy sort” with your child. Lay down a word from each category as a header and then read the

rest of the words aloud. Your child must indicate where the word goes without seeing it. Lay it down

and let your child move it if he or she is wrong. Repeat if your child makes more than one error.

 

Wednesday

Assist your child in doing a word hunt, looking for words in a familiar book that have the same sound,

pattern, or both. Try to find two or three words for each sort category.

 

Thursday

Do a writing sort to prepare for the Thursday test. As you call out the words in a random order your

child should write them down in categories. Call out any words your child misspells a second or even

third time.


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#16 of 19 Old 03-28-2014, 06:29 PM
 
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My kids have had years where their homework consisted of, "With mom or dad..." or "Read 10 pages to someone in your family and have them sign your sheet..." almost every night.

 

As it is now, with kids in 5th, 4th, and 2nd grades, all three have a planner that I sign every night, and two of them have a sheet that I sign saying that they did their nightly reading. My oldest is bad about not remembering to do it, or just not really paying attention when he does do it (he has a diagnosis of a developmental disorder, though he is so high functioning, he doesn't even have an educational plan anymore), so I have to be pretty strict with homework and stay on top of it. Our routine is to bring me their planner and papers for the day, we talk real quick about what the homework is so I can make sure they understand it, they do it, and I check it when they're done. If they have a couple of incorrect answers, I ask them to try again. A lot of wrong answers, and we go over it together. Any questions they have, we go over it together.

 

I personally hate homework as a general rule. I never did it when I was in school because I thought it was stupid and I still do. I hate that my kids are gone from 8 until 4 doing school, just to come home and take, on average, an extra couple of hours out of family time doing even more school. But, my oldest was starting to fail classes because of missed work so we have to be strict about it.

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#17 of 19 Old 03-30-2014, 05:54 AM
 
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starsmagick, I think you have a little one who is not in school, yet, right? Sometimes you get assignments like this one below, which is a 3rd grade assignment, apparently as much for the parents as kids. It's not my kid's homework, but you can see that sometimes the parents are really expected to be involved. It just depends on the the teacher and the school, and also the parents and kids. Some kids really need extra help, and some parents really aren't able to give extra help (work two jobs, don't speak English, etc). At my kid's elementary school there is an after school program that some of the kids attend where they do their homework and luckily my kid doesn't have much.

 

 

Wow, I would have been pretty resentful of that assignment because it would have been homework for myself, as well!  It does, however, look like something DD2 (who is in 3rd grade) would do in class with a classmate.  They often pair up on word study stuff like that.  I help DD2 review her words sometimes but really, I taught both of them how to study their words without my help- whether or not they do is up to them.  DD2 also happens to be a really good speller so her word study words are just too easy (she spells stuff her brother in 7th grade is spelling sometimes) and I have been unsuccessful in getting her a more challenging word list.  So yes, sometimes I *do* homework with my girls, but it is to show them how to study on their own.  Sometimes I just make myself available at the kitchen table where they do their homework.  DD1 struggles in math sometimes so, while I don't help her through the whole thing, I hover nearby to be there for questions and to make sure she stays motivated enough to finish it.  I really don't have a problem with homework, as long as it isn't excessive.  I had homework when I was a kid and it seemed to be tougher than DD1 has now.  I had to write book reports and stuff, something I have never seen any of my kids have to write on their own time.  They seem to be given time at school to do everything.  I feel like, by 7th grade, I knew how to format an essay, or was learning how to, with research and citations but my 7th grader, who I pulled from school to homeschool, does not know how to write an essay.  


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#18 of 19 Old 03-30-2014, 06:44 AM
 
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I am not a fan either of how much homework we receive. In our elem school, if homework is not finished then the child is kept in from recesses to finish it. In DD2's 1st grade class, the name of the student is written on the board for all to see as well. DD1's 5th grade teacher will not only keep them in from recesses but will detain after school until the work is completed. In a different school with DD1 when she was younger, I has been successful in refusing to to homework because of her learning disabilities but that is no longer an option. Our old school had the dreaded planner we had to sign nightly, if not signed then recess was missed. This one doesn't. DD2 is supposed to read a school book for x number of minutes with a signed note stating it was read along with her other homework. It is trouble if you take too long to return it. Once on a very frantic night, I had my 11 year old write out the note and I signed it. It was refused with a note sent home for me. :eyesroll

 

Dh and I joke often that we are NOT smarter then a 5th grader! Math at times sends us straight to google while we attempt to remember how to do certain equations. I was literally jumping up and down with joy last week when DH was stumped on DD1's math and I took one look at it and exclaimed that it was nursing math! I could teach her that! Very rare for me to grasp a math concept that DH doesn't. And often I feel like I am being punished. When we finally get home at home, I don't have two hours to sit there and go through homework with each child. DD1 and I end up staying up till 10pm some nights because it is only calm enough when the little kids go to bed. I have just started reading her school books along with her after she goes to bed at night so that I can help her understand them more when she goes to write her book reports and essays that she does do in 5th grade. One every two weeks.  I can't wait for summer break now for a break from all this homework. 


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#19 of 19 Old 04-06-2014, 12:13 PM
 
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I'm surprised at all the homework.  I came from a good family, and high-achieving kids, but very poor.  My parents both worked full-time.  Somehow, they managed to pay for us all to do some summer camps, and various school activities.  I remember how frustrated my mom would be at all the nickel and diming schools would do.  And, the assignments that the parents were supposed to help with, or buy materials for.  We couldn't have made a cell pizza, because we couldn't have afforded the ingredients. 

 

In fourth grade, I used the materials I could, (an old ice cream bucket, some masking tape I got at school, etc) to make a replica of the Lincoln memorial.  Because I had to do it on my own, and because I couIdn't buy fancier stuff, I was told my project wasn't good enough, and was really put down.  I remember, in sixth grade, I worked really hard on a project.  I mostly had to draw and color my artwork, because we couldn't buy the other materials.  I spent hours and hours on it.  My friends, whose parents could afford kits and etc, scored much better than I did.  The prejudice against time and money is real, and it isn't fair at all.  I also remember being frustrated when kids were recognized for high scores or hard work, or whatever, when their parents checked all their homework every night to be certain all the answers were correct.  I never missed more than one or two, and did it all on my own. 

 

All 5 of us kids are college graduates, and financially (and socially and emotionally) successful.  Perhaps some of that is because we had to work so hard to do well within the system. 

 

Requiring money for projects, and time that even good families don't have, is a kind of discrimination that I hoped would be past by now.  Schools ought to be able to accomplish the required learning in house. 

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