How do you set limits on homework? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-06-2002, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My Grade Three daughter is overwhelming all of us (including her teacher) with her homework. A list of things is sent home at the beginning of the week and the children are expected to do 20 to 30 minutes of homework each evening. They are supposed to choose which things they need to do to improve their performance in particular areas. For example, if the child already knows his multiplication tables, he isn't expected to review them, but if he is having trouble with spelling, he should spend quite a bit of time working on that.

Trouble is, my daughter insists on doing it all... multiplication tables, spelling lists, reading, pages and pages of calligraphy, and fussy intricate drawings that take hours and hours to complete. She spent two hours yesterday colouring blue sky on a piece of bristol board with a pencil crayon.

I really want my child to do things that she thinks are a good idea, not just things to show her teacher. The teacher feels the same way and has suggested that I set a timer and tell her that she may only do homework for 30 minutes and after that, everything goes back into her knapsack. Then, if she still wants to do an art project or some writing, she can do something that she is interested in, instead of something that is assigned.

Any other suggestions?
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#2 of 8 Old 12-08-2002, 02:55 PM
 
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What an interesting dilemma! It is hard for me to get my son to do his homework, I don't think I've ever had difficulty getting him to stop!

Do you think it would make sense to talk to your daughter about her motive for wanting to do it all? Is she feeling like this is the way to please her teacher? Is she looking for some special recognition and feels her academics are the way to get this? Is she perfectionistic? Or does she really just LIKE doing it? When I was little I really liked homework, though I don't think that was the common feeling among my friends. It always made me feel "grown up" somehow.

Is there a way to get her creative juices flowing, so that she is learning not just worksheet style, but taking it a step further by looking up an interesting topic on the internet, acting it out instead of writing, making something out of a craft, etc.? The timer idea sounds fine as long as it's not squashing a true love of learning.

Keep us posted!

 
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#3 of 8 Old 12-09-2002, 02:31 PM
 
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My 3rd grader also LOVES homework/schoolwork. This year she has been complaining they don't give her enough math to do so we bought some math workbooks she can do at home.We have a whole homeschool box of stuff,subjects school doesn't cover like geography,and things that she finds interesting.That way she can do extra work at home and she just shows it to me. It's a lifesaver during holiday breaks and long weekends,and we basically homeschool through the summer.
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#4 of 8 Old 12-09-2002, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I definitely think that she is trying to please the teacher. She complains that there is too much homework, and sometimes it is difficult to get her to start it. She spends a lot of time on the easy parts and then she does have a tendency to rush or avoid the more difficult parts. We've spent a lot of time talking about being engaged with the work for less time and doing it really really well. The timer should help.

I have to say that I really give her teacher credit for assuming the children can take charge of their own learning and do what they need. Other parents have commented that their children are choosing to do the bare minimum, so they are spending less than ten minutes per evening on homework. This is a year when the lesson from homework is not contained so much in the material covered, but in the way it is done!
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#5 of 8 Old 12-15-2002, 04:17 PM
 
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hmmm. do you you have a little Capricorn???

My daughter is the same way, although she goes to a school that does not send home nor believe in homework!
So to see her working on projects for school shows me that
a) she is interested in the work
b) impressing her teachers seems to be of high priority right now.

She is in 1st grade, and a small overachiever streak. I am thankful for the Montessori school she attends and the relaxed atmosphere .

I suppose I would encourage her as she is taking the lead and taking pride in her goals and work.
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#6 of 8 Old 12-17-2002, 07:18 AM
 
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I have been looking for a thread that mentions Montessori... I assumed I would be homeschooling my children but, my oldest, who is 4 desperately wants to go to school. This has thrown me for a loop. So...I have been looking into our options and Montessori sounds good for us (although I think homeschooling would be wonderful!) I'm curious to hear what other parents think of Montessori. Has anyone else dealt w/ this? I really want to homeschool but, he wants "real" school. This is not a power struggle at all. I just listen to what he wants and I'm going from there.

DS 12 DS 9 DD 6
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#7 of 8 Old 12-17-2002, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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omegamama, I think it is interesting that some children really prefer the idea of school over homeschool. I think that it has a lot to do with a general interest in exploring their options and in asserting their independence from their family. Those are not, by the way, things that are necessarily negative. With a safe and secure family environment, they are ready to go and try the world out on its own.

The name "Montessori" really doesn't mean very much. Every school seems to interpret it to mean what they want it to mean, and it seems to depend a lot on the things the parents expect. At one MOntessori school near us, for example, most of the children how to read at an early age, but they don't know how to tell their teachers that they have to go to the bathroom because they are taken everyday at specific times. I'd say that before you choose any school, explore all the choices and talk to other parents to find a group that share your values and ideals. For me, that meant sending my children to the most modest nursery school in town and then sending them to public school. We've had some rocky moments, but I am pleased with our choices.
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#8 of 8 Old 12-17-2002, 09:23 PM
 
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bestjob, I really appreciate the input. This is a tough decision for a lot of reasons. I know I'm in the minority when I say this but, I don't even think he should start until he's maybe 6 years old. I read "Magical Child" which argued that learning is disrupted in children who go to school to young. That they should learn through play until about age 6 or 7. I tend to agree, but the way schools are set up...I dunno. I just realized that this is waaay off topic. Sorry, I'm new here.

DS 12 DS 9 DD 6
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