Homework:Can you say no? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Reading the homework myth.

I have not come across it in the book,but I am wondering if a parent can tell a teacher, "I don't want my child coming home with homework." Can that be done?

The short time that my dd was in school it did not seem like I had ANY say in what went on in the class/school.My child had homework almost everyday.If work was not finished at home(or during class) the teacher kept those kids in from recess.

Dh wants our ds going to school this fall(I say next fall),and I worry about him having to do things I don't agree with. It just seems like once you sign your kid into a school it is the school policies that rule not the parent. Is it like this in most schools?
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#2 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 12:48 PM
 
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I can't imagine that would work in our public schools. The homework is an integral part of the child's education. Our older dd's teacher sets a time limit on it. If she's spent 40 minutes and isn't finished, she should stop, and we write a note. That seldom happens.

There are some things that you can work with the school about, but in general, I think that if you are going to send them to the school, that you have to expect that under most circumstances, yes, you need to deal with the school policies.
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#3 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 12:49 PM
 
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I don't believe we could opt out of homework. Our DD goes to public elementary school.

However, at our school, homework is seen as a cooperative activity between the kids, parents and teacher. Our DD is supposed to explain her homework to us, i.e., tell us the instructions. We are often asked to write comments to the teacher about how we feel our child is doing and even notes to our child about how she is doing in her homework notebook. The teacher writes comments and questions on our DD's writing directed to DD, too.

I don't love every homework assignment - this is first grade, and there are a lot of worksheets. But they read a book and write something about it in a notebook every day, which I do like.

What is it exactly about the homework that you don't like? Is it the type of homework or just the fact that there is homework? Maybe the school can provide some time to start homework there? Our DD can read her homework book at snack time if she wants to. Is there any way to convince the school/teacher to use a more "cooperative" approach as I described above, so that everyone is aware of what is being taught and feels the homework has a point?

If nothing else, chances are your child will have a different teacher this time around and that teacher will probably do things differently. Don't despair!

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#4 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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My crew are 5th, 4th, and 3rd. Most of the homework is for a grade, so opting out would hurt their grades. We have rarely spent more than 1/2 on homework and that is typically for a new math concept that is hard. They usually do their homework and ask questions if they are stuck.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#5 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 01:12 PM
 
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There is some homework that I don't mind. My ds is in kindergarten and after a field trip to the zoo they are to write a little report on a particular animal - what it eats and where it lives in it's natural habitat, and do some sort of art project at home to represent what they've learned. This is ok to me. Nightly reading is also ok to me. The teacher also sends home a calendar of suggested quick activities that we can choose from like naming 10 objects that begin with "f."

Bringing home lots of worksheets when my ds has mastered the subject(s) because that's what the teacher is sending home to every student "just because" is not ok with me.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#6 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really hated the amount of worksheets my dd had to do in school,and then she had more worksheets she had to do at home. Hopefully my ds will have a teacher that does not kill his desire to learn by overloading... especially in K!
Ds is 4 and does do some worksheets at home when I work with dd,but there comes a point when he says," I am done." and moves on to something else.

DD had no choice in school.If it wasn't done in school or at home she knew she would be punished for it. Personally I like the option of school time for school work,and home time for activities with family/individual that one finds pleasurable. No logging hours or proving what you did/read at home.
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#7 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 01:26 PM
 
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The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It by Sara Bennett, Nancy Kalish

is FAR more practical and useful as far as having discussions with teachers. They explain specific situations (i.e. pages of homework that they already know how to do, big projects that are more dependent upon parents than kids; etc) and specificially appraoches to take with the teachers so it's not a negative environment.

Short answer, yes. But ya gotta know how to do it. Kohn's approach is far too argumentative, IMO - Bennett and Kalish know how to do it.
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#8 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 01:30 PM
 
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When I taught in public school- no you couldn't opt out. When I taught in a small private school for kids with special needs- yes, we did opt kids out of homework now and then depending on situation.

-Angela
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#9 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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My dc's go to a public charter school and I have told ds's teacher that we will not be doing homework- he is only in 2nd grade. His dsister, otoh, is in 5th grade and she does less than 20 min. a night.
This school does not have traditional grading so he is not penalized.- that would be my only concern- if he were being graded and it was 'hurting' him.... but then, truthfully, my kids wouldn't be in that school..we are where we are for a reason..
Maybe there are non-traditional but still public school choices for your child?
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#10 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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I think that if a parent requests that a child not have homework, then this should be respected by the teacher... if they child begin to fall behind or needs help on a certain point, then the homework might be needed--but this might overburden the teacher trying to keep track of every little point for everyone.

Plus, it might be a problem if a kids says," well, Jimmy doesn't do his homework, why should I?!"

There are some nights when we do the entire weeks worth of work all at once, and them some weeks we can't do any of it... My son's teacher just puts a note on the work saying please complete this ...

If it is just really crazy--I'll put a note in the folder to let his teacher know that we will get to it when we can.

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#11 of 26 Old 02-27-2007, 10:01 PM
 
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I once had a 6th grade student who was suffering from depression and problems managing stress. His therapist "prescribed" a no-homework rule for him so that his family could focus on family issues at home. While I understood the reasons why, logistically this was very difficult for me--my lessons depended on my students doing a certain amount of practice or preparation outside of school and I had a very hard time keeping him involved and up to date when that piece was missing.

On the other hand, we never expected our students to spend more than 30 minutes on any one subject at home. If an assignment was taking a student too long, a note from the parent explaining that the kid did their best was acceptable.

Now, I teach in a very different school and rarely give homework. And I think we are all better off!
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#12 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 01:05 AM
 
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I taught in a public elementary school and yes, homework was technically optional. However, many of my students were HOMEless so doing HOMEwork was a little difficult. I have never taught anywhere else so I don't know if other schools are like this.
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#13 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 01:40 PM
 
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What is it exactly about the homework that you don't like? Is it the type of homework or just the fact that there is homework? Maybe the school can provide some time to start homework there? Our DD can read her homework book at snack time if she wants to. Is there any way to convince the school/teacher to use a more "cooperative" approach as I described above, so that everyone is aware of what is being taught and feels the homework has a point?


I'm not the OP, but I personally do not like the concept of homework in oung grades... so for me, it's just the pure fact of homework. There is no need for it.... stay in school all day, and still have more work to do at home?? That is pointless. I went through grade school with maybe 3 homework assignments max. I still managed to graduate 2nd in my class. Home was a time for me to interact with my siblings and family. It was a time for me to read for enjoyment... not read to write the latest book to write a report on it.

Tammy
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#14 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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Hi Tammy,

I do understand that, but since we are in public school, we're rolling with it right now. On a good day, our DD can finish everything she is given in approx. 20 minutes.

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#15 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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What is it exactly about the homework that you don't like? Is it the type of homework or just the fact that there is homework? Maybe the school can provide some time to start homework there? Our DD can read her homework book at snack time if she wants to. Is there any way to convince the school/teacher to use a more "cooperative" approach as I described above, so that everyone is aware of what is being taught and feels the homework has a point?


I'm not the OP, but I personally do not like the concept of homework in oung grades... so for me, it's just the pure fact of homework. There is no need for it.... stay in school all day, and still have more work to do at home?? That is pointless. I went through grade school with maybe 3 homework assignments max. I still managed to graduate 2nd in my class. Home was a time for me to interact with my siblings and family. It was a time for me to read for enjoyment... not read to write the latest book to write a report on it.

Tammy
A couple of points:

1) Things are taught earlier now than when I was kid (I am 33). My son does stuff in 5th grade that I didn't have until junior high, so I try not to compare how well I did with little/no homework compared to him.

2) It is a great concept for kids who are struggling with a concept and it's good reinforcement for those that are familiar with the concept. My daughter rarely has homework, but when she does it is in Math. She struggles with Math a bit, so the extra time is great for her. My middle son is a Math whiz and breezes through any homework he has b/c he knows the concepts.

3) Our school gives the kids some time during the day (a study hall of sorts) where they can opt to do their homework. My daughter generally does her work during this time. My boys rarely do the homework then, so it comes home with them.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#16 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 06:53 PM
 
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A couple of points:

1) Things are taught earlier now than when I was kid (I am 33). My son does stuff in 5th grade that I didn't have until junior high, so I try not to compare how well I did with little/no homework compared to him.
And I learnt far more advanced things than my daughter does. In Montessori elementary school, one learns all the countries, capitals, bodies of water; geometry, algebra; evolution, eras (jurassic, etc); journaling and creative fiction; advanced grammar through sentence diagramming; classification of animals; reading "adult" books...and we never had homework. In Montessori schools (AMI and AMS) today, children do not have homework, as it's against the philosophy - they say that children work hard during the schoolday and should have free time afterwards to help create a well-rounded person. If Montessori schools can teach all of these things in a six-hour schoolday, without resorting to homework, punishments, and incentives, then I'm sure the same can be accomplished in other settings.
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#17 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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The homework is an integral part of the child's education. Our older dd's teacher sets a time limit on it. If she's spent 40 minutes and isn't finished, she should stop, and we write a note.
I would certainly TRY to refuse HW -- it is usally nthing more than rote busy work, a power trip and a control techine for the teacher (she or he can controlt he whole family)

at the very least I would insist on a time limit "I will aloow DC to do HW for X amount of time, after that she or she will stop and be done" if it effect child grades i'd rasie hell to the school board if need be -- but I am a reactionary B*&CH -- so my opinion might not count for much

it is what i will do in 3 years...........

A

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#18 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 07:06 PM
 
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And I learnt far more advanced things than my daughter does. In Montessori elementary school, one learns all the countries, capitals, bodies of water; geometry, algebra; evolution, eras (jurassic, etc); journaling and creative fiction; advanced grammar through sentence diagramming; classification of animals; reading "adult" books...and we never had homework. In Montessori schools (AMI and AMS) today, children do not have homework, as it's against the philosophy - they say that children work hard during the schoolday and should have free time afterwards to help create a well-rounded person. If Montessori schools can teach all of these things in a six-hour schoolday, without resorting to homework, punishments, and incentives, then I'm sure the same can be accomplished in other settings.
I agree in different settings different levels of information are being taught. More is typically taught in private school than in public school. I was under the impression the OP was talking about public school which doesn't teach nearly the amount private schools do.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#19 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 07:44 PM
 
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I agree in different settings different levels of information are being taught. More is typically taught in private school than in public school. I was under the impression the OP was talking about public school which doesn't teach nearly the amount private schools do.
Montessori can be public or private.
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#20 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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Montessori can be public or private.
I was still under the impression the OP was talking about a public school, not Montessori.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#21 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 09:50 PM
 
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A public Montessori will teach the same material as a private Montessori, without homework. And if a public Montessori can do it, why not a "traditional" public school?

The point being, it's not about public vs. private regarding whether or not homework is necessary to teach or to learn. That's a moot point.
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#22 of 26 Old 02-28-2007, 10:21 PM
 
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I would certainly TRY to refuse HW -- it is usally nthing more than rote busy work, a power trip and a control techine for the teacher (she or he can controlt he whole family)

at the very least I would insist on a time limit "I will aloow DC to do HW for X amount of time, after that she or she will stop and be done" if it effect child grades i'd rasie hell to the school board if need be -- but I am a reactionary B*&CH -- so my opinion might not count for much

it is what i will do in 3 years...........

A

This doesn't make sense to me. rarely do such adversarial relationships work for ANYONE. I think we owe it to children to model positive, productive, mutually repsectful ways of communicating.

Why would you send your child to PS if you think the teachers are just trying to control you? : on what basis are you forming this view? The teachers in my school could not be further from that horrible stereotype.
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#23 of 26 Old 03-01-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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A public Montessori will teach the same material as a private Montessori, without homework. And if a public Montessori can do it, why not a "traditional" public school?

The point being, it's not about public vs. private regarding whether or not homework is necessary to teach or to learn. That's a moot point.
I wasn't saying it isn't possible for a 'traditional' public school to eliminate homework.

I disagree that homework isn't necessary, in some cases, to help teach and learn. My kids have all benefitted greatly from homework in helping their knowledge/understanding of the subject. My crew all had math facts to review in the evenings which helped them learn multiplication. My older two kids have study guides for tests that they review through the week leading up to a test. It has been something necessary for them to learn concepts.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#24 of 26 Old 03-01-2007, 10:35 AM
 
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I would certainly TRY to refuse HW -- it is usally nthing more than rote busy work, a power trip and a control techine for the teacher (she or he can controlt he whole family)
I don't see this to be the case in either school district we have been in so far.

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at the very least I would insist on a time limit "I will aloow DC to do HW for X amount of time, after that she or she will stop and be done" if it effect child grades i'd rasie hell to the school board if need be -- but I am a reactionary B*&CH -- so my opinion might not count for much

it is what i will do in 3 years...........

A
I would say the natural consequence to your child not completing their homework should be lowering of their grade (if the homework is a graded assignment). How is it fair to the other kids in the class who do the work for your child to be unaffected by not doing the work?

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#25 of 26 Old 03-01-2007, 01:07 PM
 
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I would say the natural consequence to your child not completing their homework should be lowering of their grade (if the homework is a graded assignment). How is it fair to the other kids in the class who do the work for your child to be unaffected by not doing the work?
That would be my main concern if I took a stand for no homwork. I really think that it needs to be across the board for all children in the class. Otherwise you set an adversarial relationship with the teacher that is bound to trickle down to your dc's.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#26 of 26 Old 03-01-2007, 08:41 PM
 
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A couple of points:

1) Things are taught earlier now than when I was kid (I am 33). My son does stuff in 5th grade that I didn't have until junior high, so I try not to compare how well I did with little/no homework compared to him.

2) It is a great concept for kids who are struggling with a concept and it's good reinforcement for those that are familiar with the concept. My daughter rarely has homework, but when she does it is in Math. She struggles with Math a bit, so the extra time is great for her. My middle son is a Math whiz and breezes through any homework he has b/c he knows the concepts.

3) Our school gives the kids some time during the day (a study hall of sorts) where they can opt to do their homework. My daughter generally does her work during this time. My boys rarely do the homework then, so it comes home with them.
Ah, now see... this last part I don't have an issue with....

To me there is a difference between classwork that a child doesn't finish in school b/c they are goofing around, and the arbitrary packets of worksheets that are sent home in some school just to give kids homework for the 'oh, we need to give kids homework so they learn to study' reason.


With being taught earlier... I guess it doesn't make a difference to me. My 3 and 4 year old both know items that I didn't know... but it doesn't mean they needed the homework to do it. Much of it was just a different level of exposure.

If the kids are taught something earlier, then it should be something that are mentally ready to understand. If not, then it is something that is being taught too early, and there is a larger issue going on. If they are mentally ready to understand it, then again... they should be able to do it in classtime.

For example... teaching student in K how to do complex algebra... most kids aren't ready for it at that age. Being taught it is an issue. On the flip K students being taught more in depth earth science or animal science... yah, something kids might not have learned until later in school in the past... but still doable at their age.

A student should still be able to do well despite some concepts taught earlier, without mandatory homework.

Tammy
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