Mothering Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My daughter is 9 and in fourth grade. I was pre-warned that this was going to be a hard year by our friends whose daughter is a year ahead, but nothing could have prepared me for this. I feel like my daughter is being kicked out of childhood. She has enormous amounts of homework, is expected to study each subject EVERY night for pop quizzes, and has reading logs and book reports in addition. She is constantly stressed out and miserable and has been displaying angry outburst type behaviors all the time now. In addition, this year I started working full time night shift 3 nights a week, and I am also in grad school (yikes). I am not there to sit with her every night to make sure all of this gets done, and my husband is doing his best but has a million other things to do with the two other kids. I have talked to her teacher and her response is that 4th grade is preparing her for middle school next year and that she has to work harder. She was previously an A student, and she works, but also needs a childhood! I don't know how to handle the situation and wonder if it would be like this at any school. Is fourth grade just super hard? My mom remembers it being so, but for me this didn't start so soon. Thanks for reading my rant!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
That's not what fourth grade is like where I live.

In this situation my first step would be a scheduled conference with the teacher. I would want time to discuss things in depth: to explore whether my child was perhaps struggling academically, and/or was failing to complete enough work during the school day. I would explain what a typical school night looks like (it might be good to log time spent in detail for a few nights), in terms of fitting in transportation, snacks, meals, homework, studying for each subject, and sleep. Sometimes I don't think teachers do the math on what 'two or three twenty-minute assignments plus reading' looks like when you add it up, and sometimes I think they forget how short evenings are for 9-year-olds.

I would explain what I'm seeing in my child as a result of the homework load. I'd explain the stress she is feeling, the upset and unhappiness I see in her, I'd remark on any negative changes in her attitude to school and learning and any relationship repercussions you're noticing as a family. I'd point out the valuable things (family time, free reading, physical exercise, creative pursuits, curiosity-driven explorations, play with her siblings, for example) that are no longer part of her life because they're being squeezed out by school. I'd point out that 9-year-olds are younger than middle schoolers, and they need more sleep and more unstructured time. I might go so far as to point out that studies show no advantage to homework certainly not prior to high school, and maybe not even then.

If she brings up the "preparing for middle school" argument again, I would respond that if middle school has a really big workload I would rather my child arrive there happy, self-confident and with a positive attitude to school than the way she is now.

I would ask the teacher what she thinks is a reasonable amount of time for a nine-year-old to spend on homework, and then explain (assuming you get a reasonable guideline like "no more than an hour") that you intend to limit your daughter's homework to that amount of time and you expect her to not be penalized for staying within this 'reasonable guideline.'

If I didn't get understanding and compromise from the teacher, I would then go to the principal.

If I didn't get any satisfaction there, I'd look into changing schools. Or homeschooling.

Miranda
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Something similar happened to my family in the beginning of this school year. My dd (who is 13) was getting so much homework to do at home that she couldn't sleep until 11PM every night. So we notified both the teacher and principal (they even advised us to let them know if the work load seems to be too much).After that the work load for home lightened up a little and now we tell our daughter to try finishing up some of her hw at school, like during lunchtime, which she does. Like the poster above said it's best to speak to both the teacher and principal about this matter because sometimes they don't realize that the amount of hw they give may be too much.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,581 Posts
Fourth grade is not like that here either. Not even 5th. I'm getting so tired of teachers saying that this grade is getting them ready for that, etc. Honestly, even in high school they say it's all getting them ready for college, but college is nothing like high school!

I hope you can scale back on everything that is non essential. I am thinking your new work schedule is probably a big stress for her, and even if it can't be helped, acknowledging how hard it is for her might help.

This sounds very difficult. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
even in high school they say it's all getting them ready for college, but college is nothing like high school!
So true! And even if they were similar... I believe that developmentally appropriate challenge is what create the confidence, competence and self-motivation that are far more crucial to future success.

My ds was unschooled for most of his life, and then coasted through three years of high school in an friendly but ultra-low-workload alternative type school. He wrote me from the midst of his first semester in a notoriously challenging college program to marvel that although he had probably done 6 hours of homework, TOTAL, during his high school career, here he was doing 6 hours of studying per day at college, and it was no problem at all, he was loving the workload, loving the program, coping just fine.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in preparing children for the future that we forget they are children now.

Miranda
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
At our school (which is the #1 district in Missouri) they get hardly any homework in elementary school. Studies show that homework in elementary school has no effect on grades. They read 20 min every night, and have a paper or project here and there. They believe that time should be spent with family. Hopefully she's still prepared for middle school, but I'll take what I can get for now. It works well because her Dad and I work till about 6 and she has gymnastics and Girl Scouts too.
I would speak with the school about it. If that doesn't help, maybe look into a different school for the upcoming years. Ask other parents and see if other teachers have the same workload?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
does she have any other extracurricular activities? i see what the teacher is doing though, teaching kids to juggle different types of workloads. some kids aren't ready for that at this age though. maybe a transfer to another class may be a simpler solution then changing schools. i see very little reason for this much homework.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top