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<p>Ds1 is in 1st grade in our blue-ribbon public school and we are growing very frustrated with it.  They assign what I feel to be a lot of HW: reading book, reading comprehension worksheet, math worksheet/booklet, and spelling list.  It ends up being a half-hour every night.  They have a booklet in which we are supposed to initial when he does each assignment three times, but they don't have the students write down what they have to do.  The effect is that we and ds1 are in a constant state of confusion as to what we are supposed to be doing, and it ends up being HW for us, not ds1.  And then he has extra assignments from the enrichment teacher that are sprung upon us, and difficult.  I think this is way too much for a 6 year old, and also a way to make him hate school.</p>
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<p>When we were in school, we didn't have HW until 3rd grade, and then every day, the whole class filled out the HW assignment sheet together so that we, the students, could be responsible for it.</p>
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<p>Dh is growing more upset by the day, as he does the morning routine and thus is faced with ds1 saying things like, "Oh Daddy we have to do this today."  He wants to pull him out of the school.  I don't know how I feel.  Ds1 is very boisterous and creative and bright - I want him to have a good experience, but I don't know if this is it.  Dh has talked to the teacher several times, and always comes out not understanding the expectations any better and feeling like the teacher is a poor communicator and not doing her job to teach them.  Honestly, with the amount of effort we have to put into figuring out the HW, we might as well homeschool and teach him ourselves (but I have no desire to do that.)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So yeah, I don't know where I'm going with this - venting frustration, seeking advice, contemplating a switch (but I don't know to what.)</p>
 

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<p>The general rule of thumb in elementary is 10 minutes per grade. As a first grader... he should be getting about 10 minutes a night. Of course, what takes one kids 10 minutes may take another 30 minutes. Have you talked to the other parents? Maybe they have the same complaints or perhaps they understand what needs to be done nightly.</p>
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<p>I guess I'm confused as to what is confusing? You said a reading book, comprehension sheet, math page and spelling list. That seems pretty straight forward but maybe I'm missing something? If you don't understand it and you've already talked to the teacher a couple times, just don't do it. He's in 1st grade, they aren't going to fail him because he doesn't do the homework. If he's still doing well in the class material, then they can't really say anything about it. I'd just send in a note saying that your son will do what is readily understandable and not the other stuff. If they give him any sort of penalities, talk to the principal to have them removed.</p>
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<p>My kids got weekly packets in 1st grade that they could complete at their own pace during the week (7 days.) It usually included 3 or 4 math pages and a few langauge arts pages. It was expected the kids would read 20 minutes a night on top of that but that's something we expected our kids to do anyway... and when we were too busy, we wouldn't bother.</p>
 

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<p>Well, there will be two books and a worksheet with lots of boxes and blank lines, and apparently two months ago there was a slip of paper with instructions for that, and we were supposed to know what to do.  And her weekly letters she sends are full of teacher jargon and we have no idea that she is talking about.  And then there are extra big assignments from the enrichment teacher, and they are really big and due instantly.  I think my irritation stems from the amount they expect him to do - he is among the brightest in his class and it is still 30+ minutes each night.  He also lacks the ability to do something for more than 5-10 minutes at a time, so it is torture and pulling teeth to get him through it, and that adds stress to our lives.  I don't want him to dislike school.</p>
 

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<p>Hmm... That sounds about like the amount of homework my older son had in first, and I never found it problematic. Also, to my understanding, reading assignments aren't supposed to be "counted" in the overall homework time, it's just considered part of a child's daily habits. </p>
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<p>And what kind of enrichment assignments are you referring to? My son was in advanced reader programs in 1st and 2nd grades, and that added additional homework, but it never bothered me as I was simply grateful the schools offered programs to supplement the core curriculum for kids that would benefit from it. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter #5
<p>Well, then perhaps it is the fact that we have 4 kids age 6 and under and we own a business that we both work at.  Glad it was easy for you!</p>
 

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<p>I would send a nice handwritten note, clipped to DS's homework folder saying nicely that you weren't sure of the assignment and could the teacher please send you another copy of the instructions?</p>
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<p>With the enrichment, same thing. Nice note saying you didn't have time to finish it last night and you'll be sure to help him finish it by x (Friday, or whenever seems reasonable given the actual amount of work it appears to be).</p>
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<p>Agreed that reading is meant to be a part of the daily habit, but any other work counts toward that 10 minutes.</p>
 

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<p>That sounds like the general 1st grader homework set-up from back when I was in school. DS is in K. We have to read 10 minutes a night. As another poster said, we do that anyway, but they do send home the current book from his reading group. We then do 15 minutes a night on a subscription-based math site that his school uses to monitor math proficiency. So our general homework routine is 25 minutes a night.</p>
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<p>Is your teacher young? My sister is still student teaching, but I have to remind her about using jargon when she's talking to me. Sometimes when you're in that world all day, it's hard to get out of it</p>
<p> to use lay terms. I imagine that would be more common with newer teachers, so if you're confused about terminology, Google them or just send a note saying, "I understand this term may be common in education circles, but could you please explain its significance in everyday language?" Or just "I don't understand what you mean. Can you elaborate?" </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Have you asked her for a new instruction sheet for the worksheets she sent home. Maybe she doesn't realized you've lost yours or didn't get one.</p>
 

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<p>If my dd1 (1st gr) is in the mood to do HW w/ parent help, then she can get it done in about 5 minutes. If she is not in the mood or dh/I are tired.... and less patient, then it can drag out to 30 minutes. Maybe you are expecting him to do a perfect job on his HW, so you feel you NEED to help him. How about just set aside 10 minutes of HW time, let him do what he can do and thats it.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>jeteaa</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285422/unrealistic-hw-expectations-for-1st-grade#post_16115702"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>If my dd1 (1st gr) is in the mood to do HW w/ parent help, then she can get it done in about 5 minutes. If she is not in the mood or dh/I are tired.... and less patient, then it can drag out to 30 minutes. Maybe you are expecting him to do a perfect job on his HW, so you feel you NEED to help him. How about just set aside 10 minutes of HW time, let him do what he can do and thats it.</p>
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My dd was the same way.  I think you should ask for the assignment sheet again and let him be independent on his work.  If he can't do the work independently then you can send a note to the teacher saying he didn't understand the work enough to be able to do it and asking her to please explain it in another way to him.  I have found through homeschooling and through having daily homework now with my dd that if I am there while she does it it takes forever but if I step back and give her the responsibility for getting it done as quickly or slowly as she likes she will complete it in less than 10 minutes.  In our area homework is a short set of practice things that builds on skills the kids have already or it is work the child didn't complete in class because they were messing around.  In both scenarios it is meant to be independent and not something that requires a parent to be involved.</p>
 

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<p>If he struggles to do anything more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time, try breaking up the homework between active play. Set your goals in advance. For example, he is to do 1 sheet of homework and then you'll play tag outside for 10 minutes and he'll come back to do another sheet. It drags out the homework period but it's better than trying to get him to sit a the table for 30 minutes straight. Plus, knowing that you are going to get periods of interactive play with a parent can be quite the motivator for a child and while they aren't looking forward to homework, they ARE looking forward to the homework breaks that come with it. We took this approach with piano when DS was little. He'd practice 15 minutes a day in the beginning but never more than 5 minutes at a time. While my eldest always sat down and finished her whole week of homework in one afternoon, my DS preffered to break it up into small pieces throughout the week.</p>
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<p>It might be helpful to connect with other parents. Perhaps they can explain things or give you the information you are missing.</p>
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<p>Are you sure the big projects are due instantly? I ask because when my youngest was that age, he was NOT good about getting info to me. I'd often get deadlines 3 days before something was due when the actual due date was set and explained 2 weeks earlier. If it's indeed the practice to have big assignments due with little notice, then why not pull him out of enrichment for the time being? I have 2 gifted children and we always nix any sort of program that means MORE work as opposed to appropriate replacement work. You might also talk to the enrichment teacher about the expectations. I know my eldest was ALWAYS making something that should have been fast and easy into something very complicated.... turn a 1 paragraph response into a full 2 page research report. I didn't know this until I actually talked to the GATE teacher!</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>One_Girl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285422/unrealistic-hw-expectations-for-1st-grade#post_16115770"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>jeteaa</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285422/unrealistic-hw-expectations-for-1st-grade#post_16115702"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>If my dd1 (1st gr) is in the mood to do HW w/ parent help, then she can get it done in about 5 minutes. If she is not in the mood or dh/I are tired.... and less patient, then it can drag out to 30 minutes. Maybe you are expecting him to do a perfect job on his HW, so you feel you NEED to help him. How about just set aside 10 minutes of HW time, let him do what he can do and thats it.</p>
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<p><br>
My dd was the same way.  I think you should ask for the assignment sheet again and let him be independent on his work.  If he can't do the work independently then you can send a note to the teacher saying he didn't understand the work enough to be able to do it and asking her to please explain it in another way to him.  I have found through homeschooling and through having daily homework now with my dd that if I am there while she does it it takes forever but if I step back and give her the responsibility for getting it done as quickly or slowly as she likes she will complete it in less than 10 minutes.  In our area homework is a short set of practice things that builds on skills the kids have already or it is work the child didn't complete in class because they were messing around.  In both scenarios it is meant to be independent and not something that requires a parent to be involved.</p>
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I think my school has very unreasonable expectations, then, b/c they told us that most of the kids don't read and for those kids, the parent reads the assignment and book to them, and then writes their answers for the comprehension questions.  They said b/c my son was one of the few kids who could read and write, that he was supposed to read and write it all himself.  So they do expect parent involvement, and a lot of it!  I do not do the work for him - he has a special desk for his homework and we send him there.  One day I watched dh doing his HW with him, and dh was basically dictating the words b/c ds1 was asking him how to spell every word.  I told him that ds1 was fooling him and he could do it by himself, and quicker.  So perhaps ds1 is manipulating us? </p>
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<p>And ds1 does read by himself for fun and I am not counting that in the time it takes every night.  Sometimes he reads Time magazine to me!  Maybe the problem is him, or maybe it is the work.  Dh thinks it is all busywork, and I am inclined to agree.  Maybe he finds it boring.  I don't know.  I don't want to ask him leading questions.</p>
 

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<p>Ds is in 1st. He gets:</p>
<ul><li>a weekly hw packet that has 5 simple math questions a day (M-Th) and</li>
<li>a writing assignment (write a two sentence story and draw a picture).</li>
<li>the spelling words are listed--I usually quiz him before school; it only takes a minute</li>
<li>and they are tested on a list of sight words; ds is at least 1.5 years a head of grade level in reading, so I just have him read through the list once jic.</li>
<li>he also has a workbook that involves tracing/writing and reading comprehension.</li>
</ul><p> </p>
<p>He also has the 15min a day requirement. He normally reads for himself but the home reading is slightly challenging.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>He actually does the packet and workbook on Friday afternoon (a habit we acquired during his football season) and only does the daily reading during the week. I don't spend time on things he already knows just because it says "nightly."</p>
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<p>Since your dh isn't understanding the teacher, I'd ask for another meeting and make sure you both understand. I'd also meet with the enrichment teacher; are her assignments her own or dictated by the school/district, how about more lead time or shorter assignments?</p>
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<p>I sometimes communicate with ds' teacher(s) by e-mail, but for issues that are causing confusion or are complicated I do it in person (ds has some behavior issues so I do a lot of communication with the school).</p>
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<p>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Also, I remember having homework in 1st grade; specifically, double sided math sheets taken from a work book.</p>
 

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<p>Like your husband, I actually get stressed out over my children's first grade homework!</p>
<p>So far, this has worked the best for us...We get home from school at 4:00, eat a quick snack, and go right into the written homework.  Sometimes my children cry but if I allow them to play first they get too tired.  After written homework we eat, have baths, and do the non-written homework.  My goal is to have some unstructured play time in the evening.  Unfortunately, that isn't always possible.  I find the more stressed/irritated I get about their work, the worse it is for them.  Some nights I just let them play and we do not do the non-written work.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I also feel my first graders too much homework.  Their school day is 8-3:30.  The amount of homework has decreased since the beginning of the year and is currently:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They bring home every night (M-Th):</p>
<p>-  1 or 2 language worksheets</p>
<p>-  1 or 2 math worksheets (Everyday Math)</p>
<p>-  an assignment with the weekly spelling words (e.g.  write ten sentences using each of the spelling words, write the ten spelling words in three different colors, etc.)  The ten sentences can take a long time.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They are also supposed to read a minimum of fifteen minutes every night.</p>
<p>Practice sight words nightly.</p>
<p>Practice math facts nightly.</p>
<p>Practice spelling words (for my children, the spelling word assignments are not the best way for them to learn their spelling words.)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They also have a weekly project due - (e.g.  research and write a one paged paper about an animal in each habitat, draw a picture, and give a presentation in class.  Each week is a different habitat.)  Sometimes we get the weekly project over the weekend and it is not as bad.  But most often it comes home Monday and is due Friday so it adds to our nightly work.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some nights take longer than others, but we never have the written portion completed in ten minutes.  I'm glad the amount has decreased, but I still think it is too much.</p>
 

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<p>Read nightly is apart from other assignments.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If he is in 1st grade and most of his class is not reading, I would question the format they are teaching. The 'average' 1st grader midyear should be able to get through simple level 1 readers, simple--but it is reading. Work sent home should reflect the classroom level of reading (or the childs).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some work may be family involvement ( write your address, list the members of your family, bring in your favorite family recipe, etc), but most should be review from class and mostly independent.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>It should then be about 5-15 minutes of work a night (1st grade). Get him a simple dictionary and show him how to look up words or make him one for his own use.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If you have talked to the teacher-- dont sweat it it if does not get done. As PP stated simply staple a note that you needed more explanation and/or time.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some of the newer curriculum is confusing at times---esp. if they are doing a program like Everyday Math.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As for the enrichment teacher---I would talk to her. She may not be aware of the workload other teachers are assigning and could easily adjust it.</p>
 

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<p>It sounds like a lot of homework to me. My ds is in first grade too and he definitely doesn't get that much nightly hw. If he did, he would certainly freak out and not want to do it. </p>
<p>A typical night here would include a really simple math worksheet and/or practice spelling. The spelling is pretty open. He gets a list at the beginning of the week and then practices it nightly in a way that suits him. There is no strict requirement to write sentences or anything like that. He also does some nightly reading, but we don't really treat that as homework because if we made it out to be a required task it's likely to give rise to resistance. </p>
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<p>I didn't get nightly homework when I was a kid until 3rd or 4th grade. It's startling the kind of academic performance pressures that gets exerted on children at the tender age of 6 nowadays. I definitely don't believe in it. If a kid is thriving with lots of homework that's fine too. But it should be optional at this young age. </p>
 

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<p>Sounds like a lot to me too.</p>
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<p>My son's in third now, but all I remember from first grade was maybe a worksheet a week and reading every night.  Which we do anyways, so that was no big deal.  I'd arrange a meeting with the teacher so you can understand why he's having to do so much. </p>
 

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<p>It seems a tad much to me, especially if it is expected that they complete everything the night it is assigned.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>My son is in 1st, and brings home 1 Everyday math worksheet, flashcards with sight words to work on, flash cards with math facts, and a book to read every day. His teacher has made it clear that she'd like to see the kids do that much every day, but if you can't fit it all in a night, skip it and make it up. As she's said, if your choice is between taking a family walk to the park or doing homework, by all means choose the park.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #18
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>dbsam</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285422/unrealistic-hw-expectations-for-1st-grade#post_16116135"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Like your husband, I actually get stressed out over my children's first grade homework!</p>
<p>So far, this has worked the best for us...We get home from school at 4:00, eat a quick snack, and go right into the written homework.  Sometimes my children cry but if I allow them to play first they get too tired.  After written homework we eat, have baths, and do the non-written homework.  My goal is to have some unstructured play time in the evening.  Unfortunately, that isn't always possible.  I find the more stressed/irritated I get about their work, the worse it is for them.  Some nights I just let them play and we do not do the non-written work.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I also feel my first graders too much homework.  Their school day is 8-3:30.  The amount of homework has decreased since the beginning of the year and is currently:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They bring home every night (M-Th):</p>
<p>-  1 or 2 language worksheets</p>
<p>-  1 or 2 math worksheets (Everyday Math)</p>
<p>-  an assignment with the weekly spelling words (e.g.  write ten sentences using each of the spelling words, write the ten spelling words in three different colors, etc.)  The ten sentences can take a long time.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They are also supposed to read a minimum of fifteen minutes every night.</p>
<p>Practice sight words nightly.</p>
<p>Practice math facts nightly.</p>
<p>Practice spelling words (for my children, the spelling word assignments are not the best way for them to learn their spelling words.)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They also have a weekly project due - (e.g.  research and write a one paged paper about an animal in each habitat, draw a picture, and give a presentation in class.  Each week is a different habitat.)  Sometimes we get the weekly project over the weekend and it is not as bad.  But most often it comes home Monday and is due Friday so it adds to our nightly work.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some nights take longer than others, but we never have the written portion completed in ten minutes.  I'm glad the amount has decreased, but I still think it is too much.</p>
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<br><br><p>Wow!  You have even more than we do!  That is definitely too much!</p>
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>KCMichigan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285422/unrealistic-hw-expectations-for-1st-grade#post_16116143"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Read nightly is apart from other assignments.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If he is in 1st grade and most of his class is not reading, I would question the format they are teaching. The 'average' 1st grader midyear should be able to get through simple level 1 readers, simple--but it is reading. Work sent home should reflect the classroom level of reading (or the childs).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some work may be family involvement ( write your address, list the members of your family, bring in your favorite family recipe, etc), but most should be review from class and mostly independent.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>It should then be about 5-15 minutes of work a night (1st grade). Get him a simple dictionary and show him how to look up words or make him one for his own use.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If you have talked to the teacher-- dont sweat it it if does not get done. As PP stated simply staple a note that you needed more explanation and/or time.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Some of the newer curriculum is confusing at times---esp. if they are doing a program like Everyday Math.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As for the enrichment teacher---I would talk to her. She may not be aware of the workload other teachers are assigning and could easily adjust it.</p>
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<p><br>
Yes, it is Everyday Math.  So this is confusing to everyone?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Dh did talk to the teacher and told her that her letters were confusing with the jargon, and she seemed to agree.  As for what else was discussed, I will have to wait to find out until he gets home tonight.  Thank you all for your input. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">
<p><br>
Yes, it is Everyday Math.  So this is confusing to everyone?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Dh did talk to the teacher and told her that her letters were confusing with the jargon, and she seemed to agree.  As for what else was discussed, I will have to wait to find out until he gets home tonight.  Thank you all for your input. </p>
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<br><br><p> Does the teacher send home the parent letters? If she doesn't, you should ask for them. There is a letter to the parents for each chapter in the workbook. The letter explains the Everyday Math particulars you'll need to know for the lessons in that unit.</p>
 

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<p>These are the things that we do when we don't understand our first grade dd's homework.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>1.  If it is not due the very next day, then we either email the teacher or send a note with our child the following day, asking for clarification.  We are fortunate in that the teacher responds pretty quickly. We are always sending notes to the teacher.  She sends a quick reply back that afternoon or the following afternoon, and that seems to work pretty well for us.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>2.  If it's something that we need clarification that evening, because it is due the next day, we call the parents of a classmate.  There are always a couple of parents that know exactly what to do.  For example, we once missed a memo describing what dd's K class was going to do to celebrate Dr Seuss week last year.   I happened to drop in at the school on Wednesday, and noticed that one of the children had all of his clothes on backwards.  He was dressed very neatly in button down shirt and long pants, so you could tell that his SAHD did it very deliberately.  That was when I realized that, not only had we missed Wacky Wednesday, but that this is the parent that we call the next time we can't figure out what the heck the assignment is supposed to do.  We did that once. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>3.  Usually, especially for the extra assignments from the enrichment teacher, we just wing it and make it up.  The teacher is looking for creativity, anyway.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>4.  Hang in there, it will get better, I promise. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>5. Our daughter's teacher made everyone get a notebook in which each page is subdivided in to thirds.  Each section of the page is for a different school day.  During the last fifteen minutes of the day, the children copy down from the board several brief words to tell the parents what is due the next day.  For example, yesterday's entry contained, "Read story (it was a quick worksheet), read 15 minutes, spelling test tomorrow".  That really helps a lot. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>For us, we use #1 and #3 the most often.  But most important, don't stress about it.  If you look at the report card criteria, they are much less than what the children are doing in homework.  Besides, first grade is not about homework.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I must be really old, because I know that I didn't have homework until seventh grade, and I went to some high powered elementary schools.</p>
 
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