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Robert Winner


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Debate: A case against homework?

For those of us with kids or grandkids, are they tied down with homework from school. I have grandkids in almost every grade. The one thing I notice is that they have about two hours of homework every night. That roughly equates to 10 hours of school a day. That give parents about three hours to spend with their kids. Less if they participate in a sport or extra curricular activity. If they get behind then that ties up some or all of the weekend.

First graders are given a reading log and they cannot even read yet ... the teacher said that the parents are not to help ... the 1st grader must do it. What part of that do I understand .... NOT.

I feel bad for teachers they are caught in a trap. However, at some point we should evaluate if this is busy work or essential to learning. It is hard for a parent to support the school and the teachers when they go out of their way to influence kids to hate school.

Read any of my posts and you know I support schools. Perhaps it is time to evaluate the significance of the homework and projects required.

Is there a case against homework?

Topics: education

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  • Oct 28 2012: I think there is a balance issue. I have had children with too little and too much. I view homework as both a teacher and a parent. There are two things that should be happening in homework: reinforcing what occurs in class - this requires that it not be make work, that the task requires the child to have time to think about an apply concepts taught in the class day. The problem here is that there are SO many after school activities and so many distractions to entertain that kids never have to sit and think and they rarely do.

    The second thing is that this "home" work can also help keep the parent in the loop about what is and is not an issue for the child, What are they learning i school and then have time to discuss. But, again, this is the ideal, not what really happens in most households. My kids and I have struggled through hours of make work, but we have also had the most amazing and far reaching discussions prompted by a good assignment discussed over dinner.

    I never thought I could hate homework as an adult more than I did as a child - but I do. But, I also see the benefits.
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      Oct 28 2012: I agree on #1 that teachers need reinforcement of what has been covered. In most cases I can do that in class. I have two problems 1) trying to keeep those who get it occupied while you attend to those who don't get it. 2) and making time for those who need the extra help because the curriculum is becoming so packed and the hoops are higher and smaller than ever before.

      Your second area I have some problem with. The new 2nd grade is the old 4th grade. The recommended work sheet are supplied and use terms that many of the parents are not familiar with and have not applied in 30+ years. I live in small town USA and phone calls in the evening is the norm. Most of our parents both work and many have different shifts which is another problem.

      School, church activities, scouts, after school activities (some time more than one at a time), piano lessons, and the list goes on. I see the kids at two or three of these a week so it is not just the kids that are stretched to the limit.

      The parents we really need to talk to and see are never at the meetings. The parents that are involved are always there, I am not gripping about that, its just the way it is.

      I want to teach Wally and the Beaver where Mom is at home and Dad comes in at 5 and all kids are well above average. I think that is Lake Woebegone.

      Thanks for the reply. All the best. Bob.
      • Oct 28 2012: Those days are gone and pining for them isn't bringing them back. (much though I wish for them I also know much of it wasn't true then either....)

        Some of the best teachers have given my own kids assignments where they are to ask their parents questions that provoke discussion. Those are good for the family and can be done in the car.
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          Oct 28 2012: Sharon, David Hamilton made a interesting comment: "It's a way for teachers to give students completion credit rather than knowledge credit, so that they can pass students without the students passing tests."

          Since points are given for tests, homework and class participation he has a point. It is seldom that we hear of a child failing a grade and all eforts are made to advance s/he.

          There has been much discussion on allowing failure to occur and then the policy of tying the teachers evaluation to the students grades came along .... I think that may end the allowing to fail discussion. All of that is directly related to the schools rating also. Which is linked to state and federal funding, which is .... blah, blah ....

          It is coming to the point that if a young college grad wants to become a teacher I think a mental exam should be required before the interview and certainly prior to hiring and a re-eval every year. LOL.

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