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Just a Thought
Old 07-07-2008, 09:25 PM
 
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There are many who are really negative towards homework and how much time is spent on academic tasks at home. The reasons vary including the time factor and participating in other activities after school. I had a student who had the chance to live in Korea for three years ( dad was stationed in a place that the family could go). It was so interesting to learn how incredibly different education is perceived there and here. The gist I learned from my student was that homework and lots of extra study/practice was expected in addition to the regular learning day. Students were also expected to play an instrument and participate in extra-curricular activities ( although this NEVER came before doing your best in content areas). It makes me wonder sometimes as a society if we value education as much as we claim we do. It seems that many think the 7.5 hours that a child has in the classroom should be enough to gain all they need to from their education. Our students are going to have to compete against students from China, India, and Korea and other countries for jobs, and they are going to need to be competitive in the workplace.
I just wonder if we are pushing and holding students to the expectations we should be, or are we too focused on being social and having fun?


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Old 07-07-2008, 09:39 PM
 
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Somewhere, long ago, I heard this equation for how much homework a child should have... Multiply their grade level by 10 minutes. 1st grade = 10 minutes, 2nd grade = 20 minutes, and so on. I teach third grade and I tell my parents up front that their student SHOULD be spending about 30 minutes on school related work each night. Now, in reality, a lot of that is up to them. I tell the kids they should be reading for at least 15 minutes a night, and spend at least 5 or 10 on spelling words, plus written work several nights a week, but who knows how many of them really spend it that way.

Last year I was very committed to sending home some sort of paper homework each night. As the year progressed, though, I started feeling like a lot of it was busywork and wasn't all that meaningful. This year, I'm going to cut back to 3 or 4 nights a week and assign more take home projects that span over a short period of time. We need to think about if we're making kids work just for the sake of doing work or if we're doing it because it is truly meaningful to their education.

For a child to be successful in life, they have to have a balance of intelligence and social skills. As teachers and parents we need to work on finding a healthy balance and foster both.
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homework expectations
Old 07-08-2008, 03:52 AM
 
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volstate,
That is so true. Even with committment and hard work, those "great jobs"
are now being outsourced to other countries. I think we need to focus more on critical thinking and creative problem solving skills as core skills too.
Many parents do not value school work as much as sports, etc. or they are just plain tired after having to work all day too.
Just a thought...
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Homework
Old 07-08-2008, 04:07 AM
 
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I tell my parents that their students should be doing approximately 50 minutes (5th grade) of homework every night, and I do not back off about it! I try to make some of the work I give flexible so a child who is in lots of activities can do it over several different nights. For example, I always schedule projects so there are at least two weekends in there for kids to work on them and students have a week to finish their spelling packets. If a parent tells me their child is too busy to do their homework I point blank tell them that then they have their child overscheduled. I remind them that 10 minutes per grade level is pretty much the norm for homework across the country and that children in other parts of the world are doing even more. I tell them that they do not want their child to get behind. They usually quit complaining then, partly because they know I am not going to back down.

Realize though, I have been teaching in the same community for 25 years and have taught many of my students' parents so they have a certain level of respect for what I say.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:18 AM
 
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I agree that HW has its place. It is practice of critical skills or introduced material to work towards mastery. Esp. in math, there is just not enough 'in school' time to practice all that we are learning (and there's pretty much something new every day!) I do usually give math and spelling HW on Mon-Thurs. Spelling is quick and I try to make the math manageable. They may have science HW once a week or once every 2 weeks. They may have SS HW once a quarter. We also ask for 20 min. of reading a night. Part of the purpose of HW is to develop time management and self discipline and responsibility as well. I'd love to be able to give the assignment of practicing math facts every night instead, but when I do give that assignment, and I ask the next day who did it, the result is very few.

I agree that somehow it seems that we were able to complete HW as kids and our (meaning mine and I'm sure many other) parents wouldn't have dreamed of suggesting that there was too much HW because I needed time for extra curriculars and family time. I agree that these things are important, but so is developing academic skills, and anyone who teaches knows that there aren't enough hours in the day at school to meet the standards we are expected to meet.


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Uncharacteristically, I was a troublemaker...
Old 07-08-2008, 05:11 AM
 
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when rewards were discussed at my school. The suggestion of "No Homework" passes came up ~ and I did my best to squelch that one.

I am SO glad to see this posting because it gives a voice to ALL that I feel about the value of homework!

Thank you all!

My question, however, is how do you respond to people who pull out the quarrelsome research that says that it has yet to be proven that homework improves test scores, learning, achievement...?

I would really love a snappy answer to that one!

Thanks so much!

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Old 07-08-2008, 05:30 AM
 
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pg... as far a research goes- I wonder if these researchers are educators that are actually teaching in schools right now! hmmm..

My boys have homework and plenty of it each night. I am tired when I come home from work and you all know that there is always something that a teacher can do in the evenings at home. I find that to be a lame excuse. It is hard for all concerned and I hear my children complaining because they don't like homework. I respond with, "That's life." However, the system that my children are going through has the highest percentage rate for passing all of the state tests. The teachers must be doing something right. I believe practice does help. I don't care what those researchers say.

By the way... how did the professional musicians get to where they are? By just playing at their lessons? I think not!

Or how about the professional ball players? I bet they practiced as well.
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Research for anything...
Old 07-08-2008, 05:46 AM
 
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My school's big push this upcoming year is Marzano's research-based instructional strategies from his book Classroom Instruction that Works . All of the 9 strategies in the book are supposed to improve student achievement by over 20% and some are more. Homework and repeated practice is the 4th most effective strategy for improving student achievement.

I don't wish this book on anyone, but sometimes it's nice to have research to throw back at other people...
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:46 AM
 
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My school system requires that students have homework Monday- Thursday. We are not allowed to send homework home over the weekend unless it is unfinished class work. The parents have to sign something the first week of school saying that they understand the homework policy. However, I work in a high poverty area and still had on average 6 kids a day that didn't bring in homework. I teach third grade. We assign them 10 mins. of reading a night, practice math facts/spelling, 1 worksheet. This year we are thinking about putting it all in a packet, because we ended up giving up half our lunch time last year to have those kids stay in for recess to complete the work. What do you do if your kids do not turn in homework?
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:14 AM
 
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I taught students in Japan for three years and the cultural expectations for education were so drastically different than ours. I felt that the family took so much more responsibility for the education of their children than I saw when I began teaching in the states. I had children as young as three coming to classes with me for additional English work. All of my students went to school each day and then had additional courses in the afternoons including English, dance piano, sports, and Japanese printing. The students never seemed overly stressed because it was just what was expected and the activities were age appropriate.
It does seem as though as a culture, education is not valued here as it is in other countries.


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Getting Homework Back
Old 07-08-2008, 08:31 AM
 
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I, too, teach in a district that has become a high poverty area. I have always assigned homework. Assignments are usually Spelling, Math, and independent reading.

I was having a problem with students returning their homework until I started collecting it from them individually. Part of our morning routine is that each student brings me his/her homework assignments along with the agenda that I check off. Having to give me the homework makes the students more accountable. I can also ask if there were any problems with completing the assignments. I don't check homework, but I glance over it to see if it looks correct.
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