Posts filed under ‘Homework’
Can we start complaining yet? As I’m sure I’ve said before, I am conceptually in favor of homework, given that CPS has pretty short school days and big classes. I like to know what my kid is learning and whether he’s keeping up and I feel like all CPS probably need some one-on-one attention given the challenge of getting it during the day.
However. Yech. At least my son isn’t writhing in his chair any more. But I have a feeling the assignments will be longer and tougher this year. Not good for a slacker.
Yes, I know I always complain about his slacking and here is a perfect example. First night of school he tells me they need to bring in a bag with 5 items that represent things they like. He then proceeds to look downward to his art table and picks up the first 5 items he sees and finds a way to explain why he likes them. A pen. I like to draw. A nickel. I like money. A cartoon character cutout. I like that show. Etc. So he’s not a total slacker in that he was still intending to to the assignment. He just didn’t want to have to walk more than 8 inches to do so!
I’m cringing at the thought of 45 min per night at Edison. I am going to the school to protest, even though my child doesn’t attend school there.
I would say that those who are complaining about the curriculum so far to keep in mind that it’s only day 2. The first few weeks of school the kids will take the DIBELS reading test where the teacher can assess their skills. She/He also needs to get to know them and see what kind of work they can do. But then… I’d start the push for making sure that the entire class isn’t spending their day learning the alphabet, etc.
Just responding to a friend of mine who heckled me about my post about hating homework. Yes, just the week before she heard me say at an LSC meeting that I love homework. And I do. I just don’t like doing it with my particular child. I would like doing it with an angelic, focused, self-motivated child. You know, the kid we all planned to give birth to before we had actual children.
On a recent tour of my son’s school, one of the main questions that parents had about the gifted kindergarten class was about the amount of homework. I’m sure people have this question about any kindergarten class, but I suspect that some of the gifted programs in the city have scared people off a bit. A couple northside schools have a reputation for giving oppressive homework, even in the young grades and that is just not OK for me. (So yes, I like homework but only if it is the perfect amount that I want.)
My son’s current program gives a nice amount – pretty much one worksheet a night for 4 nights of the week. We get them on Monday and they’re due the following Monday so we can choose when to complete them. Every week I vow that I will teach him good study habits and we’ll stay on schedule. And every Sunday night he’s doing a page that we put off to the end.
I like knowing what they’re working on in class. I like seeing how they’ve progressed since the begining of the year. I like seeing that my son has learned stuff that I didn’t know he knew yet. And watching him complete his homework is a good way to keep track of that. Sometimes I make up little stories for him using the sounds they’re learning that week. Mine are always funnier than the dumb ones written by Hartcourt, I might add. Also more inappropriate for 5-6 year olds.
Having volunteered in the classroom throughout the year, I also think that with the big class sizes they have, homework time is one of the few chances any kid gets for one-on-one attention during the week. If they don’t get something in class, there isn’t much of a chance to speak up, slow down, ask questions, etc. Sure, grades and conferences can help a parent understand where their child needs some extra work, but I think seeing the kid in action is much more helpful.
So each night we do homework, we sit down and I am full of passion and motivation about helping my child succeed. Then it is basically downhill from there. Half the time he does better when I’m not sitting there being uber-parents. Half the time he goofs off. But still…. in my parenting fantasy, it’s a good thing.
One of my concerns about my son entering a CPS Gifted Program was the homework. Edison and Bell are known to give copious amounts. The principal at our new school assured us that the CPS guideline is 15 minutes a night and she supported that. Well, that sounds like just a blip of time every evening.
So now, in fact, he does have homework virtually every night. Mercifully, it is given out in a weekly packet so parents can decide if they want to start good nightly habits or raise yet another generation of procrastinators who are trying to crank through the whole packet on Sunday nights.
Each assignment includes a few cute and appealing little worksheets that look as though they would take minutes to fill in. The challenge, of course, is keeping a Kindergartener focused enough to complete it. The challenge, of course, that makes me wonder how a teacher ever gets 27 5-year-olds to sit and do anything for more than 3 minutes. Clearly magic or witchcraft is involved.
Much of the homework involves writing, and perhaps the girls are more efficient, but getting a 5yo boy to write a whole page of letters is just slightly easier than convincing my dog to bring me breakfast in bed. The pauses, the wrong letters that spontaneously pop out of his pencil, the random drawing of a butt that needs to be made (“would my teacher think I was a jerk if I left that there?”) BTW, the universal butt symbol is a circle with a line going vertically down the center. It can easily be turned into an apple to disguise it. The gist is that these 2-4 little pages can end up taking freakin’ FOREVER to complete what with the goading, coercing, cajoling, slow writing, refocusing, doodling, etc.
Due to this, I actually had a homework nightmare this past week. I suspect it will replace the long-standing college stress dreams that I’ve had for 20 years. In the dream I had to turn in a kiddie homework assignment (yes, me) but somehow I couldn’t figure out the directions or what the teacher wanted. If this is starting in week 3 of Kindergarten, I’m looking at a lot of restless nights ahead.