Posts tagged ‘kindergarten homework’

Why I like homework

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.

April 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm 4 comments

The testing gods have spoken…

Well, it appears that the GEAP office either lost a bag of mail or it is hidden away at the central post office somewhere.  My son’s GEAP results letter has not arrived, nor have those of several friends.

Today I sent his father to the CPS office to retrieve it.  I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive.  I’ve heard of a few kids who’s scores dropped from last year.  And while I know logically that it doesn’t mean anything, I just really didn’t want to see it.  I know so much of that score depends on the kids’ mood, etc.  I have repeated this mantra to others until I am blue in the face and I firmly believe it.  Yet of course when it comes to my own child I fear it means that he’s leveling off to the norm.

So, he did indeed drop a few points on his gifted test score.  Didn’t get into any 1st grade programs as he’s now sitting at what is probably right below the minimum needed to get in anywhere.

So it’s all a crapshoot with a few questions here or there making or breaking your entry into a program.  He’s a bright kid who squeaked his way into a gifted program last year because he had a good test day.  If he were testing for Kindergarten this year it would be whole different ballgame, what with all these smarties testing so well.

Of course I worry a little that in a few years he won’t be able to keep up with the accelerated curriculum unless I browbeat him constantly.  But in the end, who cares?  As long as he enjoys learning, that’s all that matters.  And of course getting into a selective enrollment high school.  (ha ha.)

Speaking of browbeating, for those who wonder what Kindergarten homework is like, the work is easy, it’s the mental engagement that seem difficult, at least in this household.  Homework last night consisted of writing 5 words.  This took a good twenty minutes as I dealt with the following behavior:

-Writing the word “poop” where a word should go

-Drawing a poop and writing “poo” where a word should go

-Acting like a robot, making robot noises

-Tipping chair so it toppled over then denying he caused it

-Poking his armpit repeatedly with pencil

-Claiming that he “cannot control himself” when I question his behavior

And THAT is why I don’t like homework.

March 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm 16 comments


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