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Call the Homework Police!

Every night that I look at my son's unopened homework box, I feel a twinge of guilt. A monthly calendar of work. Lots of worksheets. A bunch of good learning games. But it's just not happening.

Friends have figured out how to add homework to their routine without a problem. Some use bribery. Others report that their kids like doing the work. But mine's currently on an "I don't like homework" kick. And I just don't see the point of forcing a kindergartner to do a few papers just to get him into the routine of doing homework. A six-year-old needs time to burn energy and creatively play. Plus, I can't seem to find the right time of day to make it routine.

Here's how the day breaks out:

Morning: Play, eat, get dressed, play, out the door to school.

After-school pick-up: Sitter gets the boys. Kindergartner comes home and has had enough school work. He needs a break. Try to get him focused, and he wants nothing to do with a few worksheets. Playing with friends is high on his agenda.

6 p.m.: Mom and Dad come home, often to tired boys, make dinner, eat, and play. Showers and baths every other day, followed by treat, followed by brushing teeth. That brings us to bedtime. Kindergartner reads to us, then we read to the boys.

8 p.m.: Bedtime

In many ways, we're lucky. Kindergartners at our school aren't required to turn their homework into the teacher. And in my mind, I keep coming back to something Jay Mathews wrote in August: "What most people don't know about elementary school homework is that the research strongly suggests that it is a waste of time."

So, next year, when the teacher's demanding the work, we'll get more serious.

How do you handle homework? Is there a time of day that works best to get it done? How much time do your kids (and you) spend on schoolwork each day?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  January 31, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers
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Comments


I don't think the point of homework at a young age is to really further their education. I think it's an excellent opportunity for parents to teach their children priorities and that in life, you going to have to do things you don't want to do and that aren't always fun. I think it's easier to instill that at an early age than it is when they are older.

Posted by: Danielle | January 31, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Elementary homework is a waste of time. If the teacher can get the class to do a few worksheets while in class, there's a problem with the teaching style or teacher (and I say this as a former teacher).

I can't believe kids have homework now in Kindergarten. I remember being EXCITED to finally get homework in 4th grade. It was something we discussed as second and third graders. When do kids get to be kids?

The parents who drive, drive, drive their kids to succeed from Day 1 out of the womb are the ones who are going to be shelling out big bucks for therapy and prescription meds for their kids when they crap out in 6th grade.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 31, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

That sentence above should read "If the teacher CAN'T get the class to do a few worksheets".

I haven't finished my coffee . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 31, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree that kindergarten homework is not really necessary. Our school assigned it as well, my daughter did it and I will likely have my son do it next year. I do think, though, it teaches good study habits and allows your family to get into a school routine that could take you through the elementary years. When my daughter started kindergarten lots of schedules changed in our house and creating a new daily routine that included homework was one of those changes. Homework time at our house is at 5:30. My daughter gets home from school at 3:20, has a snack and plays. That gives her 2 hours, more than enough time to unwind and have a break from school. Then at 5:30, I begin dinner preparations and she does her work. I get home between 4 and 4:30 due to my PT schedule so I know I have it easier than a lot of working parents. I know other parents who didn't enforce the kindergarten homework and their kids did fine doing it in later grades. I would just worry about setting a precedent that homework is optional. But, every family needs to come up with a system and schedule that works for them.

Posted by: Pt Fed Mof2 | January 31, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

For the younger grades, 6pm or later is too late to be starting homework. They are too tired.

Since the work doesn't have to be turned in for Kindergarten, it might work to have him do at least some of it in the morning when he is fresh. It sounds like he is an early bird.

The childcare needs are changing as your son gets settled in elementary school. I think it's important that the childcare provider is able to have the child do the homework, at least at the point where the teachers are requiring it.

It sounds like the reading routine described above is very cozy and positive. If you can't manage worksheets and reading this year, I agree with your approach to triage toward the reading.

I prefer not to overdo playdates during the week. Young kids need some downtime other than sleeping. I find it hard to keep a formal playdate short enough for a weeknight. I find that unstructured outdoor play doesn't wear them out as much in some ways--the dynamics are more relaxed.

Bottom line--I think you're in a transition period to a time when your son will have less time for free play during the week.

Posted by: marian | January 31, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about the value of homework in elementary grades. I certainly assign it in high school. My kindergartener likes to do work sitting near me while I grade my students or do my prep work. Family homework time seems to be our answer. And NOT the whole family working on the child's homework (though I will check it).

Another point against too much homework - all the research shows that if you drill and reinforce a *wrong* concept or skill, it's two or three times as hard to learn the correct way, since you have to unlearn the wrong way. So we need to be sure that the homework is reinforcing correct things.

Posted by: inBoston | January 31, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

My 4th grader has had very, very little homework up until this point. Only spelling words which we studied a few times a week and the occasional worksheet. What I did always have her do was read nightly, alone or with us. Our schedule is such that after dinner has become HW time. This year she does about an hour of HW and studying nightly. Our 6 year old is in Montessori and does have a short book to read to us everyday and we usually do that after breakfast (or admittedly, in the car on the way to school).

Right after school my kids come home and play. One thing that I think most people agree on is that kids do not get enough time to simply be kids. Playing is important and it should be the focus of every day when kids are young. The one thing we have to our benefit is that my girls love to play school together and my oldest has managed to teach my little ones a lot about letters and numbers without them even realizing it! It's cute to watch.

Posted by: Momof5 | January 31, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm lucky enough to work at a school that believes it's a kindergartener's homework to play. They learn just as much by doing so.

Posted by: MM | January 31, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

My child has an inordinate amount of homework. We have had to stop doing all non school activites because she just can't get it all done - and she is in fifth grade. If I pick her up at 4PM she will have homework to keep her busy until 7:30 and then its time for bed (which means taking a shower, reading time with mommy, etc). My school actually got so many complaints about homework that they passed a policy to cut back on it. But it hasn't really helped - I heard that my child's teacher gives a lot of homework at the first Back-To-School night - she has the GT kids and I guess thinks they need to do a lot of homework to keep them stimulated - what they need is a break...

Posted by: tired mom | January 31, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm with the research - I don't think homework is helpful to kids in elementary school.

In fact I personally believes it turns OFF their natural drive to learn, because the time outside of school is time to pursue their own interests, which is one of the best ways to learn.

As for the argument that "kids have to learn to do things they don't want to do" or "they need to learn the routine for homework," I just say that's silly. Kids do LOTS of things they don't want to do, from potentially the ENTIRE SCHOOL DAY to going to the grocery store on weekends.

Adding one more thing they don't like to do is not going to tip the balance. And for the habit side, I agree that a family routine needs to eventually happen, but I think most families (and people) are entirely capable to adjusting to a new routine in a few weeks. I don't think it takes 7 years to establish the homework habit!

Posted by: Shandra | January 31, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I think you should look into the reason your kids are being assigned homework in kindergarten. I'm betting its not because the teachers think its necessary (or else they'd have them turn it in) but rather its because not you (of course) but other parents were complaining that they weren't being assigned homework. The teachers probably send it home so people don't call the school and complain.

Posted by: BG | January 31, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"The parents who drive, drive, drive their kids to succeed from Day 1 out of the womb are the ones who are going to be shelling out big bucks for therapy and prescription meds for their kids when they crap out in 6th grade."

God Bless You for saying this. But don't you understand. The Uber-Moms are the ones who run the school. If your young child is not receiving 6 hours of homework a night by the age of 5, they are the ones who will complain and get the teacher fired (or at least Tased). How else can their child get into Haaa-vaaad unless that child has been poked and prodded since the age of 2 months???

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

fr tired mom:

>...My school actually got so many complaints about homework that they passed a policy to cut back on it. But it hasn't really helped - I heard that my child's teacher gives a lot of homework at the first Back-To-School night - she has the GT kids and I guess thinks they need to do a lot of homework to keep them stimulated - what they need is a break...

I'd be reporting this "teacher" to the school board, esp if the school has implemented a policy to cut back on homework. What she is doing is totally wrong, and it needs to be addressed, NOW.

Posted by: Alex | January 31, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

What I like about homework is that I can see how my kids approach work, what they are struggling to complete and what is so easy that it is a waste of time. My daughter always gets 100% on all math worksheets at school but watching her do homework I learned that she was still needing to use her fingers for almost all questions. It was a confidence issue and we easily worked it out at home but I would have never known this without the homework.

I also like the more creative assignments. Make a map of your bedroom was a favorite. And there have been others that are interesting keep parents involved in their child's education but are not simply filling out more worksheets.

Posted by: Annie | January 31, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

DD also in kindergarten gets month homework. We do three assignments on Monday (the last one is Friday's cuddle up and read) on Thursday night or Saturday morning we tackle the final two assignments.

DD likes coloring in the boxes on the homework schedule when she is finished and the teacher encourages that. DD always colors at least one box per week orange (because that is her teacher's favorite color).

With this schedule she can attend gymnastics once a week and keep up with the birthday party circuit. We have not had too many playdates yet but that will probably come with time.

Posted by: shdd | January 31, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Anon at 9:45, I will quote/paraphrase Margaret Meade to you:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

If you don't like how the Uber moms run everything, find others who think like you and band together. And, if I can use two quotes in one post, "be the change you wish to see in the world". (Ghandi)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 31, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

My kids' homework is fairly minimal--my third grader has math and spelling homework each night. It takes her maybe a half hour to 45 minutes to do it, depending on how well she focuses on it. My kindergarten son is given a packet of worksheets at the start of the week and is supposed to do three or four sheets per night. They are all very simple things--circling letters, practicing writing, etc. It takes him about ten minutes to do his homework.

Normally the kids do homework after school--they get home around 3:30 or 4:00, take a half hour break for a snack and to burn off steam, then do their homework. When they were in daycare homework got done after I picked them up while I was cooking dinner. On busy nights we sometimes don't get moving on homework until after dinner (7 or 7:30).

Here's the value I see in their homework: it lets me know what they're doing at school and shows me where they might be having problems so I can see where their lessons in school might be falling short. It lets me teach them good study habits (who else is going to show my daughter how to memorize spelling words with 100% accuracy in five minutes flat?) and especially for my son, it gives him a chance to show off his newfound skills. Because he's still almost entirely nonverbal (see the last two days' entries!) we would really have no clue what he was learning in school or how he was doing if it weren't for the homework since he can't tell us what's going on. The assignments are a link between school and home. And it's really cool to see how this child, who is so low functioning in so many ways, DOES recognize letters and can write his name (sorta kinda) and finish patterns. Oddly, he's the one who likes to do homework. My daughter will try to avoid it and will moan and complain the whole time, but my son sits right down with his packet and crayons and gets to work. If we didn't take the packet away from him when he was finished with that day's assignments, he'd just keep going and finish off the whole week's worth of work in one sitting!

Posted by: Sarah | January 31, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Reading this makes me very glad to have my DD in the Kindergarten she's attending. Her "homework" is a once-a-week thing intended to have parents interact with the kids educationally. One week it was to take a walk in the woods and notice the changing leaves; last week it was to bring in 100 items of something (popcorn, legos, etc.) to celebrate the 100th day of school.

The homework is designed to be fun and something the parents look forward to doing with the children. Not very time-consuming, but a fun, educational activity. I wish more schools had assignments like this.

Posted by: Neighbor | January 31, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

My son doesn't have homework, but we tried to do worksheets after dinner and barely kept it together.

I asked my mother about our afterschool schedule and she said that when we were in elementary school she'd turn on the TV, we'd do our homework between 2:30 and 4:30 while she made dinner and she'd review it before my father got home at 5:30, we'd eat dinner and get our baths before 7pm so we could watch TV between 7-8pm and listen to a story from 8-8:30pm.

I rarely work an 8 hour day and most of the time can't get off work before 5pm, then get both kids from different schools and get home by 6pm when I start dinner. I read to the kids while they get their baths. After they get out, then I wash the dishes, do laundry and vaccuum while they watch TV. When they're asleep I pay the bills and go back online to respond to my client's questions that were sent between 5pm and 8pm. On Monday a client asked me to do something at 9pm, I completed it and sent it back to them at 11pm.

Where's my wife in all this? She gets up at 4:45 to handle mornings.

Posted by: DCer | January 31, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

As a parent of a child who will start Kindergarten in the fall, I wonder about whether Kindergarten aged children are able to really learn about doing homework effectively. Is it good practice or are we encouraging "helicopter parenting"? Are 5-6 yr olds ready to be responsible to remember to bring homework home, sit down and do it and turn it in? (I know in some places Kindergarten homework is not optional.) Or are we just training parents to keep track of their kids? (Then when can they stop? I believe at some point, at least before college, kids have to be able to do it themselves.) When they start assigning homework before a child can sight read, the parent has a lot more to do than just schedule a homework time and this may cause a parent to give too much assistance (i.e. do the assignment). Is there a "better" age to start?

That being said, my eldest child is in a Kindergarten enrichment program at her daycare and they get homework (maybe once every 1-2 weeks). The homework reinforces the words and writing skills they are learning in class and my child loves to do it. She is not being graded on it, but the teacher does encourage us to get it handed in. (Notice I said us.) I do feel that I am being trained as well because I need to find time to schedule homework into our busy lives and to make sure my daughter knows where her homework is so it can be worked on and handed in. (This is in addition to helping her with the instructions because she is just beginning to learn to read.) Luckily for both of us, she hasn't needed me to sit with her to get it done, I just need to be available to her when she has questions. (I'm sure there are a lot of children her age where the parent would need to be right there the whole time to encourage the child.)

Well (if it wasn't already obvious), I am of two minds when it comes to homework, I think the assignments start at too early an age, but my daughter loves to please her teachers and loves doing the assignments so it is a benefit to my family. (But this begs the obvious question of how will my younger child handle it when he is that age.) I guess there is no good way to know in advance whether we are teaching our children good study habits early or if some children would be better off getting homework at a later more mature age.

P.S. Sorry for the novel.

Posted by: lizhd | January 31, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

DS is now in 1st grade and has had nightly homework since Kindy. I agree that it's good to get everyone - kids and parents - into the homework habit early. Homework is also the best way for parents to see their child's academic strengths and weaknesses first hand. You don't want to find out that Johnny can't add when his report card comes home, do you?

When he comes home from school, he has a snack and spends 1/2 hour "decompressing". Then it's homework time. We've set aside 30 mins for it in our daily schedule. If he finishes in less than 30 mins, he can read or color or do Suduko (the kid's version, of course) for the rest of the time, then it's playtime, followed by chores, dinner, more playtime, and bed. We've found that a schedule (typed and posted on the fridge) does WONDERS for our household - more gets done and there are fewer arguments. We also limit DS's activities to Scouts and one other - now it's Spanish lessons but soccer season will be coming up soon.

Posted by: ets | January 31, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

My kindergartener and my second grader both have homework. For the kindergartener, on Monday a chart is sent home with one activity per day. The parents and child are asked to work together on that daily assignment and then the entire chart signed by the parent and the child and the attached homework assignments are turned in on Friday. This gives us the ability to do the homework when it's the best time for the child. Both my husband and I work full time. My husband picks up our children from school after care around 5:30. From 5:30-6 the kids work on homework while dinner is cooking. If the kindergartener isn't done we finish the homework in the morning before school. Some days we do two homework assignments at once, other days none. But by the end of the week all of the assignments are done. In our school the homework is counted. Yes I think some of the assignments are over the top but most of them are things like read with your grown up and then draw a character from the book. These are things that help my son connect with the school work they are doing in school. I should also mention he gets lots of play time too because after care is all about play. Also our kids go to bed at 7:30 pm (after we read books with them).

My second grader on the other hand has lots of homework. Frequently we work on the homework before dinner, after dinner but before bed and we let her do her required reading as part of our pre-bed reading time. We also let her do some homework in the morning. Our involvement with her homework is pretty limited to checking it and signing it to be turned in and helping her with practice drills in math and spelling.

Luckily both our kids love learning but still homework is NOT their favorite thing. I think you can make time for it and by not doing it all, you are only teaching your child something you may have a hard time unteaching when it comes time for homework to be required. For us, that was one struggle we chose not to have.

Posted by: montgomery village md mom | January 31, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

2 things:

1) I'm not sold that a Kindergartner needs homework, but if he gets it, how much can it be? It's gonna be "fun", right? coloring? drawing? making something? hardly too strenuous. I don't see the big deal.

2) more importantly, i think if the teacher "assigns" homework, no matter how easy it might be, the kid should obey the teacher. That's the lesson the kid needs to learn at an early age because he will have a teacher or a boss for the majority of his life.

So, the sense of accomplishment, the sense of learning, of showing mom & dad what you learned in school that day, yadda yadda yadda...all that is good. But to me the most important thing at such a young age is to figure out that what your teacher says goes.

my 9 year old hasn't learned it yet. :)

Posted by: Dream Out Loud | January 31, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I found out that it changed over time. First grade (no h/w in K, it was Montessori): great resistance, up to crying. 2nd grade: greater resistance. Started giving him DK workbooks for a grade above instead. Kid discovered it's harder but more fun. Teacher would get a note saying "well, he did not do the assigned h/w, but we did this and that on the same topic". 3rd grade: less resistance, occasionally doing h/w on his own. Still doing the workbooks, in comparison to which h/w seems easy. Present time (4th grade): no problems with h/w, doing it on his own, I don't see it. Grades are good, no more workbooks, taking CTY online classes (again, to put school work/homework in perspective for him).

By the way, in his school if a kid honestly does his h/w for half an hout and is not done, he can stop and he won't be punished for that. He is supposed to bring incomplete h/w back to school and ask a teacher to help with the problems that were too hard. Great policy, no stress on parents, and kids are not abusing it.

Posted by: RhondaTheHighRoller | January 31, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

My two oldest daughters loved doing homework and loved playing school. I never had any trouble getting them to do it. Then the boys came along. They are not big fans of school anyways, but homework really upsets them. In fact, I would say that they could learn to like school if it were not for the homework. Many days they will come home inspired by what they have learned at school but then the excitement drains out of them when it comes time to do the homework. They are in third grade and have 2 to 3 pages of it a night, plus a half hour of reading (which is no trouble because luckily they both love to read) and they are also supposed to work on their math facts every day.

I get the argument that homework allows you to see how your kids are doing, but it seems there are other ways to achieve this goal. For instance, I rarely see corrected tests come home but when I do, I like to go over the test with my child to see if he understands why he missed the questions he got wrong. I want him to understand how to do the math before they move on and going over the tests allows me to do that. I have asked the teacher to send more tests home, but so far I see only about one a month. I would much prefer this way of checking my kids' progress than the nightly drudge of homework.

Posted by: cherylinseattle | January 31, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Kids are learning at a faster pace now. What parents learned in middle school is now being taught in 4th or 5th grade. Kids are expected to know certain things before entering kindergarten, whereas when we went to kindergarten we just learned how to get along (1/2 day, with nap!, learned abc's and numbers, from what I can remember).

I guess this all stems from NCLB and the fact that other country's children out perform ours. So we can't really compare when we went to school to now, because it is different.

My kids, 2nd and 5th grade, get homework every night. From what I see, it's not just busy work. My 2nd grader usually does it on the bus and shows me that it was completed. If there are questions, we go over it. My 5th grader gets math every night and reading 2-3 nights. Reading consists of vocabulary words or essay writing. Both of which I think are pretty important.

If for some reason we can't complete the work, or it's too much, I can write a note saying more time is needed, or the homework was unclear.

I am certainly not an Uber-Mom, and would not call the school if suddenly there was a decrease in the amount of homework, but I also don't agree that the homework is useless. And, actually it seems letting the child not do homework because he doesn't want to sets the stage for problems down the line.

It also seems to undermine the teacher. Johnny doesn't turn in his work, teacher asks why, Johnny says my mom thinks its silly for kindergarteners to have homework.

Posted by: prarie dog | January 31, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

One thing to consider: in many counties/districts (including my own, Wake County in NC), homwork cannot be counted toward or against a student's grade for a class. Presumably this rule is in place because of the helicopter parents. FYI.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 31, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

WorkingMomX -
Yes, same with my kids school in Montgomery County. Homework does not count towards grade.

Dream Out Loud - I totally agree, but you said much better than I did!

Kindergarten homework is cutting & pasting, coloring, matching words to pictures, etc. No big deal.

Posted by: prarie dog | January 31, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

You're certainly right. Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld and their media enablers such as Kristol sure changed the world.

As for the homework thing, I prefer to sit back and watch the children of these Uber Moms self-destruct. But then again, I own quite a bit of stock in Pfizer and the other drug companies that will be profiting off the pyschological problems of these kids!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I think the homework regiment expected from my kids in the Fairfax County public school system is an encroachment on family life. Several times a month I will let one (or 2 or 3 or 4) of my kids stay home to catch up on schoolwork and/or enjoy a day with mommy or daddy. I think all day kindergarten is too much for my 5 year old, not to mention the additional homework, so I look for signs of stress and try to pull him out before we get to the "I HATE SCHOOL!" song and dance.

Posted by: DandyLion | January 31, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The concept that kids are learning things earlier than we did is not new. My father had math in grad school that I had in 10th-grade Algebra II.

I remember having homework in 2nd grade. Not a lot, but there was always something to bring home. Our homework was checked, but we were expected to do it ourselves before either parent (generally my mother at that point) looked at it.

As we got older, the work increased and got harder--but not at a level that seemed inappropriate, even at the time. We also learned to do more and more for ourselves; by the time I was in high school, I only asked for help when I needed it. Otherwise, I didn't even have my parents review my work.

Throughout, my parents emphasized that we had to do the work, but that we had to do our own work. They would help us learn skills, but it was up to us to apply them.

We're expecting our first, and I have no idea what homework will be expected. I do know that if our children get homework in kindergarten (which does seem ridiculous), I'll want to understand the teacher's goal for the homework. That will inform how I approach the issue.

I see a lot of discussion of how everyone is handling homework, but not much on the teachers' reasons for assigning it. Does that factor into your various approaches?

Posted by: Kate | January 31, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

For all of you who have children doing nightly homework (or any homework) in elementary school and who think it's necessary for ANY reason (to teach responsibility, to "get used to it", to reinforce what's being taught in school) and/or who have given up family time or outside activities because of the homework, I suggest you:

1. Read The Homework Myth
2. Take a stand and tell the teachers "sorry, no, my child won't be doing this."

If they lower the child's grade because of it, fine. It's elementary school. It doesn't matter what their grades are.

Teach your child responsiblity on your own, and learn that family time is SO much more important than anything a teacher could ever assign, as is being part of a soccer team or taking art or piano lessons or any of the thousands of things that a child can do with their time outside of school.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

My kid's in kindergarten and I really think it's a waste of time for homework. Yes, it's really a small amount, it takes us at most 10 minutes, but still. I feel it's training the PARENTS more than the kids.

My kid can't read, probably won't be proficient enough for a while, so there's NO WAY the kid can do it alone. If teachers are complaining so much about parents doing the homework, why are you training the parents to do homework at these young ages, when it is impossible for the kids to do it themselves?

We didn't have homework til at least 3rd grade, probably later. Not til I could completely do it myself. And I did. My parents NEVER helped me ever. It was up to ME, the person who was in school, to do it. If I needed help, I'd ask another kid in my class. Now, I guess, you could email friends but also the teacher (cause clearly we weren't going to CALL the teacher).

My friend's wife home schools their two kids. He said they do all their work and are finished by the end of the day - with everything no 'homework' - which is probably 4 or so, maybe earlier. Well, his daughter last year went to 9th grade in the public school - and went to school during the day and had homework and projects to do at home for hours. She still got straight As, so the home schooling musta been working (she's back to home schooling now).

What are we really teaching our kids? Do we need them to spend that much time doing work at home? Of course, if the teachers had any backing from administrations, things would work better, too (i.e., taking kids out of the classroom who are disruptive and putting them elsewhere). If kids came to school ready and willing to learn, I guess it would be a different issue too.

My DH always reminds me that the homework is not for us, who sit and read to our kids, all the time, and do worksheets, whatever with him (my MIL is a teacher, so she gives us stuff he wants to do ) - it's for parents who are less involved. But really, that's not going to make them MORE involved, I don't think...

Posted by: atlmom | January 31, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

to 11:34: do they really have actual grades in elem. school now? Ouch. What a waste of time and energy for all (progress reports, fine, but actual grades? What does that teach?).

Posted by: atlmom | January 31, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

EEEHHHH!!! Some of you are dead-wrong. Homework should not be given to "prepare" kids for what's ahead. That's what "what's ahead" is for in the first place.

Homework often steals the joy of being a kid. It completely discounts the idea that playing with friends, interacting with parents, and exploring the world around them are important things to learn as a kid.

Homework can make kids hate academics and make academic work seem like drudgery or a chore to complete. I agree with the anonymous poster at 11:34 AM. Read the Homework Myth.

As someone who went to Montessori school for elementary, I can tell you I NEVER had homework and yet somehow I was doing algebra in the 5th grade. Moreover, when I started getting homework in middle school, it was not a problem AT ALL. Not at all!! You do not have to "practice" having homework. What an incredibly lame reasoning for homework!

Posted by: rlalumiere | January 31, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"By the way, in his school if a kid honestly does his h/w for half an hout and is not done, he can stop and he won't be punished for that. He is supposed to bring incomplete h/w back to school and ask a teacher to help with the problems that were too hard. Great policy, no stress on parents, and kids are not abusing it. "


This is great. What school system does your child attend?

I personally think homework (other than reading) in the elementary grades is a huge waste of time and just turns kids off to their education. Frankly, the teacher has 7 hours a day to teach these kids arithmetic and so forth. That should be enough time to teach these basic concepts.

Posted by: reston, va | January 31, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I think home work shouldn't be required till around 3 rd grade. That way the kid can at least read fairly well and do some or most of the work independently. How much training do they think they need? Isn't third grade through 6 th grade enough training? Do the teachers actually grade all these worksheets? Sounds like no home work or minimal in k-2 is a win win for everyone.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

A couple of things struck me about the original post. 1) Have you tried doing the "homework" in the morning BEFORE school? This approach was recommended by my son's Kindergarten teacher and has worked wonders in our household. After school, all DS wants to do is run around outside for an hour or two then build with Legos until dinner. Even mentioning homework provoked near hysterics. Now he gets up, eats breakfast, then asks for his work. Amazing turn around! Anyway, I noticed in Stacey's post that her son has time to play (twice!) in the morning. Perhaps that time would be better used on homework.

Which brings me to #2 - I think allowing one's children to ignore homework sends the wrong message. There are lots of things that I hate doing - preparing our taxes comes to mind - but these things have to get done. It's not a choice and neither should be doing homework. If parents want to pursue the issue with the teacher / principle / school board, that's fine, but until the policy is changed, the homework should be getting done or they should change schools to one more in line with their philosophy.

Homework for homework's sake is, obviously, pointless. However, homework to reinforce a concept does work, especially for DS#1. It's also a good way to encourage time management. A great deal of the homework DS brought home in the beginning of Kindergarten was work he hadn't completed in class, either because he needed more time on a certain thing or because HE CHOSE to complete it "later". Needless to say, the amount of work coming home now because he chooses not to finish in class is now virtually nil.

Finallly - to altmom: don't know about you, but I'm 41 and I definitely had grades throughout (public) elementary school, so I'm surprised by your surprise.

and to rlalumiere - DS attends a well regarded Montessori school that goes through 8th grade. Homework starts in the first year of primary, with the once a week "homework bag" (i.e., find three things that start with the sound of the week and put them in the bag). By kindergarten, they have a couple of assignments per week plus whatever they choose not to complete in class. In the elementary and middle school classes, the students are allowed to choose what they will do as homework, but they must choose something.

Posted by: two terrific boys | January 31, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"if a kid honestly does his h/w for half an hout and is not done, he can stop and he won't be punished for that. He is supposed to bring incomplete h/w back to school and ask a teacher to help with the problems that were too hard. Great policy, no stress on parents, and kids are not abusing it. "


>This is great. What school system does >your child attend?

Arlington, VA public school. Can't guarantee the policy is carved in stone, but at least a couple times different teachers mentioned it. Of course, it also helps if the teacher informs the kids about the policy, and doesn't hold grunges. On the other hand, he had a teacher once who would ask parents to sign their kid's homework EVERY day. Took a lot of discussions to help her figure out that the homework is between her and my kid; I'd rather get on his back about the chores.

On the related note, A-E grades first appreared in 4th (or end of 3rd?) grade, and it was better than "pass/fail" they used before that. More informative, especially with running totals provided. By the way, for really helicopter parents Arlington introduced a whiteboard-based system this year, so parents can check their kids' assignments, grades, etc. online. No more "did not get any homework today" excuse...

Posted by: to reston, va | January 31, 2008 12:10 PM | January 31, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Two terrific boys, I should have specified. I went to a traditional Montessori school -- based on Maria Montessori's original educational philosophy. Most Montessori schools here in the U.S. use the American Montessori method which is more of a hybrid between traditional American education and Montessori education.

I don't know what kind of school your children or attend (or, more importantly, what kind of school the teachers attended for their Montessori training), but it sounds more like the American Montessori method.

Posted by: rlalumiere | January 31, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Stacey, really not trying to be snarky, but if you can't find 15-30 minutes in your schedule this year for homework, why would you think it will be any different next year? If you see no value in the homework, and don't intend to make your kid do it, ok. But it's not about your schedule -- it's that you don't think this is important enough to make time for.

You might also want to reconsider getting into the routine of doing something on a regular basis, even if it's not everything that's assigned. Because next year, instead of 15-30 minutes, it may take 30-45 minutes, and starting a brand-new routine that is 45 minutes long is going to be a lot more of a shock to the system than just making the current routine a little longer. I'm speaking from personal experience here: my daughter went from kindergarten right into second grade, and so from no homework to regular homework in 3 separate classes. It was just horrible -- she was overwhelmed. There were some nights when all three teachers had given homework for the next day, and she'd take 1.5-2 hrs to get through it all.

Of course, all of that was WAY too much, so I talked to her teachers and we worked out a way to smooth things out (part of the problem was that, being 6, she simply couldn't write as quickly as the older kids, so they let us spread out the writing part over multiple nights). But the whole adjustment was a lot harder just because we had never had to do any homework before, so jumping to 1+ hr was a huge change. And it left a really negative impression on my daughter, who was convinced for the longest time that she wasn't smart enough to be in second grade. We're through that now -- she's doing great, homework is down to more like 30 minutes, and she is excited about what she's learning -- but that is NOT how I envisioned the first few months of "real" school.

Personally, I hate this whole homework thing; I agree with the earlier posters who said it's unnecessary and can be counterproductive. But I also agree with the earlier poster who said "If parents want to pursue the issue with the teacher / principle / school board, that's fine, but until the policy is changed, the homework should be getting done or they should change schools to one more in line with their philosophy." I would never tell my daughter that she doesn't have to do what her teacher assigns, because boy, is that sending the wrong message. Instead, I took it up with the teachers -- who were shocked to hear how much work it was, and who in fact appreciated that I brought it to their attention. And if I wasn't happy with the solution, I'd move her to another school.

In terms of scheduling, it's helped a lot now that her after-care program has built in a 30-minute homework period; many days, she gets it all done then. If not, then I sit her down at the kitchen table while I'm cooking dinner; she's usually had at least 30 minutes to run and play after her "study hall" at school, and is usually decompressed enough to work by then -- plus she really likes the excuse to be in the same room with me, asking questions and chatting. And on the days when she needs more time off (which tend to be pretty obvious at this age), I let her decompress with a cartoon before dinner, but then the rule is that she has to finish up right after dinner before we do anything else. Last night, she was so excited that she went and pulled out her math worksheet in the MIDDLE of dinner, so she could show me how she had learned to borrow!

Posted by: Laura | January 31, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I am really surprised by the anti-homework folks. The only projects I really remember from those early years were building the dinosaur dioramas, talking to a librarian about researching a paper on satellites, sewing a bicentennial quilt (yes, I'm a dude), making costumes and most of all and the thing I remember more than almost anything else prior to 4th grade homework, getting milk, an apple and a peanut butter sandwich and sitting down at my little desk and reading the story that was assigned to us in class. My mother claims that my third grade teacher assigned us one story each day or five each week to read and discuss. We had a story and at the end of the story we had to answer a question about the story. I remember that. I also remember borrowing other reading groups' books and reading their stories too.

Does anyone here really think playing with one's friends is as important as reading or math? I sure don't. I think that attitude- that play is as key as reading or math- is what is dumbing down our culture and allowing other countries to better educate their kids.

I'm not raising my kids to be dumb bunnies.

Posted by: DCer | January 31, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I think homework in kindergarten is stupid. I think homework in any grade is stupid.

BUT life is full of stupid things that we are supposed to do. If you were the type of parent who really didn't care then I don't think you'd be writing a Parenting blog! As many have said, this is more about getting into the habit than it is the homework itself.

It won't be long before your child is old enough to play a musical instrument. Are you going to skip that because it requires regular practice? Are you going to skip soccer and swimming because they require regular practice? Homework is just one of many things that working parents get to work into their lives.

I advise:

1) getting after school care on-board with starting homework. After a suitable snack and a play break a few minutes can be devoted to looking the contents of the backpack over and getting started. Every totally ordinary after school program my kids ever went to had some homework time in the schedule. The kids liked doing it together even if not a lot got done;

2) shifting your work schedule so one parent is home earlier, this makes the evening longer;

3) simplifying dinner so it takes just 10 minutes to make/serve. This will also lengthen the evening;

4) instituting the important rule that the TV does not come on until school work is done, often this means that Mom or Dad has to delay watching shows they want to see;

5) reviewing your schedule and eliminating activities that take weeknight time, this may mean shifting shopping and errands to weekends.

As Marian says, you and your child are transitioning from young childhood to school-aged. You are free to blow this off at this stage, but don't come fussing to us when your kid isn't keeping up with first grade!

Posted by: RoseG | January 31, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The way some posters are lamenting, it sounds like homework is taking over the household! All other life no longer exists. Are you really spending SOOO much time on homework that your children have no 'play' time? Or that you can't do after school activities like sports? Are you doing the homework WITH/FOR your child?

May be it's different in my house - we get the homework done while I make dinner, eat dinner every night together, settle in for free time (sometimes family stuff, sometimes not), get ready for bed and lights out by 8:30. We have time for sports and scouts once a week. And it all gets done.

And, since it is homework, and reviews the days lessons, I don't correct it or make changes. I just make sure it's done. The next day the teacher can see what still needs to be reviewed.

I'm not saying it's all roses, there have been nights where the HW load was more than we could handle, but overall, not so bad.

Posted by: prarie dog | January 31, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Stacey, the right time SO depends on the kid, family schedules, priorities.

Tim Russert said he had to have his all done before dinner, "If you didn't give mom your homework, you didn't get a fork for dinner."
I tried that but that timing didn't work for us (I was too busy cooking dinner, too much choas b/f dinner, kids too hungry to focus.)
But what does work for us is right after dinner. My kids are night owls. Some kids are larks. Tailor the schedule to the kid and parents' schedule and you'll find the time that works best. But homework IS a good habit to get into...I agree it should not be excessive or some sort of punishment, it should be woven into the day...and should not become a power struggle.
When my daughter reached 4th grade, her teacher emphasized how it is the KID'S homework, not their parents and her team of teachers came up with an incentive program (extra recess on friday for those who turn in all homework assignments, don't get a "slash" during the week for infractions...half of extra recess if you only get one slash.)
It's like a miracle **for my kid** (doesn't work for all, I'm guessing)...she (age 10) knows it's her responsibility whatever time she gets it done.


The RIGHT homework can be a total blessing to whole household, instilling good discipline, reinforcing learning concepts, makes the kid get a feeling of pride/accomplishment, informs the parent of kids progress.
But a kindergarten "homework box" doesn't sound like the right kind of homework... are the homework sheets tied to that day's lessons?...If not, it's not a good way to motivate kid or mom to bother with it. But as long as you're in habit of reading stories to your 5-6 yr old child every night, and having conversations about the stories, you should relax about not getting to optional K homework.

First grade is a different story b/c they're really learning to read then. They do need to reinforce some of the ideas and make sure they are on the road to reading. My daughter was a fairly late reader and her 1st grade homework was tailored to her reading level/interests and really helped her get over the hump.
But I had to beg for homework in first grade to help my special needs son who really did **need** it(and so I would know what he was learning/having trouble with...) but the teacher couldn't manage it on daily basis and gave me a huge file ("homework box?"), none of which tied in to whatever the lesson of the day was. I found out later when we tested him privately that he totally regressed academially that year he had no homework (in math, reading, but also in behavior skills).

But this year his teacher is a much better fit for him. She makes great effort to give daily homework that reinforces lessons and gives him practice on the concepts she's already taught. He's 7 and in special ed 2nd grade...I couldn't be happier, I LOVE doing homework with him, and he's commited to it too because it is part of his "schedule". I too wondered how I could get him in the habit because he refused to do any from the giant "homework file" the prior year...but we found a time that worked and an incentive "no bath til homework is done".

I'm so happy w/ both kids, my daughter whose doing it w/out mom's help. But especially my sp. needs son who I have to sit with for about 45 minutes, but it is so rewarding to see his learning progress. I love to see the pride he has when he figures things out and can solve problems independently by the end of the work sheets.

(BTW great ghandi and margaret meade quotes! there's a reason anon is anon! I'm so against cranky anon posts--it's like being cut off while you're driving, you'd never say those sarcastic things to someone's face... and i'm anti-cheney, feith, rumsfeld etc too, but that doesn't mean I give up on changing the world!)

Posted by: sgoewey | January 31, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

These lines (from various posters) cracked me up:

"You are free to blow this off at this stage, but don't come fussing to us when your kid isn't keeping up with first grade!"

"Does anyone here really think playing with one's friends is as important as reading or math? I sure don't." (Umm... you can't do BOTH? You have to do KINDERGARTEN HOMEWORK at the expense of play in order to learn reading and math? My niece at MIT would disagree.)

"DS is now in 1st grade and has had nightly homework since Kindy. I agree that it's good to get everyone - kids and parents - into the homework habit early."

Good gravy... You don't have to teach kids "good study habits" in Kindergarten. It's that sort of "earlier is better" thinking that is getting us in trouble in society.

I think I can say this with utter certitude: Children will NOT be harmed if they don't start homework until first grade. My kids' school doesn't start until second grade. And very little until fourth grade.

No harm will come, no child will lag behind, and no child will be robbed of a future success, academic or organizational (laughing that I even have to type this!) if he or she is not made to do homework in kindergarten.

And I agree with Shandra "most families (and people) are entirely capable to adjusting to a new routine in a few weeks." and that it doesn't take 7 years to establish the homework habit.


Posted by: SoMoCo | January 31, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"The way some posters are lamenting, it sounds like homework is taking over the household! All other life no longer exists."

Unfortunately, in some schools this is the case. I had a crazy 3rd grade teacher who assigned 3 hours of homework a night. And I know parents who say their kids have similair workloads.

Posted by: va | January 31, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I had K homework back in 1985- small things like a worksheet or bringing in something shaped like a triangle, but it was something to do.

I'm ok with homework- as long as it has a meaningful purpose and is reasonable. I have to say I did get burned out on the system once high school came around and I had at least 4 hours of homework every night, including on vacations. The only reward for being able to do well is that they expect you to do better :)

But if it's simple, task oriented, and actually helps enhance and reinforce what's going on in the classroom, I don't see a problem for it.

The morning work idea is really great if you are morning birds- me not being so, it helped to do a quiet relax time after school and then ramp up into homework, rather than getting bouncy and distracted and then trying to calm down again.

Posted by: Liz D | January 31, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

My 3rd grader has homework nightly--spelling, math worksheets, and reading log (and piano practice, but she loves that). I think the math is helpful practice, and lets me see and explain what she doesn't understand. I think spelling is totally worthless. Research shows that the best way to learn to spell is to read, and spelling homework takes time away from reading. The reading log has been problematic for us. My daughter reads in bed each night by flashlight (I put both girls to bed at the same time and the younger one usually falls asleep right away, esp if the older one is reading and not talking to her). The idea is that she is supposed to complete a reading log of about what she read. I tried having her complete it at SACC the next morning, but that didn't work out because she couldn't remember to do it. For a long time she just didn't do it. Now we have seemingly hit on a solution. She reads for 30 minutes daily in school (school wide policy to "Drop Everything And Read"). Each night she completes the reading log based on what she read at school.

In previous years she would sometimes get distraught if she didn't understand everything. Her solution was to write "it's too hard" next to the problems she couldn't get. I figured this was a good way of letting the teacher know that she didn't understand something.

What is the worst part this year is that I have to sign her planbook nightly. I haven't figured out exactly what the purpose of this is. I find it to be a punishment of me more than her, but she loses recess time if I don't sign. She has signed for me at least once (and I didn't discourage her from doing it again), and once when I hadn't signed, I asked if she lost recess, and she said yes, but she had to read, which was fine because she likes to read. I usually remember to sign. Sometimes I sign for a week at a time. She is in charge of her homework, so if she signs for me, that is fine with me. As far as I am concerned, whatever is takes is fine with me.

I'd complain, but since I have complained so much about the horrendous 1st grade teacher who has decided that my younger daughter is the bad kid, I don't want to be seen as a PITA parent. I thought about asking that she get a reprieve on homework due to chronic health issues. I decided that as long as she didn't complain about it, I wouldn't take that step. I hear that 4th grade is a killer year for homework, so I figure it is best if she is able to complete 15 minutes this year. If her health issues continue, I may ask for a homework reprieve next year.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I can't let the Montessori comments go. Montessori schools are all different in this country. There are some that claim to be following the American Montessori method and some claiming to be more true to the original Maria Montessori method. Any montessori school can say they are following xyz. There is no certification or standardization. My kids attended Montessori (my daughter through 1st grade and my son only for pre-school). Every Montessori school I visited before I enrolled my kids trotted out their philosophy and each one was different. The one I ended up with was very much centered on a traditional Maria Montessori model that even varied within the school based on how each particular teacher taught it. In that school homework started there in the 1st grade.

Anyway just wanted to say IMHO that the only schools that can truly say that they are correctly doing the Maria Montessori method are those where Maria is teaching (and yes I know she's dead).

Posted by: montgomery village md mom | January 31, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Does anyone here really think playing with one's friends is as important as reading or math? I sure don't."

I think playing (with friends, siblings, or by oneself) is MORE important than reading or math homework for elementary age students. And it isn't just me. There is plenty of credible research out there that shows that homework isn't effective for elementary school children.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Does anyone here really think playing with one's friends is as important as reading or math? I sure don't." (Umm... you can't do BOTH?

-------

I love this, duh, of course you can do both! People above suggested that play was more important and I was countering that argument. I wasn't the one who said you couldn't do both, so don't quote me with that interpretation. I loved good quality homework as a kid.

Posted by: DCer | January 31, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I think playing (with friends, siblings, or by oneself) is MORE important than reading or math homework for elementary age students.

-------

So you don't mind when Washington, DC schools are ranked last in the country because play is considered more important than learning? That doesn't bother you in the slightest? Really? Do you really put your money where your mouth is and enroll your kids in an alternative, play-based school? Or is it all just lip service?

Because I think you're not only wrong, you have no evidence to back it up.

Posted by: DCer | January 31, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Agree with 3:05 pm. PLay is critical, particularly unstructured play, which our overscheduled children lack. See here:

http://www.post-gazette.com/lifestyle/20021003childsplay3.asp

Being a valedictorian, by the way, is a very poor predictor of success. We encourage our children to "go out and play," and I think it's the most valuable thing we do.

Posted by: SoMoCo | January 31, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

DCer -- You think DC schools are ranked last because play is considered more important than learning?

Posted by: SoMoCo | January 31, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

DCer, you should look into the research around homework.

Homework raises kids grades in elementary school - if and ONLY if it is an actual component of the grade itself. Duh. Homework does not improve academic performance otherwise.

Little kids need time to experiment and to synthesize, which play provides. Concrete three dimensional play relates directly to academic success.

But don't take my word on it, use your research skills. Or dare I say, do your homework!

Posted by: Shandra | January 31, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Mom of 5 has it lucky! My 4th grade daughter attends a Catholic school, and nightly has: spelling words to write 3 times each, a spelling worksheet from her book, plus a few paragraphs to write once a week, 26 math problems (which take forever because she has a documented math learning disability and which she needs a ton of help with), and two chapters to read from a book. She also has religion homework once a week, and the occasional project. My son is starting kindergarten this fall, and I am so dreading the idea of two kids with homework. I work full-time too, and am usually ready to collapse from exhaustion by the time I get my kids to bed. I'm married, but my husband works nights, and is even more exhausted than I am (working nights wreaks havoc with your body), so he can't help me much.

Posted by: lco | January 31, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

DCer -- You think DC schools are ranked last because play is considered more important than learning?

-----

I have seen that with my own eyes, yes. Have you been in a DC elementary school classroom? Focus on the soft skills and not on the education.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Do not put a desk in your kid's room. The best place to do homework is at the kitchen or dining room table. When? While mom/dad are cleaning up dinner and washing the dishes. It gives you enough distance that they are working on their own, but you are close enough to monitor and help.

As a parent of three (20, 14, and 9) and a veteran teacher, this is the advice I always give.

Oh, and by the way, I agree that other than reading every night (and maybe some drill and practice on math facts) that elementary school homework is meaningless and stupid. Even in middle school I htink it shold be cinfned to long-term projects that teach independant research skills and time management. 90% of the homework given by school teachers does nothing for a student's education - schools keep giving it because they are addicted.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

DCer,

As others have stated, you need to do a little homework. There are DECADES of empirical research that backs up my claim. From Jean Piaget through Maria Montessori and Erik Erikson to the High Scope Research Foundation, there have been repeated large and small studies that show that preschool AND primary children learn through concrete actions. It's called constructing their own knowledge, and is accomplished when teachers plan activities that are structured to enable children to build the skills and knowledge required at that grade level. Then teachers work with children, at times individually, and at times in large or small group settings. Appropriate planning and teacher-child interaction are required for learning, but the concrete interaction with materials is how the young brain learns.

But your question related to homework. I stated that I think that play is more important than HOMEWORK--go back and check my answer. You've taken it one step further, but your ideas about how children should best learn are quite wrong and it is good that you are not in charge of running any educational programming for young children.

I don't send my children to DC schools. They attend in Ffx county, since this is where I live. My children are thriving in environments where concrete learning happens. They do have homework, but not a lot, and it is often concrete and sometimes practice of things they explored concretely at school. When they aren't sure how to do a math problem, we get out concrete objects to figure it out.

DCer, you committed several errors in your post to me. You changed the parameters of the conversation from homework to schoolwork. You failed to do any homework of your own to see if there is any evidence that your ideas would work. You stated quite inaccurately that there is no evidence backing up your mistatement of my claim. Your arrogance has again gotten in the way of good sense. Lighten up already and recognize that you may well be an expert and highly sought after in your field, but that doesn't make you a universal expert.

Posted by: yesterday's 3:05 poster | February 1, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

DCer, you committed several errors in your post to me. You changed the parameters of the conversation from homework to schoolwork.

-----

I see no demonstrative difference to homework taught by a parent and schoolwork taught by a teacher. In fact homeschoolers often have homework taught at home by a parent/teacher. Apparently you see that difference. I disagree. I believe, clearly by what I stated, that you are changing the parameters of the conversation and you believe I am changing these parameters. I think this conversation is at an impasse.

Posted by: DCer | February 1, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Now see I would say that what we have is not an impasse, but the basis for a different interesting conversation. You really see no difference between homework and schoolwork? I think that is fascinating because I see a world of difference. Is this conversation you would be willing to have?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

My big beef with the argument that homework is important because it forces the parents to participate in their kids' educations, is that less well-educated parents will be less able to help their kids with homework, no matter how involved they are. It seems to me that the philosophy of expecting parental help is a recipe for disaster, for kids of disadvantaged parents..

Posted by: m | February 1, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

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