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It's Been an Angry Week So Far: School Rant-Part 1

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Been an Angry Week So Far: School Rant-Part 1

Let me first say that this post has nothing to do with the teachers that I am friends with or even Tommy and Belle's teachers this year (love, love, love them and if they could have them every year until middle school, I'd gladly be on board). When I was a teacher, I swore I would not be a pain in the butt parent. I knew what it was like on the teacher's side and I thought it would be easy to stay quiet. It is easy to be quiet when the teacher is a good one and there are LOTS of good teachers out there. I worked with most of them. For some reason, our school always had two teachers that gave minimal homework and two that gave a ton (we got lucky this year with the twins). Nico always had the ones that gave a lot. Let me say here that I firmly believe that just because a 3rd grader or 4th grader CAN do two hours of homework, doesn't mean they SHOULD. When I would ask the teacher about the excessive homework, she/he would say, "We are getting them ready for next year." I heard it every year and what I want to know is, when do they get to be in the grade that they are in? It was hard when Nico would come home everyday saddled with an hour of two of homework and his friend who had one of the other teachers had none. He did not goof off and he was a good student so it wasn't as if he struggled to get it done. It was just a lot. It was so frustrating that it wasn't the same across the board and that wasn't the case in 6th grade either. One of the "teams" gave a ton of homework and the other gave hardly any. Guess which one Nico was on? He entered 6th grade and we braced ourselves for all the homework all of his teachers said he would have and it never came. This was not the case for all 6th graders. Some of Nico's friends did have hours of homework. Nico didn't because of when he had Study Hall (second to last period). He was and continues to be smart to use that time wisely and he gets most of it done there. So really all of the homework he had in 5th grade was just that. Let me say here that I am all for meaningful homework. If they have to read a chapter and write a summary, great. If they have a math worksheet that reinforces the concept that they learned that day, sounds good. Do I think they should have them on the same day? No. Especially when they have to write their 15-20 spelling words in a sentence that has to have more than eight words in it (do not even get me started on the useless spelling know a great way to learn how to spell a word? As boring as it effective, write the word three times but instead they are doing a word jumble because it sounds more fun. How I cringe when I hear, "Mom, can you help me find...) and then read and write in their reading log. The homework that makes me crazy is the busy work. Kids are already busy. They don't need a useless worksheet that the teacher got off the internet. What I do see happening is that our curriculum is so heavy and our class sizes are so big that it is impossible for the teachers to fit it in the day so the overflow is what makes it home. Many times the kids will come home and have a question about a concept and I'll ask them what they learned in school and often the answer is either, "We didn't do this in school" or "She/He went really fast and I didn't understand it." I don't necessarily blame the teachers but I still question why some classes have a lot and some have hardly any and how do I get my kids on the list for the ones that give hardly any?

Some have said if I don't like it, I could homeschool them but I'd like to keep us all alive, so that is not an option.

Nico's middle school experience really is another whole rant so I'll save that for tomorrow since this is already long.


At March 16, 2011 at 8:06 AM , Blogger Chris said...

I totally sympathize. When Connor was in year 6, he had four hours of homework every night, including weekends. He was supposed to have two hours every night (which is still ridiculous for a child of 10!), but because of his learning disabilities, that morphed into four, with me featured in the role of Simon Legree constantly redirecting him to his homework over and over and over. And I kept being told 'this prepares them for secondary school where they will be required to do three hours of homework every night.' Whatever. In secondary school at the SAME SCHOOL (year 7), he had AT MAX one hour a night, and an hour over the weekend. All that stress for nothing. In year 8, he has maybe an hour a night, but never in the same class. He always has French homework over the weekend, but that takes him at max an hour. I know next year has more reports and writing, but his teachers are doing a good job of preparing him in class and out for that without piling on the homework.

At March 19, 2011 at 6:57 AM , Blogger AnnMarie said...

Good to know I am not alone!


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