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Homework: Sometimes less is more

Original post made on Jul 15, 2011

The controversy over homework seems to be the same as the fable about the ant and the grasshopper. Schools countrywide have been warning that "grasshopper" kids who don't do homework -- which studies show is up by more than 50 percent in the last 20 years -- may not have the skills they need to survive a metaphorical winter while the "ant" kids will be warm, well fed and secure. Sometimes, it seems a fable can be just plain wrong

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 14, 2011, 9:45 PM

Comments (7)

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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jul 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I completely agree with this article and wish that the school district would follow their own guidelines. My daughter was a 7th grader last year and her homework load was huge. The teachers obviously did not talk to each other because she was getting projects and homework in multiple classes on weekends and holidays even the Christmas and Spring Breaks. My suggestion is to have the teachers meet monthly and talk about their work load during each month so they do not pile on at the same time. I also think the district should back off on the school loop and have it only come once a week. If you need to check your homework it is always there for you but to get a daily reminder that your child is doing poorly is stressful on them and parents. Unfortunately the kids are expected to turn their work in on a certain date but teachers are not always getting the grades done by a certain date. I also think projects are a complete waste of time and money. My child had four projects in one class and all those projects are now in our garage or filling up the land fill. And I don't think she learned all that much from them. A paper or small project would have been better served.

Please SRVUSD and Charlotte Wood administrators reread the policy and talk to your teachers about quality homework instead of busy work.

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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jul 16, 2011 at 9:41 am

It is utterly and completely out of control. 3 hours per evening for a junior high student? Are the schools completely insane? All we're doing is turning out little automatons, who memorize (and just as quickly forget) math facts and spelling words.
It is way past time not to just re-think "no child left behind", but to overturn it entirely. It is another Bush era failure, a poorly thought out knee jerk response like everything else that administration put into place. It should have been called "no book publisher left behind", or "no lobbyist left behind".
We are not teaching our kids critical thinking and real word survival skills, or the importance of using their imaginations. All school kids do now is study to pass federally mandated tests, being rushed through every class and every subject with no time to really absorb what's being taught. Even in grade school I see plenty of what concerned parent mentioned. These poor little kids are not even given enough time to finish a simple artwork in class.
If all our children can expect from their future is wage competition from some cubicle dweller in Mumbai, we may as well teach them how to flip hamburgers now and be done with it.
It is way past time to end this insanity. Harassing politicians is the only way it will get done. That is, if you can get their attention at a time when some campaign contributor isn't greasing their pocket.

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Posted by Michelle
a resident of Danville
on Jul 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Derek- NCLB was co-authored by Boehner and Ted Kennedy. Yes, you are right, Bush signed it. But it was a bi-partisan act that has been underfunded and misunderstood since its inception. By both Congresses (Repub and Dem controlled).

Homework is supposed to be practice or review of the content being learned in classroom. My child spent over an hour and a half every evening doing mindless work throughout his last school year (elementary school).

As soon as we train teachers to understand that learning is a process and a journey, not a destination (state test), then teachers will go back to teaching and students will go back to learning. Right now we are doing nothing more than teaching our kids "how to pass the test". It's disgusting. My child cannot come up with a creative thought without prodding and threats....he is being spoon fed and the content is obsolete. Experiential learning is over (for now) in our public schools. Face it, in SRVUSD, we live in the best of the worst...and it's not too good. They think throwing tech at the students, without meaningful curriculum, makes our students 21st century learners. It's a joke and the act of throwing these "tools" at our students without accountability for achievement (i.e. rubrics)and without meaningful instruction (a process to a lesson), we are just enabling mediocre education.

I am a teacher, so please don't blame me for being against teachers...I blame the district. There is a climate of elitist arrogance by this district that is not seen at other, equally achieving districts. Also-the teachers at my child's school are so Unionized that during open house-they walk around and shut each other's doors at the end of the hour, they have told our fundraising board that even though we contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars for "extras" on a yearly basis-that by CONTRACT they are not obligated to do any of it.

I wish we would have known the all show and no go before we bought here.

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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:51 am

My comment probably sounded like I was blaming teachers so sorry for that, but my issues are entirely with federal, state, and local school board entities and the entrenched mindset they seem to suffer. In short, what it boils down to is schools having a mandate for test results at levels that insure future funds. This cycle of idiocy has to stop now. As for the unions, I am neither pro- not anti- because I recognize both the good and the hindrance they create. It's always disgusting when politics interfere with our kid's school day.

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Posted by member
a resident of Danville
on Jul 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Unstructured time gives children TIME to imagine and create(assuming they aren't plugged in to some 21st Century technology- like Facebook, ipods, etc.) The current "21st Century" educational sound bite and fad is hogwash. What is in store for the next 89 years of the 21st Century? Certainly neither educators nor educational managers know.

USING the latest and greatest consumer electronics is completely different from INVENTING AND DEVELOPING them. One needs time and portable knowledge to invent.

Fundamental skill sets and knowledge prepare students to adapt. Fact based knowledge provides portable tools for creativity. Provide instruction in a content based curriculum at school and give young people a few hours per day to embrace family when the school day ends.

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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jul 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

@ member-

"What is in store for the next 89 years of the 21st Century? Certainly neither educators nor educational managers know."

That is precisely the crux of it, yet these "leaders" operate on the pretense that they DO know. Sadly, it is all too possible that we should be teaching them a very different skill set - like how to survive in an increasing inhospitable climate.

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Posted by OldHenry
a resident of Danville
on Jul 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I'm 83 now and I have worked with scientists, engineers and students for many years. I came to realize that the only thing that too much homework accomplishes is to extinguish all creativity in the student.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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