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#1065752 - Sun Sep 21 2014 01:22 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
MotherGoose Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 22 2002
Posts: 4989
Loc: Western Australia
Quote:
Parents commute to work, sometimes more than an hour each way. Or do you propose the schools offer babysitters for the parents that leave for work at 7am or earlier?


No, I think an 8-hour/9-to-5 day at school is quite enough. Supervision outside those hours is up to the parents. I don't think the schools should be providing a baby-sitting service no matter what the length of the school day.

Quote:
Additionally, many students are involved in after school activities be they religious instruction (which is *not* done on public school property), a scouting group, sports, music lessons, dance lessons, etc. When would those take place?


Some of these activities take place after school but many (such as Scouts and sports) take place on weekends and at night so little or no change may be required there. Some activities such as sport and music can be (and many already are) offered in school hours.

Quote:
many upper level high school students do have after school jobs


I would think that not having to do homework would make this aspect of life easier rather than harder. Many children who have after-school jobs have to contend with 6 hours of school, up to 4 hours of work, and then still have homework on top of that. Also, this aspect may vary from country to country. For example, over here, most kids work for pocket money rather than to contribute to the family coffers as a necessity.
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#1065753 - Sun Sep 21 2014 01:24 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Mommakat Offline
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Registered: Sat May 09 2009
Posts: 82
Loc: Mandurah WesternAustralia
Diff'rent strokes for different folks. I think MJ you are missing the point here. The crux of the matter is the heavy load of homework given to children which precludes any leisure time. You know the old saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"

It has ever been thus. I can recall in my school days the amount of homework that was loaded onto us. I think some very valid points have been raised and I don't think you can generalise on hours. Personally I think this rule about how many hours a student can have for homework is irrelevant and a bit hard to control or police as one student may work faster than another. What are they supposed to do? Clock on and clock off right in the middle of a Math's problem because the time is up.

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#1065759 - Sun Sep 21 2014 02:32 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
MiraJane Offline
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Registered: Tue Apr 30 2013
Posts: 1676
Loc: New York USA
I'm not missing the point. I grew up in a school district where two hours of homework started in first grade and grew progressively longer as the years went by. No where did I say gee, that worked for me and the thousands of others over the years, so it's good enough for everyone else.

Mother Goose- music, instruments and voice, is taught in many school districts as part of the curriculum. So, as part of gym classes, a section on dance, every single year whether we wanted to dance with the opposite sex or not. The music lessons I refered to were in addition to what is lean red in school. School buildings are generally not opened for scouts etc. on weekends. If they want to meet somewhere, they have to rent a space.

As MommaK noted, different strokes for different folks. What may work, and is done, in Australia, won't work in other countries.


Edited by MiraJane (Sun Sep 21 2014 02:40 AM)

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#1065761 - Sun Sep 21 2014 02:53 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
MotherGoose Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 22 2002
Posts: 4989
Loc: Western Australia
Extra-curricular activities such as Scouts are rarely held in school buildings - at least in Western Australia. Over here, school buildings generally lay idle when school is not in session. Most of these activities are held in church halls, community centres, local parks, private homes etc. Some of these are free and some are rented. The parents pay fees for these activities which cover those costs.

However, extra-curricular activities are optional and to my way of thinking, not really directly relevant to the issues of 'number of hours at school' and homework, which are compulsory.

Therefore, it is up to the family to decide which activities, and how many activities, are appropriate for their children, after taking into account their school and homework load.

I work for a paediatrician and she counsels parents not to overload their children with too many extra-curricular activities (she advocates a maximum of two to three in primary school and one to two in high school) so that children do have time to play and socialise. Also, the activities should consist of at least one sport and one non-sport (e.g. music) for balance.

I think two hours of homework in first grade is absolutely appalling! Over here, the recommendation for first grade is about 20 minutes.
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#1065763 - Sun Sep 21 2014 03:22 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Creedy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 03 2010
Posts: 1281
Loc: Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
Two hours of homework in first grade?? At age 5, MiraJane? That's first grade over here.

The poor little things are barely toilet-trained by then and their little brains are still undergoing all sorts of synaptic pruning etc and trying to make sense of their world. That's terrible if that's what you meant. Stolen childhoods.

If you meant high school, however, it's still too much for their first year there.

The worst thing about too much homework is that it doesn't encourage a love of learning in most children. Instead they look on school as something they have to endure. If they can't keep up with an excessive homework workload, their grades drop, they begin to play up in class, they eventually drop out, they start wandering the streets, they get involved with street-gangs - and it's all downhill from there.

That's a pattern that's followed right throughout. In any western country.

To get a decent job requires a decent education, but of all things, that education should be a thing of pleasure. Vitally important in fact. It shouldn't be something that is looked upon with dislike, despair, or feelings of inadequacy and failure.

The human brain can only absorb so much at any given time before the attention begins to wander. Kids become very tired, and teenagers particularly so. They also need more sleep than normal. It's such a troublesome time for them. They have so much to DEAL with, emotionally, intellectually, physically, sexually, socially, so many adjustments, and so many changes. The last thing they need, on top of all that, is endless hours of homework every evening, on weekends, and, even by some lousy teachers here, on school holidays.

The homework load - and the expectations - have both increased drastically, without an accompanying physiological increase in the capabilities of the human child. The system is trying to force adult abilities and capabilities onto minds that just aren't ready yet. It's a form of child abuse.
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#1065771 - Sun Sep 21 2014 04:25 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
MotherGoose Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 22 2002
Posts: 4989
Loc: Western Australia
Quote:
It's a form of child abuse


I had not thought about homework in those terms but, gee, you're not wrong (in my opinion).

I work for a developmental paediatrician and she specialises in children who have learning difficulties for whatever reason. The bulk of our practice involves children who have anxiety, depression and behavioural problems, in addition to learning difficulties, often as a direct result of the demands placed upon them by the education system and their inability to cope.

It used to be that parents had the option of whether or not to send their children to pre-school or pre-primary school. It is now compulsory in Western Australia for children to attend pre-primary if they turn 5 years of age by 30 June. Since our school year runs from January to December, this means that they may be starting compulsory schooling as young as 4 1/2 years.

I think it is wrong and if I was the parent of a young child today, I would point blank refuse to enrol my child if I felt they were not ready for school at that age. I think you are right, Creedy - it is stealing their childhoods.
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Don't say "I can't" ... say " I haven't learned how, yet." (Reg Bolton)

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#1065777 - Sun Sep 21 2014 05:36 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
MiraJane Offline
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Registered: Tue Apr 30 2013
Posts: 1676
Loc: New York USA
Originally Posted By: Creedy
Two hours of homework in first grade?? At age 5, MiraJane? That's first grade over here.


First grade is usually age six here. And in my highly competitive school district, yes that was the homework load. Last two yrs of high school the recommended amount was 3-4 hrs, at least, a night. No, I'm not kidding.

Kids are expected to be able to read at least at a rudimentary level by the time they leave kindergarten (the year before first grade). And now the call is out to start computer learning in kindergarten too.

First grade homework was mostly reading a book and half a week, some math, the other subjects and usually some project like cutting out circles in the different colors, pasting them to construction paper and labeling them. We didn't get homework in every subject every night.

I realize and know the school district I went to was an exception to the United States not only as a whole, but even within New York State.

As for computers at such a young age, I'm opposed to that (she says as she types after being online all night). Children are losing the ability to have face to face conversations and understand social interactions. They don't know how to interact without a screen in front of their face. Even dumber, script writing is no longer being taught in many places "because all they need to do is know how to type." No, they don't.

In my own way to protest this, I no longer accept text messages from my younger nieces & nephews. I write them letters, they have to write to me, my sister, and their mom and dad. Their handwriting is slowly becoming legible.

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#1065819 - Sun Sep 21 2014 01:50 PM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Jakeroo Offline
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Registered: Sat Aug 30 2008
Posts: 2064
Loc: Alberta Canada
Good for you MJ! Handwriting is indeed a lost "art" (I guess that's what they call things that aren't in current vogue, even though they should be a requisite instead).

And contrary to someone's undisguised slam at me, this is a DISCUSSION forum isn't it? And we're all entitled to our opinions, based on our upbringing and what country we call home.

Not everyone in the world lives in the exact SAME way everyone else does. That's why forums CAN be (i.e. "should be") informative and educational.

As for homework? I wince at suggestions that it's somehow abusive or criminal. When those children who (gasp) "HAD" to do homework get out into the "real world" (i.e. hopefully earning a living and not living in their parent's homes til the age of 35 or more lol) does anyone actually think they ever have to STOP doing some sort of "homework"/studying/researching in order to continue to be successful at their occupations? You know, like say doctors, lawyers, scientists as a small sample? Doesn't anyone think that early exposure to having to doing this at an early age might possibly be an advantage at some point later in life? Or on a much LOWER lever, does anyone here actually think that being able to "text/tweet talk" is more important in the big picture than real spelling/language exercises? Even if you're a lifeguard (a necessary and worthy occupation), you still had to learn to swim at some point, yes? lol

They (whoever "they" are lol) say we learn best in our childhood years. I personally don't see how school assignments interfere with "being a child"/playtime, as it didn't affect mine to any degree that seemed "excessive". Go to Africa. Talk to the kids there. They would HAPPILY accept "homework" of any form and in any amount, if they only had the chance to go to school at ALL.



Edited by Jakeroo (Sun Sep 21 2014 01:55 PM)
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#1065824 - Sun Sep 21 2014 02:58 PM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 4095
Loc: Norwich England�UK���...
Quote:
I grew up in a school district where two hours of homework started in first grade


First grade is roughly age 6 or 6+.

What was a common bedtime for first graders in those days?

As I've already mentioned, when I was age 6 my standard routine was as follows:

4.30pm: School ends
4.40pm: Got home
About 5pm or slightly earlier: High tea
5.15-6pm or 6.15pm: Play, perhaps listening to a gramophone record (78rpm) and time with my parents.
6.15pm: Began to get ready for bed. Mother then read and/or sang to me.
7pm: Lights outs! End of waking day.

As for homework - even 20 minutes of it just wouldn't have fitted in at that age, except at the cost of time with my parents.

My primary school (age 5-11) was not particularly competitive in outlook, but it got good results. In my year group, 8 out of 42 (~ 19%) passed the 11+.

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#1065889 - Sun Sep 21 2014 08:29 PM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Creedy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 03 2010
Posts: 1281
Loc: Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
That's a great program. Very much so. It'd work beautifully in winter here, but the sun is still up at 7, so perhaps 7:30pm bedtime would be better.

Lots of playing outside in the fresh air with friends is so good for children.

Strangely enough, with hardly any homework here at all in primary school back "in the good old days" when I was at school, Australia still produced exceptionally bright people in all fields of work, Jakeroo. Children who enjoy the learning experience want to learn, and will learn. The trick is to ensure that learning is a positive experience for them, not sending them home loaded down like little pack donkeys with excess work and unrealistic expectations.

Piling more and more homework on kids isn't going to achieve a thing unless they are absorbing subject content, retaining it, retrieving it - and enjoying it.

Today, school results, for boys in particular, are dropping somewhat disturbingly here. It's sending alarm bells off everywhere in the education field. Girls though are achieving at a higher and higher rate. They're now overtaking boys in maths and science as well, subjects which boys always dominated previously.

Girls are coping and achieving, boys are beginning to fall behind. It's a real concern. How much excess homework plays a part in that is a matter of debate. As Mothergoose commented, education should not be producing children with "anxiety, depression and behavioural problems, in addition to learning difficulties, often as a direct result of the demands placed upon them by the education system and their inability to cope". Education should be about producing healthy, happy, well balanced individuals with a LOVE of the learning process, and who are able to cope competently with all their tomorrows.
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"Beauty is fleeting, its memory timeless"...Eidhneach O'Diomasaigh

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#1065890 - Sun Sep 21 2014 08:29 PM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Creedy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 03 2010
Posts: 1281
Loc: Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
(Sun is still up in summer ie)
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#1065896 - Sun Sep 21 2014 09:31 PM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
MiraJane Offline
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Registered: Tue Apr 30 2013
Posts: 1676
Loc: New York USA
Originally Posted By: bloomsby


First grade is roughly age 6 or 6+.

What was a common bedtime for first graders in those days?


I can't answer that. We never had bedtimes in my family. When we got tired, we went to bed. My parents tried a set bedtime for my younger brother, the youngest in the family, but that never worked. I think they mostly sent him to bed because he was a spoiled brat. We still call him a brat.

We sometimes had a nap in the late afternoon or early evening, but for most my life, and for my siblings, we adjust better during the wee hours of the morning. Two of my siblings have jobs where they work overnight. They were miserable with "regular hours". If you notice my hours here, you'll see I still keep those late, very late, night hours.

Quote:
As I've already mentioned, when I was age 6 my standard routine was as follows:

4.30pm: School ends
4.40pm: Got home
About 5pm or slightly earlier: High tea
5.15-6pm or 6.15pm: Play, perhaps listening to a gramophone record (78rpm) and time with my parents.
6.15pm: Began to get ready for bed. Mother then read and/or sang to me.
7pm: Lights outs! End of waking day.



Our school hours were different. We got out at 3-3:30 in elementary/grammar school. That gave us time for after school activities, catechism or other religious teaching, scouting, music lessons (extra ones besides music in school), or running around playing. Dinner (high tea, I guess) was when the working parent came home. Homework was done after school if no lessons and the weather was lousy, after dinner or before dinner after what interested us. Therre were times, in my family with odd sleep patterns, I'd wake up at 2-3am, go downstairs and find the whole family awake around the dining room table, reading, playing a game, my sister playing her violin, someone else on the piano. Guess I'm not a good one to discuss scheduling for young kids and growing up.

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#1065905 - Mon Sep 22 2014 12:16 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Creedy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 03 2010
Posts: 1281
Loc: Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
What fun!
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"Beauty is fleeting, its memory timeless"...Eidhneach O'Diomasaigh

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#1065924 - Mon Sep 22 2014 12:50 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Creedy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 03 2010
Posts: 1281
Loc: Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
School for us was 9-3 in Primary. I loved its structure and parameters, and of course the lessons. I REALLY loved the learning. After school for a couple of hours we played all the games under the sun outside and got up to as much mischief as possible as well.

Mischief is very under rated I think. It's really very creative.

Tea was about 5:30, then baths, then homework if any given at all, and more games but usually board types, until bedtime. Dad wouldn't allow a TV in the house while we were at school. Wise man. The amazing thing about that was that we grew to love reading instead.

That was school days. Weekends: Saturday - playing basically, swimming, sports. Sunday - church and religious instruction ZZZzzz. I'm afraid I played up terribly in church trying to get the others to laugh while trying not to incur the wrath of the nuns at the same time. The parish priest was the sweetest gentle old man under the sun, but oh my goodness his sermons were awwwwwwwwful. I wasn't inspired one bit. Yet, he was so truly very gentle and kind, he made us love God by default.

High School, 8:45-3:30, was about as structured as a rummage sale. I hated it and missed the "security" and supervision of the one teacher per grade in Primary. We had to gallop from room to room for different subjects and different teachers each time, the boys were idiots and disrupted classes, everything about it was foreign and unsettling, and the teachers, apart from the English and History ones, made the lessons as interesting as mud. Then gave homework as well to plug up the gaps, though nowhere the same amount they're dishing out today. I didn't enjoy learning again until I went to university.
_________________________
"Beauty is fleeting, its memory timeless"...Eidhneach O'Diomasaigh

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#1065969 - Mon Sep 22 2014 10:28 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
bloomsby Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 4095
Loc: Norwich England�UK���...
Quote:
Girls though are achieving at a higher and higher rate


The same is happening here, too, and has been in full swing for three decades or longer. In the 1980s some Local Education Authorities in England and Wales appointed 'Equal Opportunities Officers' whose job was to try to ensure equality of opportunity between girls and boys. Into the schools went the young feminists, fully expecting to find girls held back from achievement by prejudice and stereotypes in the schools and at home. In next to no time most of them found that it was the boys who were giving cause for concern - caught up in a 'laddish' culture that saw good school results as - would you believe it? - 'sissy'.

However, this is really something for a separate thread.

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#1066010 - Mon Sep 22 2014 05:08 PM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Creedy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 03 2010
Posts: 1281
Loc: Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
That's shocking frown
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"Beauty is fleeting, its memory timeless"...Eidhneach O'Diomasaigh

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#1066018 - Mon Sep 22 2014 08:23 PM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Bruyere Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18891
Loc: California USA
I'd just noticed this interesting thread and wanted to give the French and US perspective.
I'm in my mid fifties and grew up mainly in California. My children were raised in the States and in France. My own experiences now are in all levels of the public school system as I am a 'supply teacher' or substitute teacher. I see absolutely everything and I tutor in people's homes and getting them through the homework is some of what I do if necessary.

France: you are entitled to public school from two and a half years old if available that early in some locations, and then, three or four on to high school. Universities are basically very low cost so if you manage to pass that baccalaureate, you are entitled to entrance for a nominal fee.

There is legislation that changes from time to time and it is evolving but my own children were in primary school from eight a.m. to five pm every day. They would get Wednesdays off sometimes and go on Saturdays. They changed this in some areas though but teachers' unions were up in arms about it. Most towns and cities offered a very well planned and in fact, gorgeous meal with great pride and if you check a website for an average town, you'll see the menus are tip top. My kids ate beautiful food. They also provide you with menus so that if you ever make the mistake of serving the same thing twice in the day or week, woe betide you! Our little Alsatian village did not have a Canteen for little ones when I lived there for two years because of the former German government regime they kept...Kinder Kuchen Kirchen. I mean that it was more rare to have this there in those towns. They figured Mutti must be home whipping up something for their lunch. They break for about an hour and a half and eat a full course meal with knives and forks and civilized manners as this is considered part of their education. Then they get a bit of a recess.

Homework begins very early and I'd say my daughter's school when she was six was populated by internationals who were very old school and Vieille France so they had two hours of work to do! Yes, and poems had to be memorized in their entirety. As they go by calendar year, there are many young folks who fail as their sensorimotor skills are not up to that pace and they only teach cursive with pens. Boys typically are delayed. They do provide 'orthophonistes' or speech therapists to help them through the rough patches. I saw several lefties have to repeat years but they had special lessons. My daughter had those two hours of frustrating homework and though she is a workhorse of a kid and a dancer, she'd just suffer the maths as they're tough to master. Her school was bilingual and yet, the expat Frenchies were not as fluent as the bilinguals at home. I remember her translating for the teachers who didn't happen to speak the other languages! Like a science teacher who didn't speak French or the French teacher who did not know much English. My son only went to French school until he was a teen and atypically, was put up a grade when he was small. He was asked if he could handle the extra homework and he said sure, no problem.
Bear in mind that teaching French is dictations instead of spelling lists of words in isolation, you must know grammar to get it right. He did. We'd have other parents calling up the house for him to see if he knew the dictation for that week, and the parents would both be on the phone writing it down. He was a quick study.
When they get older the plot thickens and the hours grow into about three hours in order to make the grade.
One of my worst memories was in Alsace Lorraine when a superintendent's child was in with ours. He decided the maths weren't hard enough so insisted the teacher give them a list of story problems that wrecked our entire holiday! They were the type where you have containers of oil dripping at a certain rate on a train going a certain distance and mileage and then, how much oil was in the jar. Horrid things! My father in law was a master at these and he couldn't do it. The cousins tried to help as they'd had this type of maths, and to no avail. My child was sobbing! Turns out most of the parents told the teacher no, they were just too hard.
Anyway, high school or lycee homework takes ages to complete. My daughter ended up in pre professional dance school which meant correspondence coursework and tutors sent to the school for some subjects. Like our Connor, everything was homework.
When we came back here to the USA, that system was out the window! It was very rigid so the flexibility here was hard to handle for one of my children who shall go unnamed.

US schools in my day were very lax. I laugh when I ask my classmates, 'did you actually do homework at home?' and very few of us took it home. We'd find some way to finish it off or the teacher would have a set up where you worked at your own pace (my favorite) or some people did it at home if it was very involved like higher maths. We were only in school from about eight to three tops. US schools really seem more into social activities compared to European schools. I see this every day of my work now. However, students often have jobs and volunteer work and this is important to their success. I told my daughter who was not thrilled to go back to the States...you'll get to work and drive over there. She did. Found jobs immediately and loved having her own money. Universities look at what a child can do as well as getting good grades.

Homework now in the US is the thing. Grade school has something most days and the main benefit is that parents can see what kids are doing. We have perhaps fifty percent of our population if not more who are first generation immigrants (I work in a three hundred twenty mile square district) and they are very keen on their children succeeding and many get private tutors. Many programs are available after school hours to help them and are subsidized by the state govt.

High schoolers have to do some form of homework now and teachers are required to dole it out. I'm not in that position but when I was, I would give something to reinforce language skills that require repetition and you can't do that with students in class as much. I have seen some major messes when a child is ill or has an emergency and the teacher has such a rigid system set up that the kid is failing within a week! I would never ever have such a rigid system for my students.
Projects are a typical way I'd do things and I try not to give out group projects unless they want them. You'll always get someone who doesn't pull their weight! Preparation for life.

In the prep type schools where I've taught, the amount of homework is astounding. One thing I won't do is have useless homework. I see that every day and if the workbooks are not well written, I won't give them out.

The typical elementary school homework is practicing spelling words and I like this because in some schools where you have a large immigrant population and fifty percent of your students' parents require translators for meetings, they can help their children study for this test. I see the parents dropping them off and they are so proud of having helped them.
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#1066053 - Tue Sep 23 2014 06:40 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
Creedy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 03 2010
Posts: 1281
Loc: Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
That was really interesting smilee
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"Beauty is fleeting, its memory timeless"...Eidhneach O'Diomasaigh

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#1154494 - Mon Dec 26 2016 09:43 AM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
frosty123 Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 10 2016
Posts: 26
Loc: North Dakota USA
Unfortunately I started getting homework in the 1st grade.
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#1154661 - Wed Dec 28 2016 05:29 PM Re: Homework - At what age did you start being set it?
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 4095
Loc: Norwich England�UK���...
Wow. That is early, but it seems to be standard in some parts of the U.S.

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