Monday, February 11, 2013
I recently received this letter:
"I am an incredibly frustrated Mom right now who's just at the tip of trying to figure out if there is something wrong with my son, or me, or the homework he's given in general. He's a smart, pretty typical 8-year-old boy in the 2nd grade. I know I'm grasping here, but am a bit desperate... I was just wondering if the amount of homework he's given for 4 nights seems accurate or a bit much. I just don't have any point of reference, so thought I'd ask and see what happens. Here's roughly the amount he's been given every week since a couple of weeks into September. It's posted on Sunday afternoon and is due on Friday morning:
Read each night for 10-15 minutes. Pick one of the books you read, or a chapter from a book, to complete the Worksheet attached below.
Math worksheets plus, practice taking the math facts test! Students should be able to complete both sides in 5 minutes by the end of 2nd grade!
Spelling. Only work on your spelling group's word. Monday: Print, cut out and sort your group's pattern words. Show and explain your sort to a parent before writing it on the Word Sort worksheet. (Nightly sort is encouraged.) Tuesday-Thursday: Choose 3 activities (total for the week) to complete from the Spelling Homework Choice Board.
Write a letter to someone you care about, explaining why they are important to you. OR Write a Valentine's Day letter to a person of your choosing. Make sure you write in complete sentences and use expensive words!
I'd appreciate ANY input you might have. I'm aware the policy for the district is 30-45 minutes a night for 2nd and 3rd graders which is SUPPOSED to include reading. We/he can sometimes spend that much time on the writing alone (getting him to hash out his thoughts, then having him actually put pencil to paper and write the sentences out, legibly)."
This was my response to her:
It looks like a lot to me and each child will be different in how they complete the homework. I suggest reviewing the SRVUSD policy here. I've highlighted in red the sentences that I feel are the most meaningful. Feel free to copy any parts of the policy to your son's teacher.
What worked for me when my kids were that age was to focus on the reading (making it fun and pleasurable - usually a cozy, un-rushed snuggle time with a book before bed). If you read for 20 minutes before bed, then have your son spend only 15-20 minutes more on some of the other homework earlier that day. If it doesn't all get done, simply write a note at the top of the page telling the teacher your son spent the recommended 35-40 minutes on homework for that day.
Timing is everything. My sons always needed to let off steam when they got home from school. The first thing I did was feed them and made them run around outside for a long time, playing. Later, when they had settled down, they tackled homework. I wrote many notes on the tops of their unfinished papers while they were in elementary school telling their teachers that play time and family time was more important that day than overloading them on homework.
If you are stressed about their homework, they will be stressed. Don't over emphasize it. It's just homework, and they aren't graded on it until middle school. I know it can seemingly take over a family's life. Don't let it. Focus on what is really important - family time, play time, adequate sleep, eating well, friends, relatives, etc...
Feel free to give the link to my blog to any or all teachers you encounter.