Saturday, December 27, 2014

Favorite comments of '14: cranberry, Hainish, Auntie Ann, Anonymous, lgm

On Should kids have homework? Should parents help?

cranberry said...
Homework should not be graded. That would remove the temptation to meddle. Tracking should be determined on the basis of work completed in class ONLY.

My sympathy for the NYT columnist is nonexistant. She's a cheater, and she's raising her child to cheat.
Hainish said...
The problem with saying that "parents should help" is that many students don't _have_ parents who can or will help them. It's the Matthew effect in action.

(I'm rather glad the literature PhD got a poor score on "her" essay, whatever else it may say about the quality of the assignment. Why should an ordinary middle schooler have to compete with *her*?)
   
Auntie Ann said...
This depends on lots of things. Near the end of school this year, our 6th grader was doing volumes and surface area of prisms and cylinders. The final project was the following:

Pick an object

Measure it and determine the surface area and volume

If you were to pack it in a triangular prism, how big should the prism be? Give dimensions, surface area and volume.

If you were to pack it in a cylinder, give dimensions, surface area and volume.

Based on your calculations, which box should you use?

(So far so good, I guess, but the final step was...)

Build the box.

---

I let him work on the box for a while, in case he could do it quickly. After an hour of frustration with packing tape, I took over and did it myself.

If the homework is as dumb and time consuming at that, I have no trouble stepping in.
 
Anonymous said...
I found that there were two main reasons I had to help with homework. The first was because the teacher had not taught what needed to be taught for the kid to be successful with the assignment. The second was when the assignment was developmentally inappropriate from an executive function perspective. There were certain classes where I very rarely had to help and certain ones where I had to reteach (using the term *re*teach is really giving the teacher too much credit) the material every single day. It had nothing to do with how difficult the material was and everything to do with teaching and appropriateness of assignments.
lgm said...
Every time I had to help was because someone in the classroom failed to maintain order or teach the material.

What I am tired of is all the parents who write their child's papers just so they can get into honors English. Thanks people. My kid now doesn't get to learn because your kid is struggling so much, despite the tutoring, that the instruction and discussion is dragged down every.single.day. By Friday, the teacher gets mad, accuses everyone of not reading the assignments, and hands out more essays as punishment, thinking the kids will have to read more closely to get the essays done. Instead, you do it for him. Thanks. We were going to spend part of the weekend at orchestra, and the rest with some family time. You cancelled that, due to your posing and my decision to let my kid learn.
Anonymous said...
Build the box? My solution for that is a tersely worded note that we don't have the supplies to do ridiculous homework assignments.

Funnily enough, the teachers never know what to say to that.

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