The other week, I once again spent some time with my sons classroom talking about composting. I took time to collect the homework I had assigned them, and read it out loud in hopes to get a small discussion going. Upon reading through the work I was met with mixed feelings. While the the overall look of the homework ran from basic to something I would probably write, which of the two, the later scares me. I quickly became aware that something was happening, of which in my book have no productive value. First thing I became aware of was that some of the parents were pretty much dictating the homework to the kids. A quick sample sentence I encountered went something to the effect of “On the first three days there were no changes, but on days 4,5,and 6 the piece of fruit became soft and mushy to touch”. Don’t get me wrong, while this sounds great, I honestly don’t think that an average second grader would describe an apple in a plastic bag this way. (If I’m wrong please some one out there correct me). This followed by words that I read, that, when I asked the author of one of the papers, I was given a wide eyed looked as, why would I know that word.
This post is to tell parents my perception of homework, and why I personally choose, and gave the work I did. This is a second career choice for me and in my first career, retail management, I’ve been tasked with solving all sorts of issues, whether it be increasing productivity or cutting payroll or maximizing scheduling hours for buisness needs. As with any issue that may arise one must have a clear idea of what the hell is going on. If you don’t, you end up causing more harm than good.
To me, homework is the eqivilent of using any of the assements tools one would find in retail, things like looking at dollar made vs hours paid, or looking at traffic patterns and sales paterns. Which are used when trying to find ways to not just how to cut payroll, but making sure one is properly staffed. The homework I gave was rather simple in my eyes, and I felt that it would require some small guiding assistance from the parents, which was my intentions. The assignment was as followed:
1. Get a piece of fruit or vegatable and place in a ziplock bag
2. Write one sentence saying what fruit or vegetable you choose.
3. Write a sentence stating whether the fruit or vegtable belong to green or brown category
4. Over the course of the next week write at least 5 more sentences discribing what was happening inside the bag.
So over the course of one week they would write seven sentences total, of which two I gave already.
I also gave them a list of words, and phrases, that they could use to help come up with some sentences. My thoughts were, I’d be able to come up with something more tailored for them after reviewing there homework. After seeing how descriptive there parents, are I am still unaware of what kind of work to give the children, but on the flip side I know what to give the parents. In simple terms I can not honestly gauge what the children are capable of doing, or how to help those who may need assistance. In my book homework is to me a test. While it may not be the year end test, I do feel it is another tool educators have in assisting our children. So parents when you do your childs work you are short changing your child, you are making the job of our EDUCATORS that much more difficult. Parents think of this way, you go to doctors office with a lower back pains, and upon the doctor asking you how have you been feeling, you respond, fine! Do you think the doctor is going to refer you to see a chiropactor for your back or give you some medicine, Nope. So don’t send your children to school with your words in thier books.
So my question to the educators is, how do you handle this issue, or do you consider this to not be an issue at all? Do you speak to the parents to stress the importance of the child doing the work? Do you offer them guidance on more effective ways to help their children with their school work? And last is this even an issue worth discussing?
And my question to the parents, how do you go about guiding your child when helping them with their homework? Have you ever found yourself just giving your child the answer? Have you ever discussed the homework with the Educator?