Our children do NOT need longer school days!

I just read the story that The State Board of Education signed off on rule changes that would allow schools to lengthen their days to shorten their year.

From the AJC:

“The State Board of Education early today signed off on rule changes that will allow schools to change from the traditional 180-day school year, provided students still end up with the same amount of class time.” …

“The Murray County School System, located in Chatsworth, has already approved a 160-day calendar for this fall that adds an hour to each school day, but allows students to start the year after Labor Day.” …

“Dana Tofig, spokesman for the State Department of Education, said several school systems appeared interested in looking at a schedule change back when gas was over $4 a gallon.”

This decision just stuns me as a mother!

Apparently the School Board members are too old to remember their children getting off the bus exhausted!

Last year, my kindergartner fell asleep on the bus ride home every single day. My 2nd grader was completely worn out and just mentally done by the time she came home. They work so hard at school and that is a very long day for children. Adults talk all the time about work/life balance. Where is that balance for children during the school year?

Here’s is our current schedule during the school year:

7:30 a.m. – Wake up and get ready for school. This is very late for most school children.

8:15 – Catch the school bus.

8:30 to 8:50 – Math lessons before class begins. (The school really pushes letting the kids ride the school bus so they can have this extra instructional time.)

8:50 – Class officially begins.

3:20 p.m. – School gets out!

4 p.m. – Get off the bus exhausted!!!

4 to 5 p.m.- Rest and play

5 p.m. – Start homework, play when they finish

6:30 p.m. – Dinner

7:30 p.m. – Bath and bed routine

8:30 p.m. — In bed

So the state Board of Education thinks it would be appropriate for my children to get off the school bus at 5 p.m.! That is absolutely insane! Children are not going to absorb information when they are exhausted. And you are just going to have discipline problems keeping children at school too long.

And when will they fit in sports, church, activities and their homework? I don’t think they’re going to take away the homework.

I’m a big supporter of public school but bad decisions like this drive parents to private institutions where they can have more control over their child’s school day.

I actually don’t mind the idea of spreading school days around the year — as in some during the summer. I think the summer is pretty long. But I don’t think that is their goal. I think their goal is to cut school days and save money on transportation costs.

I’m sorry if schools want to save money on gas for their buses. There must be other solutions than overloading our children and making them hate going to school and hate learning! Many of the universities use alternative fuel buses. Maybe that is a gradual move the school districts could make instead of making our children suffer for those cost savings.

What do you think? Could your kids really stand being at school another hour? Would they learn during that hour or just stare at their teacher? Could it affect their like or dislike for school? What are other solutions the schools should consider to save gas money?

Clarification: Dana Tofig from the State Board sent me a note to clarify that the State Education Board just adjusted their rules to align with what the state legislature passed. (So they’re the ones that don’t see their kids get off the school bus tired! They’re also the ones that wanted to eliminate funding for school nurses. At least we got that nipped in the bud!) Here’s the clarification:

“The State Board did not make the rule change to allow for shorter years and longer days. That was done by the state legislature through HB 193. Because it is now law (signed by the Governor) the state board has to adjust their rules to align with state law.”

“Additionally, the board rule changes have not been approved yet — there has to be a 30 day public input period. However, the law is the law. Even if the state board didn’t change its rules, the law would still be in effect.”

99 comments Add your comment

Joyce

July 9th, 2009
2:12 pm

This kind of schedule would definitely kill family time for us. Religious Ed on Tuesday nights and sports practice one night a week, plus homework, dinner, bath and a little “down time” before bedtime (8:00)is pretty hectic as it is!

Gary

July 9th, 2009
2:25 pm

You obviously didn’t understand the decision. The State BOE basically did away with a state mandate and gave the local schools systems more control over how they put together their calendars. Instead of mandating 180 days and a school day of 8:30-3:30, schools are now allowed to tweak the times and number of days to more or less. Local boards now have more control over this as long as they have the same number of class hours.

If you have a problem with your school calendar now, then you can now go to the local BOE.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 9th, 2009
2:31 pm

hey Gary — I get they can control it — but the intent was to lengthen days to lessen days to cut gas bill — that is what I have a problem with — As I said, if they want to spread the vacation days around or even go more days, I’m actually fine with that. What I am not fine with is lengthening the days.

TKH

July 9th, 2009
2:34 pm

I have to second Gary. What this did was not lengthen the school day – though that is how one school system decided to use this new freedom – what it does is places the control in the school board’s hands. Essentially you now have MORE of a say in your child’s school schedule. I agree there are certain pitfalls to longer school days, so if that’s a fear of yours now is the time to start speaking up and letting your local school board know how you feel. And I don’t think there will be huge push by most school boards to lengthen days and shorten the school calendar now that gas has gone back down.

CC

July 9th, 2009
2:37 pm

Could you imagine homework after that long day?

JJ

July 9th, 2009
2:37 pm

I’m so glad public school is over for us. I’m glad my daughter is out!!!!

This will be the first year in 12, that I have not received that big packet in the mail…….the first year I don’t have registration, etc……..

No more fund raisers, no more Ann Frank projects (3 years in a row), no more summer reading, etc….WOO HOO…..

Katherine

July 9th, 2009
2:40 pm

Wow…that’s pretty outrageous. I went to three high schools (my family moved twice while I was in high school…I thought that my life was ruined!). At the first, I started around 8 in the morning and got out at 2:20 (that was in WA state). At the second, I started at 7:20 and got out at 2 (IL). At the third (in GA), I started at 8:13 and got out at 3:23. After being in schools that got out before 3:00, being in school until almost 3:30 made for what felt like THE longest days. The idea of younger children being in school for even longer is ridiculous. How do they expect kids to have time for homework, family and extracurricular activities if they are taking away an hour of the day? (And what about older kids who are also trying to fit in a part-time job?)

I wonder how the teachers feel about this.

GA Teacher

July 9th, 2009
2:41 pm

I am a teacher and my students are engaged in lessons from 9:20 until 4:00. They are already tired by the time they get to last period. I don’t think lengthening the school day is going to help. I’m all for lengthening the school year though. Give the kids more breaks! It is amazing how rested and more interested they are after even a four day weekend. I know that may pose problems for parents with small children, but surely we can reach a decision that is best for students and parents alike!

GA Teacher

July 9th, 2009
2:44 pm

Let me also add my theory on homework. I have taught math for many years and it sickens me to see other teachers giving students 45-60 minutes of math practice every night of the week. I understand that students need practice, but my students can show me what they know by answering 10 or less problems, not 40! We spend the first few minutes of class reviewing homework and answering questions that students have. I find this much more valuable than giving students busy work that many teachers don’t even look at!

RH

July 9th, 2009
3:00 pm

The problem with ANY change is the fact that it will disturb something.
Everything our children do will have to be altered. Sports and other extras such as music lessons is the biggest issue the older the kids get.

The other thing I still cannot fathom is getting out late May and returning in early August. It almost impossible to vacation with friends and family in other states when some are year round and others get out mid June and rturn late August. Throw a kid or two in the mix that participate in sports and you NEVER get to enjoy the Summer.

Our education system needs an overhaul just as bad if not worse than our heathcare system.

April

July 9th, 2009
3:08 pm

I get the point that this gives local school boards more control. I just hope these school boards realize the impact of a longer school day on students – especially younger students. As a teacher and a parent, I have observed that students do much better in the morning classes than in afternoon classes. This is why I LOVE schools that use a rotating or revolving schedule so students do not have the same class last every day. The difference between two similar groups of students with one group taught 1st period and another last period is shocking. The 1st period group will always move at a quicker pace, be more alert, and require less re-teaching than the last period group.

Mike

July 9th, 2009
3:09 pm

I am a teacher too and do feel the children getting tired by the end of the day. But if you can get them some hands-on time at that point where they can get out of their seat to do things, it helps.

I am not for or against this, but I would like to say that we have issues with budgets and funding right now. Lots of good and qualified teachers have recently lost their jobs around the state and country. If we can find other ways to cut back on costs, other than make classes bigger and fire teachers, I think we owe it to everyone to at least explore the possiblity.

DB

July 9th, 2009
3:10 pm

JJ — but instead of high school packets, your daughter is getting inundated with stuff from college! Meal plans, housing information, orientation, marching band handbooks, placement music, student account information, alcohol awareness class, placement tests, etc., etc. And it’s all addressed to her, not to you! It was all I could do to keep from ripping open a package from the college regarding housing stuff, addressed to my daughter — I was so used to dealing with all the school stuff! Even with one in college already, old habits die hard!

Back to the topic: I wish little ones had more of a chance to play and rest at school than they do, now. Recess in the morning and afternoon, nap time after lunch . . . I remember kindergarten and first grade starting at 8 am, ending at 2:45 pm. And we weren’t taking standardized tests every time I turned around. Sadly, I don’t think schools have that luxury anymore. A longer day may actually give them time to build in things like recess and naps, which might help with the coping.

momof5

July 9th, 2009
3:14 pm

Here in Cobb can you imagine if the days were lengthened by an hour, middle school wouldn’t get out until 5:15! Plus can you imagine all the parents that will cry “what will I do for daycare” if school is 4 days instead of 5? IMO that’s not the school’s problem.

School does need to start after Labor day & end around the 2nd week of June due to the unbearable heat in late July/early August, but stick with the hours & days that are already in place.

Andrea

July 9th, 2009
4:23 pm

When we were in Chatham County, our school year started after Labor Day and it was fine. Maybe it was because of the climate there, but all of the schools system wide had early schedules and ended early. The latest time for ending a school day was 3:00pm. The trade off was of course, their school days started earlier. I don’t have a problem with the altering of the hours. I also don’t mind a longer calendar year with more frequent breaks. Your vacation schedule should NEVER factor into the equation.

The gas prices should factor into the school system decision. When gasoline was unavailable due to the hurricane and prices were astronomical, the prices for the schools went up as well. The schools need so many things academically, if it would help but money back into their budget to alter the hours, I would certainly be willing to hear the proposal.

motherjanegoose

July 9th, 2009
4:54 pm

DB, I was thinking the same thing about JJ and am also thinking that her daughter is going to a state college ( which is technically still public) …am I wrong?

My youngest is 17 and I do not think the changes will go into effect next month. I do understand the reasoning but would hate those long days.

Theresa, what about the kids who are dropped off at day care at 7:00 ( before yours are awake) since their parents have to be at work by 8:00? This is why some schools feel starting at 8:00 or 8:15 catches learning time that many children waste watching morning cartoons at a day care. I am so happy mine never had to do this but I know there are lots of kids out there who do!

The fact is that there are probably certain things that will be changing and many parents are not going to like it. There is no way you can please everyone….not going to happen!

Jesse's Girl

July 9th, 2009
5:15 pm

Leave it alone…..make the summers longer by cutting a day off of Christmas, Thanksgiving and have them go on MLK. Just because its a national holiday doesn’t mean the kids HAVE to have it off….I’m sure longer summers would be more appreciated:) More time to be kids is what most are missing…

DB

July 9th, 2009
6:08 pm

MJG – not sure where JJ’s gal is off to, but I did giggle a bit at your observation that it’s probably still a “public school” . . . and at least she won’t have to sell Sally Foster and buy cookie dough!! So, I guess my daughter is transitioning from “private” to “public” . . . hehe, never thought of it that way! All I could think of is that college will be cheaper than high school, especially if she hangs on to the HOPE!

DB

July 9th, 2009
6:11 pm

MJG has a good point re: the day care dilemma. Day cares open at 6 AM and are often open until early evening. There are LOTS of kids dropped off at day care, ferried to and from school in the day-care bus, and then picked up at dinner time. And the after-school programs at school are almost always crowded.

It may not be optimal, but it’s the best many families can do.

catlady

July 9th, 2009
7:23 pm

Our school has lengthened the school day by 20 minutes for everyone by starting 20 minutes earlier. Of course, after 3 years many of the driveby parents have not learned yet, and continue to drop their children off after the doors are locked and class has been in session (reading class for most) for 20 minutes. Our school has also started another class 30 minutes even earlier several days a week for kids who are behind in math (by invitation) and another class for 30 minutes after school for those who are ahead in math (by invitation). Then, in the run-up to CRCT, we have afterschool tutoring for those we fear will fail the CRCT.

I tell ya, folks, we will soon be keeping them on cots in the gym so we can use evenings and early mornings to “improve” their scores.

We have kids on the bus at 6:30 and off the bus after 5. Too long a day for any kids! They get over 6 hours of intense instruction each day (plus 20 minutes recess and 20 for lunch.) I mean in your face instruction. Kids literally are trotted from one class to another. This is school? No, this is an endurance contest already.

FCM

July 9th, 2009
9:31 pm

catlady I hear you and I think the schools are WRONG for it. Especially Elementary level. They need to have 2 recesses a day (morning and afternoon) and less time trying to jamb every little CRCT fact in their heads. Kids today do not know how to think! They only know how to regurgitate information.

HB

July 9th, 2009
9:58 pm

I think the State Board made the right decision. I don’t think longer days are a great idea, but I’ve heard some rural systems in South Georgia are really low on funds and are desperate to cut transportation costs (which are particularly high in large counties with a spread out population). Also, a longer day can be used other ways by systems not so hard up for funds if they choose. I know of a school system in Virginia where they’ve lengthened the day a little to make every Monday a half-day for parent conferences and teacher planning, not to save money. Other places have lengthened enough to skip Monday or Friday only every other week, saving two days per month of transportation, instead of a 4-day week every week. It also saves money on sick days/subs as teachers now voluntarily schedule doctor’s appointments for those off days where before they didn’t have time free during office hours before. These plans may not work well for all communities (and by all means, petition your local boards and let your voice be heard!), but I think the State is right to let the local systems and their constituents make the call.

Scooby Snacks

July 9th, 2009
10:18 pm

Lengthening the day by an hour gets you down to 160 – so how about a compromise of adding a half hour and getting it down to 170? It really doesn’t matter all that much – kids are very resilent and they will get used to it. Last school session my Pre-Ker was at school by 7:15 and got out at 2:15. It will be more of the same this year for Kindergarten. I do feel for those kids that ride the bus for any length of time. Fortunately for us, our school is 2 blocks away and we walk or ride our bikes.

nurse&mother

July 10th, 2009
1:26 am

Wow, my county neighbors Murray County. I didn’t realize they were considering this. Murray is so small town, rural….. You never hear about news coming from Murray. Funny thing, I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Proud to be an AMurrayCan” ( the car was from Murray County). I thought I was going to run off the road laughing my @$$ off when I read that.

nurse&mother

July 10th, 2009
1:30 am

Ok, back to the topic at hand…. I am glad to know that local school districts have more flexibility with the schedules. If they have recess, and gym EVERY day, I don’t have a problem with extending the school day a little bit. Probably an hour is a little much. I agree with another poster who said if they shaved off a couple of days off Christmas break, take away fall break, etc. the schools could achieve the same result without extending the day too much.

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
7:12 am

Jesse’s Girl…do you actually think GA will vote to give up the holiday and go to school on MLK? Please restart your thinking cap….LOL.

Also, Christmas is officially WINTER BREAK. Perhaps we will eventually give up December 25th as well. Some schools do attend on Good Friday, so don’t think it cannot happen. Times are a changing…..

HB your points are intriguing but the parents who think the school owes them childcare will pitch a FIT if they have to find it with this on and off schedule!

FCM

July 10th, 2009
8:17 am

MJG — Daycares are there to make money….they will charge parents extra to keep Susie and Billie for the whole day, like they do when there are school holidays or half days.

JATL

July 10th, 2009
8:18 am

I love the fact that school systems and BOEs and many parents who don’t want to deal with extra childcare always want more days, longer days, etc. However, most people I know my age and older got a really good education with long summers, plenty of holiday breaks and an 8:30 -2:50 schedule. It comes down to parental involvement and being involved in your child’s life and education.

Having said that, I get the idea behind cutting fuel costs in rural school systems. I wonder if they explored any other way to deal with that? Probably. I think if they’re going to incorporate a longer school day, then the extra time should be for study halls and extra curricular activities -not longer or more classes they’re going to tune out of after 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon.

As for holidays and vacations -YES VACATIONS SHOULD FACTOR INTO SCHEDULES!!!!! I learned an amazing amount on my childhood vacations, and they are incredibly important times for families to bond and be together and for kids to get a break. And MLK day is here to stay as a holiday. Growing up in a private school and teaching in a public metro-area one for years -we NEVER had Good Friday off unless it happened to fall during spring break. That seems to be more of a northern thing.

first time poster

July 10th, 2009
8:20 am

Why not attend school on “Good Friday” or even Christmas, not everyone celebrates these holidays? Winter break is way too long, 2.5 weeks in my county. Many kids have a hard time getting back into the school groove after being off for that length of time. Make it a week, problem solved.

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
8:31 am

FCM….please give me a little credit…I KNOW that daycares are there to make money, as is any
business.

I am saying that there are some parents who think it is the school’s obligation to keep their kids for them while they work and not upset the apple cart. Did we not have this discussion a while back when bloggers were complaining about teacher work days.

This is where I am coming from, HB shared this: I know of a school system in Virginia where they’ve lengthened the day a little to make every Monday a half-day for parent conferences and teacher planning, not to save money.

Parents will pitch a fit if they have to figure out what to do with Johnny on Monday afternoon…..

Photius

July 10th, 2009
8:36 am

I agree with Theresa – school days should not be longer. What everyone should consider is making the school year longer for continuing education.

Question for Teachers

July 10th, 2009
8:36 am

I don’t want to hijack, but I’m really curious what some of the teacher posters would say to this:

I had a boss during college with two teenaged daughters – 13 and 17 in the 7th and 11th grades. They didn’t do homework before high school. At the beginning of each school year, the mom would go to the teachers, explain her stance (”They are both smart kids, they get straight A’s. If they needed this extra practice, they wouldn’t do so well without it. I’m more than happy to accept extra assignments in any area they are struggling with, but as long as they’re earning all A’s, they won’t be doing homework. You get them for 8 hours a day, they’re mine when they get home.”) I thought it was genius, personally! Because I was the type of kid who sat bored in class all day, got A’s in everything and rushed through pointless assignments at home from teachers who felt they HAD to assign homework. But I always wondered how she got the teachers to go along with this!

My question, teachers, is what would you do with a parent like this?

And, parents, would ever do this?

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
8:41 am

Since I mostly taught Kinder, I will defer on this question and leave it to those who can give a qualified answer.

MomsRule

July 10th, 2009
8:54 am

I look forward to the answers to the “Question for Teachers” post!

I despise most homework. Like the example I have two straight A students and almost all of their homework is nothing more than busy work. Drives me insane. Especially the CRCT crap.

It's been on my mind...

July 10th, 2009
8:56 am

I’m not so sure lengthening the school days is such a good idea. It might work a little better for the teenagers, but for those who are in elementary and starting junior high, that’s a pretty long day!

I would definitely rather see a longer school year. I would actually be in favor of school year round with shorter days and more frequent breaks! I think this would allow the kids to have more time to learn instead of having it taught in such a short time! This would also help them be a little more prepared for the “real” world of work!

JJ

July 10th, 2009
9:04 am

Honestly MJG – yea college is public, but I was saying we are out elementary, middle & high school. I think it’s a little bit different.

DB – we really haven’t been hit with all that stuff you mentioned from the college. We have been to orientation, paid all the fees, and are ready to go. The only thing we have left is for her to buy her books, and that happens after she moves in, before classes start…..she moves in on a Sunday, and classes do not begin until the following Tuesday, so she has Monday to get her books, find her classes, etc. It’s a very small campus, so I believe she will find her way very quickly. My daughter is very adaptable, and is good about finding her way around on her own. Of course, I’ll be with her all day Sunday and we plan to scope things out. We basically know the campus, as we have been there several times.

MomOf2Girls

July 10th, 2009
9:19 am

Good morning. I wanted to talk about the “daycare” issue. Times have changed since we went to school, and while there used to be a lot of latchkey kids, mitigating the need for formal daycare for kids as young as first grade (and sometimes younger), it’s just not safe to do this any more in most places. The fact is, in many families both parents work, and this is a real issue to think about. It’s not that all parents consider school to be daycare, but rather it’s that they know their children are someplace supervised and (hopefully) safe while they are doing something constructive. For parents with little flexibility in their own work schedules, substantially changing the school schedule can be quite problematic.

JJ

July 10th, 2009
9:21 am

Homework, in my opinion, is for work that was not completed during the school day. When I was in school, we NEVER had this much homework. Maybe 30 minutes a night, and that was usually reading, preparing for the next day.

But to send kids home with 2-3 hours every night, in my opinion, is silly. And it definately cuts into family time.

I’ve never done what that lady did, but I sure wanted to. My daughter was overwhelmed with homework, mostly in middle school. It lightened up a bit in high school.

soccermom

July 10th, 2009
9:39 am

One thing that none of you have mentioned is that there are studies which indicate that children of all ages absorb and retain more information and disrupt classes less when they have recess or pe each day.
My older son, who just graduated, took 4 AP classes and 2 electives each semester this last year [modified block :(]. He got up at 7:30, left at 8. School started at 8:30 and ended at 3:30. He played Varsity soccer from the beginning of February to the end of April so on practice days he was done by 6. On game days, he wouldn’t be done until 9:30 or 10. He worked very hard all year long.
With the type of schedule I described above, I can’t fathom a longer school day! Our system lets the kids out for holidays at least one day per month. We have a Fall break and 3 weeks for Christmas. We start school in early August and end right before Memorial Day. We have early release once a month.
Making each individual day longer might help the school/county budget but I do not believe it is in the best interest of the students.

Jesse's Girl

July 10th, 2009
9:40 am

Ah…to restart thinking-caps…isn’t that what all BOE’s need to do MJG? That was my point after all. I personally think that the holidays that see families travel for family gatherings…ie, Christmas/Hannukah/Thanksgiving….all the usual suspects…should be the ones the school’s calendar year focuses on. We do not need to take off for MLK or any day honoring a President. They spend 2 weeks prior to both holidays studying these folks anyway:)

Per the homework issue…..our oldest will be in 7th grade this year, starting a new school. Her previous school was very homework-happy. My girl is in all AP classes and makes straight A’s….although she did pull her 1st report card B this past year:( She was devestated, we were overjoyed for her to just be done with the mad-cow teacher she had!:) But I had numerous, passionate discussions with her councelor about the stress she was under at home to get 2-3 hours of homework done. Its pointless….DEFINITIONS!!!! Writing words 20 times each….I’m sorry, are we in 3rd grade detention? It was ridiculous and insulting to the abilities of all the children in the “gifted” classes. Our daughter has asked to be taken out of these classes at her new school. And I gotta say…we are seriouly considering it. She..like us…recognizes the fact that she doesn’t have to be in gifted classes to be smart and get stellar grades. I wish teachers and adminstrators would wake up and see the stress they are causing their brightest to suffer.

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
9:56 am

JJ…here is a tip about books, you can save LOT of money by ordering them via internet or even at the Books for Less near the MOG. My neighbor even told me that her daughter ( at GA Tech) saved about $75 on one book.

College is different but IMHO public colleges that are larger tend to allow students ( my son included) to get lost in the crowd. Kids who have not demonstrated sound decision making ( in high school) live with parents that handle everything for them tend to get into trouble quickly. Every child will make mistakes ( as we did) but some kids make doozies and I have ( so far) been lucky with mine.

I saw this with my son’s peers and will probably see it with my daughter’s peers too. I walk on eggshells hoping and praying that the values and responsibilities we instilled in our kids will remain in proper focus.

My daughter had a TON of homework ( this past year) during her junior year, as she was in higher level classes. I do not remember her brother ( also with higher level classes) having this kind of homework ( or perhaps he never did it) but he woke up when he went to UGA. It took him a while to realize that he had to get more involved in his classes both inside and out.

So, I am wondering if children have little or no homework in HS, will that be helpful for college? You may be an A student in HS but college is a whole new ball game.

I have been told by my own son and friends who attended our Gwinnett County High School that some state colleges ( NOT UGA nor Tech) are actually easier then what they had to deal with in HS. What is up with that?

sd

July 10th, 2009
10:00 am

Doesn’t really bother me. If they change my kid’s schedule, I will work it out. I just appreciate the fact that the state provides an education for my child. He is enrolled at a very good school that the State of Georgia and my county provides through tax payer dollars. I am grateful for this and if they need to amend their schedule, I will not complain. I do not feel entitled to anything from them and appreciate what they do.

RJ

July 10th, 2009
10:02 am

Questions for Teachers, if a child is ice skating through school then they should be placed in classes that are more challenging. Many schools are placing students in math or language classes for the next grade level for that reason. My son experienced this in elementary school and this was the solution persented to me. It worked. And he was less of a discipline problem. Plus, he got one full day of gifted instruction. What will the parent do when the child is in college and the professor gives homework?

Although I teach public school I am absolutely sick of it as a parent. As my son moves on to middle school I’m giving them one year. If I hate it, he’ll be in private school. I can remember when he was in kindergarten and they refused to give naps. He would be asleep when I picked him up. And then they had the audacity to give homework that took almost an hour to complete. I complained not only for my son, but for the other students as well. The teacher actually listened and less homework started being given. Homework should have a purpose. An hour of homework in kindergarten serves no purpose.

Longer days are an awful idea and if my child’s school decided to do it, he would be pulled out immediately. I really have just about had enough.

JATL

July 10th, 2009
10:08 am

I wholeheartedly agree with the people who have mentioned recess being so important. Right now, both elementary charter schools near us (one of which my kids will attend) have recess. While I’m not a big advocate of home-schooling, I would almost home school before I would send my little kids to a school with no recess! Why anyone thinks 6 -10 year olds can sit in desks for hours at a time with no physical activity is beyond me. Add two recesses from 1st through 4th and 1 for 5th and 6th and watch the need for ADHD meds plummet. NO, I don’t think ADHD is made up, but I do think many kids (especially the boys who are singled out so often for being ADHD) just need to go run around for 30 minutes. I think the kids who truly have ADHD would receive more proper attention from teachers then as well instead of what many get -another eye roll of “here’s another one”. If schools want to lengthen school days for budget/fuel reasons, then perhaps they should add an hour of physical activity to the curriculum. It certainly wouldn’t hurt any of our kids not matter what their age to get some exercise.

I went to a state community college near my home in the summers and one fall semester I “took off” between transferring schools, and it was MUCH easier than my high school courses! However, my “real” college courses at UGA and Agnes Scott were not.

lakerat

July 10th, 2009
10:31 am

Sorry, JJ, but I had to laugh when I read about you taking your daughter to school and having all day Sunday with her – we did the same thing with both sons when they went to college.

But when I went to college many years ago, my parents, who were (and still are) the most protective and overbearing “helicopter” parents that may have even lived (yes, even moreso than MJGoose) they helped me load my car and said we’ll see you when we see you, and watched me drive out of the driveway to a college 4 hours away that they had visited once with me!

And then, when I finished graduate school and got my first job they again helped me load the U-Haul and waved again as I made the 13 hour drive to a place and job of which I had no idea of what I was getting into!

Ah, if only I could do that with my kids!!!

JJ

July 10th, 2009
10:42 am

JATL – I totally agree with you 100% about recess. You just cannot have a child sitting perfectly for 6 hours without some form of release. PE and recess are breaks the kids need to move around.

THEN they want to put the kids on ritalin becuase they can’t sit still…..?????

Lakerat – my parents put me on a plane to go to college, to a town I had only been to ONCE when we went to look at the college.

We were living in Colorado at the time I was accepted to college out there, but right after I graduated high school, we moved down here. I was forced to come down here with the family, even though it was only for 6 weeks.

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
10:51 am

lakerat, it tickles me for you to think that I am a protective parent. Those who know me would be amazed at such a comment, for dozens of reasons.

My daughter went to camp last week, while I was at the beach with my sister. She packed all by herself ( for the week) while I was gone. Do helicopter moms do this?

When my son left for to UGA, I was not even in the state. He got his stuff together and moved into the dorm as my husband dropped him off. His roommate’s mother unpacked her son and set his side of the room up for him, as other moms will be doing in a few weeks( is that overbearing?). My son just rolled his eyes.

When I was 18, my parents dropped me off at the airport to fly to college with an airline ticket I paid for myself and I also paid for every college expense myself ( worked at Wal Mart). I got $1000 When I graduated and my Dad acted like he was doing something huge. I am as independent as they come and my kids are too. My friends and neighbors remind me of this all the time.
Sorry if that is not the you or others see it.

TKH

July 10th, 2009
11:01 am

I asked the question about homework, and I wanted to clarify that her kids DID do homework in high school and also had to do projects, papers, etc. in elementary and middle school. Just not what she deemed to be “busy work”. Basically she felt if they could ace a test on a subject, they obviously didn’t need more practice. I agree with the above poster that they probably needed to be placed in more challenging classes, maybe skip a grade ahead.

The major differences between college assignments and grade school homework as I see them are first college assignments are nearly always necessary. There’s very little busy work. Second, and more importantly, you don’t waste ALL STINKIN’ DAY in college. You go to class, get what you need and leave. I played college soccer and participated in several clubs, etc. during college along with a part-time job and my courses were a lot harder than high school. I still, however, had more time for homework because I did not waste so much time in school. In grade school, kids are in school for 8 hours and then spend 2 doing homework at night. There’s no downtime between classes to get work done.

What I still don’t understand is how this mom got teachers to go along with her no homework mandate. Most schools wouldn’t go along with this, right?

Katherine

July 10th, 2009
11:05 am

I second motherjanegoose’s comment to JJ about ordering textbooks over the internet. For my first year and a half of college, I spent an outrageous amount in the school bookstore at the beginning of each semester. I spent far less buying (usually used, but sometimes new) books from half.com. Just be sure before you order that the books you are buying are the correct edition.

April

July 10th, 2009
11:10 am

Question for Teachers:
I teach middle school and believe that by that age students need to begin to demonstrate the ability to work independently and begin to manage time and responsibilities effectively. I agree that young children should not have homework. As a teacher and a parent, I think homework should begin around 3rd or 4th grade and should be limited at that time.

I do not give a lot of homework, but I think homework is important for many reasons. I try to make homework important and meaningful. I too get frustrated when my kids come home with “busy work”. However, sometimes the purpose of work is not clear to the parent – especially if the child does not communicate well at home. A conversation with the teacher may reveal aspects of the assignment that the parent has not seen.

If a parent approached me with this request, I would have to discourage him or her at the middle school level. I think it is important for students to establish good work habits, commitment, and time management at this age. A student who has no homework until until high school may suddenly be overwhelmed and not know how to manage the new, much heavier responsibilies. Of course, there is a very small handful of truly gifted students who are going to breeze through regardless. It is up to the teachers AND the parents to work to motivate and challenge those students with a course of study that is appropriate.

As a teacher I get frustrated with the excuse that homework is interferring with practice/lessons/etc. I believe after school activities are important, but parents and students need to learn balance. Most children can not participate in 3 or 4 hours of daily aftershool activities and still perform well in school. As a parent I know this is hard because my own kids have a lot of interests outside school, but sometimes I have to say no. If a student is doing poorly and has 3 hours of gym or karate or baseball or whatever 4 nights a week, the answer is not less homework.

OK, sorry about the sidetrack on the soapbox.