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

lakerat

July 10th, 2009
11:11 am

Sorry, MJGoose, obviously I just can’t get past that time you wrote about assisting in your son’s college insect collection homework for him….also, I didn’t say you were not independent, just “hovering” over you kids, just as I have done to mine!

And, you and your son were right, the other parent who set up the roommate was overbearing, same as me when we did that with our 2 sons when they went to college – and my sons have lived in their respective college towns over every summer ever since!

Jessica

July 10th, 2009
11:21 am

I think two or three hours of homework each night would be fine for high school students — IF they only attended classes for half a day. This would be more like college, where students spend less time sitting in classrooms and more time studying and doing schoolwork on their own time. That would leave more time for kids to pursue other interests like sports, music, vocational training or working at actual jobs — you know, spend time becoming well-rounded and productive young adults.

Kids attend school for six or more hours a day, 180 days a year, for thirteen long years. That’s over 14,000 hours BEFORE you add homework and travel time to/from school. At the end of all that schooling, graduates are qualified to a) work at low-paying unskilled jobs, or b) get MORE education or training. It’s no wonder most kids resent homework, or that so many drop out of school. We lecture them about the value of education, but the education we offer them is often just a big fat waste of time and they know it. We can do better, and our kids deserve better.

A

July 10th, 2009
11:37 am

Can we please get rid of the ridiculous 11-week summer? I have yet to hear a single good argument for keeping this antiquated schedule in place. I’m against longer days, especially for younger elementary students, but am for a longer school year (year-around even!!) with shorter but more frequent breaks for kids to recharge without losing an entire year’s worth of learning during a 3-month gap.

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
11:51 am

OK lakerat, if you are stuck on the insect project then so be it….LOL! My son has been on his own for 4 years ( pays for everything now) but MAY end up moving back home for a few months…in our finished basement. He is NOT happy….hahaha. I might like to see him once in a while but know the food will disappear.

I am just back from picking up my child from driver’s ed. We can all brag on our children and rightfully do but when a stranger ( driver’s ed instructor) tells me, “your daughter is very responsible…” then, I feel like maybe I did something right!

Back to topic…I have always wondered if HS could implement this homework routine:
Monday 1 and 2 period
Tuesday 3 and 4 period
WED NONE
Thursday 5 and 6 period
Friday NONE
This way, kids will not have 4 hours of homework on one night.

Maybe I am missing something, as I have never taught high school…never want to and I am not smart enough any way!

I sometimes gave homework in Kinder: cut out pictures of 3 things that are red. One time, a kid came in with pictures that were smaller than a dime ( in an envelope) ….I laughed and knew that his parents had probably never sat through group circle time where we shared our pictures, as no one could see his pictures.

Friday!!!!!!!

July 10th, 2009
11:59 am

As a mother of a second & an eighth grader, I just can’t wrap my head around the schedule my family would have if they added an hour of school. I work full time and get home by 5pm. This year my eighth grader’s bus was home between 5:15 and 5:30pm. It picked him up at 7:30am when I was leaving for work! Add another hour in the afternoon and that gets him home at 6:15-6:30! Now add karate two nights a week. (Karate has been the best thing for both my kids. They are more respectful, improved their grades, and lost a little weight! It makes me want to take classes! LOL!)Also, add church on Wednesday nights. And don’t forget about the homework and projects! All of these things are important and there needs to be a balance between them but I find it difficult enough already! It just seems to me that adding another hour to an already busy day is going to add additional stress on families.

Cammi317

July 10th, 2009
12:08 pm

I like the idea of 4 days on 3 days off or half days on Fridays. That’s the work schedule that I would prefer as well. I wouldn’t complain one bit if our school system took advantage of the new law.

Cammi317

July 10th, 2009
12:11 pm

On the recess thing, I agree. Middle school is going to be a big adjustment for my daughter coming from a charter school where she had recess EVERY day after lunch.

MyOpinion

July 10th, 2009
1:10 pm

Longer school days are not necessary. If the school days are lengthening, then you all as parents should fight so that it includes PE, Gym, and/or naptime. Grade school was too long when I was attending. My teachers was constantly sending notes home or calling my mother because I fell asleep in class (Usually the last two classes of the day, we had 6). I made an agreement with my mother, if I brought home anything less than an “A” in those classes, she could place me on punishment until I earned an “A,” but if I had an A out of the class she had to leave me alone. That was one of the most peaceful years because all my mother could say to the teacher was that she was aware of the situation, and that it was not affecting my grades. My mother understood my situation because she realized that the seven hours spent in school was tiresome. This did not include after-school activities, family time, homework, and personal time to recoup from the day.

As a side note:
For those parents that have college bound children for the fall, one of the best places to buy textbooks is on-line at half.com, amazon.com, http://www.ecampus.com, textbooks.com, and Barnes and Noble (especially if you pay for membership). Barnes and Noble is good if it a new edition (less than 1 yr.) because you get a discount for ordering online, plus if you have membership ($25), you get an additional 10% or more for the book. If your child cannot find the specified edition for class, have them to ask the professor if a previous edition is okay to have especially if the older edition was just used last semester. In most cases, for the new textbook editions, the chapters were rearranged to better present the information and previous mistakes (problem solutions, grammar, etc) were corrected.

TKH

July 10th, 2009
1:18 pm

April – thanks for the great answer!

Did anyone else grow up in Florida like my husband? He always had a half day on Wednesdays and is under the impressions that’s how all schools in Florida do it.

I definitely agree school days would be much too long if an hour was added especially when you figure in bus time, but there’s so much required of schools now. They’re supposed to provide exercise through phys ed. and recess, music education, art, etc. I’m not saying I don’t think this is very important for children’s development. It does take a lot of time away from core classes and makes the school days already too long, in my opinion. I wish there was a way to let schools handle the important stuff in a 4 hour school day and let parents handle enrichment. As a mom who wants to stay home full-time, I can imagine nothing better than sending my kiddos to school after breakfast and having them home for lunch. But I know that’s just wishful thinking and not even close to possible for some parents. I’m grateful for the education we have provided to us free as Americans, and dread sending my future kids to public school at the same time!

Michelle

July 10th, 2009
1:19 pm

JJ…if there is the opportunity, I would DEFINITELY get my books from on-line. Standing in line with a BUNCH of other kids who need the same books is quite frustrating! Not only do you not have to waste the time looking through all the shelves, you don’t even have to drive there! The books are usually delivered to your door! DEFINITLEY check for the appropriate edition (or see what the changes are from the previous to current!)

I don’t necessarily think homework is a bad idea, but more along the lines of what they didn’t finish in class OR stuff that they are struggling with. If they were to add an extra hour, perhaps it could be used more as a “studying” skills section?! Especially for those in junior high!

JJ

July 10th, 2009
1:29 pm

Ordering on line is a great idea for books, but when you don’t know what books you will need until the day before classes, what do you do? I know they sell used books, and I have steered her that way…….

And does it make me an overbearing parent to take my daughter to college, and help her set up her room? She’s the one that wants me there……..

She’s starting to realize she is going to be on her own. She made a comment to one of my friends last night at dinner, than she just realized that when she gets in college, and needs something like a cotton ball, or battery, she can’t go to mom’s bathroom and get it……she has to actually buy it herself…….LOL….

DB

July 10th, 2009
1:34 pm

Another big vote here for internet book purchases! One semester, we saved over $240 by careful shopping. My son’s books generally run between $350 – $600 a semester. We also did this for my daughter’s books at her private school, where we had to purchase her textbooks. Many schools will post the books required on-line with the ISBN numbers, and then you can go to town comparison shopping. My son drew up an spreadsheet and compared prices at five different places, including the school book stores. Occasionally, the school book store would be cheapest. Just watch out for shipping charges — some places will stick it to you and negate all the “savings” you thought you were getting. If you find that you are getting most of the books from one source and the shipping is reasonable, you might want to consider buying a few more books from them that are within range, but not necessarily the cheapest, because the shipping (or free shipping!) evens it out. Also watch out for “new” vs. “used”. Some places aren’t overly clear on whether you are buying a new or used book, and you might find yourself paying almost “new” price for a “used” book. I’ve actually had pretty good luck buying and selling on eBay, too.

If you are buying a package deal with a wrapped CD or workbook included, DO NOT open the package until after the first class. College teachers are notorious about deciding not to use books on the book list, and if they have changed their mind or the book store made a mistake, then you can return your purchase for full price much more easily than if you have ripped open the packaged book/workbook/CD, etc.

Is it hovering when your child WANTS you to stay and help him assemble a shelving unit, the futon or help with the loft beds?

Re: Hovering. Several of us were talking about this the other day: We don’t remember orientation programs for our parents when WE went to college. Are there programs now because parents hover, or do parents hover because the programs encourage them to? Many of us “back in the day” just got dropped off, then went to an “orientation” session, and then school started a couple of days later. Now, there are two-day parent orientation programs where you get talked at to death over things that are basically out of your control — yes, there’s a health service. Yes, there’s an alcohol awareness program. Yes, there’s housing (duh). Yes, the lunch at the cafeteria was very nice (this once!) And the idiot questions from the parents!!!! Geez! At my son’s university, the dean of students was a riot — she started off the session by giving us her cell phone number, her home phone number, her assistant’s cell phone number, etc. We were all aghast — I mean, this was for almost 5,000 freshmen! And then she proceeded to give us a hilarious rundown of the kinds of things NOT to call about, that parents had called about: “Don’t call me and ask me about the guy that has asked your daughter on a date. Don’t ask me to loan your child $50 for the rest of the month. Do NOT call in a panic because your child hasn’t called you back within twenty minutes — especially if you know they have a class during that time.” And so on . . . I was laughing and marveling at the advanced helicopter skills at the same time!

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
1:38 pm

Good ideas MyOpinion. As a NON helicopter parent, I do not even know a TOOT about those ordering links and the discounts…..hahaha!

My son has mentioned to me that he orders as much as he can on line and I trust him to handle it on his own. I do admit that I was nervous when he ( told me) used his debit card, as I was fearful we would have no recourse, but it seemed to work out o.k.

My neighbor told me that she made a deal with her daughter, whatever money she saved on looking for deals on books would be hers to keep and do with it what she wished. I thought that was very clever.

JJ…I know you probably cringe at many of my comments but today, we may have saved you some money that you can spend on yourself….LOL.

TKH

July 10th, 2009
1:41 pm

JJ – I remember my first Christmas in college asking my family for gifts like shampoo and pens. I was so not ready for all those little necessity expenses!!

JJ

July 10th, 2009
1:46 pm

WOO HOO, thanks Momma Jane and everyone else for the great ideas…….and I hope to be saving a lot of money with her being away.

Thank goodness for the 529 plan……I would not be sending her to college without the help from that……..

If you have small children, or children at any age, start investing into a 529 plan NOW!!!!! We (my mother and I) started too late, but at least there’s enough to get her through her first year……and if she didn’t use it, the funds would roll over into her cousin’s account. And if that cousin doesn’t go to college, the youngest niece gets it all!!!!

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
1:54 pm

DB…we also sat through that same speech. I was amazed. Who are these nutty parents?

I am not passing judgement on those of you who are moving their kids into the dorm and putting their clothes in the dresser for them. If it suits you and your child, it is not my business.

I was countering the comment from lakerat who insinuates that I am hovering.

IMHO a hovering parent would not be ( as me) in a different state and trust their child to move into the dorm on his own. Thus, I do not think I should be labeled as a hovering parent.

I am also the parent who sent her daughter to overnight camp at age 7….my sister and husband dropped her off and got her settled. I was in California. She had a blast and has gone to camp every summer since.

DB, I am with you on the last paragraph. I DO think more kids today would fall flat on their butts if someone just dropped then off. MANY parents I know give their kids say $1000 for personal spending to last the first semester. The money is gone before Halloween ( DB’s comment from the dean:Don’t ask me to loan your child $50 for the rest of the month) because MOMMA and DADDY have handled everything in their child’s life and they cannot do the math of $1000 for 18 weeks should not mean that you can spend $100 each week. My son still has room mates that are behind on paying him for the utilities. He put them all in his name, so that he knows there will be water for showers and electricity too!

Rearing responsible children does start before they enter Kindergarten but too many parents pick their battles and let the children win the war. In the end, the parents are the losers…finding out when it is too late.

Michelle

July 10th, 2009
2:07 pm

JJ…if she has already registered for some of her classes…I would keep looking. I’m sure there’s a book list somewhere! They just aren’t making it obvious!

My husband & I took my youngest brother to college. We packed up the few things he had and carted them up to his room…then he was on his own!

One of the hardest lessons he learned (take note moms) was to STAY with his laundry! He put his laundry in the washer and went to his room (2 floors down) to study. When he came back, EVERYTHING was gone…I’m talking socks and underwear too! WTHeck is wrong with people?! He was attending school with a grant b/c my mom was SO poor!

Thankfully, I worked with some great people and they (along with us) took him shopping for new stuff! Needless to say, he stayed with his clothes from that point on!

Michelle

July 10th, 2009
2:07 pm

Sorry…that was TOTALLY off the extra hours on the school day topic! :D

lakerat

July 10th, 2009
2:18 pm

Regarding the 529 plans, just be sure that the kid(s) go to college – otherwise if they choose not to go then you DO NOT get the money back!

JJ – no, delivering your child to college and helping her get settled does not make you overbearing, though I did use that term previously. I am as gulity as anyone for “overprotecting” my kids, though as I think back maybe I was not as protective as I thought – the older one was always big for his age so we had him in a full day baketball camp at age 5 – don’t kow what we were thinking, but he was still the biggest kid there, and everyone else was two years older than him! And he survived.

We have friends who’s kid went to GA Southern, and, as MJGoose pointed out, was one of those who went through his first semester allowance by the end of September (Hilton Head must have been great, at least while it lasted).

And, MJGoose, I was not insinuating anything – you and I are a great deal alike!

catlady/ZAAA

July 10th, 2009
3:01 pm

MJG, other than the insect collection I have never had the impression you were anything but common-sense. When I read the characterization of you as a helicopter, I was confused. We all have times we are a little more hypervigilant than usual.

I have also encouraged some independence. Took the first and last ones to college (dropped off and left within an hour, cried all the way home). The son threw his guitars in his Miata and throught he was ready to go! His big sis came running out with pillows and sheets. I figured he would notice after a while.

My children have traveled independently a good bit (England, Scotland, Belgium, Mexico, Alaska, Bahamas). The younger one (I think she was14 at the time) flew to Europe to meet her sis by herself. After she was seated she asked the attendant if she could sit in first class since she was flying by herself and they put her up there and she had a terrific time. She would also, as an 8 year old, get on the city bus in front of her school and ride it up to the University where I was a grad student, get off and walk to my building.

The younger daughter used some online bookstore for her jr, sr, and grad school books and saved a lot. It really helped for her extreme math and physics books for her major. I don’t know how she found out about it. She only got burned once, with someone very slow to ship the book, but she worked out something until it came.

Cultivate this phrase, “So how do you plan to handle that?” and use it liberally.

lakerat

July 10th, 2009
3:18 pm

Catlady – that last question you suggested is golden!!!

Obviously, catlady/ZAAA...

July 10th, 2009
3:20 pm

…that city bus was NOT in Atlanta!!!

motherjanegoose

July 10th, 2009
3:54 pm

HOORAH…I am going to proudly wear the common sense crown ( bestowed by catlady… what is up with the ZAAA…is this a new catlady or the one I know and love….LOL) all weekend. It will be invisible to everyone else but I will know I am wearing it. Lakerat, I also take it as a HUGE compliment to know that you actually admit that we are a bit alike. ALERT, there are those on this blog who wish I would drop off the earth.

Re: the insect project, I have looked for and sent post cards for other’s children ( Social Studies projects) from all over the country. I took Flat Stanley with me ( for my nephew) and so I thought that some of my friends and relatives who know my son would be happy to look for a bug or two…and they were. He had the neatest insects that some of my clients were kind enough to capture and share. They got a kick out of it too!

I will solemnly swear that I NEVER did any part of any paper for either of my children and unlike some other parents, I have not proofed and corrected their papers either. This is becoming more and more common. My daughter has a friend whose Mother studies with her. NOT happening here.

Here is a totally unrelated thought….I have been teased about asking others to help with my son’s insect project. In the spring I was sent lengthy letters from college students that are ” excited about the chance to participate abroad in a mission trip and I am asking you to help make it happen with a financial contribution…” I HAVE NEVER BEEN ABROAD and while I support all sorts of church type venues, this gets to me. Get a job and make it happen yourself…or how about “I have saved $1500 of my own money and now need others to help with the rest…” I got one from my college room mate’s daughter, whom I have never even met…they do not live close. This is WAY more than asking for a katydid, if you happen to see one in your yard!

SORRY OFF TOPIC…..

jct

July 10th, 2009
4:10 pm

Ordering books on line is the best way to go. You can find used books usually even less expensive than the college bookstore.

@JJ – professors will post their syllabus’ way before classes start. Your daughter should start looking within the next two weeks. Her book list should come with that. I would not wait until a few days before school starts. I work at a university and many professors post reading assignments or assignments that they want brought to class on the first day (even in the intro levels classes) for the first day of class. Your daughter doesn’t want to feel behind on your first day.

She should have gotten some of this information during orientation. I am not sure which school your daughter is going to and if they separate the student from parent during some of the sessions. Hopefully, she has already made some connections during orientation that will also help smooth the transition.

catlady/ZAAA

July 10th, 2009
5:55 pm

MJG, I became ZAAA earlier in the day when the cat walked on the computer as I was typing on another blog and I did not notice she had erased and given me a new “handle”.

DB

July 10th, 2009
6:00 pm

MJG: Oh, gosh, I am SO with you on the mission trip solicitations! My daughter went on two abroad in the last three years, and I never allowed her to send those letters. I told her, “if you want to go, fine, but you will start out by NOT accepting charity from others in order to go do charity for others!” However, when relatives asked her for suggestions for birthday and holiday gifts, she suggested that she’d like the cash for the trip in lieu of a gift, and several relatives were happy to do THAT.

MA

July 10th, 2009
6:28 pm

Online ordering is great and sometimes cheap, but, in our son’s case, he had three classes where the books involved a special cd and online code to be used so he could not order these online. He has been able to sell most of his books back which is great. Sorry off topic!

On topic – longer hours – NO! I do not give homework other than if they do not finish something in class, they will finish it at home. Parents must sign their agendas everyday and add notes if need be. We have the “balanced calendar” schedule in our county and we love it. 6 weeks on 1 week off. Yes, I would also like to start later(early Aug. stinks with the heat), but, I think the children and teachers do much better with the 1 week off. They come back refreshed and ready to learn again. It can get very crazy at times but they are children. I do agree that P.E. should be everyday, but, with the emphasis on CRCT(UGH!!) teaching this is almost impossible. We do have recess and most classes take them right after lunch to get the kids out and running off steam. Not everybody is happy when there is change. We all have to learn to adapt.

catlady/ZAAA

July 10th, 2009
8:48 pm

Our elementary and middle school kids are limited to 30 minutes per day TOTAL. So the teachers have to coordinate with each other to be sure no child/parent is asked to work too much.

HB

July 10th, 2009
10:43 pm

This is off-topic, but on the subject of helicopter parents — is proofing a high schooler’s papers really a bad thing (I think several people have mentioned this on various blogs)? I don’t think parents should write the papers for kids or even ask to proof them (should be only at the student’s request), but I know I sometimes asked my mom to give mine one more quick read for typos after I had proofed it myself, or occasionally asked if she thought a specific passage sounded ok (if it didn’t, she told me so and I reworked it — she did NOT rewrite it for me). And she used to ask me to do the same! In high school, I would occasionally proof work letters, etc for her. In college and grad school, we were encouraged to have peers review/proof our papers, and my colleagues and I proof each other’s reports before making them public. Is it really important that kids do all projects completely on their own? I tend to think it’s better to teach them when it’s appropriate to ask for input/help from others.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 11th, 2009
2:02 am

I personally think proofing is fine. I don’t think a parent should rewrite a whole section if something is bad — I think I would say, hey you may want to rethink the second section, it’s not clear or something like that. We had multiple people looking over stories when I worked at the paper. Obviously more eyes are better than just the ones that wrote it. Also when you stare at something for so long you start reading over the mistakes. That’s why we always printed out the pages for the final proof — you totally spot things in print you don’t spot on the computer.

Jesse's Girl

July 11th, 2009
8:02 am

I agree Theresa…..I proofed our daughter’s papers…all 92 of them this past year!:) Nothing wrong with that….

motherjanegoose

July 11th, 2009
8:37 am

Theresa…obviously, proofing is up to each parent but there are more and more high school and college kids out there whose parents are writing the papers for them Also, just wondering, if you proof your child’s papers in HS, will you continue in college or who will proof them?

I believe someone ( DB maybe?) said a roommate asked her son to proof and it was so bad that he could not even make suggestions without re-writing the paper…where does one draw the line?

Jesse’s Girl….where do you find the time to proof 92 papers? WHEW!

motherjanegoose

July 11th, 2009
9:08 am

Me again, agreeing that peer proofing is really a great skill. That is a tool to use that can be a life long skill and a learning tool for those who work together.

I just heard last week ( from a teacher whom that lives near me) ” My friend called and her son had to write a poem….LOL…I told him that I would be glad to help her out wink wink as I am good at poetry…that’s why she called as she knows it…”

I do not think it is right for anyone to “do” the homework that a child is assigned. I also feel that helicopter parents would have a hard time proofing and then say ( as Theresa mentioned) “hey you may want to rethink the second section, it’s not clear or something like that. ” but would be more prone to re-working the paper themselves or giving STRONG suggestions to the child.

I want my children to use the resources they have. My goal is to send my kids to college prepared to do many things for themselves or figure out who they need to check in with for assistance, as Mom and Dad will not always be there. This is why my daughter packed her own suitcase and my son made his own car payments for three years, two before college.

Years ago, I was writing a children’s song. I had been singing it in the house for a few days. Low and behold, my daughter submitted part of it for her music class. Her teacher sent the paper home with a glowing review. I laughed and discussed plagarism ( sp?) with my 3rd grader and sent the paper back with a note on top that said…” glad you like the song, it is actually one MOM is working on….LOL…” I knew her personally and we got a kick out of it.

If MOM writes a HS or college paper for precious child, will she have the same attitude?

catlady….am I on the wrong page here?

BessieBear

July 11th, 2009
9:55 am

I agree that kids do not need a longer school day.

If school systems want to save money, especially on gas for bussing, they need to stop bussing kids who live a few blocks from school. I live 2 blocks from a local elementary school, and I know of kids who live just 4 blocks from the school who are bussed there. That’s so wasteful! No wonder so many kids are overweight!

Theresa – I think you could do a topic on kids exercise. They need recess and regular PE classes – why can’t schools get that message?, Kids need to walk to school if they live maybe 6 or less blocks from the school. Parents need to stop driving their kids to school. There have been a few news stories of towns that have encouraged kids walking to school and found great results. Kids also need more free playtime outside, even during the hot summer. Try taking the kids to the park early in the morning – that’s what I do. I’ll stop there before I get started on nutrition.

DB

July 11th, 2009
10:37 am

MJG: Yes, it was my son who was asked by a friend at college to look over a paper that was so bad that my son had to hand it back to him and suggest that he take it by the university’s tutoring/help center for review, instead. He told me that the grammar was terrible, and even if the grammar was cleaned up, it would have still been a bad paper because it was so disjointed. The friend was offended, *shrug*, but hey, at some point, that kind of incompetence is going to catch up with you.

I’ve proofed many a paper, including my husband’s reports and briefs, but only on request. And he’s proofed my stuff for years — he’s got a great eye for errors. My kids learned long ago that spell-check is not infallible! Pointing out areas that are confusing or unclear is, to me, ok. Re-writing it yourself is crossing the line, but I suspect we’ve all been guilty of that to one tiny degree or another — it’s hard not to, if you are pointing out errors in grammar, and trying to understand what the paper is trying to communicate.

Have you all seen the original poem, “Candidate for a Pullet Surprise”? It appeared in the Journal of Irreproducible Results back in 1992, and has been stolen a zillion times, sometimes as “Ode To My Spellchecker”. It’s hilarious — here’s a link, one of the view that have the proper attributions: http://www.bios.niu.edu/zar/poem.pdf

catlady

July 11th, 2009
10:37 am

I probably proofed 3-4 papers among the three kids during middle and high school, at their request. I think I also proofed a college ap essay. I would hand the paper back and say, “You might want to look at this again” with a problem sentence underlined–not the specific mistake. My kids rarely asked me for help of any kind, such as checking over work, and I didn’t offer. They knew where to find me!

When I was working on my PhD my older daughter proofed for me! Not for spelling and word usage, but to make sure my thesis sentences were well supported and that I had tied things together so that someone with less knowledge in the field would understand where I was going.

JATL

July 11th, 2009
10:56 am

As a former secondary English teacher, I have no problem with high schoolers having their papers proofed by a parent. As long as the parent isn’t auto-correcting and writing the material for their child, it’s good practice to have your work proofed!

motherjanegoose

July 11th, 2009
11:14 am

JATL ( thanks for your comment), as a HS teacher, were you able to TELL when parents actually did write the papers? I have never been in this position and since the music teacher thought my child was VERY creative, when do the red flags go up? Just wondering as we know someone who has written papers for their college child …..

I guess I am thinking of parents who hover over every homework assignment and check every paper, without their children asking them but because they want to see what they turn in.
I always think of the children who live with one parent ( who works very long hours), older grandparents or perhaps parents with limited English and how this is so unfair to them if they are completely going it alone while other kids have parents who are basically doing their work….just like school projects.

I am in hopes that astute teachers will recognize that the performance in class and on tests should match up with what is submitted on written papers at home.

fk

July 11th, 2009
12:48 pm

I don’t think the school day should be lengthened, but actually think the school year could stand a few more weeks of education. The summer break is a bit too long. Take the days from there. I know, that counteracts the money-saving plans. I don’t have a fix for that. I’m simply expressing my opinion today. And, even when I was a sahm, I disliked a mid-winter break in Feb. However, as one who traveled over the winter break at Christmas, we thoroughly enjoyed the two weeks, sometimes two weeks plus, off.

Regarding the proof reading of hs papers: I did it for my son…when he asked. All I did was underline or circle and tell him to re-read and consider re-phrasing — and to use a thesaurus and enable spell check. When he asked me to proof his essays for his college applications, I suggested he ask a teacher or counselor. He told me I was far “pickier”. I did laugh.

Jesse’s Girl…your daughter is entering 7th grade and is enrolled in AP classes? College courses? Regarding TAG, I suggest that you keep your daughter in those classes in middle school, unless she is struggling. And, if the school is wasting money on offering AP classes to middle schoolers, I’m sure they can save money by eliminating that option. I have no idea as to where you live. But, in our district, middle school TAG classes were smaller and the kids who were in them, were there to excel. My son grew tremendously in 7th & 8th grade. I did disagree with the class size, though. Kids who were engaged and wanted to do well in school, would do so if they sat in a class of 16 or 30. TAG in the elementary school was a joke…and most of the kids did not continue on into TAG in the middle school. Another waste of money, imo.

Denise

July 11th, 2009
3:25 pm

Re: textbooks at half.com. When I was in grad school, there were students who ordered the books from this site and were unpleasantly surprised that some of the chapters were missing of the the type was smeared and illegible. if you do decide to use this site, make sure to understand the return policy and check the entire book upon receipt.

jodee

July 11th, 2009
11:03 pm

fk, I’m with you! Summer vacation is too long! Year-round school or “balanced calendars” don’t solve the financial issues that districts face, but it sure would benefit the students.

nurse&mother

July 12th, 2009
4:04 pm

Maybe I am not in tune with “today”, but I clearly remember having a long summer break. I had friends over, played in the pasture/woods, traveled around a lot etc. I hate the thought of depriving my children of that special time. JMHO.

JATL

July 13th, 2009
10:12 am

MJG -unfortunately the parents of the children I taught were not in any position to really help their kids by writing their papers. I’m sure a few of them could have helped out, but the few who cared enough to even check and see what the kid was doing for homework were also the ones who came to PTA and conferences. While I was delighted with their participation and interest in their child’s education, they didn’t posses the grammatical or writing skills to help. I know that sounds crass and snotty, but it’s the truth. I only had problems with a few of my kids due to plagiarism. I had so many kids who never turned in a writing assignment it was staggering! The ones who did certainly had no help, or if they had help it was more to their detriment!

I did teach in a different type of school my first year. I recall one conference with a parent where the parent basically admitted to writing half of the student’s paper because the student had a learning disability. His disability should not have affected his being able to complete that assignment, so that situation centered more around several of us trying to convince the parent that just because his kid was in Sp. Ed. and had a learning disability, it didn’t mean he couldn’t do school work!

Conservative Values

July 13th, 2009
2:04 pm

So how much homework is going to be given to these kids who fall in the front door already asleep. Not to mention any family time at all. By the time the parents fight to get their sleeping kids fed, bathed and into bed you mine as well be parents without kids.

Think about these kids before you make rules that will take all fun out of childhood will ya.

Middle School Teach

July 14th, 2009
11:28 am

As a teacher I want to say kids this age need some time to be kids. Just because they are 11-12 does not mean they are ready to act like they are in college. School is intense and in my opinion, they need time with their families, time to play and time to be kids. I wish school’s would start earlier and get out earlier. When I was in middle school and high school we started at 7:30 and got out at 2:10. Home by 2:45, had homework and chores done by 4:30 and had the rest of the day to be with my family and be a kid. Kids need this.

I think school should start earlier because many of my students have to wake themselves up, get ready for school and get on the bus by themselves. Many oversleep and just don’t come. If students had to be at school earlier, parents could make sure they were there.

teach1

July 16th, 2009
3:24 pm

As a elem. teacher I am ok with the no homework thing -under 1 important condition Parents sit down and talk with their children nightly, read to them and get them engaged in the real world around them. Talk about cooperation, budgets, chores, saving money, listen to them read to you. IF parent did this we would NOT need any homework at all until later grades.

Chris

July 21st, 2009
11:15 am

I totally agree. When I was in middle and high school, I remember getting anywhere from 2-4 hours of homework every day. Add this to a longer school day… yeah right. I think they are just trying to train us into being workaholics.

The Sarge

July 23rd, 2009
12:41 am

When American society was primarily agrarian, the kids were needed by Pop in order to help on the farm demands. Inasmuch as we, for the overwhelming majority of US residents, no longer live in such an environment, what’s all the fuss about limiting the hours in a day and the months in a year which are oriented toward educating children? The arguements I see thus far are of the “boo-hoo” variety…interupted vacations, and,in general, a more harried life style. All I can say is “get used to it”! College is not (necessarily) a 180-day-a-year proposition, unless the kid (and parents) don’t mind seeing that 4-year bachelors degree in six (or more) years. To be sure, the work world is a 50-week-a-year (with the rare 2-week vacation) operation. If we are intent on preparing kids for the so-called world economy, then let’s stop whining and get on with it…I believe many other countries already have.

coutureadore

July 26th, 2009
5:38 am

Wow I am so glad I’m going to be done with school in 2 & a half years.

Longer school days would be horrible! Especially for kids :(

Give longer school days to us teens, but please don’t for elementary kids, that’s just cruel. For once think about how the kids feel.

They’re completely drained out after school, all of us are, & you want them to come back home at like what 4:30-5:00 PM

Unless you cut out homework, & give them like a 15 minute naptime or at least make sure all the kids do it at school, I’m not for it one wee bit.