Strange parent note

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by otterpop, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2017

    I'm very supportive of it if it's on a school level, but I think that everyone has to be on board, otherwise there is parental confusion over it - why does my child have homework but students in Mrs. A's class do not? or why does my child not have homework but students in Mr. B's class do?

    And, if it's one parent/student in a class, it's "why do we all have to do homework but Abby does not?" Then, you have to either give that child zeros on all assignments or excuse the student from all homework, and is that really fair to the other kids who do complete theirs?

    Optional homework is okay too, but again wouldn't work in my school culture, in which parents expect students to really be pushed (and to get lots of homework, whether they like it or not).

    Anyway, though, I digress - I don't think this is the parent's issue with the assignment.
     
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  2. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    I'd argue that not all students and families are alike, and what works for one family does not work for all. Just like many things, homework is not something that needs to be equal for all students in order to be fair. In fact, just this week, a colleague and I had a parent email us about her two adopted children who suffered trauma in their early life. She explained to us via email that both children spend their evenings during the week going to counseling sessions and therapies, as well as extracurriculars that they need for social development. She said that she didn't know how to juggle all of that on top of homework and trying to find the time to be a family. We both responded with the same thought, which was echoed by our principals: Don't do the homework. All of those other things are the priority. Homework is so far down the priority list, it shouldn't be causing any additional stress on the family. Meanwhile, all of the other students in the class are expected to do the homework... My answer to any other parent who questioned our decision would be that we differentiate for homework the same way that we differentiate in class. And, I'd tell any other family that they should feel empowered to make the decisions that are best for their family, too.
     
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  3. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

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    Sep 9, 2017

    Only complaints i ever got was too little homework.
     
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  4. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Habitué

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    Sep 9, 2017

    I'd say talk to the parent, like other have suggested. Some kids hold it together during the school day and once they get home parents have to deal with fall-out. An emotionally exhausted kiddo is not a rational kiddo, and the parents might be picking their battles to maintain the peace at home and school? Maybe the other assignment is perceived as "easier" by the child and therefore less of a struggle for them? Just some guesses.
     
  5. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    Sep 9, 2017

    If you didn't indicate that students had to do both activities, then there's nothing more for you to say. It sounds like the parent had concerns about her child doing both, so she administered "parental permission" (which trumps the teacher's authority:relieved:) for her child to do only one, and not get in trouble for it.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2017

    Could you give an example of activities -aaa- and -bbb-?
     
  7. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Sep 10, 2017

    I can't recall any specific names of groups, but I've been familiar with this common recommendation given to parents and to respond with a note that the assignment won't be completed and an alternate assignment will be done instead. I recall hearing this advice given on radio broadcast(s) that deal with parenting issues (but again I can't recall specifically where or when). However, I've seen what you mentioned concerning amount of homework in recent books--again, I'm stretching my memory, but I think (and if my memory falters, I apologize to the author) I read this in

    Abeles, Vicki; Grace Rubenstein. Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation. N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 2015;

    and I know I read it somewhere else--perhaps it was a magazine and not a book.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Sep 10, 2017

    Yes, this is a bit confusing. I would call the parent and find out why. If not a phone call, then a simple, short, and friendly e-mail. I find reasons parents do things can be quite surprising and difficult to guess.
     
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  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Sep 11, 2017

    Only your boss should be telling you how to do your job. I don't understand why people have issues with everything and believe they should have a hand in how you do your job (as long as you are following state/district procedures).
     
  10. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    I don't disagree with this. Talking with the parent would clear things up. True, the parent might have thought it was insignificant, just a minor modification based on needs, but I think a heads up beyond a note would have been more appropriate. "Hey, teacher, knowing my child and his abilities, what would you think if we switched to bbb for homework?" And bbb might be just fine, even better, but to the student it looks good to have Mom not going behind the teacher's back.

    On the homework tangent...

    I have officially stopped giving out homework beyond a class letter that talks about what we're learning, maybe even gives examples, and even includes an optional reading tracking area for kids and families who actually enjoy tracking such things. I talk up home reading like I assume they're reading.

    Feels really good.
     
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  11. Teacherhere

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    Sep 11, 2017

    I wonder if mommy will come to the rescue when the child gets their first part-time job.
     
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  12. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

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    Probably.
     
  13. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Sep 13, 2017

    I too have stopped giving homework, for the most part. I have given two pages of math this week. Extremely simple and I was shocked when everyone did it. I do send a newsletter that has what we are learning. I only really gave this homework because we didn't get our math books until last week and I wanted to make sure they got some extra practice before testing next week. I will not send out much more than that in the future. And you are right it does feel good to not have to stress about it.
     
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  14. Teacherhere

    Teacherhere Companion

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    Sep 13, 2017

    I always send out HW. It is practice and may not give me huge academic benefit but it aides in your management and expectations as a whole. Setting high expectations and responsibility in all areas transfers to other areas of teaching. For instance, if I let my kids talk in line and make sloppy transitions then it weakens my high expectations for academics. Having high expectations in academics, management, HW, and every area makes my expectations of excellence transfer to all those areas and I see more benefit.
     
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  15. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Fanatic

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    Sep 14, 2017

    I'm all for high expectations, but kids also need time to rest and play and explore. Even my high school kids. I don't give much homework. When I taught elementary, I really didn't give much homework. I still have very high expectations for kids as far as behavior and academics go. I just also value their free time as much as I value mine. I don't want to grade their homework, and they need time to be with their families.
     
  16. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Sep 14, 2017

    I have high expectations too for my students. I just don't see how homework make or breaks that. If it has no academic purpose and supporting evidence, I am not bothering with it in 2nd grade.

    I just had this conversation last afternoon with a neighbor. Her daughter has joined a very intense and rigorous school with lots of homework. She has never had homework before. Apparently beyond the one complaint typical of a 13-year-old girl while I was there, she has taken the homework shift in stride, simply part of being older and in middle school. She is plenty responsible and a lack of homework in the 2nd grade didn't ruin her. I daresay her story isn't unusual.
     
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