Homework for senior honors English

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by dgpiaffeteach, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Nov 21, 2011

    Hi, all, hoping to get some opinions on homework! I recently had a parent of a student in my senior honors English say that her daughter is getting way too much homework from me and has no time for anything else.

    I teach on an odd/even block schedule so I see my kids every other day. We have done mostly short stories with one novel. Usually they have one short story (5 to 10 pages) with about 5 to 7 questions ranging from comprehension to analysis. Most of the stories are more modern though we are doing some Jonathan Swift now. It is an honors course and the school is private and considered college prep.

    I think the girl may be having a problem recently because she was out one day and had double the homework this weekend. I would like to sit down with her and see what aspect of the homework she is struggling with: sheer amount, comprehension, etc... And touch base with the rest of the class. I don't like my homework to take more than 30 to 45 minutes at the absolute maximum. I know some kids it takes about 20 minutes because they're in my study hall. Is this a good way to approach it?
     
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  3. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Nov 21, 2011

    Honestly...when I was in senior AP (same as Honors) English, we read and discussed a novel a week. We were on semester blocks so the class saw each other every day for 90 min, and we were expected to be finished with the book by like Wednesday of every week. Catch-22 took us 2 weeks because of its sheer volume, but we read stuff like Faulkner, Vonnegut, Joyce, etc. Every 6 weeks, we had to write 12 pages of literary analysis on anything we covered that week. We could write 12 1-page papers, 1 12-page paper, or any combination in between as long as the number of pages added up to 12. It sucked, but really prepared me for college. And I was in public school.

    So to answer your question - No, I don't think it's too much, ESPECIALLY since you see them every other day.
     
  4. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Nov 21, 2011

    I agree with MLB711. You are assigning a relatively light load.

    My juniors read a chapter a week of the textbook (around 30 pages, not very many pictures. This is a college textbook, even for non-honors sections.), plus usually a chapter from a monograph (30-50 pages, but usually 30-ish).

    So that's 60-90 pages per week, which is not much more than what you're assigning (10-15 pages per night or so) but in a steady stream with no breaks.

    Most students read the text over the weekend, then read the chapter during the week. Some need to learn to skim, but otherwise there are few complaints.

    I think you should poll other teachers and see what they think. From my perspective (and I teach in a school similar to yours) it's very reasonable.
     
  5. Good Doobie

    Good Doobie Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2011

    Probably each of 8 classes a day should give at least an hour of homework every day. This way we can keep up with the other countries that probably torture students.
    You have to imagine what it takes to survive. Look at the animals. For example, think of the lion. What does it take for him or maybe the pararie dog to survive? Do they have much time to sleep or play around?
     
  6. Letsgo

    Letsgo Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2011

    Depending on the difficulty of the story and the difficulty of the questions, that homework could take over an hour. Considering this is a senior class at a college prep school, that's not too much. In college classes, we were expected to read a novel a week.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2011

    Very often they're NOT the same thing.

    Honors classes are for bright kids on a high school level.

    AP classes are for kids getting college credit ( or hoping to, depending on how well they score on the AP exam.)

    So it's frequently a Quantum leap from Honors classes to AP.

    That said, 45 minutes of homework, spread over 2 days, seems reasonable. My own rule for all my classes is 20 minutes a night; this is pretty much the same thing.

    As to the young lady who was out, let's assume she was too sick to do homework. (Not always the case, but a fair assumption.) She HAD to expect to have a lot of catching up to do. As long as you didn't expect her to have it all done upon her return-- and you said she had the weekend to do it-- I think you were being reasonable.

    Our kids try very hard not to be absent; it's simply too much work to makeup upon their return.
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2011

    Thanks for the input! The stories usually aren't too difficult. Friday's homework (that was due today) was "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift and almost all of them really liked it! It's one of my favorite pieces to teach :)

    When the stories are harder, I usually try to start them in class as much as possible to give them an idea about the language, difficulty, etc... and talk about it a little bit. I also keep those shorter than the easier stories.

    I did not assign any homework over Thanksgiving Break so hopefully she can catch up. I offered to set up a time to meet with her to help her but the Mom said she didn't think it was fair to expect her to get extra help when she already has so much to do :confused: I talked to our P today to ask him what he thought of that and to let him know what was going on so he's advised.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2011

    Mom sounds like a piece of work.

    I wonder how sweetie will do at college next year?
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Nov 22, 2011

    Yes after the second e-mail it sounded like there was much more going on! I know it's the girl's first time in honors English so perhaps she isn't used to the amount of work and falling behind just really pushed her over. Hopefully the break will give her a chance to get everything done!
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Nov 24, 2011

    It is absolutely reasonable to sit down with her to determine what is causing her to struggle. Help mom understand that that extra hour or half hour at school might be vital in determining what is taking her daughter so long to do the work.

    Analysis for some kids takes a long time. Some are perfectionists that re-think every question.

    Some kids are slow readers and 7 pages can take 1/2 hour or more to read and thoroughly analyze and comprehend.

    I suggest having her read a bit of something new to see how well she can read and analyze. Have her do so outloud and silently. See how she approaches a question that takes a good amount of thought.

    She may just be very slow and methodical, particularly if she is doing well.
     
  12. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Nov 27, 2011

    I agree that the pacing/expectations are different. My school didn't have an Honors English for 12th grade, so you took AP English if you wanted to get Honors credit for it.

    I didn't comment on this before but I think your idea to sit down with her is a good way to approach the situation. Hopefully she hands in her homework tomorrow!
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 27, 2011

    As others have said, in my experience Honors was grades nine through eleven, and then as a senior I took AP. Honors was more challenging than the regular English course most students took, but AP was considerably more work. Lots and lots reading, including a long book list to complete over the summer.

    But to the point :), I think it was good of you to offer to sit with the student and help get things in order. I wish the mother would see how this is a logical and helpful thing to do. It seems she's "intervening" for her daughter in a way that will do no good whatsoever. How does the daughter react to you, the class, and her situation? I would be horribly embarrased if my mother spoke for me in this way as an Honors/AP student.
     
  14. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Nov 28, 2011

    Sounds like this is a reaction and not a chronic problem. Hopefully this is an isolated incident. Has she had any problems in the first nearly 3 months of class? Or, is this the first she/her mom have made a comment/complaint?
     
  15. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Nov 28, 2011

    Mother said her daughter didn't want her contacting me but she and her husband were concerned. Daughter is okay in class though sometimes will make sarcastic side comments most of which I just ignore with a "look."

    This is the first complaint I've had from them. She also kept saying other parents were concerned but this was the only parent I've heard from so I basically just said I was concerned with her daughter and how we could help her.
     

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