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Old 09-18-2006, 07:35 AM   #141
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Originally posted by maycocksean


What would you suggest be done to meet the needs of people who outpace their peers intellectually?
Well, some of our classes were tracked (if that's the term for it), but General Science and several others weren't. I'm not sure why--perhaps because General Science covered such basic science. In a perfect world, they would have said "She's knows this stuff already, let's just let her move along to Biology before she get so bored she goes into a coma..."

Same for Alegebra I. For some reason, we were all lumped together for Alegebra I, while the following year in Alegebra II we were divided into the "smart asses" and the "not-so-smartasses." By the end of year, Alegebra I was just downright tedious.

But speaking to other classes where we were divided up--we all used the same text book, we all finished the text book by the end of the year--but I know in some classes we had more time for class discussion and to spend investigating details that weren't covered in depth in the text book. In Biology, my class had more time to spend class room hours working on Science Fair Projects once or twice (because the Science Fair was an extracurricular activity and participation was not required, teachers were only required to give us a couple class hours to work on our projects.)

The extra stuff was most noticeable in English and Literature and in Social Studies--I remember spending lots of time on classroom discussion in Literature, and knowing full well that one of my friends didn't get the same kind of interesting stuff in her lower-third of the smart-assness classes because it took them longer to get through the required work

In short, I don't think I was given an opportunity to "learn more", per se, but I do know that more fast paced classes (and time for more class discussion) kept me interested where I might only have been frustrated and discouraged.

And yes, I'm pretty sure other classes had classroom discussion, particularly in Literature--just not as much as us.

And I'm sure somebody here will condemn that, saying "They didn't get an equal amount of whichever..." Sorry. Letting the bright students progress as quickly as they are able is a small price to pay for keeping those self-same bright student from getting so bored they have to gnaw their own feet to stay awake in class.
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Old 09-19-2006, 06:36 AM   #142
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Well, some of our classes were tracked (if that's the term for it), but General Science and several others weren't. I'm not sure why--perhaps because General Science covered such basic science. In a perfect world, they would have said "She's knows this stuff already, let's just let her move along to Biology before she get so bored she goes into a coma..."

Same for Alegebra I. For some reason, we were all lumped together for Alegebra I, while the following year in Alegebra II we were divided into the "smart asses" and the "not-so-smartasses." By the end of year, Alegebra I was just downright tedious.

But speaking to other classes where we were divided up--we all used the same text book, we all finished the text book by the end of the year--but I know in some classes we had more time for class discussion and to spend investigating details that weren't covered in depth in the text book. In Biology, my class had more time to spend class room hours working on Science Fair Projects once or twice (because the Science Fair was an extracurricular activity and participation was not required, teachers were only required to give us a couple class hours to work on our projects.)

The extra stuff was most noticeable in English and Literature and in Social Studies--I remember spending lots of time on classroom discussion in Literature, and knowing full well that one of my friends didn't get the same kind of interesting stuff in her lower-third of the smart-assness classes because it took them longer to get through the required work

In short, I don't think I was given an opportunity to "learn more", per se, but I do know that more fast paced classes (and time for more class discussion) kept me interested where I might only have been frustrated and discouraged.

And yes, I'm pretty sure other classes had classroom discussion, particularly in Literature--just not as much as us.

And I'm sure somebody here will condemn that, saying "They didn't get an equal amount of whichever..." Sorry. Letting the bright students progress as quickly as they are able is a small price to pay for keeping those self-same bright student from getting so bored they have to gnaw their own feet to stay awake in class.
I see where you're coming from. Stepping out of my role as a teacher and thinking back to when I was a student--I was also one of those "brighter" students, though I was probably less motivated than you were. I didn't want to do any extra work--especially projects. I was content the easy stuff, so that I could get it done quickly and spend my time on things that really interested me. The fact is there are some bright kids (like me) who don't really care to be challenged--at least not by their teachers. (If you read some of my previous posts you'll find I was more than nerdily happy to challenge myself). I did enjoy class discussions though, as you did, because it gave me a chance to air my everpresent opinions (the same reason I love FYM!)
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Old 10-04-2007, 11:19 PM   #143
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Spreading Homework Out So Even Parents Have Some

By TINA KELLEY
New York Times, October 4


MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The parents of Damion Frye’s ninth-grade students are spending their evenings this fall doing something they thought they had left behind long ago: homework.

So far, Mr. Frye, an English teacher at Montclair High School, has asked the parents to read and comment on a Franz Kafka story, Section 1 of Walt Whitman’s 'Song of Myself' and a speech given by Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Their newest assignment is a poem by Saul Williams, a poet, musician and rapper who lives in Los Angeles. The ninth graders complete their assignments during class; the parents are supposed to write their responses on a blog Mr. Frye started online. If the parents do not comply, Mr. Frye tells them, their child’s grade may suffer — a threat on which he has made good only once in the three years he has been making such assignments.

The point, he said, is to keep parents involved in their children’s education well into high school. Studies have shown that parental involvement improves the quality of the education a student receives, but teenagers seldom invite that involvement. So, Mr. Frye said, he decided to help out. “Parents complain about never getting to see their kids’ work,” he said. “Now they have to.”


Some parents, he added, seem happy to revisit their high school years. “There was one parent last year who would write pages and pages of stuff. It was great, so good to read,” said Mr. Frye, who graduated from Montclair High in 1994. Others are more resistant. “When my daughter told me about the homework, I looked at her and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I graduated. I’m done,’” said Lydia Bishop, a local real estate broker whose daughter Vanessa was in Mr. Frye’s class last year. “I did it very resentfully, but I did it.” Sometimes, Ms. Bishop said, she got out of the homework assignment by logging on to the blog that Mr. Frye created for parents and writing, “I really don’t need this today, I have stuff to do.” The excuse, she said, was enough to keep Vanessa from being penalized and, despite her reluctance to do homework, Ms. Bishop still thinks Mr. Frye is “one of the best teachers we’ve got.”

Some parents say they like the assignments because they can spark intellectual conversation with teenagers who are normally less than communicative. “Searching for meaning in literary works is like stretching brain-cell-taffy in this household of literal interpretations and men of few words,” one mother wrote on the blog. Others refrain from complaining to Mr. Frye but figure out the most mature way to say, “The dog ate my homework,” or persuade their spouse to comment on the parent blog instead.

In three years, Mr. Frye said, the assignments have met with only one flat-out refusal. He has received strong support from his bosses — Peter Renwick, an assistant principal at Montclair High, called the approach “very innovative and creative” — and some cautious interest from national teaching experts. “I think it’s great,” said Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “It’s wonderful to involve parents in this way, very meaningfully, and directly related to the instruction the children are receiving in school.” Mr. Tirozzi said he had not heard of any other teachers making similar assignments, and added that he would be interested to know if the students were performing better.

Carol Jago, the incoming vice president of the National Council of Teachers of English, said, “This is one of those really good ideas that has the potential to do what we really want in society. It has to do with what we talk to our students about, and what kind of models we are for our children as readers,” she said, adding that in her 32 years of teaching, she has often asked parents to forgo hiring tutors and instead just read the books their children were reading. “With 10th graders, the parents often really did tell me that it was the one place where they could talk with their student without fighting, without arguing about their hair,” Ms. Jago said.

But she also cautioned against penalizing students for something that their parents cannot or refuse to do. “Common educational wisdom is that you don’t assign homework that kids can’t do on their own,” she said.

In fact, Mr. Frye has not penalized students whose parents have told him outright that they will not post responses. But in one case, when the parents neither did the homework nor explained why, a student did lose points — but not enough to lower the student’s overall grade, he said. He said he got the idea for the homework assignments from a district kindergarten teacher he sat next to during teacher orientation one year, who asked parents to write about what their children had done over the weekend. Experts say that while many elementary school teachers ask parents to write letters introducing their children at the beginning of the school year, few teachers subject parents to a weekly regimen of reading and writing.

Mr. Frye, 30, teaches 65 ninth graders, in three sections, in a classroom where student art and album covers from Stevie Wonder and John Coltrane decorate the walls. As part of the school district’s efforts to reduce the achievement gap between black and white students in this Essex County suburb — a topic Mr. Frye studied for his graduate thesis — every freshman, regardless of earlier performance in school, takes a world literature course, considered a high honors class, like his. He said that all the students’ parents had computer access and that only two had told him that they were not fluent in English; one posts on the blog anyway, one sends her responses to him privately, by e-mail. Another parent phones responses in to him.

Tony Lopez, a corporate lawyer who posted a lengthy reaction to the Kennedy speech, given the day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, said he was actually glad to do the weekly homework. “I take it as giving back to the teacher what he is apparently giving to our kids, a lot of attention and a lot of requirements,” Mr. Lopez said. He added that he had been impressed with Mr. Frye’s preparations for the class. “As a family, we opted to meet him at least halfway,” he said.

Tracy Parsons, whose son Danny is the second of her two boys to be a student in Mr. Frye’s class, said that the weekly assignments had changed the way she approached homework with her children. “In high school, to some degree you have to back off from homework, so they can gain independent learning skills,” Ms. Parsons said. But teenagers, she noted, “leave a lot out. You ask, ‘What’d you do in science?’ and they say, ‘It was fine.’”
Well, it's a novel strategy...

Any teachers in here ever tried anything like this, or known any teachers who did?

I assume part of the idea is that the parents discuss each assignment with their children as well as each other, but the article isn't really very clear on that.
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Old 10-06-2007, 10:33 PM   #144
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I got a question, probably geared more to the teachers.

How much homework, on average per night, should an 8th grader have? Should they have homework on the weekend as well? Just curious, as Maddy has been saddled with homework every weekend since school began this semester. Are the kids not allowed to have any time off? Down time? What if they have plans with their family/friends on the weekend? Sports/outside activities? Part of me feels trapped at home when she's stuck inside because of homework. I think she just finished an hour+ of math homework, which she said constituted about 1/2 of her weekend homework. She still has work due for 3 other classes. Don't the teachers know how much time (on average) it should take their students to finish the homework they are assigning and why so much on the weekend? I thought the guidelines for homework had something to do with being a school night I can understand some homework on occasion, but....

And next weekend she is participating in Relay For Life, which is a 24 hour event to raise money for Cancer. Is she supposed to schlep her schoolbooks along with her too
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:58 PM   #145
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AMEN!

General Science, 9th grade. At the end of the year, I did not turn the book back in -- I took it out and burnt it. Paid for it out of my allowance. It wasn't just a matter of being able to do some work faster than the other students in the class, it was that I was already beyond that class in terms of what I had learned on my own by being constantly pinned to PBS and devouring the science section of the local library.

I hated despised loathed that class.

I knew the stuff that was in the text book by the time I was 10 years old -- and now I was sitting in a room with a bunch of ... (I'll be nice here, or try to be) slow pokes who still didn't know, at the age of 14, that "Everything is made of matter." And to make matters worse, I could finish whatever was assigned three times faster than most of them. I'd finish in class work, put my head down and take a nap--and the teacher would call on me and ask me why I wasn't doing the work... I did, however, have the satisfaction of showing him a finished piece of work when he called on me.

Why was I even in that class, you ask? It was required.

That wasn't the only class I loathed for that reason, either. It was just the worst offender.
I had several classes like that in junior high and high school, I just breezed through certain classes. I remember finishing a gen. science test in about 20 minutes, the class was an hour, the teacher said it was okay to quietly read or do work from another class. Had a few teachers who were like that, they'd say I could work on stuff from other classes when I was done with stuff from their class. I didn't have "home-work" quite often because I finished it at school. In fact, I tried to have a majority of my homework done while at school so I wouldn't have to do it at home and I could relax. Even in elementary school, if there was free time in a class, like after a test, I'd do assigned homework then.

I went to private schools up until the 8th grade, then I went to a public school, and a teacher told me, based on my scores from one of those standardized tests, that I should just stay in the basic math class and go for the easy "A." Which I did. Though in hindsight I probably should have went for the harder math so I'd be more prepared for it in high school.

I always viewed homework as a reinforcement of what you were taught that day. Practice. The more you practice something, the more you know about it.
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:01 PM   #146
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I got a question, probably geared more to the teachers.

How much homework, on average per night, should an 8th grader have? Should they have homework on the weekend as well? Just curious, as Maddy has been saddled with homework every weekend since school began this semester. Are the kids not allowed to have any time off? Down time? What if they have plans with their family/friends on the weekend? Sports/outside activities? Part of me feels trapped at home when she's stuck inside because of homework. I think she just finished an hour+ of math homework, which she said constituted about 1/2 of her weekend homework. She still has work due for 3 other classes. Don't the teachers know how much time (on average) it should take their students to finish the homework they are assigning and why so much on the weekend? I thought the guidelines for homework had something to do with being a school night I can understand some homework on occasion, but....

And next weekend she is participating in Relay For Life, which is a 24 hour event to raise money for Cancer. Is she supposed to schlep her schoolbooks along with her too
I've had homework on weekends since grade school. However, I think for the most part it's always been the same as the amounts on a normal weekday.
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:28 PM   #147
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I don't give homework on weekends. It's against my personal policy (and against districy policy).
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:32 PM   #148
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Originally posted by Lila64
How much homework, on average per night, should an 8th grader have? Should they have homework on the weekend as well? Just curious, as Maddy has been saddled with homework every weekend since school began this semester. Are the kids not allowed to have any time off? Down time? What if they have plans with their family/friends on the weekend? Sports/outside activities? Part of me feels trapped at home when she's stuck inside because of homework.


from 7th grade on, i remember a solid 2 hours of homework a night, and probably 4 hours on the weekend. by high school, it was 3 hours a night and a good half-day to a day on the weekends, and sometimes the entire weekend was all work if i had a major paper or something due. i also had a heavy sports commitment and a few clubs and student council. this was life -- and it continues to amaze me when people talk about how standards or whatever are slipping. all i remember doing was work.
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Old 10-08-2007, 04:58 PM   #149
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I can't remember not having homework on a weekend once we got to about grade 6 or 7. I don't think it was a lot at that point, but 2-3 hours doesn't sound like an exaggeration. It was definitely more in high school. And during my undergrad and even more so during law school, a vast majority of my work was done outside of the classroom so in that sense I appreciated that I'd been trained to expect to take work home with me, even over the holidays.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:12 PM   #150
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I don't assign a lot of homework to my students in grades 8 and lower (generally, it's of the 'if you can't finish in class, finish at home'variety) and I don't usually give homework over the weekend if it can be avoided.

At the high school level, the homework definitely increases--especially reading and essays (essays are almost entirely expected to be done independently i.e. as homework) and I do give homework that would need to be done over the weekend.
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:40 PM   #151
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In terms of grade school, I had several hours of homework each night including weekends from about 4th-12th grades.

My problem was...I chose not to do what I could get away with not doing...
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:45 PM   #152
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My problem was...I chose not to do what I could get away with not doing...
The smart ones always figure that out.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:52 AM   #153
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Did you guys have 4-6 hours of homework every night 7 days a week? Maybe less some nights, but still... I mean it's almost midnight here, and my daughter is still trying to complete her homework. She's been home since 5:45, had time off for dinner & a snack. WTF is wrong with this picture? She's 13!!!


My sister-in-law mailed this article to me, and I found it online to pass along:

From the Wall Street Journal 10/21/07 by Jeff Opdyke

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1192...j_main_hs_coll


It's official: Parents hated homework as kids, and now they hate their kids' homework.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the ridiculous amount of homework my son has these days -- and the toll it is taking on our family time.

My inbox has since filled up with more than 1,000 emails from parents, teachers, principals and guidance counselors who unleashed a cumulative "thank you."

* * *
Many parents told of the emotional toll homework was taking on their kids. They spoke of crying fits, angry outbursts, frustration. And worse.


Lydia Hulka, in Huntington Beach, Calif., says her two daughters can't even recuperate over holidays because of the "piles of projects and homework." She has talked to school counselors and teachers in both middle school and high school about the stresses her daughters are experiencing, "and I was sent twice to see a psychiatrist to put [them] on pills. When I look at my childhood, I actually had time to play. When I compare it to the life of my children, I feel helpless and sorry for them. Society does more harm to our kids with this overload."

"Is there something we can do as parents," Ms. Hulka asks, "to stop this insanity?"

Christina Wester, in Dallas, thinks there is: She recently started home-schooling her son, in part because she felt his school was giving too much homework. All schools care about, she says, "is the test score that maintains their 'blue ribbon' status or ensures the funding they need." And yet, she says, the "test scores are really meaningless."


What is meaningful, she says, is "free time after school playing outside, family dinners free from stress and pressure, lazy Saturday mornings filled with tickle fights, cartoons and a big pancake breakfast, Sunday evenings spent relaxing rather than dreading school or cramming for a test."

* * *
Jobie Brooks, in Arroyo Grande, Calif., says her two girls (in eighth and ninth grade) work four to seven hours a night, six to seven nights a week on homework.

"There's barely time for dinner," Ms. Brooks says, "and no quality family time with our children that isn't controlled by upcoming tests and papers due." Homework also has interfered with church, vacation, movies and visits from friends and family. "The weekends are so jammed with studying and writing," Ms. Brooks says, "that we've reached a point where we've actually told our girls not to worry if they don't get that almighty A."

Ms. Brooks says she has told teachers and school-board officials that the stress level on kids is "absolutely unacceptable." But her complaints were dismissed. "Teachers," she has concluded, "seem to be relying on homework to do the teaching."

* * *
Tara Woods, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., says she and her husband are "big believers in formal education," but that the amount of homework was so absurd that she decided her son did not need to do his homework any more.

As long as he knew the material, "I was fine, and he could skip the assignment," she says. "If he messed up on a test, but knew the material, I was fine. I told him no one ever was going to care what grade he got on a second-grade math test, and I made it clear that as his parent, I was making the decision to override the teachers because I believe the school system has some fundamental problems."

Ms. Woods told her son's teacher of her decision as well. "If you maintain regular communication with a teacher, explaining that you are on top of your child's progress and that the stress is too much, most teachers will be OK with it," she says. "The ones who aren't should be ignored anyway."

Still, Ms. Woods says, her son is leaving his school at the end of the year for a local magnet school, "because the entire education is geared toward standardized tests. The school system has become bent and warped, and we, as parents, have to take a stand."

* * *
The last word goes to a reader in the Southwest, who says that as she drove to school one recent morning she kept thinking "I hate school." The thing is: She's the school's guidance counselor.

"I've sat with kids who are in migraine mode or taking pills for stomach problems they never had before, sobbing and in existential crisis," she says. "I have had more than a few eighth-graders tell me that their lives are meaningless, that all they do is go to school, go home and do homework, and come back the next day to do it all again."

She says her school created a detention program for kids who are late turning in their homework. A few weeks ago, a parent forgot to pick up a child in detention and the sixth-grade girl began the two-mile trek home in 105-degree heat. "She was on the verge of passing out when I picked her up" and took her home, this reader says.

"When I told the teachers the next day that they should be more careful about making sure parents pick up their kids...one teacher said, 'Then she should do her homework on time.' "

So, she says, "I also hate school. Unfortunately for me, I love children. And so I'm here."
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Old 10-31-2007, 03:11 AM   #154
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It is frustrating. I'd say for the most part my teachers were generally pretty good about spreading out the material a bit, but at the same time, yeah, when you have students who:

-Don't get the material (which leads into a whole other topic of why the material's able to stick for some kids but not for others-I know what it's like to be the kid watching everyone else zoom ahead. I struggled greatly with math-related classes in school-for some reason, there was so much of it that just never stuck with me, and watching everyone else in the room seem to get it just made me more upset and confused and embarrassed)
-Have tons of other classes' worth of work to attend to, thus making them basically hurry through some assignment so they can get on to the rest of their stuff and hopefully finish it that night
-Get burned out because of the workload

it's gonna be really overwhelming and a pain for all involved.

(And of course there's those who don't even bother to try to learn the material at all, but that's more their problem than that of the teachers )

I do think homework has its merits, there are times when the assignments actually are beneficial to a child's learning, and there are some things that cannot be delved into during the class that will have to spill over into being taught at home. But too much of it, especially if it's just busy work, isn't helpful, either. There needs to be a balance. What the perfect meeting place is, though, that's where the debate comes in.

I also know that in my middle/high school years, sometimes my teachers made it seem like it was a bad, BAD thing if you didn't turn in your homework right away, and while I agree you shouldn't drag the work out to eternity (especially since my teachers had deadlines they have to meet, too, regarding school curriculum), at the same time, maybe a slight bit more flexibility wouldn't have hurt, so that kids weren't feeling pressured to stay up until daybreak working on something.

I feel bad for your daughter, Lila-I hope she's managed to snag another break and clear her mind for a bit. Good luck with the homework.

Also, by the way, I think it's bizarre that there are people who wouldn't consider teaching a noble profession. I tip my hat to anyone who takes it on-I don't doubt it's difficult at times. Which is why I can only imagine the happiness you get when you do see the fruits of your labor. And I've had many a great teacher myself throughout my lifetime. So to all you teachers out there, way to go .

Angela
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Old 10-31-2007, 03:20 AM   #155
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Yeah, at midnight she finished and then had to straighten out her room before the cleaners come to clean the house on Wednesday, so at the earliest, she went to bed at 12:30am

And I agree, a certain amount of homework I could understand, but I can't understand 4-6 hours a night, 6-7 days a week. And she's in the advanced classes and has always done well and continues to do so. But there really does need to be more balance. Sometimes it seems they are rushing kids to learn stuff earlier and earlier. Like something I would have learned in 8th grade 30 years ago (WTF!??!?) she would now be learning in 7th or even earlier. Why the rush? To meet some state test standards?

And yes, she said her friends have the same amount of homework too. I think they are all in the advanced / smart kids classes Last year we had her in a regular English class, and it was just too easy for her. She wasn't even required to read any books outside of class She had always been required, for the most part, to read
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:04 AM   #156
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Why the rush? To meet some state test standards?

Yes. And federal requirements for 100% proficiency for everyone, no matter what.
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:32 AM   #157
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Originally posted by U2democrat

My problem was...I chose not to do what I could get away with not doing...
I always did the same...or spent a huge amount of time working on a project or paper from a class I enjoyed instead of spreading my time out over all my classes.
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:45 AM   #158
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We've got to keep up with the Joneses, you know.

Or in this case, the Japanese.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:51 PM   #159
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Location: NY
Posts: 18,918
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hinder
We've got to keep up with the Joneses, you know.

Or in this case, the Japanese.
I do think this factors in. The Americans lag behind a lot of the rest of the world in most subjects and a glance at top graduate schools in the US will point that out as well. Same problem in Canada, actually.

The math we're learning in 8th grade, the Japanese probably did in 5th. That's the reality we're faced with.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:54 PM   #160
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Muggsy
I do believe that the problem isn't in the amount of homework but in the quality of those activities.
Absolutely. Busywork is the problem. I still think that a limited amount of focused homework material will help someone retain what they have learnt in class on the same day.
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