My twitter buddy @noahroth tweeted that he got 100% in his third grader’s recent homework assignment. I wondered if he would get a sticker for his hard work.
Apparently Noah and/or his lovely wife spend 2 hours a night helping their third grader with her homework. Which is ridiculous! (No offense Noah or Mrs Noah). If there is to be 2 hours of homework for an 8 year old – what will it be like in 4th or 5th grade? There are other kids in the family – will they be needing help for 2 hours while the 5th grader needs 4 hours? We do 30 minutes a night in third grade, and I am just supervising from the kitchen.
Recently my littlest had a project that he had to do. He is also a third grader. He had to make a travel brochure on the Pacific Ocean. He didn’t want my help at first. So I stood back. He put something together, submitted it and we got a note back from the teacher that she had wanted it more detailed and inclusive of this type of picture and that type of description. Please redo.
Bear in mind, this school prohibits its children from going on the Internet. So I had to do all the googling and printing of appropriate images and simple descriptions of algae and sharks and treasure chests and volcanoes. The child himself was having nightmares that he wouldn’t do a good enough job the second time around, so I knew it had to be something that he would be proud of.
One Sunday afternoon we sat together at the dining room table for over two hours – cutting and pasting, colouring and writing. Granted he had to do all the writing and the pasting and colouring, but I had to supervise. After the first hour he wasn’t talking about failing any more, and close to the end of the work he told me how much fun he had with his project and if he had known that it would be this much fun he would have had me help the first time around. He was so excited to take it in to school the next day.
His teacher let me know that his project was awesome. They each got to present their brochure in class and he did well. (Actually I was told “he did good” but, well, you know…).
What lesson did he learn here? That when Ima does homework he scores high, and when he does it on his own he is a failure? Or that because everyone else has their parents “helping” them with their projects, he needs to have Ima help or else he cannot have a hope of passing?
Don’t get me wrong, I loved spending this time with him, and I wouldn’t let him write about anything he didn’t understand and couldn’t explain back to me – but when I was 8 I had to do my own homework and was graded accordingly.
He has homework every night – I am there to explain to him if he needs it (usually its Math and we all know I cannot help him with that) or to help him with his vocab words. I don’t do it for him – how do they learn that way??