Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oh Brother

Excessive homework really gets my goat, but if there's a silving lining this school year, it's that with 2 fifth graders and a seventh grader, I've been forced to share the support role with the kids themselves. Many teachers assert HW is a reinforcement of lessons learned in class and should need little to no parent involvement, but the truth is, in a challenging district kids often do need help. It gets stressful when two or more kids need support at the same time, in different ways and with diverse tasks. I started asking the boys to help each other, especially with test preparation. Although I feel spelling tests are mostly a waste (reading for pleasure, an unfortunate casualty of too much homework, is a much better way to learn spelling), I'll admit it's a pleasure to hear the boys quiz each other on spelling words. For social studies and science the twins will make flashcards online and lay them out upside down to play concentration together, matching terms & definitions. One thing I noticed is whereas I tend to be all business when studying with them--let's go; dinner's not making itself!--I'll hear them giggling and goofing off while they're helping each other...yet they still manage to get it done. The key has been to ask them to help each other only with clear-cut, easily defined tasks. And of course there's enough complicated, confusing work that I'm not out of a job just yet :(


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