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Parents Fight Legal Battle For Less Homework 42

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-more-pencils-no-more-books dept.
Sherri and Tom Milley may be the coolest parents in the world, at least in the eyes of their children. The Milley's were tired of having to help their children with hours of homework each night so they negotiated the "Milleys' Differentiated Homework Plan" with the school. The plan, which ensures their youngest two children will never have to do homework again, was signed by the children, parents and teachers. "It was a constant homework battle every night," Sherri told Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper. "It's hard to get a weeping child to take in math problems. They are tired. They shouldn't be working a second shift."

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Parents Fight Legal Battle For Less Homework

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  • When I was in fourth grade, I had trouble learning my multiplication tables. So I had to write out from 1x1 to 12x12 (144 problems) 12 times a night. That's over a 1000 math problems a night in fourth grade!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      When I was in fourth grade, I had trouble learning my multiplication tables. So I had to write out from 1x1 to 12x12 (144 problems) 12 times a night. That's over a 1000 math problems a night in fourth grade!

      I'm going to put my jerk hat on and say that's 66 math problems, total. Each table of 144 entries is identical, and multiplication is commutative, so almost half of those 144 problems are identical to another problem in the table, i.e. once you have 4*6 you don't have to solve for 6*4.

      I think that's the most valuable lesson you can learn from multiplication tables, that multiplication is commutative and that the answer to those problems don't change day-to-day.

      • I'm going to put my jerk hat on and say that's 66 math problems, total. Each table of 144 entries is identical, and multiplication is commutative, so almost half of those 144 problems are identical to another problem in the table, i.e. once you have 4*6 you don't have to solve for 6*4.

        I think that's the most valuable lesson you can learn from multiplication tables, that multiplication is commutative and that the answer to those problems don't change day-to-day.

        I'm going to replace my jerk hat with my "feeling stupid" hat and say it's actually 78 problems. :-/

      • Maybe so, but I was in fourth grade so I didn't realize that at the time. Remember, I had trouble with them. But that was still way too much work for kid that age.
        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          Maybe so, but I was in fourth grade so I didn't realize that at the time. Remember, I had trouble with them.

          Which is part of the point of doing homework. Wondered when you'd get that.

          But that was still way too much work for kid that age.

          If I knew what age "4th grade" was in your country, I might agree. Guessing on it meaning about 9, that's not unreasonable. 2 to 3 hours work. If you want to make it shorter, then you get smarter. Again, that's part of the point of homework.

        • Perhaps, but you know them now right? I will say that I believe there are better ways, but the greatest minds are not working on that which is most important thing for society. Without education, you can't have health and security.

      • by Whorhay (1319089)

        I got in trouble once doing this kind of reptitive homework. I had to write each word from a list of words a large number of times. After doing a few iterations of a word I realized it might be quicker to write the first letter for each of that particular word and then do the second and such, rather than writing out the whole word at once before going to the next iteration of that word. This way I didn't have to remember how to spell the word but instead just remember what letter I was writing. It ended up

  • by czarangelus (805501) <iapetus.gmail@com> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @03:25PM (#30161512)
    the purpose of homework is just like the purpose of school. Neither of these institutions have any educational objective outside to teach a child how to be a radical conformist. I learned very little in all my years in school; in fact, the pressures of punch clock education only provided a distraction from my efforts to read every book ever written and to educate myself. The prison-camp of school, where you have to ask permission to take a piss, exists to train students to swallow the insane ravings of authority mindlessly assuming it's all for their own good. Eventually I just stopped doing any of the work, to my own betterment. I started inventing my own cirriculum and the teachers went along with it just to keep me from disrupting their lessons. I'm sorry I ever went to school in the first place, thankful I got expelled, and ecstatic that outside of the mainstream "education" system I was able to complete my high school studies in a fraction of the time and got into an excellent college despite the obstructionism of those twits on the school board.
  • i decided to go back to school to finish what i've begun some 3 or 4 years ago. while the school does have an interesting catalog of courses, it does leave a lot of homework.

    i've never been a fan of homework, i don't really know the purpose of it, i don't think it compares to something in the real world, apart from studying for something you want to learn outside the working hours of your job. i don't see any point of doing it, most of the time its dreadful, boring, copy pasted, paper wasting, nonsen

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Pretty much everything I learned in college I learned from homework. I'm with you on high school homework, it's just looking up something from a book or brute forcing through some algebra or basic calculus.

  • Sure! Don't solve problems, don't read books, don't write essays.
    Instead, watch some "Married, with Children" to see what you're gonna become.
    Buttheads.

    • by tacarat (696339)
      Funny that the parents are Canadian. It is something I'd expect from US parents, somehow. Of course, I have disappointingly low expectations from some of my countrymen. Personally, I think the parents should have just started homeschooling. If they had that much energy to fight the system like that and "knew better", then prove it. I like the part about there being no clear connection between homework and performance at school. Lawyerifically speaking, I'm sure that's true. It's also true that there
      • Funny that the parents are Canadian.

        I haven't made that clear, but I was actually referring to the comments above, not the article itself.

        It is something I'd expect from US parents, somehow.

        That's why I made that xenophobic reference - it is now common opinion that the majority of US citizens lead carefree hedonistic life. And it's nobody's fault but their own. Reading the previous comments made my head spin.

        • by tacarat (696339)
          I wasn't doubting you. My head spins too. Hell, I'll admit I have a high quality of life compared to lots of people elsewhere in the world. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm more familiar with the "ugly American" reputation over hedonistic. Very embarrassing.
        • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @10:25PM (#30167426)

          That's why I made that xenophobic reference - it is now common opinion that the majority of US citizens lead carefree hedonistic life. And it's nobody's fault but their own. Reading the previous comments made my head spin.

          Homework is many things:
          - Practice what was taught in class to make it familiar (Math)
          - Absorbing information and analyzing it (English, History)
          - Learning to teach yourself

          Sure there are people who don't need all of this and just get it.

          • Sure there are people who don't need all of this and just get it.

            Those would understand there are others who do need practice. That aside, talent is not enough.

          • by Loki_666 (824073)

            Thats probably the intention, but i think it rarely works like that. Fortunately when i was at school they were not homework crazy. However, i hear the schools near where i live now are homework crazy and i think when my kids start there i will have to lay down the law to the school.

            I've heard such stories its unbelievable. Kids spending 4 or more hours a night doing homework, each class giving homework every lesson (when should the kids have free time?). Parents having to help their kids every evening

        • by nitroamos (261075)

          it is now common opinion that the majority of US citizens lead carefree hedonistic life. And it's nobody's fault but their own.

          The data I've seen indicates that American school children don't work as hard as their counterparts in other industrialized countries (in terms of the number of hours per year spent in school), but American workers do work more days/year because most of us aren't given 4 wk vacations like all Europeans.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_statutory_minimum_employment_leave_by_country [wikipedia.org]

          and at any rate, Slashdotters are a poor statistical sample!

      • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @10:29PM (#30167448)

        Personally, I think the parents should have just started homeschooling.

        This was about time, not principles. They still need someone to babysit their kids during the day.

      • I like the part about there being no clear connection between homework and performance at school.

        I saw an extremely clean negative correlation with assigned homework and my grades. The more assignments I was expected to do at home, the lower my grade was.

        • by tacarat (696339)
          Me too, but that's because I didn't do the homework. That, and my teachers were sexist fucks. I mean, why couldn't I get an opportunity to sleep with the instructor for extra credit? It's discrimination!
      • by Nathrael (1251426)

        Personally, I think the parents should have just started homeschooling.

        Sadly, homeschooling (which has both it's advantages and disadvantages, just like "regular" school does) isn't available for everybody. I don't know how it is in the US, but here (an European country), it's a pretty expensive thing to do - it either costs you a lot of money by hiring a home teacher or a lot of time by teaching your kid yourself, and neither time nor money are too available for the majority of the working population.

  • by jarkus4 (1627895) on Friday November 20, 2009 @09:00AM (#30170058)
    I can't agree that homework is useless. It's actually a mean of forcing the children to do something they don't like to do - repeat what they learned in school. And repetitions are the only way for most people to really learn something. I'm personally skilled in mathematics and in high school I tended to skip the homework completely because I was to lazy to do it(it was mandatory, but usually wasn't enforced). With this I got around 60 - 65% in tests (it was a class with math as "specialization", so it wasn't THAT bad :D ). The few times I was actually forced to do some homework it usually raised my results up to about 80 - 85%. Also later, in my college days, I had experienced cases where simple lack of practice caused me to perform much below expectations on exams - even though I knew how to do something, I simply wasn't fast enough to complete it and other assignments in a given time.
    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      The few times I was actually forced to do some homework it usually raised my results up to about 80 - 85%.

      From a "fail" to a "barely acceptable".

      Also later, in my college days, I had experienced cases where simple lack of practice caused me to perform much below expectations on exams - even though I knew how to do something,

      Which is one of the main points of the homework.

      I simply wasn't fast enough to complete it and other assignments in a given time.

      Well, that's another important life-skill that you've mi

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Well, that's another important life-skill that you've missed out on.

        OK, I admit to skipping my "closing blockquote" homework as well as the entire "preview button" class.

      • by jarkus4 (1627895)

        The few times I was actually forced to do some homework it usually raised my results up to about 80 - 85%.

        From a "fail" to a "barely acceptable".

        Just for the record: no one in the class had a consistent record of over 90% scores and it was class only for people skilled in mathematics (to get into it you had to pass an extra math entrance exam, that was much harder then normal one) . Actually on the very first test in high school only 4 people out of 29 managed to get past 50% mark. Oh, and 50% + 1 point was the minimum for passing the test.

    • by v1 (525388) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:10PM (#30188948) Homepage Journal

      And repetitions are the only way for most people to really learn something.

      There's never one "right way" to teach anything. Maybe that works best for you, but maybe not for me.

      In my case, application of what I've learned, as soon as possible after learning it, is critical. I don't have any statistics atm but that's true of a LOT of people. For me anyway, the reason is I have a severely defective factual memory, and a near perfect memory for method, audio, and visual. Tell me to write down a spelling word 100x and see how far you get. Now ask me to read it aloud three times and get a surprise. Give me a list of steps to assemble something and have me study it all day long and still get it wrong. Or show me how to do it hands-on and I have it down by the second time, regardless of complexity.

      The homework itself isn't useless, but when you're sending all 70 of your students home to learn the exact same way, some of the students are just getting screwed. For some, it ends up being boring, frustrating, and completely unproductive. There's a reason we have teachers, to find the best way to teach the children in their class, by whatever method works best for the student, which varies from child to child. Once you send them all home with the same assignment, you completely remove that from the equation.

      Unfortunately for me, 95% of what I was sent home with when I was in school was of little or no value whatsoever, and only served to bitter my view of education in general. Even when I got back to school the next day all I got to hear was how poor the quality of my homework was, which affected my motivation to try when I was in school. I vastly preferred 6 hrs of school over 1 hr of homework.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday November 20, 2009 @11:35AM (#30171560) Homepage Journal

    1) to do projects which are not feasable during the school day, such as interviewing family members to construct a family tree, visiting a city council meeting, etc.
    2) to do necessary work the student ran out of time to do in class
    3) to develop a value system that education, and by extension, adult tasks like work, are not simply an 8AM-3PM proposition.

    Homework, like classwork, can be abused. Assigning meaningless drill-and-practice work to a student who has already mastered the material or telling a student to "do all the problems" when only doing a handful would suffice to achieve mastery is a waste of time.

  • after all, no one ever brings work home from work, learns new skills to advance outside of work, or works through a work assignment they they hate or is hard.

    Yes, a lot about school sucks. So does parts of life.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis

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