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Time with homework

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Feb 18, 2002 at 3:03:45 PM
Subject: Time with homework

I have found that my son spends a lot of time trying to complete homework when he is mainstreamed in the regular classroom. I have notice it more in 4th through 6th grade. Does anyone else have this problem? Can you give me any ideas that might help? Are you still helping with homework even in the higher grades? Thank you for any information you can give me.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 18, 2002 3:10:50 PM

Yep, my son's in 7th grade and I still help.....lots. I tried letting him go it alone the first nine weeks, and it wasn't good. he failed both subjects that he is mainstreamed for. I figure I'll always have to help as long as the school doesn't. They did get an aide in his LD classroom now and he's being going out there for study hall and she helps alot.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 18, 2002 5:33:27 PM

We have it writen into my son's IEP that his homework will be modified to manageable levels. We sit down with the teachers and find out how long kids of that grade are expected to work on homework. If it takes our son much longer than that, it is modified. Even with that, he stays after school for "homework help" with the SPED teacher 3 days a week. We found that it was just too stressful for us to try to get through homework with him. We realized that our job was to be his emotional support system, and we couldn't do that if we were fighting over homework every night.

Karen

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 18, 2002 6:16:41 PM

It's nice that your school has an afterschool program, wish our's did. My son's homework is modified too, he is only responsible for 50%. But my problem is I end up spending lots of time on it then he does, because even though he only has to turn 50% in, I have to do the other 50% so I can help him study for tests. So I end up reading the entire chapter for example. I also want to be sure that when he is completing homework he has the right answers. Sometimes I think homework is worse on me than it is him. LOL

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 18, 2002 6:50:42 PM

I personally dont think modifying the amount of homework is good. If a child dosnt do the same work the other kids do, how can he possibly learn what they do? I do understand that in some cases do to very low IQ a parent may allow this because the child may not be able to learn all the material even with proper modifications.

I do believe in modifying the way the homework is done. If a child cant read he needs books on tape or a reader, If he cant write then he needs answer only options (no copy and answer), a scribe, or he should answer into a tape recorder and turn in his homework on tape.
A child very well may have difficulty reading and writeing and may require modifications for both. But I would rather do that then have the kid get only half the education of everyone else.

It is important to understand the diffrence between skills (reading and writeing) and learning content material, science, history, geography ect

In my personal opinion a modified amount of work equals an unequal education.

I use to have to scribe and read for two kids on two different levels, the result was they learned all the information the other kids did while they were learning to read and write. They both recieved remediation through sp-ed for reading and writeing. I no longer have to read for eighter child. I still have to scribe for both when large assignments are given with only a short amount of time to complete them.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 18, 2002 11:01:57 PM

Our school doesn't have an after school "program" per se. He is not the only child that receives help with home work from a SPED teacher, but it is just part of his ed plan.

Homework in our school system is only supposed to be review, at least at this level. He gets a study guide of all the material he is responsible for before any tests, and we study from that. But this study time is also counted into homework time. If we need to do more than this, THEY need to know about it. I am fully convinced that I'm not doing him any favors by shouldering too much of this work. It only hides how much support he really needs.

I know each family has to decide what's right for them, but I know for us we have proven that the more I can hold myself apart from "school" teaching/reteaching, and instead make myself responsible for emotional support and academic enrichment activities, the more of an even keel we can maintain.

Karen

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 18, 2002 11:15:45 PM


My son is in 6th grade this year.

I asked that he be excused from spelling in language arts.
Way too much time studying words he couldn't read yet,
he has a fourth grade reading level.

He does great in science and math.

Social Studies is very hard. D after D on his tests.

This time around his teacher and I have been brainstorming
what to do -

I asked for copies of all in class handouts, I turned all his chapters
dealing with Rome into notes in a comic book form - 21 pages,
his teacher found the chapters on tape for him to listen to, we were
thinking about having an LD aide come in and take notes on study
day (we have two aides for the entire sixth grade) but then
we decided to let him take the test home and use an open
book - my comic book or real book.

Supposedly next year's social studies program is a lot easier, our
state history instead of every ancient civilization on the planet...
(I've learned a lot though!)

Anne

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 18, 2002 11:18:45 PM

I think it depends on the child and his diability. My son is NLD with a high average VIQ, and a 22 point spread between VIQ & PIQ. He reads very well, and has an excellent memory. But he has visual/spatial and visual/motor difficulties, and his processing speed is slow. Worse, it is _drastically_ reduced by pressure.

I can't speak to other types of LD's, but I can tell you that children with NLD usually work SO hard during the school day, that there is precious little brain power left for any meaningful learning at home. We've proven a number of times that with a lower homework load, he consistently gets better marks on his tests, which are unmodified except for visual clarity. I'm not talking a little better. I'm talking about 50%'s if he's under too much pressure, and 90%'s on the same type of material if he's given half the homework. Which way is he learning more?

Interestingly, now that we've switched him out of a class where the teacher was, IMO assigning more homework than was reasonable for ANY of the kids, he IS getting through most of his homework without modification. It is the responsibility of the classroom teacher and the SPED teacher to sort through homework assignments, and separate out what is truly important from the reams of busy work and repetition that some teachers assign in the name of "homework".

If he is not capable of finishing an assignment relatively independently, and in a reasonable period of time, the new teachers, like our last year's team, don't WANT me to re-teach. They want the homework sent back with a note saying that he did work on it, but wasn't able to finish it. They want to know what he can and can't do so that they can work on things that he's having trouble with. As far as I'm concerned, that's the way homework should work, whether a child has an LD or not.

Karen

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 18, 2002 11:51:39 PM

I still help with homework in the 11th grade with one son and my older son away at college e-mails me for help as well. While in the best of all possible worlds, we could all do every task asked of us ourselves, most of us turn for help when we need it.

As a teacher, I find those students whose parents will help with homework end up being the most successful students. I would not like to handicap my son's success by not helping when they need it. Especially in these modern times when teachers are heaping on the homework, the kinds of tasks and the length of them can get too much for still growing children. While I'd look forward to the day when teachers are better able to gauge what students are capable of, until then I help with homework.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 8:30:10 AM

Karen,

I am just curious why the teachers don't want you reteaching your son. My son essentially cannot do his homework independently. (except for math sometimes). I end up reteaching everything (homeschooling might be easier). Part of it is that it takes several times through before things "stick" with him and part of it is that he does not learn very well in a large class environment. He has CAPD. Now at school he is working fairly independently and getting B's and C's. Our kids are pretty different in that my child has a language based disability.

Beth

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 9:00:44 AM

Anne, some people I think, will never learn to spell, I am one of them. As an adult with dyslexia, I thank god for both my computor and my secratary.

I can understand your son skipping spelling tests at the six grade level, spelling like reading is a skill and it sounds like he needs remediation, have you considered writeing in individual spelling tests at his level?

Haveing a form of written communication is extremely important in our society.
If your child wants to go to college, he will have to have A written form of communication, However it dosnt nessisarily have to by pen and paper. You could write into the IEP that your son be taught to type and to use a computer writeing program with a spell check- (By law you can not demand a program by name, but you can describe what the program needs to contain.)

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 9:10:07 AM

Karen their is an exception to everything, no arguments here, but have you considered that the reason your son is doing better in the second class has nothing to do with his disability, that all children, disabled or not would preform poorly when the teacher piled on an insurmountable amount of homework simply because they were burned out?

I have to disagree and protest vheminatly to teachers not wanting you to reteach. Why should your childs education be dependednt on their ability to find the time to reteach your son what he missed. Are you sure they are reteaching it? next few times you get an assignments he cant do, make copies of them and send the origionals back, a week or two later ask your son if he can do them now, you will be able to knock me over with a feather if he can. Im willing to bet at least half of the things never get retaught to your son.

A better solution is to help your son and indicate on the lower right hand cornor of the paper that your son was unable to it himself, also write the type of help he required, scribe, help understanding the questions, didnt understand the process, if its math didnt know how to carry or borrow ect.

that way you insure your son does learn and the teacher knows he was unable to do it independently and why.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 10:17:37 AM


>>Anne, some people I think, will never learn to spell<<

My DH is the same way. He has been writing bagels and apples
on the grocery list for years. Always has to think about how
to spell them.

Under stress, like he was yesterday, he wrote bagles and appels.

Thank goodness for computers. Computer games that my son
really wants to play are great incentives to work on reading all
those cool game moves.

We are trying to get him working on computer programs at
school specifically designed for dyslexics. Started this
process in mid-October. Finally have the program (which
I bought for them) but now they can't find a computer
that will run it.........

Anne - who earned all these gray hairs.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 10:42:18 AM

The good teachers that we have worked with don't want us re-teaching at home because that then "disguises" his disability, and they can't really tell what he knows and what he's getting, and what he hasn't got until/unless he bombs on a test. Homework gives them constant feed-back. Then they can use his resource time to re-teach concepts (usually geometry, map-reading, or inferential comprehension related at this point) as needed.

The first half of this year, he was in the class of a teacher who, IMO, should not be working with children with disabilities. Her idea of "motivating" kids was through pressure, intimidation and negative reinforcement. It didn't matter how high he jumped, she'd raise the bar just out of reach, so that he never experienced real success.

As a long time animal trainer, I know a lot about motivation. You build confidence and the desire to succeed by making goals challenging, but attainable. It is by experiencing the feeling of success, that the animal (or child) learns the intrinsic value (pleasure) of success.

And while it is important to make kids stretch at times, and reach beyond themselves, it is NOT the way to teach on a daily basis. Any runner knows that in training, you work mostly within your ability, building for the the big race where you need to reach into reserves to win. If you are working to the very edge of your ability every day, there are no reserves to be tapped.

So after trying to work with this teacher all fall, (the SPED director and SPED teacher did their best to teach her how to deal with a kid like this, but she just wasn't getting it) the SPED director was actually the one who suggested that we change him to another classroom. These teachers, although no more familiar with NLD, are much kinder and more nurturing, and interestingly, their homework assignments are so much smaller, even though this is "just" another, normal, integrated 5th grade classroom, that he his not having any difficulty getting through the assignments without modification. (He was completing less than half the assigned work in the other classroom... not because he couldn't do the work, but because of the sheer volume)

When he was in 3rd grade, I had spent 3 hours a night doing homework with him, under emotionally stressful conditions, while they regularly reported to me that he had done "nothing" during the school day. With the help of my advocate, we made it clear to the school that it was their responsibility, under federal law, to design an appropriate education for him, and that included attention to his emotional well-being. If they could not design a program that would meet his needs in the public school system, we would seek outside placement at their expense.

If I had needed to, I would have taken him out and home schooled, (though we didn't tell them that) but fortunately it didn't come to that. But If I had continued to need to work 3 hours a day with him, I definitely would NOT have also continued to subject him to the stress of the a public school classroom all day as well. I would have worked with a fresh, relaxed kid in the morning not one who was mentally and emotionally bankrupt at the end of the school day.

Karen

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 10:57:21 AM

Karen,

What would you do if you had a kid like mine who seems to need one on one or small group instruction, according to his teacher? She has him in a small group for math but she says he is lost during whole group instruction. We just had a sound field system installed but she says she doesn't notice any difference. He is in resource room for language arts and the small group for math seems to work out OK. He does seem to need a ton of repetition in math too though so I do reteach things here too. But science and social studies just go right by him. He does fine if we go back over everything at home and I make all the connections that he doesn't see. As far as I know, the resource teacher spends her time on language arts and math.

He spents about an hour a night on homework, twenty minutes reading, and another half hour on other therapy so we're not near where you were in third grade. (We had that year last year---and I finally rebelled.) But I have to sit with him the whole time so this isn't independent work. Also, I am very concerned about his inability to pick up material in the classroom and how that will play out over time.
Beth

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 11:09:45 AM

You are right, the amount of homework assigned by the old teacher was just plain unreasonable... one of the reasons we moved him to a new class. But I see too many people who just assume that if the teacher assigns it, it must be neceassary, and then flog themselves and their children through excessive quantities of homework.

The reason my son can't get through his homework rarely has to do with not being "able" to do the work. It has much more to do with being unable to do the AMOUNT of work. When his work is modified, it is never to dumb down the content, it is to reduce the number of the same type of problem. The reasons we moved my son were many. If the homework load had been the only problem in his old class, we could have made this year work by carefully continuing to modifying his homework.

A quick example of this is that in our school system they give speed tests on math facts. My son knows his addition and subtraction facts cold. But he will NEVER be fast at them. So they had him stuck on the subtraction math fact test, even though he's in the 5th grade. There are 100 simple problems on the page, and you have to score at least an 80% to move on to the next test. (multiplication) Well, he has never been able to break 75 on this test, in 2 years. BUT... EVERY problem he finishes is correct, he's getting 100% of them right. He simply doesn't have the speed, particularly under pressure, to get through 80 problems in the time allowed. (the new teacher has, thankfully without me asking, moved him on to the multipliation test)

The areas where it takes longer for him to actually learn someting, are either visual/spatial (geometry and maps) or inferential comprehension. Because NLD kids don't generalize easily (if at all) concepts learned in one type of problem don't flow over into the next. That's the way their brain works. He may always need individualized teaching to make those connections. At best, we are not talking about something with a quick fix. It will take years and years of having them pointed out before he starts making those connections for himself. (if he ever does, but we live in hope<g>)

I'm not saying we never help him out if he gets stuck, and if we do, we do exactly what you suggest, and send the teacher a note saying exactly how he got stuck and what we did to help him with it. But we can't/won't get into a bettle over it. If he wants our help, we give it freely. If he starts to get frustrated or anxious, which happens often under homework conditions, we pack it up and send it back to school with a note.

I'm sorry to hear that your school does not effectively re-teach material that your child misses. Ours clearly does, because if my son is not too stressed out, he consistently gets good grades on his tests.

Karen

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 11:22:01 AM

I don't know for sure, because as you metioned, your son's disability is very different than my son's. I don't know enough about it.

My gut feeling is that I'd use a two-pronged approach. If my son was handling the homework situation without undue stress, at least for the time-being, I'd probably do exactly what you are doing. I don't know how old your son is either, but if the time includes reading, an hour doesn't seem excessive in 4th grade or higher.

If my son were not not able to do the work independently, I would help him with it if we could do it without stress, but would document it every step of the way. All fall, while dealing with my son's old teacher, I kept a "Mom's homework log of exactly how much time my son spent on homework, how much time _I_ spent, what I had to do to support him, AND how much time I spent communicating with the SPED teacher about the situation. It obviously made a pretty convincing case, since the SPED people were the ones to call it quits and suggest a new classroom.

So I guess taht sometimes in the short term you have to do what ever makes the most sense to protect your child. But at the same time, you have to keep your eye on the ball, and make the school live up to its responsibility if at all possible.

As I mentioned in another post, if I have to work with my child 3 hours a day, it's going to be homeschooling, on my own schedule, with the emphasis on the areas that I think will be most beneficial to my child.

Karen

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 11:27:43 AM

But if parents continue to "help" their children with homework that is excessive and developmentally inappropriate, and do so without comment, what is going to give teachers the input they need to allow them to accurately gauge appropriate homework levels?

I'm not talking about proofreading and/or brainstorming here. Most people learn to turn to others for help in these areas. I'm talking about about being buried in quantity. Or being given work that I, as a parent have to learn in order to teach my son. (I have been chuckling ruefully about remembered comments from my parents on "new math" lately ;-)

Karen

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 1:06:50 PM

I have two scenrios, 2 LD sons, with 2 different personalities.
My older son "John" passed testing in 2nd & 4th grade. I requested 2nd grade testing and was told He didn't have LD's - He wasn't putting in enough effort, one teacher called him lazy. I stupidly thought they were right. The battles over homework began - my son would rather spend 2 hours fighting over homework than the 1 hour it would take to do it. In third grade I volunteered at the school - the reading teacher was behind a partition where I was working. My son wasn't in the group at the time, but she was yelling & screaming at them for half the time they were there. I felt sick. We moved to a better school district in 4th grade. Within 2 months his teacher came to me & wanted him tested. She was as shocked as I was that He passed & told me she was going to get him help anyway. She talked to a reading specialist at the school & got my son in one of her classes. She told me to lay off the homework battles, He was working tremendously hard at school - she would never fail him. From Jan.- June He finally learned how to read a sentence fluently - & comprehend it by the end. He is in 9th grade now, But because of the homework pattern We established, it became a control issue & to this day is difficult. What was happening was his "Spirit" was being broken. There were other issues as a parent that I needed to teach & these battles were ruining our lives. I also find it difficult as an non-LD parent, to say I understand how hard the work is for him to do. Is He truly working to the best of his ability or is he blowing it off. I still help him at the 11th hour on projects he forgets about - but mostly as an assistant (get the pencils, magazines)- not doing it all. I feel if he wants to procrastinate, He should feel some of the pressure. Since he has the support, its utimately his choice. I have a tutor for him now, which is working. Had to eleminate myself from this equation, its alot less stressful.
Things we've tried:
My younger son received an IEP in 3rd grade. The support he received was more than I expected. But He would not do his homework alone - confidence issues. He would not spell the first letter of his name without me sitting there. 3rd grade teacher told us he didn't have to finish his homework, but should spend 1/2 on it. Beyond that I could initial. I'm glad my son enjoyed the time we spent doing homework together & he didn't want to be different, so 9 times out of 10, when the 1/2 hour was up, He chose to finish it. If there was a project or some other family activity & he didn't have time to do it all - I had him to every other problem - that way he practiced all aspects of homework. I would also read one page, if he read the next etc. Gradually He weened himself away - He'd open his folder and say," I can do this & this, but I'm going to need your help on this." That was by end of 5th - 6th grade. He is in 7th grade now & getting more independent. He is also organized.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 22, 2014
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 1:15:51 PM

Things we Tried:
Tutor -over the summer , doing homework in a different room, doing homework at library, punishment, after school help, rewards, sticker chart, willingness to help, getting homework for the week -ahead from teachers - also getting a heads-up on projects (I find this info effective on Fridays when they want to go snowboarding on Sunday), Weekly Missing assignment Worksheet on Fridays from the Sped. Teacher.(and lots of times my son produced the homework he forgot to pass in). At times I just let it go, so we could all just breath and be a family.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 19, 2002 2:10:07 PM

Karen,

My son is in third grade. He spends a lot of time on homework compared to children next door (both sides) who are in third grade also. But, frankly, his teacher assigns less homework than his second grade teacher and my son is more able to do his work this year, due to all the things we've done with him. She also doesn't penalize him for not finishing things. For example, he is to do as many math superstar problems as he can and she works with him and some others to finish them at school. I pick out the ones I know he can do relatively easily and let his teacher contend with the rest at school. I figure it is supposed to be an optional activity and she places a high value on it so better her than me!!!

I guess I am worried about the future because of his inability to pick up material in class and the fact that I know his teacher spends a lot of time one on one with him.
Even so, I have to reteach him things at home. I was impressed by how well you have navigated the homework maze and was wondering what insights you have. I think your idea of keeping track of time spent on homework and what help I give is a good one and may provide useful documentation in the future.

Beth

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