BOE to parents: stop dropping by our schools
by thecontrarian (click here to email the poster) (2013-07-24 10:37:27)
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As a parent, I think this is a great idea. At Little Contrarian's school, I constantly watch the helicopter parents drop off forgotten homework, lunch (often fast food) and the like because junior was being his or her forgetful self.

I am a fairly hands-off parent with Little Contrarian, and when he realizes that he forgot to bring his homework home, I tell him to see if he can Google the assignment online (you'd be surprised how much of that stuff is on teh Interwebs) or call/text a classmate to get it. If he can't do this, then he should take his punishment in school and learn from it; Mommy and Daddy aren't responsible for your homework.


As a teacher, I cannot tell you how much I love this. *
by AlanND90  (2013-07-24 21:21:55)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Parents of elementary school-aged should be encouraged
by ThreeD  (2013-07-24 11:25:50)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

to spend time at schools.

Again we see weak-minded leadership - it's better to ban the whole thing than to deal with exceptions or single folks out. Rather than identify those who're perhaps taking things too far (the routine helicopters who are failing to foster responsibility) and have some difficult conversations with those folks, it's far easier to just lay out a blanket policy that principles the bad-actors but doesn't really address the issue and also weakens the school-community partnership.

I used to travel frequently, less now, and on occasion (such as twice or three times per year) I was able to catch an early flight or rearrange my schedule before leaving and stop by to have lunch with my oldest, then in elementary. It was spontaneous and an enjoyable surprise for her and me. It also strengthened my relationships with and knowledge of her teacher and friends. If there was an occasion where one of my kids might have forgotten something important and I was able, I'd have no issue bringing it. But, there are limits. There are limits to how frequent I'd be willing to do so; there are limits to how important that item must be for me to do so. I can be a decent judge of those limits. I would also hear an administrator out if she indicated to me that such occurrences were too frequent for the school.

Parents are the number one difficult-issue for administrators - not kids; not staff management. The time an administrator spends dealing with unannounced visitors could be a tremendous drain on their schedule, if they let it. Good administrators, however, deal with such issues effectively, positively, and proactively. If there isn't a sign-in procedure, that would be the first step. If frequency is an issue, speak to the bad actors and deal with them individually. I'm positive they're known/identifiable. If there's an issue of disruption, address it (you can leave the forgotten band instrument in the office; we'll call Johnny down to pick it up at the next schedule break.

Conversely, elementary schools often need extra hands and strong connections with parents. Volunteerism, appropriately managed, can be quite helpful. It's a delicate challenge though, good schools have too much and troubled schools need more.

I'm sure there are some helpful ways parents can be active at middle and high schools, but those are more likely during after-school times.

I admit, I do now know what steps have been taken to address the issue prior (not included), but if this is the first step, then I disagree with the "greatness" of this policy.

edit for a few grammar points


There's definitely a balance to be struck.
by KeoughCharles05  (2013-07-24 12:57:52)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

In terms of parents arriving to drop "assignments" off, in elementary school there really shouldn't be homework. I mean, maybe in 5th grade for math or something, but that's getting to the level of middle school. If we're talking older than elementary school, most "assignments" that would need to be dropped off should be able to be scanned and emailed and printed if there's really an issue there.

As a way of providing something of a balanced solution, I might propose a monthly or even yearly limit of in-school hours visits by parents. Something like once per month, or 10 times per year.


Why shouldn't there be homework in elementary school?
by DeBo  (2013-07-24 13:34:24)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I think kids, from 1st grade forward, should have homework every night in almost every subject.


Because kids at that age need unstructured time.
by KeoughCharles05  (2013-07-24 13:56:10)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Homework at that age is a bunch of busywork bullshit that ends up being done by the adults anyway. The learning that goes on at those grade levels should be able to be taught completely in class. Now, the line at where it begins is somewhat fuzzy -- in subjects like math I can see some worksheets being sent home, but I really don't see the value of it until the older grades where homework is needed more as preparation for class (e.g., reading to be done prior to class), or as repetition needed to drill in concepts. In second grade and third grade, most of the repetition needs to be done in class immediately after the concept. Homework, maybe, can begin when you start having specialized teachers for each class.

Moreover, when you're 6, 7, 8, and 9, your development is helped out a lot more by doing things on your own and having free time to let loose your endless energy instead of sitting fucking still and having more structured time. If kids don't learn how to manage their own free time, and take some initiative at a young age, they'll end up being dependent zombies unable to manage their own time or develop their own schedule.


They have a great Waldorf school in Austin.
by idesofoctober  (2013-07-24 14:45:25)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Sounds like you might be into that.


Reading and Math
by ThreeD  (2013-07-24 14:21:43)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

There is simply no substitute for reading. You can call it "reading homework" or "reading practice" if you like, but reading outside of instruction needs to occur every day. Studies have shown that the negative consequences of not doing so, on a macro scale, is very evident. Reading skill, vocabulary, and success in later school is tied to frequent reading, reading books of varied topics, varied "levels", and different genres; further this is particularly true for kids who come from households that are devoid of rich language exposure.

Some kids will have time during the school day to read outside of instruction; others will not. I have no problem with schools asking kids of every grade to read nightly as part of their homework expectation. 30 minutes, though I'm conducting a study about exactly how much time is optimal at what ages.

Math skills develop somewhat similarly in that they require much and regular practice. The major difference is that one cannot pick up an interesting piece of math-fiction and math for fun (actually, you can, but it's harder to see it that way). Worksheets are common and typically boring to kids - though there are ways to vary math "homework" - but the anti-"drill & kill" movement has been detrimental to math skills (again, macro level). Calculators, too, have eroded number sense and arithmetic. Again, elementary kids benefit greatly from regular and varied practice of arithmetic skills as well as other math-related concepts.

I agree that kids need unstructured time, however, 30 minutes of math and 30 minutes of reading can go a long ways.


Reading something you pick yourself and enjoy
by Mark_It_Zero  (2013-07-24 15:06:38)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

is much better than being forced to read. I agree that reading is incredibly important for youngsters, but I don't think it needs to be assigned. If the only reading they do is what is assigned by teachers, I think they begin to see reading as a chore.


What about when you can't convince a kid to read for fun?
by milhouse  (2013-07-24 16:40:31)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

B13 purports to hate reading and rarely does it unless prodded/cajoled.


Then it's up to the parents.
by Mark_It_Zero  (2013-07-24 18:22:08)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

If you want to make your kid read, that's fine. If you don't, that is your choice as well. I don't think it's up to the teachers to make kids in elementary school read at home.


Sounds nice. In many instances, I'd agree
by ThreeD  (2013-07-25 10:01:14)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

In other areas/locales, we can't really rely on the parents to encourage home reading.

Among the folks that populate this board, I'd probably agree with you. Then again, we've come a long way battling illiteracy in such varied locales, be it urban or rural, settled or transient, impoverished or indifferent. I've spent too much time in all kinds of illiterate communities and it just isn't effective to just put the onus on parent(s).


agree
by ThreeD  (2013-07-24 15:14:36)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I didn't explicitly indicate whether it should be self-selected or assigned.

There's certainly merit to self-selection of texts and I agree this is particularly true for a "homework" component of elementary grades. Many teachers (and/or parents) do a nice job of guiding the book selection so as to find the right level. One pitfall, as kids get a bit older (3rd-6th grades), to avoid falling into would be to not challenge yourself enough by varying the "level" or genres enough. Your overall point is one well-taken and we've been arguing for it.

Another study we're doing is looking at the conveyance of science information (i.e. science learning) via graphic novels for kids who find that genre/format appealing. I think there are some posters here that would support that notion.


I disagree totally. I think homework is essential for
by Barrister  (2013-07-24 14:04:09)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

learning starting in first grade or so. It teaches them discipline and the ability to work on problems independently. 45 minutes to an hour of homework is hardly unreasonable for a grade school child.

That still allows plenty of unstructured free time.


Well, agree to disagree.
by KeoughCharles05  (2013-07-24 14:14:08)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I suppose I'd be comfortable saying that different kids have different needs. If I thought my kids needed additional instruction on something, I'd certainly appreciate there being optional additional worksheets that I could have my kid do. Alternatively, if my kid was doing fine and needed the release more (so as not to get diagnosed with ADHD) I'd forego the worksheets.

I would have withered under school-based homework assignments at that age. I still had plenty of learning outside of school, just not in the form of busy-work. I can't imagine sitting at a table at home as a 6 year old reading or writing structured things that I would need to turn in. Get home from school at 4:30, have two hours to play around, dinner, chores, and then maybe another hour of free-ish time, and then it's bed time.


Agreed. *
by DeBo  (2013-07-24 14:14:05)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I think homework should be optional at every level. *
by Mark_It_Zero  (2013-07-24 13:38:59)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I agree parents should be encouraged to spend time at school
by pmcdnd96  (2013-07-24 12:50:46)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

As long as it's scheduled ahead of time. I think one parent dropping by could be disruptive and if every parent decided to do that it would he chaos. I don't have a problem with a parent swinging by the school unannounced to drop off a project at the main office.

Parental involvement in a child's education is very important, but kids can't be getting the message that their parents can just do whatever they want whenever they want.


good post
by ThreeD  (2013-07-24 13:03:59)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

If parents can be respectful of what the school is trying to accomplish, including fostering independence, being responsible for 300 to 3,000 (or more) students, holding kids responsible for work, so too can the school be respectful of parental involvement as long as it isn't disruptive.

It's a balance and there are good ways to maintain that balance.


I agree with this
by coachslacker  (2013-07-24 11:57:00)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

and, as parents, we (individually) occasionally have lunch with our elementary school children.

After reading the article, I don't know why a sign-in sheet, limited parental mobility around the school, and signalling out the worst offenders wouldn't create a safer environment. That's essentially what I see with my kids's schools.


You would periodically go to school to have lunch with her? *
by El Kabong  (2013-07-24 11:46:08)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Very common at our children's schools
by dulac89  (2013-07-25 01:08:41)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Both the public school and now private school they attend.

Both have separate tables set up for parents eating lunch with their kids. At their old school the child was allowed to invite one friend to come eat lunch with you.


Our elementary school allows this
by Jimbo Irish  (2013-07-24 12:52:23)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

And I have done it a few times (mostly on birthdays or other such occassions). There are some parents (and grandparents) who abuse it in my observation though. Some of them go at least once a week, if not more, and at that point it's weird to me and I think bordering on not healthy for the kid. Children need the ability to form social relationships outside the household and school lunchtime is one of the few safe places left to do that, and with a parent there frequently it bastardizes that process in some cases I've seen.

I do have to admit though, the handful of times I've had lunch at the school, I've really enjoyed it because it allowed me to put some faces to names which helps with our dinner time conversations about the school day. So there is some positive to it, and like everything else, in moderation it's a good thing.


Sure, why not?
by ThreeD  (2013-07-24 11:59:35)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

If I was going to be gone for a week or returned early after a long absence, I stopped by and grabbed a milkshake for her and sat with her during lunch. I think I went twice in one year (maybe three times, I don't recall an exact number it wasn't more than 3), once another year, around second/third grades.


To me, dropping in twice a year after a long trip is nice.
by 1NDGal  (2013-07-24 12:11:40)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

The article is talking about parents that fix every little thing for their poopsies and deprive them of the chance to learn how independent and powerful they can be. Very different thing.

I also suspect that the Summit School Board omitted a lot of the real motivation for the decision -- parents haranguing teachers and administrators during their visits. Maybe.


I agree about who the targets are
by ThreeD  (2013-07-24 12:23:47)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I used my lunch example as a positive example (in my eyes) of visits that would be cut at the expense of dealing with the others.

I'm quite aware of parents who have been banned from elementary school campuses -- might be for violating a parenting plan, a court-order, or even getting in the face of staff -- these are the bad actors, deal with them directly.

If frequency (not seriousness) is the root problem, then maybe its time for this type of action, but I think other measures could be taken first (perhaps they were)


I've never done that but it's not uncommon. *
by 84david  (2013-07-24 11:54:53)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


OT - I teach high school math and I have students who scan
by irishhawk49  (2013-07-24 11:13:57)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

assignments with their phones, so they don't have take any books home.


Very clever
by thecontrarian (click here to email the poster)  (2013-07-24 12:21:14)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm glad that we have a scanner at home, because Little Contrarian has been called by classmates for the worksheet or page that they forgot to bring home for homework and we'll scan it and e-mail it to them.


Do you not like that? I think it's pretty efficient. Does
by 1NDGal  (2013-07-24 11:59:29)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

it make it easier to cheat? Or do they not finish due to not having scanned all of the textbook that they need? Maybe I'm not catching all the exigencies.


I do not have a problem with it. I thinks it's
by irishhawk49  (2013-07-24 13:43:48)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

smart. Nothing worse than lugging math, history, science, etc. textbooks home.


I'm with you--400 visits a day to this high school?
by goirish89  (2013-07-24 10:59:49)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

400? It sounds like they let the parents walk freely in and out of the school without checking in with administration. Not a good idea. We already have this mostly in place in my kids' schools and it works fine.


Absolutely agree. When my daughter forgot to write down
by Barrister  (2013-07-24 10:56:21)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

her assignment at the beginning of last year (2nd grade) she had to call a classmate on the phone and ask for it.

It made for a good lesson in both responsibility and telephone etiquette.


I love it when parents call and ask to speak with ME
by thecontrarian (click here to email the poster)  (2013-07-24 12:22:56)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Because their little angel forgot their homework.

I hold my tongue and don't ask Mom or Dad "why isn't your son/daughter calling us?" I then put Little Contrarian on the phone with the parent and let them work it out.


I find the thought of a "Little Contrarian"
by heyder  (2013-07-24 12:34:16)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

delightful.


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