Helping a kid with homework
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31-03-2014, 04:40 PM
Helping a kid with homework
This may seem trivial compared to some of the problems people have posted here, but I'm kind of at my wit's end.

As I mentioned in another post I've been helping a 4th grader with his math homework. This is taking 15 to 20 hours a week of my time and, of course, the kid's time. It's wearing me out. I'm supposed to help him do the problems in a workbook called Simple Solutions published by a company in Cleveland. He's supposed to do 30 problems per night from this book, six nights per week. I guess she thinks he can have Sunday nights off. From experience I can tell you that that works out to three to four hours per night. It's not because Charlie's slow. He's a bright kid. But the Simple Solutions title of his workbook is an outright lie. (The subtitle is Minutes a Day--Mastery for a Lifetime. Facepalm )

30 math problems per night for a 4th grader seems outrageous to me. I find it hard to believe that Charlie's the only one having problems.

As I see it the problem is with the curricula. The concepts in the workbook are IMHO simply beyond the capacity of a 4th grader. I base this on my reading of child psychologist Jean Piaget. There are concepts such as the distributive principle, concepts from algebra and other stuff that I think are beyond 4th grade.

The problem comes directly from "Ohio's Academic Content Standards in Mathematics By the end of grade 4." Some idiot in the legislature, or the Dept of Ed, came up with the list and the authors of Simple Solutions simply came up with a bunch of problems that meet the requirements.

The workbook seems to be something extra. From comments made by the teacher in a email it is not related to what's going on in class. I really don't know what's going on, but I get a sense of a lack of structure in the program, a lack of order in which mastery of one concept lays the groundwork for study of the next concept.

I'm trying to arrange a meeting with Charlie's teacher. Maybe I'll try to meet with someone in the board of education. I don't relish doing that. I'm not really the fight city hall type of guy.

I can tell that this post is kind of disjointed and rambling. Sorry.

Sapere aude
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31-03-2014, 04:45 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
I hope someone here has ideas...most people here know that math is my downfall. My oldest still blames me for refusing to help her with Algebra...I didn't refuse, I couldn't...still couldn't if I had to.

I did find that when my kids were still in school and now that I am taking classes, there are teachers that seem to forget that their's is not the only class being taken and hours of work every night on one class leads to the other classes suffering.

There are bound to be some good ideas from people here in your situation. Good luck.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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31-03-2014, 04:57 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
I freaking hate that america has homework for elementary/primary/high and junior high school.
College is okay though.
The problem with homework for k-12 grade is, the schools have WAAAYY too much time on their hands to hand out homework. For elementary alone they have 34 hours a week. See, they could just scrap homework and actually teach what they need to teach in the 50-60 minutes they are given for a period/subject.
In america, we give more homework to students than classwork.
The education fail that america has is most likely solely based on the fact that most of the work is at home, and no one is helping them except their most likely incompetent parents. In my school, about several years ago, half the class turned in homework. Then, the kids who had their parents help them got Fs. IT WAS THE EASY HOMEWORK. It seems here in america that not only parents can't do simple math, but the kids can't either. THE KIDS DON'T EVEN THINK IT'S MANDATORY! But the freakin' goverment lets the work be at home and up for interpretation.

And remember how I said " In america, we give more homework to students than classwork. " well, you might say that "a class is 1 hour long and some of the homework takes 15 minutes." Well, you wonder what we do in class? JACK SHIT! About 5/6 of the time the teacher just inserts dialogue and over-explains the stuff to us. Then, for about ten minutes, we actually do something.
But, that was a while ago. Now I go to virtual school. Smile

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31-03-2014, 06:05 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
My kids are currently enrolled in a private K-12 program. In the lower school (K-4) they use "Everyday Math" program. Here's a link that shows the topics covered. It is supposed to be a 'spiral' program in the sense that it introduces a topic, then backs off, and later it will bring that topic back up again. It presents problems in a variety of ways and in the younger grades it can be quite stressful because they want to teach all the ways to look at a problem, because people learn differently.

for example

you might get the same problem like this


6+4=10

6
+4
--------
10


six plus four equals 10


6+4=10
5+1+4=10
5+5=10


most of us, figure a problem one way, but there is more than one way to do it, the latter might be better when trying to add large numbers because it teaches you to think in groups of 5's and 10's rather than ones.


Homework is a touchy subject. There are many studies that say homework in lower grades actually work against the student and they end up with lower scores. And having mountains of homework is counter productive as well.

Math--IMO-- is one that I feel it has to be worked daily, and a little bit at home to reinforce that days lesson. Math is a skill and needs practice. 30 problems seems like overkill, unless its memorize multiplication tables or something along those lines.

Have a sit down with the teacher face to face, it really is the best way to figure it out.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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31-03-2014, 06:12 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
Jeez that does sound exhausting, and I'm sure the kid has other homework too, what a mess!

I think having a talk with the teacher is your best option, or maybe talking to some of the other parents about how they handle the workload with their kids.

Did I read that right, the stuff in these workbooks doesn't necessarily relate to what is going on in class? If so, that seems extremely counter productive.

Sure it is good to get knowledge on various forms of math, but they should have a structured syllabus for the year, work through it, and have homework apply to what is being taught so that they can master one thing at a time, then build on it.

Either way, good for you helping. Best of luck, sorry I wasn't much help Sad

I hope that the world turns, and things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you. - V for Vendetta
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31-03-2014, 06:15 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
Found this on the Simple Solutions website

"Simple Solutions Mathematics is a supplemental series that begins in Kindergarten and extends through Algebra I. Simple Solutions maximizes long-term retention using distributed practice, which reinforces students' learning by systematically revisiting previously-taught material. This strategy enables many students to complete Algebra I by the end of eighth grade. "


It spirals.


read this: http://www.leaningpinesoftware.com/spiral.shtml and this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_approach


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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31-03-2014, 06:22 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
Is this the correct book that you are referring to? Level 4?

http://www.simplesolutions.org/products/...m?grade=4

the list of questions looks like what my daughter had in 4th grade, but there were lessons to go along with each of those and they were presented in an organized fashion.

those sample pages seem more like a scattering of the entire year.


weird.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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31-03-2014, 06:45 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
I think it is much more important to develop and nuture an inquisitiveness in children.
If learning is fun, rewarding and useful then kids may seek opportunities to learn.

If it becomes a tedious tiresome stressful chore then the child will associate all these things with homework and school work. If you lose their enthusiasm then how can you expect them to put effort in to learn.

4 hours of tedium per night will be killing this poor kids ability to learn.
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01-04-2014, 03:55 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
Parents need to have a conversation with the school principal. That is far too much homework for kids that age. Kids need play time, a very important part of their development.
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01-04-2014, 07:16 PM
RE: Helping a kid with homework
Stand back. I'll take this one.

I write math textbooks for what passes for a living. I don't recall working on Simple Solutions, but I have written for Everyday Math as well as every major textbook publisher over the past ........ well, nevermind how many years. A lot.

This is all the result of Common Core/No Child Left Behind. Students now must past national tests, and results dictate whether teachers keep their jobs or school districts keep their funding. Testing is done in the spring of the year, not at the end of the school year - this puts pressure on teachers to cram a year's worth of math into 6 months. NCLB does not take into consideration economic conditions or the variety of learning abilities of the children so many teachers face enormous hurdles.

Most elementary teachers do NOT have any math background. They rely on short paragraphs in the Teacher's Edition that ~supposedly~ explains the math and the rationale. Couple that with more online math and fewer physical textbooks, and you have a recipe for leaving the kids at the computer and just checking the answers. Even teachers don't like math, nor do they understand the nuances. Half of them couldn't pass the damn test, either.

The tests are so important that math is no longer being "taught," but "taught to the test." Kids are grilled on the kinds of questions they will encounter on the test, with little or no background or structure. If it's on the test, we'll beat it to death and we don't care if you understand.

Pressure cooker additive: So many countries passing the US in math. Personal opinion: Dad's "I didn't like math so you don't have to do that stuff. You'll never use it anyway," attitude isn't helping.

On the bright side, more states are dropping the Common Core and all the testing that goes with it. Alas, it will be replaced by other state standards (as they had before CC). My prophecy is that the state standards will be lower than the CC, so states can point at their tests and say, "See? Now we did our own standards and our kids are brilliant!" Texas and Florida as especially guilty of doing this. Meanwhile, California dreams up some hippy dippy "new math" every few years and the publishers adopt that because, well, CA buys a *lot* of textbooks.

I'm rambling. I get worked up on this stuff because math could be fun, but it's not. [Rant on this subject available on request.]

Look, if there's anything I can answer for you I'd be glad to do so. I don't think kids should be chained to a desk doing homework for 3 or 4 hours every night. That's ridiculous and borders on child abuse.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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