|Berkeley Parents Network|
|Home||Members||Post a Msg||Reviews||Advice||Subscribe||Help/FAQ||What's New|
My son is a freshman this year at BHS. Although he has resisted doing homework in the past, most notably in 8th grade, he has refused to do any homework this year, claiming that his day is too long as it is, the work is a ''waste of time'' and some kids get passing grades without doing their homework. Of course, I want him to work hard in school, get good grades, etc. I'm interested in hearing from parents who have dealt with this problem. Specifically, can a kid pass his subjects at BHS without doing homework? Do kids who resist homework and get failing grades or INC grades have to take summer school? How does the system work? BHS mom
I would like to caution you to be careful at BHS - for my son it went from not doing homework to not going to class. Cutting is a BIG problem at BHS. Especially for a 9th grader who is not used to having the freedom to leave school whenever he/she choses. We decided to move our son to Oakland Tech this year for that reason. He's doing much better. He claims he learned his lesson at BHS.
Some kids need to make mistakes and suffer the consequences (summer school,etc...) in order to learn. The teachers, counselor at BHS were very helpful and supportive.If your son doesn't do the homework his grades will suffer - we saw this happen. My son thought he just because he got A's & B's on the classwork he could skip out on the homework. I was constantly pointing out how all of the 0's on the homework assignments lowered his grade. One thing that we always point out is that he has to this for himself, as ultimately this type of work ethic (getting by) will hurt him at school or on the job.
My advice is to get in touch with his teachers right away, and put him on a weekly progress report. This is a good first step - your son would have his teachers fill out the progress report each Friday. If he his progress report is not satisfactory, or if he has missing assignments ground him for the weekend or until you can verify that the assignments have been completed. Completed schoolwork = freedom. Hopefully, this will work for your family.
Former BHS parent
Help! My child is a freshman at BHS. He has homework everynight which keeps him up until 11 pm. He also has one afterschool sport. How do parents/kids manage such a big load of homework/studying for tests? It is hard to see your child doing school work for hours in the evening knowing they have already had 6 hrs of school as well. I can see burnout coming on if this pace continues. Any suggestions are welcome. Also, Edline has no information, no homework posted, no grades. I have not found it helpful as yet. need advice
Check and see if there is assistance for these topics at BHS.
Sit down with your student and look at their schedule. Do they have 20 min in the morning before class to read a chapter? What is lunch like? Do they have a study hall?
Find time, and a good place to do some studying throughout the day. Some suggestions:
Study Hall School Library Berkeley Public Library on Shattuck Coffee Shops on Shattuck The classroom - get to class early and use times provided by the teacher
If your student is leaving things to the end of the day or just before they are due - at least they are doing them - but if they can learn to anticipate, spread things out AND pinpoint the areas they need help they will be on their way to a highly successful academic and possibly future professional life.
Also check and see if your student needs to increase their reading speed. Fast readers with accurate retention skills can cut their study time in half. I am not speaking of remediation for a non reader but really exceptional skills - I find that many adults today can barely get thru a page. This is a great program: readingprograms.org/
Make sure your home has a place to study without a lot of noise and commotion.
Reward your student for getting things done. Praise goes a long way. If you ''feel sorry'' for your student's work load - how will that affect how they feel about it? Keep family commitments flexible because your students' homework needs to be done. Curtail weekend movies and other social life if reading assignments, papers, exam study isn't completed. Keep up the sport if it is a good involvement - it creates a balanced life, but if your student will not put the effort into organizing time it goes before school requirements.
Also make sure there are healthy snacks around like fresh finger veggies, fruit, nuts and other high energy foods. If you use fast foods, too many junk snacks it will not support the kind of energy that is needed. Homework just gets deeper and more demanding as the student advances. college mom
At first I thought she was being perfectionistic, but when I sat down with her and checked out what she was doing, I was surprised. She was basically spending 30-40 minutes per subject and utilizing her time well, except in Math, which averaged over 2 hours. The extra time was spent on big projects.
In my opinion, her Geometry teacher is focused on quantity not quality in regard to homework. Once, I actually sat down and did the homework assignment, which I think would be difficult to do in less than 2 hours. For example, ''Draw the following 3 dimensional shape: A house in the shape of a cylinder, with a cone roof, with a porch in the shape of a hexagonal prism. It's harder than it sounds, because the measurements have to be exact. There were 22 of these problems assigned for 1 nights homework. If each problem took 5 minutes, that's 110 min. Many problems took 10-15 min.
MY QUESTIONS to experienced parents at BHS : How do I help my daughter stay motivated with academics and still have a life? How do you deal with a teacher with a bad rep? At Back to School Night, the math teacher was absent, and apparently some of the angry parents met and are taking their complaints to the administration. Will the administration respond positively to parental input--does anything useful come from this type of involvement or does it tend to be a waste of time?
P.S. I tend to agree with Alfie Kohn, and went to hear him speak last year when he was here in Berkeley. I don't, however, see a practical way to implement his ideas and research.
A Concerned Mom
The problem is that high school is a cookie-cutter manufacturing line, and the annoying busy-work is invented to avoid tracking students into honors and regular courses, which would entail greater expense to the school. Your good student is not learning more - she is just spinning her wheels on art projects and other such nonsense to *slow* the course down. My son rebelled at this completely, and only would do the minimum, so he'd do ''B'' work, but then compensated for this by doing independent science project research which brought him a lot of medals and awards, internships, a scholarship and admission to UCLA (which he dearly wanted to attend) when much higher GPA students were rejected.
My daughter saw the writing on the wall and literally begged us to find a better solution, which Ohlone College provided, but this requires a very mature and focused student since attendance establishes a permanent college transfer record. So this is not a solution one should undertake lightly, and it should be instigated by the student, not the parent, because the student must be the one who deals with professors, schedules, homework and office / study hours directly.
How do you deal with this at your school? I found absolutely no way to communicate this issue to anyone at Los Gatos High School, because it was the lousy teachers who were most prone to do this and the administration doesn't care to do their job. If it is any comfort, my son found that AP and honors courses required just as much time as your daughter's current load of lower-level courses but were more focused, on-topic and interesting. So a ''happy medium'' might be to accelerate your daughter in math by taking a summer course in algebra 2 - once she's past the ''required'' math sequence (see the high school for required versus advanced courses), she might find a precalc or trig class to be much more suited to her study skills and interests. As an extra benefit, usually the best teachers teach advanced topics like physics, AP chem, precalc/trig, calculus, AP Bio and so forth, and you can get college credit for the AP exams. Good luck. L.
I would like to open a discussion of the amount of homework assigned. My daughter (a BHS freshman) struggles with quite a bit of homework each night and is already falling behind and feeling overwhelmed. Mostly because of her own poor study habits, but partly because I work and she isn't able to get to a "disciplined" place to do her homework until 6:00 pm or so, she ends up being up until 11:00 or later almost every night and each morning it is harder to get up and she still doesn't have the work done. She routinely has homework in Math, Spanish, English, History, Intro to Comm Tech and Drama, almost every night. Weekends are a drag because we have so many errands to run and other things to do and we never get to plan any fun days because the homework is always hanging over us. I'm tired of seeing my kids having bags under their eyes and being as stressed out as I am. They work a pretty long day at school and then devote almost all evening to more work. Anyone else think it is too much? At least in Junior High, the classes were staggered so they had homework every other night in each class. I'd love to hear your opinions.
You say that your daughter can't get to a "disciplined" place until 6:00. I'm not sure exactly what you mean. Is she coming home by herself or is she hanging out somewhere? Could she go to the Berkeley Public Library? If she is waiting until she's tired to do her homework, no wonder she's having problems. I don't have any suggestions. I just want to say that I don't want to see less homework. I hope you find a solution.
There are various "homework clubs" that I have seen mentioned around the city. Is there any such thing at BHS? Perhaps one could be started if lack of a place to do homework is a wide-spread problem.
To be honest, I don't think high school students are in school long enough. What should they be doing, in any event, if they spend less time in school? High school teens are the very best at wasting time doing what they do best--"kicking" it with friends. My feeling here is if they were in school all day (not just hearing lectures but given assignments to work on in class) with the proviso they not get homework except for reading and/or special projects, then they could come home and pretty much leave the classroom behind them. I just saw an interesting story on "60 Minutes" about a public middle school in South Bronx, New York, where they "contract" with parents, teachers and the student to be in school all day (at least 8 hours) and on weekends. The achievement level of these students has skyrocketed, especially impressive is the number of novels/books they read in a school year (over 20, I recall). This idea sounds extreme, but for many minorities who feel Caucasians have an academic edge, it is on target for catching up and going beyond in academics, targeting junior high school age kids whose intellects can be shaped to work hard and absorb knowledge. In Japan, they have always had a tradition of long school hours, but the problem is there are no alternatives to this tradition. I don't like seeing my child stressed, but I feel for her future it's up to me to focus on the long vision and hers to deal with the now and to learn to deal with stress. I keep the long vision in focus by reminding her often that academics is the priority over sports and a social life (she may not see this as helpful, but I enforce this philosophy). There are no easy solutions really, just the knowledge that hard work will eventually bring great results, in anything, including academics. "Fun" is no longer a priority but becomes the reward for working hard.
Here's my question: how do you get kids to get motivated to do more than what's required, extend themselves, when they get such good results (A's) from doing so little? I have never (in the five years I've been a Berkeley High parent) had any success in getting poor or mediocre teachers (and my children have had a few, some with many parent complaints and still teaching) to change ANYTHING about what they were doing in the classroom.
My daughter, who graduated last year, took AP courses, had high test scores, and great grades. However (for an example), she NEVER wrote a research paper at Berkeley High. Most of my conversations with various people about this over the years (teachers, department chair, counselor, vice principal) were unsatisfactory. Research papers (since I'm using this example) are definitely required by the curriculum. Everyone assured me that the kids were doing them (and probably some kids are). I don't know, I figure a research paper is something that is longer than 3 pages, has some footnotes, a bibliography with a number of sources, a topic. My daughter never did one and my son didn't do one last year. (And knowing his current history teacher, he won't do one this year, either.)
On the other hand, my daughter was always a reader and on her own took some outside-of-BHS courses. (The kids do UC Extension concurrent enrollment, Vista and sometimes Laney). My son is not at all interested in doing anything like this. I definitely feel the burden is on the parents to do some of the school's work, but what to do when the kids don't see it that way? (Of course, I believe in parent involvement and, in the long run, and as a committed member of the community, that's the most important thing we can do. However, I'm worried about the education of this particular child at this particular time.) I'll be a BHS parent for another six years so I am really interested in both long term and short term, right now, approaches to poor teaching. Emily
|Home | Post a Message | Subscribe | Help | Search | Contact Us|