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I wrote last week that Lilah’s second grade teacher was the last holdout in responding to my letter about homework.  She did eventually sent me an email saying that she would like to discuss it after Back to School Night.

So we attended Back to School Night last Thursday.  Lilah’s teacher handed out a packet to each of the parents summarizing what second grade in her classroom will look like.  In the packet was her Homework Policy:

I will send a packet home on Monday which should be signed and returned on Friday.  Spelling will be assigned on Monday, with a trial test on Tuesday and the final test each Thursday.  Reading is an essential part of homework; thirty minutes is required each evening.  Math and writing will also be assigned.

Now, see, this here is a problem.  Thirty minutes of reading plus spelling, math and writing?  It’s not hard to figure out that that can easily add up to an hour in total of homework each night.  For a second grader!

We weren’t able to hang around after Back to School Night to discuss it with the teacher, but I did send her an email the following day:

I apologize that we weren’t able to stay to talk to you about homework after Back to School Night last night; there seemed to be a small line of people waiting to talk to you, and we had to get home to put kids to bed.

We are in complete agreement that reading is essential.  What concerns us after seeing your Homework Policy is that with the required thirty minutes of reading per day (and logging it), plus spelling, math, and writing, we are looking at potentially an hour of homework each day.  For a second-grader.  I will tell you that even our twins’ fourth grade GATE teacher caps homework at forty-five minutes per day, including mandatory reading time.  Looking at your classroom daily schedule, a considerable amount of reading time is included in the school day – fifty minutes including independent and read aloud times.  For our family, and for Lilah, an hour – or even forty-five minutes – of homework every day after spending six and a half hours in school is excessive.  We’ve seen her become stressed out before and begin not wanting to go to school – the last thing we want is to kill a love of learning (or of reading, for that matter).

We are just going to have to put reasonable limits on Lilah’s homework, and as I said in my initial letter to you, if she has to take a negative grade on her report card because of it, then so be it.  As long as she continues to do well in school and not fall behind, I think that’s the priority.

Please feel free to call us or email if you would like to discuss this further.  Thanks.

Later that afternoon, she called me.  I had a pit in my stomach, of course, because I really do not like confrontation.  However, she was very receptive to our concerns, and in the end, she agreed that, so long as Lilah continues to do well in her schoolwork in class and doesn’t fall behind, she is agreeable to whatever limits on homework that we feel are necessary.

So there you have it.  Starting the school year off right!

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