I started tutoring a young boy on Monday. He is in 3rd grade and 10 years old. He's a nice, sweet little boy. On Monday he had homework in four subjects with instructions to also study his math for an upcoming test. The mother has trouble helping her son in the harder English language subjects such as social studies and science, as well as language (English). I am happy to help out as well as help make a little money for me. I'm really needing a haircut and a new pair of shoes!
On Monday we worked for an hour straight and still didn't get done. I wanted to relax and be able to talk a little, but after 30 minutes and seeing how much we still had to do I felt a little pressured to keep working hard. I don't think the teachers really understand what they are assigning and how much work it is for the kids to get things done, especially when they are not 100% bilingual and not understanding every word.
This little boy is barely communicative in English. He understands what I say for the most part, but I have to explain many words and I can tell he really needs help with comprehension.
By the end of the hour, he was yawning and obviously ready to be done. We completed 3 subjects. I sent him home with more homework to do. In total we probably worked for an hour and 10 minutes and the last 20 were pretty painful for him. I felt bad for him. I felt bad for all the kids (and parents of these kids) in Honduras overloaded with homework.
We had some of the same problems last year with Sister. We also noticed in Sister's class that a lot of parents were just doing the homework for their kids. It leads me to ask why are these kids getting so much homework? Has this been the norm for homework in Honduras for a while, or has it just come to this recently as education is getting more and more competitive with all the bi-lingual schools? Is there any standard that teachers could be instructed on?
I looked up some info on the internet (as I always do) about homework and what the guidelines are on what is appropriate for homework for elementary age children in the states. I found this website How Much Homework Is Too Much. Here are some interesting excerpts:
~"The 10-Minute Rule" formulated by the National PTA and the National Education Association, which suggests that kids should be doing about 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level. In other words, 10 minutes for first-graders, 20 for second-graders and so on.
~"We found that for kids in elementary school there was hardly any relationship between how much homework young children did and how well they were doing in school, but in middle school the relationship is positive and increases until the kids were doing between an hour to two hours a night, which is right where the 10-minute rule says it's going to be optimal."~"I give one subject a night. It's what we were studying in class or preparation for the next day. It should be done within half an hour at most. I believe that children have many outside activities now and they also need to live fully as children. To have them work for six hours a day at school and then go home and work for hours at night does not seem right. It doesn't allow them to have a childhood."
This homework issue is one reason I am seriously considering homeschooling Sister when we are all living together again in Honduras.