21 September 2011

More finished projects

I have been very busy knitting. One of my friends and I decided that we wanted to make some really great presents for our girls, her son and their friends. So we found some really great patterns for simple gifts and started working. We are making pocket purses, purses, scarves, Hats (if possible), sunglass cases, wands (ala Harry Potter), snitches.

I have also been making afghans for my brother and father. I took some squares that my mother had made, made 3 more so that I had enough to get a good start and sewed them all together. After I had them connected I started using all the old yarns, from the 1970's and started crocheting around the edges. Then I used all the same colors and started working on another afghan (granny square) for my brother so he and my dad would have the same afghan, but one would have my mother's touch to it (especially since my mother has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma).

Other things that have been happening. School started (as can be evidenced by my previous post) and my cats are more present than ever. Making for some really great photos of them.

Notes: The snitches were from http://www.innerchildcrochet.com/patterns/the_golden_snitch.php
The Zig Zag Scarf was from http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/90308AD.html?noImages=
The Harry Potter style wands are from: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/harry-potter-inspired-wand
The purse, the pocket purse and the sunglass case are from a book by Anne Akers Johnson....Knitting: Learn to Knit 6 Great Projects.
The Penguin is from Lion Brand Yarns
The afghans are granny squares and my mom made some of the small squares and I made some and I am making one very large granny.

20 September 2011

Grrrr....such homework frustration

My children's teachers have arbitrarily decided how much time they are to spend on homework. Since this is a fighting point at the house, it takes much longer to accomplish homework than they figure it should take. Let's give an example. My youngest had to write her first and last name 14 times the "correct" way. She had a melt down that started with, "Why do I have to write my name? I already did it!" Showing me the page that she had completed at school. The response, "Because your teacher wants you to do it at home!" This then took 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete (Homework is not to last more than 30 minutes a night)! Now here is how the work is to break down: 15 minutes reading (3 books), 10 minutes math, 5 minutes spelling (25 - 35 words). Can you say, "Yeah, right!" Now we moved on to the reading and that did take 15 minutes because the books were short. Math, play cards. War, 21, go fish (what really are they learning from playing cards) and this took 25 minutes because DD3 likes to play card games. Now we move onto spelling. This took not 5 minutes but 25! So let's add homework time (for one day) 75 + 15 + 25 + 25 = 140 (2 hours and 20 minutes)! I have three kids.

My middle daughter is supposed to read for 15 minutes (let the battle begin - "I don't like this book! I don't want to read this book! Why do I have to read this book!") reading the WEB book sent home by the teacher that is the appropriate level for her reading level. Now this battle also includes, me telling her to re-read that section because I didn't understand what she said! This results in a 45 minute temper tantrum. When this is finished we move onto the math (10 minutes). This results in my requesting that she write her numbers correctly and neatly (so that they can be read). Another 45 minute temper tantrum (because I am picking on her and I am to leave her alone). Then we move onto the spelling. By this time her sisters are watching tv in another room and laughing about Scooby's antics or whatever they are watching. So she locks herself in the bathroom because I am mean and won't let her play! Finally, we are onto the spelling (remember 5 minutes?). She has to list 10 words each that have a long a, short a sound and a long i, short i sound. This took 45 minutes (we need 9 days to complete the homework!). So let us compute her time for homework 45+45 (90 minutes of temper tantrums)+20 (bathroom)+ 15 + 15 + 45 = 185 minutes (3 hours and 5 minutes). Yeah I realize that some of this time comes from the children, but it plays into the homework time.

My oldest daughter now starts her homework. Her break down for homework: 15 minutes reading, 10 math, 5 spelling. I still want to point out how are you able to accomplish anything of worth in 5 minutes! So we start with her math. It took her 20 minutes to do to the math, spelling took 25 minutes (5 days all right there), 15 minutes on reading. But she also had a melt down on having to write her observations on the book. This then took us 45 minutes. In order to accomplish anything, I have to have a whole day to get this work finished or I have to most of the work and they just re-write it.

Here is what a teacher told me to do: Write down that she spent 25 minutes on the spelling and she doesn't have to look at it again for the rest of the week because she did 25 minutes in one night (yeah right....what do you learn in one sitting of studying spelling?) I don't have a problem with the work, I have a problem with the arbitrary decision of how much time homework is to take! I think that a parent and the child should decide how much time to spend and the teacher's should fall in line. To sit there and say it should only take 30 minutes a night is just wrong and so many different fronts that it is sick. A child cannot learn all they need in one sitting and they are not going to retain any information just by looking at something for 5 minutes. But be reasonable in the work that is sent home. I try to get a lot of this work out of the way during the weekend because I don't want my kids hating school and staying up until midnight (like we have done in the past) or getting up at 4 a.m. to finish something (again we have done that). Make homework expectations reasonable.