Is it true that parents are doing their child's homework?
Original post made
by Parent, JLS Middle School,
on Nov 7, 2012
My child came home and said a girl said, "My mom did my homework for me last night." And someone replied, "So did mine!"
Being that middle and high school are such rigorous academics, it's possible that parents are doing their children's homework to offset stress while other students suffer in silence. This is a shame. This is a public school system, not a private school where parents willfully pay for rigor. They should stop teaching to the squeaky wheels who want 5s on AP exams, and give extra homework to those who want to score 5 on AP exams, while keeping the workload lower for those who take AP classes to learn.
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Posted by Finnish parent
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 9, 2012 at 11:33 am
Uh, I'm Finnish and Palo Alto parent too, never done my kids' homework. It's their responsibility, not mine. No extra tutoring, either, it almost feels like cheating. Of course, we help if they ask it, otherwise not. We seem to be a last resort of getting help, since it might involve a lot of questions and explaining and not straight answers.
That said, I felt I needed to reply @Ducatigirl, and explain the Finnish education system further.
Ducatigirl: "College and vocational school, like as Germany, are paid for by the government. If the student wants to pursue a graduate degree, however, that is the student's expense."
I actually have two master's degrees from Finland and government paid everything. In fact, when I studied, the master's degree was the lowest university degree. The bachelor's degree was something you could apply for after the certain amount of studies, but in practice, there was/is no value in it.
Finnish higher education has a dual model, where universities focus on scientific or artistic master's and higher degrees, and 'universities of applied sciences' (~polytechnics) mostly on bachelor-level vocational and practical education.
Bachelor's degree usually means about 3 years of studies, while master's can take 5 years or longer. If you can show you got at least the minimum amount of studies for each year, you'll continue to get a 'Study grant' as long as 70 months, which is, if you subtract the summers when most of the students are working, over 7 years of support. You'll also get help to pay your rent, usually about 80% of the rent and of course the government guarantee for student loans.
Ducatigirl: "My husband has an employee from Finland who says that Finnish schools used to give huge amounts of homework back in his day, but then they made the school day longer and the kids completed all schoolwork IN SCHOOL, where the staff could help. They also now have plenty of recesses, even at the high school level.
As for the longer school day, it starts earlier, does not just end later. Kids get out around 4:00pm. However, until summer, Finland, due to its northerly location, has short days of sunlight. Most sports are indoors. There are lots of indoor pools, stadiums, and arenas, even indoor horseback riding."
The school days for the elementary school age kids in Finland are among the shortest in the world. The minimum amount of school hours for the first and the second graders is 19 lesson hours (lesson hour = 45 minutes of study + 15 minutes recess) per week and the length of the school day can't be any longer than 5 hours. For the middle school students (7., 8. and 9. graders) the corresponding numbers are 30 and 7. In the US "the lower secondary teachers have almost double the number of teaching hours of their Finnish counterparts" (see a link below).
The most of the elementary school kids nowadays go to the after-school daycare, which is good, I didn't. On the other hand, for example my oldest who started her school in Finland attended the after-school care only when she was the first grader, she didn't want to go there any more on the second grade, since she considered the care was for 'babies'. She rather stayed home alone and/or played with her friends. The kids are way more independent in Finland than here.
I don't remember having huge amounts of homework even when I was at high school (1980s) and the days were usually 6 to 8 hours long, not any longer than here. Recesses have always been around and in my theory recesses are the reason why Finnish school system is so successful. You actually concentrate in your studies for 45 minutes and then you relax for 15 minutes before the next class.
I do remember leaving to the school in the morning when it was dark, and it was dark again when I got back home, but then, I lived near the Arctic Circle, not much daylight during the winter months... :) We had some indoors sports, of course, but the weather was seldom a reason to stay indoors. There are no such things as snow days, the school is always open. You can stay indoors during the recesses if it's too cold outside, but it's your choice, you can go out if you really want to and sometimes the teachers even encourage that. It's better to go outside even for a minute and then come back refreshed and ready to study.
From a link below you can find a report of describing and comparing Finnish education and training internationally.