kitchen table math, the sequel: 10/11/15 - 10/18/15

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Looking for puppies...

This is funny.

(To me.)

I've mentioned several times becoming a Fed watcher in the wake of the crash. Which puts me in a tiny little group of about 5 people in the country:
Using polling data for the US, Binder (2015) documents that the US public lacks knowledge about monetary policy. In particular, only one in every three Americans was able to correctly identify the chair of the Federal Reserve System. Very few were able to predict low levels of inflation when asked about inflation over next ten years. Nor did they appear to display much eagerness to learn about the Fed and monetary policy. In terms of social media, numbers of Twitter and Facebook followers of the Federal Reserve System do not appear remarkable. In fact, FBI, the CIA, and Paul Krugman, among others, have more followers than the entire Federal Reserve System. Google searches confirm this paucity of interest. Total online searches for macroeconomic variables like GDP, the unemployment rate, and inflation are consistently topped by online searches for puppies.

Inflation Targeting and Expectations thing I will say.

It's a lot easier to find puppies on the Internet than GDP (never went back to trend), the unemployment rate (employment to population ratio still up by 3 points, even for prime working age adults), or inflation (low and going lower).

Saving the hard stuff for home

Auntie Anne writes:
This has been our experience as well. Teachers are always trying to make "learning fun!", which means no boring stuff like worksheets and drills, but lots of group chatting/working, lots of craft work, lots of "exploration" in the classroom.

Still, the hard stuff has to happen, so they just send it home at night. Instead of school being where kids work, and home being where they can play and relax, the opposite is now true.

Meanwhile, the people who have the burden of getting kids through the not-fun part of their education end up being the parents who have to get their kids to get their homework done.
That's what suddenly hit me, the other day, talking to the mother of a second grade child who is melting down over her homework.

What is her child doing during the day?

I also realized that one aspect of Morningside Academy I haven't stressed is the fact that students there don't do homework.

Interestingly, I don't recall Kent Johnson telling us that Morningside kids don't do homework. I found out later, when I visited a precision teaching school in CT, where the kids did lots of homework. The principal told me that Kent's philosophy was that Morningside students worked hard during the day and should be free to play after school. She may have been wrong, of course, but in fact I don't think I saw children take homework home during the two weeks I attended the Summer Institute.

I definitely didn't see teachers collect homework.

So think about that.

Morningside teaches children in grades K through 8.

It guarantees that each students will make two years' progress in one year's time, in their subject of greatest difficulty, or tuition will be refunded. Most or all students are there because they're having difficulty in their regular schools.

And they make two years of progress in just one year without doing homework.

I know I've told this story before, but by the time we finally pulled C. out of our schools here, I had recurring images of the school scooping up heaping armloads of his childhood and tossing them in the trash.

(Does anyone remember Carolyn J. setting up the "FWOT" category on the old ktm? I sure do. Had never encountered the acronym before.)

More from Anonymous:
Yup. This was our experience as well. Soft, touchy feely classroom activities, and the hard stuff came home. Not only did it come home, it came home with a child who hadn't received any instruction about how to do whatever it was (and this was middle school).

Why can't they get it all done in the 6-7 hours the kids are in school? There should be no homework in K-8. Frankly, I don't think there should be homework in high school either unless they go over to a university model and drastically reduce the amount of time in class. K-8ers need time to be kids, and high school students need time to learn who they are beyond their schoolwork.
And chemprof:
The whole idea of homework with kids this age does mean that you are asking them to do the most intense academic work when they are totally wiped out.

That said, by second grade she needs to know her addition and subtraction facts (and if she doesn't, that's something they should be working on at home). They are starting to do multi-digit addition and subtraction, and that's tough without knowing the facts. That's where we are right now (2A Singapore Math), and without those math facts, we'd have lots of tears.

Since we are homeschooling, we do a lot of our heavy work in the morning or early afternoon. Sometimes we do work in the evenings, but only if she's in the mood. But we are also working on a checklist, so she's got a lot of control over what she does on a given day.

This is a great example of how FedUpMom says our educational system is neither traditional or progressive, but the worst of both. A real traditional system would have them doing the hard work all day, with a little homework to reinforce it at night. In a real progressive system, students would do projects and group work all day in school, with a lot more choice of activity, but then not have homework. Instead, they do the projects but follow up with homework that they aren't prepared to do.
And--ding! ding! ding!--lgm's district takes the cake yet again:
Well, the hard stuff didnt come home here. The tears come during prep for the state math test...when the district tries to cram the top kids into earning a 3. Most of the year is spent in remediation to benefit the included and poverty. The parent of the lad needs to afterschool like everyone else that is serious.
My conclusion: things have gotten worse.

C. didn't have lots of onerous homework to do--and I did start taking his math homework away from him & doing it myself at one point, as education realist advises.

Taking homework away from a conscientious child, by the way, is easier said than done. I took C's math homework away because I was trying to accelerate him so he could take algebra in 8th grade, which meant that he needed to do math practice well ahead of the homework being sent home. But C., only in 5th grade at that point, absolutely could not stand the idea that we were lying to the teacher and doing things wrong. So I didn't do it often.

Anyway, C. didn't have lots of onerous homework, so our time was taken up with reteaching, as opposed to reteaching and beaucoup homework, which may be where things stand today.