Re: Hidden Rules

1

Is there a link about the strike? I haven't read many details.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:32 AM
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So aaaanyhow yeah I fucking hated rote homework as a kid, but I don't really know how to disambiguate homework that was useful even if rote (but that I loathed) with homework that's pointless and rote; if pointless rote homework is really a thing I guess that will provide some measure of justification but isn't, like, rote math homework somewhat necessary?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:39 AM
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It's the age group. Her kid is six. Giving a bunch of homework to elementary aged kids is fucking ridiculous.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:42 AM
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I also get the sense that it's increased in the past couple of decades; is that actually true?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:43 AM
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I have no idea. Reporters claim constantly that 5 and 6 year olds are being given hours of homework. From my local circle and sample of one elementary school, I haven't heard this complaint.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:46 AM
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There's a public magnet school around here known for giving homework to kindergarteners (very small doses). I think it may be common in the other public schools but I don't know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:49 AM
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It just seems weirdly inconsistent with the rest of the complaints you hear about schools. Is the theory that class sizes are too big for teachers to actually cover the necessary material in class, so they give more homework?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:01 AM
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My 2nd grader has homework, but hardly any--one math worksheet and 20 minutes of reading a night. Plus, the occasional family tree-type project. It's hardly crushing. Maybe out on the coasts things are more intense


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:05 AM
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My kid was getting 30 minutes of in kindergarten last year. Actually, it was more like 15 minutes of homework, and 15 minutes of dilly-dallying and crying and being upset at having to do homework.

Not sure what first grade has in store for homework. I expect it will begin tonight.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:09 AM
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Actually, it was more like 15 minutes of homework, and 15 minutes of dilly-dallying and crying and being upset at having to do homework.

I always suspected that the people I went to high school with who complained that we had four hours of math homework meant they spent three hours or more on the phone with their friends whining about how much homework there was and one hour doing the homework.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:12 AM
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They didn't just spend three hours whining about how much homework there was. They also whined about the guy who finished it all quickly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:16 AM
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10 if true really needs a better messenger.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:16 AM
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Well, to be fair, I spend a similar percentage of my 8-hour workday procrastinating and bitching about how much I have to do. I don't see that its fair to expect any less from our kids.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:20 AM
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I certainly didn't have that much math homework during high school, even when I was taking high school math. </I hate myself but I can't stop>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:21 AM
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Val's kindergarten experience was similar to Spike's kid's. And yes, I took her teacher aside and said, "Look, she just went into foster care and so I'm more concerned about her mental health than her academics. If we skip or fail to complete homework, it will be because I needed to focus on some other aspect of her life." The teacher was fine with that and it mostly worked out. But boy is it ever more pleasant to have a kid who doesn't shriek and fake cry at the sight of homework. Just sits down and is done ten minutes later.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:24 AM
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7: My understanding is that all the homework is a response to the typical complaints you hear about schools.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:26 AM
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How does homework help schools stop using generic tater tots?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:26 AM
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Damn straight. The in-patent tater tots are the way to go if you value innovation.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:28 AM
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My friend pulled her first grader out of public school in Cupertino because she was getting three hours of homework a night. My friend said that if the teacher ever gave less, the other parents (largely programmers on work visas) would complain.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:31 AM
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I'll never get back the hours and hours I spent pestering kids to do homework that was objectively useless. The killer isn't the amount of time in elementary -- although it was excessive even 7-8 years ago -- but how much of the grade it counts from 6th grade on. As on all the tests, C in the class counting.

In MoCo they had a rule that homework couldn't count for more than 10% (or was it 15%) of the grade, but this was universally subverted by giving kids assignments to do at home that were not "homework" but "summative assessment." The rule was presumably to keep kids with bad home lives from getting fucked for it. It would also have benefited smart ass kids who understood the material and didn't need busy work.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:32 AM
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17, 18 - Tater tots re-imported from Canada are vastly cheaper, and there's no reason not to do it except to pad the pockets of Big Potato.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:34 AM
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My 2nd grader has homework, but hardly any--one math worksheet and 20 minutes of reading a night. Plus, the occasional family tree-type project. It's hardly crushing. Maybe out on the coasts things are more intense

My experience with PDBS schools was similar. I think there is some pedagogical merit to homework at this level of intensity, even for young children.

1. Getting children into the habit of reading every day is a Good Thing, especially if the child is like ours and doesn't take naturally to recreational reading. Our school left it entirely up to the children to decide what they read, but insisted that they read 20 minutes every day (weekends included) and record their progress in a journal, which had to be signed by a parent and turned in weekly.

2. Getting children accustomed to taking responsibility for schoolwork is a Good Thing. It's not the content of the assignment; it's the fact that they have to remember to bring something home, work on it, and return it to school. The goal is the development of work habits and a sense of responsibility. The practice of math facts is an added bonus. I'm guessing (based on no particular expertise) that kindergarten and first grade are still too young for this training, but by second grade you want children to start being aware of their responsibilities, provided you are reasonably lenient when they predictably fail to uphold them.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:35 AM
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Teachers at my kids' school in flyover country are supposed to give 20 minutes of homework/night (K - 5), due to an edict handed down by the local school board. Most of the teachers think it's a dumb idea, but they don't have the option of simply not assigning it. So they are really responsive to parents who can come up with a plausible reason why their kids shouldn't have to do it, and they go pretty easy on the kids who just don't get it done. Hidden rules, indeed--but far better to have savvy, flexible teachers than not.


Posted by: good enough cook | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:36 AM
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My kids have way more homework than I did. It is a problem.


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:36 AM
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The killer isn't the amount of time in elementary -- although it was excessive even 7-8 years ago -- but how much of the grade it counts from 6th grade on. As on all the tests, C in the class counting.

Wasn't this all part of the great drive towards continuous assessment, because basing it all on tests was thought to be unfair to people who are bad at tests?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:37 AM
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So aaaanyhow yeah I fucking hated rote homework as a kid

So did I. And in avoiding / neglecting it, I acquired a body of god-awful work habits that plague me to this day. I cringe when I see the same tendencies in my own children, who do not have the advantage of being so far ahead of their elementary school classmates that they can skate with minimal effort.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:41 AM
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So did I. And in avoiding / neglecting it, I acquired a body of god-awful work habits that plague me to this day

Me too. I discovered early on that if you simply didn't do the homework, there was some unpleasantness with your teachers and parents, and probably a bad grade later on, but these drawbacks were very much outweighed by the benefit of not having to do your fucking homework.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:45 AM
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22.2 -- I don't disagree, not at all. But every class, every semester, every year for 6 years of school should be dedicated to fleissichgkeit? I have a friend who has a standard rant about how this focus favors girls and penalizes boys. (IME, with the right genetic material, you can get a daydreamy procrastinator daughter.)

Of course I always loved being told that all that grade for all that homework was a way for kids who don't test well to get a good grade. Yeah but kids who do test well (and their parents) are being sentenced to hours and hours of wasted time.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:51 AM
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Yeah but kids who do test well (and their parents) are being sentenced to hours and hours of wasted time.

For a minute, I thought you were talking about graduate school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:53 AM
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I used to love mindless homework. My brother would give me his workbooks to do when he was in 1st grade and I was in montessori school (pre-K).

I still like to do mindless puzzles (sudoku/ken ken) which I think are sort of the same thing -- mental busy work.


Posted by: tulip | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:54 AM
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Getting children accustomed to taking responsibility for schoolwork is a Good Thing. It's not the content of the assignment; it's the fact that they have to remember to bring something home, work on it, and return it to school.

But this is a useless skill for the vast majority of workplaces. Having the strength of character to bring work home and work on it in your own time is useless if you are, say, a drill press operator or a bank teller or an air traffic controller. And if you're in the sort of job where you could take work home, it doesn't necessarily follow that you should; the time when you're at home is the time when you should be living your life. It's (going a bit macmanus here) positively evil to train kids to think that work is something that you have to do for hours every evening and at the weekends as well as during the weekday.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:56 AM
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My thoughts:

1. Parenting is often a pain in the ass?
2.I hate parents who think that they are great parents simply because their children do well in school.
3. Educating your children when you are divorced from the other parent is a pain in the ass.
4. I hate that my son does not enjoy reading as much as I do.
5. I regularly feel like a great parent for one child and a crappy parent for the other. Surely, that is the child's fault, not mine. Right???


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:56 AM
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My friend said that if the teacher ever gave less, the other parents (largely programmers on work visas) would complain.

This was my experience --neighborhood moms complaining that their kids weren't getting enough homework. Not so coincidentally the same moms who were drilling their kids on extra work that they thought would help the kid score well enough on the standardized tests to get into the gifted program. I don't know if they still bitch about wanting more homework in middle school, as it occurred to me that these weren't moms I was particularly interested in socializing with. (I'm pretty sure they agreed with me on that.)

Rory has had some experiences of being near-breakdown overwhelmed with homework that I attempted to address with a lecture on how to just go through the motions and get it done rather than laboring over hours of thoughtful effort. "But what's the point of doing it at all if it's just going to be meaningless busywork?" For this I had no satisfactory answer. School is really hard.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:58 AM
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It's (going a bit macmanus here) positively evil to train kids to think that work is something that you have to do for hours every evening and at the weekends as well as during the weekday.

Amen.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:59 AM
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"But what's the point of doing it at all if it's just going to be meaningless busywork?" For this I had no satisfactory answer.

Practice for life?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 7:59 AM
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But this is a useless skill for the vast majority of workplaces

My point was that it's a useful -- indeed, for most people indispensable -- skill for success in secondary and tertiary education.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:01 AM
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31: It isn't just bringing work home. Having the discipline to do your work at the office isn't a trivial problem. I've heard of people who have problems with that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:02 AM
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I hated rote schoolwork, and developed a very bad, very hard to shake habit of not doing it. And yet I can still while away the hours on Sudoku or Tetris. Why doesn't that part of my brain kick in when it would actually benefit me?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:03 AM
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37: That's crazy talk!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:03 AM
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12 10 if true really needs a better messenger.

No, see, I was already adjusting... shit. I'm going to sound like an asshole regardless.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:04 AM
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36: but saying you should have homework in primary school because it prepares you to do homework in secondary school is slightly missing the point, though, isn't it? And the move to university involves radical changes in everything else about learning - no more classes of 20, but lectures of 90 and tutorials of 1! Three hours of classes a week (if you're a literature student)! Washing your own socks!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:05 AM
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My 5th or 6th grade science teacher ran her class as a bunch of independent work projects. You'd get a series of questions on cards and have to answer them by looking through the science books in her room. This turned out to be both absurdly easy (the cards were illustrated with pictures taken from page where the answers were so you could just flip until you hit the right picture) and impossible for me to complete on time (because I'd never stop reading even if I had the answer).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:07 AM
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Having the discipline to do your work at the office isn't a trivial problem. I've heard of people who have problems with that.

And yet all of them had to do hours of homework at school.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:08 AM
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43: I never did.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:08 AM
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It isn't just bringing work home. Having the discipline to do your work at the office isn't a trivial problem.

One might posit that learning to structure the school day such that the work of learning gets done at school and doesn't need to be brought home for an additional 2-3 hours a night could be a strategy for developing the discipline to do your work at the office.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:09 AM
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It isn't just bringing work home. Having the discipline to do your work at the office isn't a trivial problem.

One might posit that learning to structure the school day such that the work of learning gets done at school and doesn't need to be brought home for an additional 2-3 hours a night could be a strategy for developing the discipline to do your work at the office.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:09 AM
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And yet all of them had to do hours of homework at school.
That's certainly where I got most of my homework done, although it wasn't hours.</As I fall further behind in life, I cling to things like this even tighter>.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:10 AM
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To be sure, I am not defending the hours-upon-hours of homework model. I was offering a qualified defense of 20-30 minutes of homework per night for young children.

On the theme of training responsibility and work habits, my daughter's current school assigns all the homework for the week all at once. It works out to be about 30 minutes per day, but it's up to the children whether they do 30 minutes per day or 2.5 hours in a desperate sprint the night before it's due. The school actively discourages the parents from pestering the children daily or helping them out of a jam on the last day before it's due. The idea is to let the children learn the consequences of leaving everything for the last minute. I am sympathetic to this method and hope it works.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:11 AM
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Reporters claim constantly that 5 and 6 year olds are being given hours of homework. From my local circle and sample of one elementary school, I haven't heard this complaint.

Those would be the 5 and 6 year olds whose parents are reporters who live in the affluent suburbs of major metropolitan areas and put lots of effort into getting their children into highly competitive schools.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:12 AM
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Our experience with homework for kindergarteners was a lot Spike's, above, except that the homework itself was more like 10 minutes long, and the battles over getting the kids to do their homework were epic struggles that could kill a whole afternoon. Actually, I think forcing that kind of power struggle was helpful, if unfun.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:14 AM
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On the theme of training responsibility and work habits, my daughter's current school assigns all the homework for the week all at once.

I don't know that much about developmental psych, but I would have thought this was not appropriate to the development of kids under, say 10. That, sure, you can teach them this, but it will either induce a ton of anxiety and/or tears, and it's just so much easier when their brains mature a little bit to train this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:17 AM
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I'm betting such maturity comes at 42.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:17 AM
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41 strikes me as a willful misreading of my point. The goal isn't to practice doing worksheets so you can be prepared to do worksheets later in life. It's about learning self-discipline and good habits (like managing your time). It's about taking responsibility for completing stuff on schedule. These things become more important, not less, after you arrive at the university and everything about learning radically changes.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:20 AM
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52: I'm holding out hope for 50, but I'm not betting on it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:20 AM
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I don't know that much about developmental psych, but I would have thought this was not appropriate to the development of kids under, say 10.

That's approximately the threshold for when they start doing it this way.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:22 AM
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neighborhood moms complaining that their kids weren't getting enough homework. Not so coincidentally the same moms who were drilling their kids on extra work that they thought would help the kid score well enough on the standardized tests to get into the gifted program.

This reminds me of some amazing stories my mom has told me about discussions she had with other parents when I was in school. They would ask her where she and my dad went to college. Upon learning they didn't, they would say something like "oh, so you must have worked extra hard to get [essear] into the advanced classes, right? We drilled [whoever] for an hour a night on extra work and did more math drills over the summer. How many hours did you have to spend?" Which reveals a whole host of really disturbing assumptions, but I'm told this conversation happened many times.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:23 AM
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It's about learning self-discipline and good habits (like managing your time).

Exactly. I really can't imagine life working somewhere closely supervised and don't know how I'd earn a living working with indirect supervision if I hadn't gotten a few good habits.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:29 AM
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My parents used to promise us the dinner at a restaurant of our choice on the night before the Science Fair if we had our Science Fair projects done. That meant the last minute painful hustle was two nights before the Science Fair, but we did earn our dinner out once or twice. My father told us to enjoy thinking of all the other kids struggling with their Science Fair projects at the very minute we were getting our desserts.

I would say I learned more about getting work done in advance from sports (either you put in the training three months in advance or you didn't, but there's no making it up at the last minute and teh difference will show). Since I am also absolutely panicked about my deadlines this week, I would say that I didn't learn enough about getting work done in advance.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:33 AM
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I very much wish I were more closely supervised. They let me get months behind here! They keep assuming I am professional and taking me at my word when I say my projects are current. I wish I had to turn in small work products frequently.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:35 AM
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It's about taking responsibility for completing stuff on schedule. These things become more important, not less, after you arrive at the university and everything about learning radically changes.

But, speaking personally, I learned damn all about that from doing homework at school. You got given the homework on Monday and it had to be handed in on Tuesday. Where's the flexibility? You've got to do it on Monday night!
Maybe other people have experience of being set homework for the next week, but that didn't happen to me.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:39 AM
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I very much wish I were more closely supervised.

I was chatting with a teacher at a for-profit college at a conference recently, and I mentioned that I had to go back to my dorm room to catch up on grading. He said, "Yeah, I'm behind on grading, too. I'm going to get an email from my supervisor soon." I did not know that level of micromanagement existed in colleges.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:45 AM
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See, I think the range for training that sort of thing in a person is kind of narrow. OK, yes, you can approach parenting as you would teaching a dog obedience, and maybe totally override their natural inclinations. I don't know, and I've never seen it done. More likely, the choice seems to be anxiety and tears trying to change a kid, or working with them to make the best of who they are. My very fleissich wife and I naturally disagree on this.

A system where you can get a D in an AP class and a 5 on the AP test, is a system that isn't working for a segment of kids. Is life like that? Yes. But what's the answer to 'ok, when it actually matters, I'll do it.'

I think I mentioned before that I got a call from the history teacher in 11th grade. Several weeks into the semester, and the kid has an F. Oh yes, I said, he should be working harder, I'll get on that. Again. Turns out he had As on the quizzes, and whenever called on knew the answer in a non-superficial way. That doesn't sound exactly like failure to me.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:45 AM
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"That doesn't sound exactly like failure to me."

Depends. Do you think they're teaching your kid history, or do you think they're teaching him to work for long periods of time?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:52 AM
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My experience with PDBS schools was similar. I think there is some pedagogical merit to homework at this level of intensity, even for young children.

41 strikes me as a willful misreading of my point. The goal isn't to practice doing worksheets so you can be prepared to do worksheets later in life. It's about learning self-discipline and good habits (like managing your time). It's about taking responsibility for completing stuff on schedule. These things become more important, not less, after you arrive at the university and everything about learning radically changes.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:54 AM
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Goddammit.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:54 AM
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My response in 64 was supposed to be this:

I am inclined to disagree. Make-worky homework for little kids every bit as much introduces the opportunity to ingrain BAD habits about this stuff when you don't have to.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:56 AM
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Actually, I think forcing that kind of power struggle was helpful, if unfun.

Really? How so?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:00 AM
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63. The fact that that question needs asking is at the root of the problem. "Workplace Skills", pitched right, would be a perfectly acceptable topic in high school, although it's only taught formally in classes created to discipline unemployed adults.

A bright kid who wanted to learn history in history classes might also understand the value of "workplace skills" and excel at that too, if she understood what the point of the class was. But sending her into a history class and then assessing her against the "workplace skills" curriculum is entirely dishonest and likely to produce kids who are interested in neither and distrust the education system.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:02 AM
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Speaking of horrible practices, did anyone read the NYT article about kids in Kindergarten being locked alone in isolated rooms as a routine disciplinary practice? Which apparentlyis a big thing now in public schools?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:05 AM
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Here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/opinion/sunday/a-terrifying-way-to-discipline-children.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:11 AM
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did anyone read the NYT article about kids in Kindergarten being locked alone in isolated rooms as a routine disciplinary practice?

The scary part is that the acts alleged in the article took place in Lexington, Mass., which is pretty much the epitome of educational liberal do-gooderism. I can only imagine what's happening in, say, Alabama or Mississippi.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:13 AM
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I'm trying to decide whether I understand how this had been going on for three months before the parents realized. On the one hand, I hid my social ostracism from my parents for several months; they only found out from my sister. (Which was great. My mom called the mom of my primary tormenter and after that I got ignored instead of bullied. Parents can be helpful!)

On the other hand, how do parents miss that their daughter had been locked in a room regularly for three months? Do they not ask her about her day every day at dinner?

Conclusion: assume there are reasons if a child's behavior changes abruptly.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:21 AM
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My second grade teacher used to lock misbehaving students in the coat closet. Of course, he also blatantly ignored the legal prohibition of classroom prayer as well as the restrictions on corporal punishment. In addition to beating misbehaving pupils, he had a sadistic punishment whereby the miscreant had to hold a dime against the blackboard with his or her nose, keeping the coin within the confines of a small circle drawn in chalk at a height that forced the child to stand on tip-toes. But at least we never had to do any homework!



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:23 AM
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71: fantastic headline on that link. "Mississippi school district agrees to not handcuff students to objects". Progress!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:24 AM
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In addition to beating misbehaving pupils, he had a sadistic punishment whereby the miscreant had to hold a dime against the blackboard with his or her nose, keeping the coin within the confines of a small circle drawn in chalk at a height that forced the child to stand on tip-toes.

Ah, stress positions! Very valuable to the kids if they later decide to join the Navy SEALs.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:25 AM
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I'm trying to decide whether I understand how this had been going on for three months before the parents realized.

Well, "Rose had speech and language delays."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:27 AM
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They don't do that now because dry erase boards get scratched by coins.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:28 AM
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76, 72 -- it can be hard for even very verbal kids that age to describe their days.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:32 AM
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Even so, if the trauma is severe, didn't they notice other behavioral changes? Did they mark those up to "having trouble transitioning to first grade"?

Maybe there's not much you can do if all your kid will say is "Fine. Nothing. Fine." I mean, that's what I did and my parents were attentive and responsive once they found out what the problem was. But three months is a long time.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:33 AM
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I think Roberta, Apo's wife has told a story of discovering that Noah, in kindergarten, was being forced to eat separately from the rest of his class because he was too rambunctious. He was still in the cafeteria, but by himself at a table, and the account sounds completely sadistic and awful because it's lunchtime, for god's sake. Let the kid get some energy out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:35 AM
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75: Let's just say I wasn't entirely surprised to learn that one of the National Guard units implicated in the Abu Ghraib scandal was from my area.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:38 AM
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Jane is of course only two and a half, but god knows I have little idea from her own testimony what she does in her morning preschool. I hear they have snack and a little potty. There are some friends. Do they have names? "I don't know!"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:40 AM
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I'm sympathetic to KR's concerns, but want my kid to be able to play outside freely when they are 5-8 years old. That seems like the whole point of being 5-8 years old.

Maybe I'm just inappropriately nostalgic for my 1970s free-range childhood.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:41 AM
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In addition to beating misbehaving pupils, he had a sadistic punishment whereby the miscreant had to hold a dime against the blackboard with his or her nose, keeping the coin within the confines of a small circle drawn in chalk at a height that forced the child to stand on tip-toes.

This must be traditional -- I knew teachers in Samoa who did the same. Although it was described to me as at a height that would leave the kid uncomfortably hunched over.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:45 AM
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want my kid to be able to play outside freely when they are 5-8 years old. That seems like the whole point of being 5-8 years old.

They can do both! I'm not advocating making little Stakhonovs out of them. The model I spoke of calls for 30 minutes per evening, of which 20 minutes is independent reading, four days per week, beginning at age seven.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:48 AM
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didn't they notice other behavioral changes

Without going back to the article to check, I think that yes, they did. But in addition to the communication difficulties with a kid that age (as mentioned by several above) plus this kid's particular delays, it also seems likely to me that a kid isn't going to know what is and is not an appropriate punishment. I got punished, it was horrible, but maybe I deserve it? This is just what happens to kids at school?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:49 AM
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There are some friends. Do they have names? "I don't know!"

All toddlers are masked and their voices electronically disguised. This is done for their own protection. They refer to each other by numbers.
"253! GIVE ME BACK MY BLANKET 253!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:51 AM
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There are some friends. Do they have names? "I don't know!"

Jane is secretly spending her days lurking on unfogged??


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:52 AM
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Toddlers wander around biting each other. If your kid gets bitten, you can a note from the teacher that will not mention the kid who did the biting. You'll feel indignant until you think to ask if your kid has bitten anyone and the teacher just sort of rolls her eyes back into her head while looking for a politic phrase.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:54 AM
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To report from the coasts, but not really the striver portion of the coasts, Sally and Newt had much more homework than I remember having back when bell-bottoms were in style, but neither was it enough to make them miserable nor did it seem like busywork. The time-consuming stuff I noticed them doing was writing, which they did quite a lot of from maybe third grade on, and they certainly write much better and more fluently than I did at the same age. Math homework I never really noticed them doing, but I think it was unchallenging enough that they just got it done inconspicuously.

(The idea that unchallenging work gets done without making a fuss about it is very weird to me: when I was a student, I was basically CharleyCarp's son. Better grades, but I got them by being either in a laxer school, or by having more of a knack of explaining to my teachers why giving me the grades that their rubrics would indicate I deserved, rather than the grades that any sensible person who knew me would see were appropriate, was obviously the wrong thing to do. I figure they must take after Buck in that regard.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:58 AM
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Toddlers wander around biting each other

This can have grave consequences.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:59 AM
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(Sally in middle school has quite a bit of homework, but not in a way that seems inappropriate.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:59 AM
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I dunno. Still undecided. I don't think the toddler needs to be able to assess whether what is happening to her is appropriate and tell her parents about it. I'm thinking they could have looked harder at a new obsession with a violent scene in Nemo, and (if there were any) things like nightmares or tantrums. A non-verbal kid may not be able to describe her day, but I tend to think that a kid undergoing severe trauma will show it. I suspect but don't know, that they saw the effects, trusted the school to not be doing outrageous punishments, and doubted their own assessment. (Who knows why a kid is suddenly more fragile or angry? Kids have phases.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:00 AM
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91: Ha.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:02 AM
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93: Hawaiian Punch has been indicating that she is being subject to devastating abuse since she was born.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:06 AM
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You don't make her nap, do you?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:12 AM
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Reading this thread makes me feel vaguely anxious. I had several years (middle-school, more or less) when I both hated homework and felt ashamed about not doing it, and spent a lot of my time at school feeling very unhappy about it.

I eventually leaned how to manage homework well enough to get by, but it really wasn't until I was out of college and working that I really learned how manage projects.

Even now, thinking about homework makes me feel both that (a) I wish I had learned better quote-unquote study skills when I was in school and (b) that I would have been mortified, anxious, and resistant if somebody had tried to teach me -- it would have felt like a stranger was coming in and making rude comments about my messy room, or something like that.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:18 AM
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93: Add in that changes in affect don't happen all at once. I doubt the parents were looking at a happy smiley kid who on a specific date became tantrummy and nightmare-ridden. It seems more likely to me that the situation was more like a kid who'd been averaging two tantrums a week, with none a possibility and five just as likely, who turned into a kid who had five tantrums on an average week. Noticing that "Funny, we haven't had a good week for a long time" and then remembering when the last good week was isn't a trivial task, and taking three months to identify the problem and track down the cause doesn't seem excessive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:18 AM
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Even back in mid-70s northern Knifecrimia, we had homework at primary school. But it was largely of the 'learn some words from your tin', or ten minutes of reading (or equivalent maths worksheet) until quite a bit older. I do hear stories of much larger amounts of homework for kids, but my sister's kids don't seem to have had a huge amount. My niece just started high school and did her first week's homework in the first night [because she was so excited to have good homework].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:18 AM
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90.2 -- I was like that too, but you could get better grades in the 70s if you were learning the material. Not that I spent any time before I was 30 caring about grades at all.

So much of the emphasis on homework that we saw over the years was clearly ideological.

I'm having dinner with the Class of 2016 on Wednesday, and will be interested to learn how different college really is in this regard. (My guess: more than I said it would be, less that The Class hoped it would be)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:18 AM
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I (speaking as somebody who took decades to figure it out) think it's genuinely valuable lesson to learn that sometimes you need to check the stupid boxes the stupid person wants you to check in order to get what you want in a less painful way. I'm reasonably proud of myself for accomplishing what I have accomplished in basically the hardest, most roundabout way possible, but I'm not sure, in retrospect, if that was the smartest way to go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:21 AM
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100: The thing is, though, if it's teachable at all, the ability to just get a boring, meaningless task done efficiently on time without spending vast amounts of emotional energy on loathing the prospect is incredibly useful, and I wish I had it. My kids seem to -- I don't know if that comes from Buck's genes, Buck doing something right parenting-wise, or the schools doing something right, but wherever it comes from, they're better off than I am.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:22 AM
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If it's truly meaningless, though, the loathing of the task seems appropriate and it seems useful to learn to challenge why energy is being wasted on meaningless tasks when there are plenty of meaningful things to spend time on.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:29 AM
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how do parents miss that their daughter had been locked in a room regularly for three months? Do they not ask her about her day every day at dinner?

If the kid thinks they have been locked in the room because they did something bad, they are not exactly motivated to tell their parents about it. The only time my kid ever volunteers that he's been punished at school is by accident.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:29 AM
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plenty of meaningful things to spend time on

...Like lying on my couch eating chocolate covered raisins and saying stuff on the internet.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:31 AM
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It feels like educators took the marshmallow experiment very seriously and decided that it was their duty to instill those characteristics that allow small children to withstand marshmallows.

I mean, it's not completely misguided but it does make for some dreary skill-learning.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:33 AM
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103: That works if you're a good judge of what's meaningless. I'm not -- things that set off my 'too meaningless to cope with' response include filling out paperwork that will get me large amounts of money. Even in the homework realm, in the classes where I could demonstrate a deep understanding of the subject matter on tests, I still would have been better off in college if I'd done more drilling in high school -- there was definitely math that I understood perfectly well but that I was less than effortlessly fluent with, where a kid who wasn't dismissing homework as meaningless would have developed that fluency and been better off later on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:37 AM
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I think a world in which every kid waited 15 minutes for the next marshmallow would be a boring world indeed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:39 AM
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Did you see that Michelle Obama requires her girls to do two sports, one they like and one they don't, just so they perceive themselves as getting better at something they don't like through practice?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:39 AM
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106: I think you're right about what's going on, but I think it's possible to do without extravagant dreariness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:40 AM
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I think it's extremely important to find a way to give students good work habits, speaking as someone who (like most of us here, it seems) has terrible work habits but has relied on a few go-to skills to get me through life.

I'm not at all convinced that giving a lot of homework in elementary school is a great way to teach those work habits, but what do I know.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:40 AM
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requires her girls to do two sports, one they like and one they don't, just so they perceive themselves as getting better at something they don't like through practice

This frankly seems like a better way of getting to the same goal than overwhelming kids with busywork. But at least for boys it would require a pretty big shift in the culture of school sports, at least as I remember it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:41 AM
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101 -- I guess I always knew, and Lord knows I found myself explaining it often enough to my son over the 7 years we spent most nights of the week discussing whether he should do (or had done) all of his homework. It's a matter of how hard you're going to whack a square peg.

Since the 'Nation at Risk' hysteria, the answer seems to be 'as hard as you can.'

We used a very wide assortment of carrots and sticks -- and some of the sticks were a lot crueler that I felt comfortable being -- but none of it worked. Like his sister, he's determined to be who he is. And if it means going the hard way around, that's how it's going to be.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:42 AM
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The thing is, though, if it's teachable at all, the ability to just get a boring, meaningless task done efficiently on time without spending vast amounts of emotional energy on loathing the prospect is incredibly useful

Yes, yes, yes. But like I said upthread, if you tell kids that this is a thing, that they need to learn in school, they'll probably be, OK, if that's the deal, we'll learn it. But if you disguise it dishonestly as maths or history or English, they won't learn it, and they'll be put of maths and history and English too, plus they'll have your number and hate you for lying to them.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:42 AM
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I wouldn't say I loved pointless worksheet busywork in early grade school because I loved doing math worksheets/workbooks and stuff like that. In my hippiesh school, if you finished the first grade math book before the end of first grade, they just handed you the second grade book. Since it was clear that we were going to do all of the problems in the book by the end of the year, I figured there was no reason to wait.

This had absolutely no effect on my learning decent study habits later in life. When I got to the fourth grade mathbook, we no longer had in-book worksheets and had to write out answers and show work on separate sheets of paper. And we no longer did every single problem in the book. I stopped working ahead because I couldn't guess which problems would be assigned and, you know, fuck doing unnecessary work. I pretty much never turned in anything late, though.

And now I'm a slacker who somehow managed to get a few graduate degrees, still haven't finished a dissertation, and am pretty much a failure as an adult. But if I get into a work situation where continuous work during the day has some noticeable positive effect on things, I pretty much don't slack and have to be reminded to take breaks.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:43 AM
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114: I think that's right. I do tell my kids that it, specifically, is a thing that they need to learn at school (on the rare occasion you hit something that you don't immediately understand, studying works; skills can be developed through practice even if you're not naturally good at them, and so on). Although, I have vague memories of my parents trying to tell me similar things, and they didn't stick.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:46 AM
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Jammies and I have a related disagreement right now, where I believe a three year old is not capable of not dawdling, and he believes that three is when it's reasonable to start training a three year old not to dawdle.

I still dawdle terribly, and afaict, Hawaii has Jammies' temperament, and so if it were possible not to dawdle, she wouldn't be doing so. I am pretty sure she'll be more responsible than me in the next year or two.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:49 AM
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Actually, the last part of 115 isn't quite true. I pretty much don't slack at all in any kind of work situation. But I usually enjoy the work when you see it mattering on a regular basis, even if it's stuff like data entry or running a scanner or going through microfilm or many other tasks that people usually complain about.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:51 AM
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I believe a three year old is not capable of not dawdling, and he believes that three is when it's reasonable to start training a three year old not to dawdle.

I think you can both be right about this -- that she can be ready to start learning to not dawdle (although I'm not dead clear on how, specifically, you're defining that) and that she can be nowhere near capable of successfully never dawdling yet. You start learning things before you're ready to do them for real.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:53 AM
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On telling my nephew that I would take him to a movie, he ran to the front door, slammed on his shoes, ran out to the car and buckled himself into his car seat just as I made it to the front door. We hadn't even known he could put his shoes on.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:55 AM
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109: Boy am I conflicted on what I think of that. On the one hand, I really do attribute a whole lot of personal growth to the four years of swim team that began with all involved being grateful when I made it through another week without drowning. On the other hand, making a kid do a sport they don't like seems like the wrong way to go about it. I certainly would never have worked half as hard as I did at swimming if someone made me join the team against my will.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:56 AM
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120 is hilarious.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:57 AM
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I pretty much don't slack at all in any kind of work situation. But I usually enjoy the work when you see it mattering on a regular basis, . . .

That's the thing for me. I generally tend towards being overly-anxious and hyper-responsible. So as an adult I get most of my shit done (particularly work shit, I can leave tasks around the house sitting for ages). I think I always had a strong sense of responsibility, so the reason I wasn't doing homework as a child wasn't because I didn't care -- I just hated it, and the hate outweighed the caring.

In my particular case, I got much better in school quickly once the work felt more meaningful and less like busy work. So busy work wasn't a good way, for me, to prepare for real work. It probably did more to teach me bad habits than it provided any benefits. On the other hand, any school system that was designed to cater to my quirks would make most of the kids miserable. So I don't hold it against schools that they made me miserable, but 113 makes me wince -- strongly.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:00 AM
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I was totally offended by pointless busywork and determined to prove that I could do things my own way just as successfully. But not doing my homework (which I never did) made me totally anxious, because I hated getting in trouble. So I would do my best to just put it completely out of my mind. This led my mom to believe that I was insufficiently anxious about my homework (I wasn't even thinking about it!), so she would try to encourage me to be more anxious about it, so that I would be stressed enough to just want it done with.

This is a dynamic that I would recommend parents with homework-averse children avoid.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:08 AM
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Another aspect of my rebellion is that I was so infuriated by the idea that failing to do pointless busywork was somehow impeding my education that I would pick other, more difficult subjects to study instead of the ones I was supposed to be attending to. So, fuck you, I'm not doing my algebgra homework. I'm going to teach myself digital circuit design, instead! Aren't you counter-productive fools, teachers.

Ahh, memories. Terrible, terrible memories.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:11 AM
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I don't have much of an opinion on homework.

But I think that one hazard of giving students a lot of busywork is that they get to college and come to expect it, and then when it's not there, assume that there is no work to be done, because obviously, if there were, I'd check that they were doing their reading every night. In other words, it seems to train them to think that education is only about doing exactly what they're told, which doesn't work as well in a college lecture. It's good to know that sometimes in life you have to check stupid boxes, but not good if you conclude that no stupid boxes means no reason at all to study.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:11 AM
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In my first college math class, homework wasn't required and not doing it (and skipping about half of the lectures) had a slightly negative effect on my grade. By the end of my freshman year, I'd decided to switch to the humanities because I was much more engaged with the subjects and I actually spent more time on my coursework. The first of many questionable life decisions (original plan was to double major, but I was too lazy).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:13 AM
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In a certain subset of the elementary school crowd, there was a hypercompetitive death race to go through those color-coded SRA cards as quickly as possible.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:13 AM
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126 is very smart. I had almost forgotten how habitually right Cala is.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:14 AM
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One thing I'd hope everyone could agree on is that busywork is a ghastly idea. How much homework, and how necessary it should be, is one thing that people can reasonably agree on. Work that's really pointless, though, is just going to train bad habits into anyone with the sense to spot it as pointless.

Obviously, there are problems where an assignment might be useful for one kid but busywork for another, but generally, it's not as if there's any shortage of actually educational things for students to be doing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:14 AM
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Actually, the big piece of advice I'd loved to have gotten was that college actually matters, colleges actually have good resources to teach a range of subjects, and if you're not ready to make the most of that opportunity and you can take some time away and just work for a while, do that instead of aiming at the minimum unit requirement for graduation.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:19 AM
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I believe a three year old is not capable of not dawdling, and he believes that three is when it's reasonable to start training a three year old not to dawdle.

"Dawdling" (or "transitioning" as the school people say) is still problem number one in our household. I would advise working on it right now to save yourself trouble down the road.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:19 AM
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(This whole conversation is making me realize once again how incredibly, undeservedly (on my part), easy Sally and Newt are. I was braced for the horror dealing with school was going to be, based on how desperately I hated it, how little work I was willing to do, and how completely wrecked and despairing I was about the whole mess. I didn't have any good ideas about how to make anything better, but I was really ready for it to be awful. While they're not perfect -- Sally's grades are a little lower than they'd be if she never missed an assignment -- they're pretty darn good, and it doesn't seem to be a terribly upsetting issue at all.

Really, if you don't mind a level of roughhousing that makes coming home from work rather like Calvin being greeted by Hobbes, they're awfully good kids.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:21 AM
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131: Oh my god, this. I am riddled with contempt for my seventeen-through-twenty-one-year-old-self for not having figured it out in real time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:22 AM
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My parents' tactic was to say that we had to do our homework before anything else - TV, friends, playing outside, etc. This worked reasonably well, but it does mean that I have an incredibly difficult time relaxing if any task is not done, which is not a trait well-suited to a career with lots of open-ended tasks.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:29 AM
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I'm curious if the other parents have noticed tha tthe school day has gotten quite a lot longer between the generations. My school day in grades 1-6 started at 9, we went home for lunch (!) at 11:45, and returned from 1 to 3. total time in school 4 hrs. 45 minutes. My son's school day starts at 8:40, ends at 3:20, with a 35 minute lunch period, no going home. Total time x lunch 6 hrs 5 minutes. He has had about 20 minutes of homework every weeknight since first grade. I didn't have any homework until fourth grade. Both in public schools in the same state, but different districts.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:37 AM
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Oh man, I am Sifu, albeit with less computer skills and more guns. One of the advantages of the cell phone era is having an easy carrot/stick you can link to homework and grades. I'm also a fan of calisthenics as punishment. Everyone should make their kids do burpees.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:40 AM
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Nobody was home when I got home, so I ate nacho-cheese infused hot dogs and watched General Hospital.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:41 AM
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I did 138, except replace "nacho-cheese infused hot dogs" with "all the food in the house, up to and including olive loaf and bullion cubes" and "General Hospital" with "anything, but mostly cartoons and MTV".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:42 AM
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No one was at home when I got home, but at four precisely, the phone would ring and whoever answered would get assigned dinner prep. My rotten little sister NEVER picked up. I never had the nerve to find out what would happen if neither of us answered.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:43 AM
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I usually had swim practice or some afternoon activity after school, so I taped 2 hours of after school tv every day* and then watched it while doing homework when I got home.

*I just had one tape I kept recording over for this purpose.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:44 AM
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Latest word from the Class of 2016, re: the convocation address given by the most recent former Secretary of State: boring and full of shit.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 11:46 AM
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I used to watch Duck Tails when I got home. Had to keep an ear peeled for the garage door, because if my dad got home and found out I was watching cartoons, I'd get yelled at.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:08 PM
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To my dad's credit, Duck Tails was a pretty crap show to be wasting my time on.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:10 PM
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Duck Tails was a pretty crap show to be wasting my time ontheme song you have just lodged in my brain.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:22 PM
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Had to keep an ear peeled for the garage door, because if my dad got home and found out I was watching cartoons, I'd get yelled at.

How much does young Heebie wish they had cars that gave a single honk when you locked them back then? A lot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:28 PM
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The sound of a car door in my parents' driveway as heard from the living room could still send a jolt of adrenaline through my system.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:33 PM
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Our TV was kept in a locked cabinet. Do you know how hard it was to close the cabinet, replace the lock, hide the key, and get in ordinary positions, in the time between when we heard the car door slam and when my mom got inside the house?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:53 PM
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And oh my god, the arms race we had around that lock. First we discovered that we could go around through the back of the cabinet and knock the door open, lock intact. Then my mom discovered we could do that, so she nailed down the back end of the lock into the cabinet.

Then we discovered where she hid the key, and so we waited until she left, and then just helped ourselves. This phase lasted the longest, IIRC. Then she busted us, and started carrying the key on her key ring.

So what we had to do, is fish out the key before she left, unlock the lock, and place the lock in position so that it looked casually locked. If I remember right, this lasted until my middle brother graduated high school.

After that, I was the only kid at home and all the rules magically evaporated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:57 PM
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Your parents probably marshmallow tested you and your sibs so they knew where the effort was needed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:59 PM
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Duck Tails was a pretty crap show to be wasting my time ontheme song you have just lodged in my brain.

Your arms are broken!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:00 PM
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There's someone in my house that would be very upset about these slanders against Duck Tails.

That's one I think I've managed to completely avoid, so I don't hate it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:08 PM
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I preferred Darkwing Duck, though it didn't run for very long and that was right around the time I stopped watching kids cartoons for the most part. I think I spent more of my VHS recording time on re-runs of family sitcoms, though. I couldn't watch tv that was too good or I'd never have gotten any work done.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:14 PM
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Mostly I just sat through Duck Tales so I could get a chance to watch The Real Ghost Busters.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:18 PM
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WOOOÖOOOO!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:19 PM
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It took about 15 minutes for the tv to cool down to the point where my dad couldn't tell that we had been watching. Less time was necessary during the summer, because the sun heated up the tv all afternoon anyway, so my dad couldn't really tell whether or not it had been on.

In a truly epic example of my amazing spitefulness as a kid, when I was in junior high I got mad at my sister and in order to piss her off, successfully lobbied my parents to have the tv taken away.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:22 PM
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I had issues with homework and getting self-directed stuff done for my whole life; in a lot of ways, it was a proxy war with my parents, I believe. In 7th grade I convinced my math teacher that I didn't need to do any of the homework, and that only reinforced some really bad habits. In undergrad, at least in math, I'd alternate between quarters where I did no homework, got totally behind and overwhelmed, and failed (or got a C, anyway), and quarters where I actually did the work and was fine. It was harrowing, really; an awful experience. And then the whole grad school stuff; and now I'm 32 with no work experience or skills. (On the other hand, based on last week's experience, I think I'd make a great mail-room clerk. That was a fantastic gig.)

But the thing is, I'm not sure WTF the takeaway point here is. People are different; they're going to react differently to different things, and I'm not sure how the fuck we're supposed to know reliably, in advance, how that's going to be. In my case, I think my struggles with homework were really about hating my perfectionist parents and my perfect older sister, but that's hindsight, and who knows if it has any connection to reality?

So at the level of policy, I'm not sure what to think. Yes, study skills are valuable things to have, and I like what chris says about being honest if that's what we're teaching, but do we even know how to reliably inculcate them--especially because different folks react differently? Someone mentioned developmental psych, but here, too, people are different. So I guess I'm Team Individualized Attention.

And then, as Sifu and LB note, it's certainly very useful to be able to just check the stupid box and get what you want; but then Di gets it right, too, when she says that societies (and organizations) need people to stand up against bullshit, even when it's not individually advantageous. So there's that, too, insofar as schools are our new-citizen hatching pods.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:24 PM
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Also, my dad bought a timer for piano practice. But if you twisted the timer backwards, it looked like you had played longer than you had! We thought we had so totally outsmarted our parents. In reality, they probably didn't just didn't care all that much.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:27 PM
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Heh. I insisted that the TV be in my room and never watched it. But I wouldn't let my sister come in my room to watch it, either.

Although, it was high school by then and neither of us were interested in TV anymore.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:28 PM
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I had issues with homework and getting self-directed stuff done for my whole life; in a lot of ways, it was a proxy war with my parents, I believe.

THIS IS SO ME. When I got to college, it was such a relief to be able to stop proving my mom wrong, that I could wait until the last minute and be just fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:29 PM
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That was unclear. It was a relief in college to be allowed to start assignments early, without giving my mom any satisfaction of being right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:30 PM
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As CC says upstream, the right attitude depends on the kid. Kids who know their own minds and are inclined to doing something stubborn whether it's sensible or not, those kids do not need encouragement to stand with a fist more otfen. Those who don't look up and tend to follow directions completely, some encouragement to question authority makes sense for them.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:42 PM
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issues with homework[...] it was a proxy war with my parents

Yep.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 2:04 PM
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"Proxy war" is wrong for me. It was certainly about my screwy relationship with my parents in some way, but I wasn't not doing homework out of defiance, more because it was simply impossible to do anything that dull unless something immediately horrific was going to happen as a result.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 2:07 PM
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I mean "proxy war" doesn't exactly describe it. But certain aspects of my relationship with my parents led me to decide that doing something boring just because you were supposed to do it for your own good was not just pointless but actively negative.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 2:10 PM
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Yeah, I was mostly thinking about heebie's 160. Even if I got screwy about getting stuff done because of my parents, the idea that having them not around to judge would stop me from being screwy is alien to me -- by the time I got to college, the screwy was an ingrained part of my personality.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 2:15 PM
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Di gets it right, too, when she says that societies (and organizations) need people to stand up against bullshit, even when it's not individually advantageous.

I like how revolutionary this makes me sound, when the truth is probably just that I am really lazy and good at coming up with persuasive excuses. I've been lucky, like LB, to have a more or less self-raising child. She stresses out about meeting all her responsibilities; I sit on the couch watching TV and muttering about how it's all bullshit busywork anyway.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 2:19 PM
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Heebie's 160 isn't entirely familiar, but it was certainly true that the greater (psychological) distance I had from my mom the less I sabotaged myself. I mean, I still do it (please, let me tell you how much I'm procrastinating on) but yeah, that's been the gradient.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 2:19 PM
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Even if I got screwy about getting stuff done because of my parents, the idea that having them not around to judge would stop me from being screwy is alien to me -- by the time I got to college, the screwy was an ingrained part of my personality.

This, a thousand times this.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 2:37 PM
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My wife reports that it took my son 1 hour and 15 minutes to do his first grade homework on this beautiful September afternoon. The actual homework part was 15 minutes, the other hour was fighting and general unpleasantness.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 3:26 PM
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The only time we ever had problems with Rory failing/refusing to do homework, it was the 20-min "free" reading log Knecht described above. Before they started the reading log thing, she loved reading. Now that she doesn't have to do a reading log anymore, she loves reading. So long as she had to keep a record of reading 20 minutes a day, she hated it. Hated hated hated. Maybe it's useful for getting other kids to love reading, but it didn't work out that way for us.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 3:57 PM
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The stuff about parents regulating TV watching is completely foreign to me. My parents were always telling me to stop whatever I was busy with and come watch TV with them. This still happens whenever I visit them. It's like sitting in front of the TV together is the default way to show that you appreciate another person's company.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 4:11 PM
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I think I've said before that among my humanities grad school cohort, I seem to have been unusually allowed to watch hours and hours of tv growing up. Pretty much everyone else had stories like everyone's telling on this thread.

From the end of my freshman year to the end of my sophomore year in high school, I didn't watch any tv except the Olympics. But that was because I impulsively declared that I'd stop watching tv for a year and then decided to hold myself to that. I don't think it had any noticeable effect on my school or social life, all that I had to catch up on getting Simpsons references.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 4:24 PM
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"all that"? I meant "although."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 4:25 PM
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I was home alone for like five hours a day; what else was I supposed to do?

That wasn't until somewhat later, though, come to think of it. Probably age twelve or so. Before that I went to the house of some family friends who had a nanny, and dicked around on their Apple ][ and read old Richie Rich and X-Men comics.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 4:29 PM
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My parents lifted the TV restrictions when we moved to Genf in the hope that I would learn French. Unfortunately, there was no TV in the afternoon when I came home from school. Neither the French nor the Swiss had yet invented daytime TV - you'd get some morning stuff until nine or so, then the lunchtime news, and then nothing until five. In between there was a pretty multi-color jigsaw puzzle. I did briefly manage use that impulse for lots of cash for books and blockbuster Hollywood movies, unfortunately after a few months of that my parents realized that it was no longer needed.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 4:48 PM
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Yeah, I was allowed to watch as much tv as I wanted and eat junk food and swim right after eating and, um, take candy from strangers.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 4:57 PM
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Neither the French nor the Swiss had yet invented daytime TV....

For all their cheeses, they yet languished in barbarism.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:00 PM
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I watched a shit ton of TV during high school, and then didn't miss it not having one for 8 years after. Still feel like I've seen enough NFL in the 70s to last a lifetime. My parents probably pestered me about it, but I'd long since given up paying that much attention to them, so.

For my daughter's youth, our house rule was no cable and no VCR. You can watch the crap you can get on rabbit ears, some, and we can go to movies in the theater, but other than that, we read. Books. That held until she was 15 or so, when my son negotiated a VCR in return for going to Saturday School in German. So then we could rent movies.

Both kids read, and my daughter enjoys writing (although her new blog is devoted to her interest in new age healing: a dad can be proud, but I won't inflict the link on you.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:01 PM
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I think there were a few years when I was a kid when my internet use was regulated a lot more than my TV use. But that was probably because my dad's AOL subscription was for a limited number of hours. That had changed at least by the time I was midway through high school, I think, and I was basically spending three or four hours a night on the web.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:02 PM
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I was allowed to take candy from warehouses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:05 PM
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there were a few years when I was a kid when my internet use

Shhhh. Don't speak. Don't speak.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:07 PM
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If I'd been able to use something better than a 300 baud modem over a rotary phone (I think), I might have gotten interested in BBSes, which a couple of my friends were getting into in junior high/high school. I remember having to wait for whole words to appear so I could read them.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:12 PM
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Strangers always have the best candy.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:14 PM
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To go back to the OT, I don't remember any homework at all in a PDBS elementary school near Knecht in the late seventies, then a little bit at the Int school at the elementary school level, then quite a bit when I hit seventh grade with too much in math and science and not enough writing.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:19 PM
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No tv in high school at all, by my choice.

But every home and away cubs and sox game on radio, and cards, twins, and tigers if i could work the antenna and had good weather. Or I don't remember, maybe they had affiliate stations. I never watched baseball on tv, by choice.

In the off-season it was basketball, mostly college, again on radio.

I still don't like sports on tv, and find myself slipping over to the real-time box-scores on the Internet.

(I did watch the 68 Democratic convention coverage into the wee hours. But no Olympics.)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:33 PM
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a 300 baud modem over a rotary phone

I used to send away for shareware (mostly text adventure games) that was sent back on floppy disks. If I ordered a bunch of disks and the mail was quick, I think I had a higher transfer rate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:36 PM
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20

... The killer isn't the amount of time in elementary -- although it was excessive even 7-8 years ago -- but how much of the grade it counts from 6th grade on. ...

Is this homework that counts for a lot being carefully graded? If not you are just teaching kids to hand in semi-plausible gibberish. Possibly a useful life skill but not one I think schools should be teaching.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:39 PM
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I used to send away for shareware (mostly text adventure games) that was sent back on floppy disks. If I ordered a bunch of disks and the mail was quick, I think I had a higher transfer rate.

Right, but it's the latency that gets you. And it hasn't necessarily gotten better.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:42 PM
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131: Oh my god, this. I am riddled with contempt for my seventeen-through-twenty-one-year-old-self for not having figured it out in real time.

Christ, seriously. What a colossal waste. Sigh.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:48 PM
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188: The law is an ancient and honorable profession, Shearer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:51 PM
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My friends who were into the BBS world were also into shareware by mail. I did have access to a remarkably fast connection (for its time) at home when my dad needed to work from home, but it was a work computer set up to connect to his office and all I could do for fun was play games of tic-tac-toe or Go from the terminal.

Eventually we got a better home connection for the family computer but I was much less interested in computers by then.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:52 PM
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The only time we ever had problems with Rory failing/refusing to do homework, it was the 20-min "free" reading log Knecht described above. Before they started the reading log thing, she loved reading. Now that she doesn't have to do a reading log anymore, she loves reading. So long as she had to keep a record of reading 20 minutes a day, she hated it. Hated hated hated. Maybe it's useful for getting other kids to love reading, but it didn't work out that way for us.

A friend was just describing a related phenomenon with her kid, who really watches the clock under these circumstances and then stops, where before that he would read and read far more.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 5:54 PM
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I guess I connived at fraudulent reading logs -- we sort of agreed that given that they were reading more than they needed to, they could just 'log' 20 minutes a day without needing to worry about any tight connection between the actual reading they were doing and the logging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:10 PM
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Yeah, I think the trouble for Other Friend's Kid was that the logs were supposed to be pretty specific/detailed and also the kid was getting independently hung up on it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:16 PM
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I had to do those, hated the fuckin things so so much.

(And you know, I would say that the limit on my reading at the time was basically the amount of printed matter in the house.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:26 PM
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Mind you in 7th form English I think I wrote maybe a page of notes all year and got straight As in the mocks, and was one mark off being top in school, so yeah, fucked up relationship to work.

(Although looking back, that class was a criminal waste of time.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:31 PM
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My son's experience was very similar to CharlyCarp's son. I feel like so much of his childhood was sacrificed to the great god Homework. So many of his nights and weekends taken up with homework struggles that it became the defining memory for me of him growing up. And so much of the elementary school homework justification being circular - "we need to give the kids all this homework in first grade so they will be prepared for the homework in second grade, so that they can be prepared for the homework demands of third grade..." which was nearly impossible to argue against without ever establishing what all this homework was really valuable for.

The thing was, he was a remarkably self-directed child about learning stuff he was really interested in without someone cracking the whip. I remember how the summer after seventh grade, he asked me what seemed like a really insightful question about the origins of WWII. After answering, I asked him where he had read about the background to his question. It turns out he had read it in the World History textbook they had started the year with. The thing was, they switched textbooks in late October that year. He had read the whole textbook, including the chapters at the back that always get overlooked or rushed through at the end of the year, by the end of October, because he found it interesting. And this was a class where he had struggled to get a C, because of the homework struggles.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:34 PM
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Possibly of interest, and sort of on-topic: Jam/es He/ckman on early childhood intervention and the importance of non-cognitive skills, with responses from others to follow tomorrow.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 6:44 PM
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The only thing remotely close to a reading log I ever did was Book It!, and that was no trouble at all because, dude, free pizza.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:21 PM
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It will surprise no one that I'm on the anti homework side. My kids at 7 weren't really doing anything that most people would recognise as school work, they did whatever they were interested in for years. Now I have one 15 year old slacker (fortunately she goes to a school where hovering around the middle is way above the national average, and to be fair, she puts loads of effort into the stuff she cares about), and the highly conscientious 14 year old and 11 year old. I think nature has more of an influence than nurture in this.

Kid A was last night admiring Kid B's Textiles homework, which is a very cool collage. She asked me whether it was better to have a child who put such effort into things, but is really difficult in other ways, or to have a lazy child who was pretty much always happy. I told her I was quite glad to have one of each for balance. Not to mention reassurance that it can't be all my fault.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 12:31 AM
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196 would have been me if anyone had been fool enough to try to make me do a reading log.

126 is very true, and especially true of those friends of mine who were doing arts degrees at other universities. For science degrees you had to turn up to the lab five days a week; for arts degrees at xfrd you at least had one or two essays a week; but elsewhere there was just no check, and you could sit in the sun for eight weeks before suffering a terrible shock.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 1:39 AM
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re: 202.last

Yeah, although I think it varies. At Glasgow there were a reasonable number of checks, as you'd have group tutorials weekly [which you would eventually get missed at], and essays every three or four weeks or so. You could certainly drift a lot more than at Oxford, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 4:05 AM
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182: I'm younger than you, oudemia, and I didn't even know that e-mail existed until I got to college. Even then not everybody got an e-mail account straightaway. My expository writing teacher made the whole class get one, because he wanted to be able to send us feedback on our papers electronically.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 9:29 AM
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The only thing remotely close to a reading log I ever did was Book It!, and that was no trouble at all because, dude, free pizza.

Me too! And I was super excited to get that pizza.

True (boring) story: The first kid to win their personal pan pizza got their pizza on the day the Challenger exploded. Mrs. Hatcher went to get them a (prize) soda from the coke machine in the teacher's lounge. She came back crying and saying "It exploded!" and we all thought she meant the coke machine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 9:32 AM
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I don't actually remember learning about the Challenger explosion. I remember the Punky Brewster grief-management episode about it though.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 9:54 AM
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I remember never hearing or repeating any tasteless jokes about it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 9:56 AM
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You're so 2016!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 9:56 AM
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148: Do you know how hard it was to close the cabinet, replace the lock, hide the key, and get in ordinary positions, in the time between when we heard the car door slam and when my mom got inside the house?

See, that's the kind of skills kids today need to be learning. How else are they going to learn to Alt+Tab into a spreadsheet when their soft-stepping boss is just a half a second away from their cubicle?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 10:12 AM
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||
Hope this is now slow enough to interrupt with a child nutrition question (I've already noted the advice to provision older kids with bullion and other elemental snacks). To wit: a) how much meat does one typically give a 12-to-24-month-old toddler; and b) how would you adjust this quantity if the child could not have dairy products?

We're clueless longtime vegetarians who don't want to starve our kid, but are also undermotivated to eat 80% of a chicken or salmon so she can have the other 20%. Solution so far has been prepackaged baby food, but that won't last for another year. (Hopefully this no-milk nonsense won't last another year either, but it might. There's no law against it.) I'm just curious about the range of answers. I don't expect anyone to settle the question of what our family meals are supposed to look like, obviously.

Veal in tank!
|>


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 10:49 AM
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I've already noted the advice to provision older kids with bullion

EXCELLENT IDEA! ALL THE OTHER KIDS WILL HAVE FIAT LUNCH MONEY AND THAT WON'T HELP THEM WHEN THE STORM COMES!


Posted by: Opinionated Ron Paul | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 10:53 AM
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210: I don't think it's a big deal if your kid doesn't get meat or dairy, since so many kids subsist on cheerios or one other single item for years.

Nevertheless: I'd probably give a 15 month old about 1/3 of a chicken breast or hamburger patty, cut up into little finger food size, a couple times a week. Or a slice of deli ham or turkey.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 10:57 AM
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Whatever the kid can catch.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:00 AM
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A kid that age needs fat and cholesterol from somehwere. It doesn't have to be meat, but lean protein isn't the only thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:02 AM
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210 -- It seems to me that the answer to (a) and (b) can be derived empirically. How much does she want to eat?

As vegetarians you might not be as familiar with this, but a grocery store butcher will usually cut filets to order. That is, you can get a 3 oz salmon filet. Otherwise, I think leftover cooked salmon is better than leftover cooked chicken, but that's just a reflection of my ifreshly cooked preferences.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:02 AM
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I suggest sardines or bacon. Seriously. Easy to portion and kids love them. Also, eat more meat.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:06 AM
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Eggs were a bit hit with ours at that age. Scrambled or hard boiled.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:07 AM
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a) how much meat does one typically give a 12-to-24-month-old toddler; and b) how would you adjust this quantity if the child could not have dairy products?

Jane's never gotten any meat except what has incidentally come her way when we were at other people's houses. However, she does eat lots of dairy. Maybe I'd worry about it more if she didn't? But she does also love eggs. We eat a lot of eggs.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:14 AM
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Yeah, if the kid is getting enough fat and protein, is there any reason to bother with meat? (Cover your ears, Halford.) I suppose if a doctor has specifically told you that meat is necessary, that's one thing, but other than that, if you're vegetarians, I don't see a problem with sticking with eggs and beans.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:16 AM
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On quantities, at that age, it's really hard. I remember my kids eating anywhere from almost nothing to almost what an adult would at any meal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:17 AM
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218: More mysteriously appearing floor meat?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:18 AM
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Gotta get the fat in there somehow. Eggs are OK but why not a tasty strip of nutritious bacon? Toddlers are natural olympic lifters; why not power them up to the max?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:19 AM
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O eats eggs and beans. (He's also a big fan of tofu and various soy or seitan-based meat analogs.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:20 AM
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I'm just pleased that my kid is looking good for when we have our Unfogged caged toddler death match.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:21 AM
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Bacon is really salty for a kid that age.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:22 AM
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I'm telling you, a diet of bacon-wrapped bananas, olives, and no fucking They Might Be Giants albums is the way to go in raising power preschoolers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:24 AM
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Bacon is really salty for a kid that age.

That is true! You're supposed to watch it while their kidneys are so wee. I admit that we haven't been particularly careful about salt since at least Jane's second birthday, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:24 AM
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You can use the less-salty kind. Or grass-fed bison fat.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:25 AM
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Hawaii wouldn't eat eggs or meat. She did drink a lot of milk, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:26 AM
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Kids love lard!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:26 AM
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Lard loves kids!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:27 AM
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Lard-kid love isn't wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:27 AM
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233

You're wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:27 AM
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234

- signed, NALBLA


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:27 AM
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235

210: precooked chicken saussages . They last a long time, you can give them to the kid half a saussage at a time, low fat and relatively low salt, and they come in lots of delicious flavors. Can also slice them up to add to otherwise vegetarian recipes.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:29 AM
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236

234: That's some really specific deviance!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:29 AM
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237

235 also works. But come on let's hear it for bison bone marrow.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:30 AM
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I don't think low-fat is a plus for babyfood.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:30 AM
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325: If the kid isn't getting dairy, you don't want low fat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:31 AM
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240

pwned and I transposed digitis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:31 AM
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Oh I didn't read the "low fat" part. Fuck 235 on a stick; get some fat into those little ones.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:32 AM
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242

digits.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:32 AM
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243

Have I posted my recipe (sort of) for quinoa fritters? I know I put it on the food wiki, but don't recall if I put it here. Anyway, it's a fatty, proteiny, kid-friendly kind of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:33 AM
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Hey thanks, everyone. I did indeed not know that you could get small cuts to order, and I'd forgotten about stuff like deli meats and bacon. We all eat eggs pretty happily. (Also, breastfeeding has been extended indefinitely, so there's fat & cholesterol, and some protein, there too. It's one thing to switch to cow's milk at 12 months, but no way I was going to switch her to soy or [shudder] rice milk.)

Ok good. Good good. We don't have to stuff a flock of turkeys in our freezer. That was all I really needed to hear.

Milk protein intolerance, should this be relevant to anyone's life (Gabardine B.?), is an early-infant affliction that tends to go away six months ago, or three months ago, or surely now, or why isn't it gone yet -- are you sure it's not gone yet? It can co-occur with soy protein intolerance, because God hates you and your modern diet, and because of proteins common to the shared ancestor of the cow and the soybean, a grotesquely hairy, green, and indolent Lovecraftian horror. Ancestral humans hunted them down to two isolated populations, which slowly developed into the aurochs and the legume; however, eating them made the neolithic revolution seem pretty appealing. This chapter of evolutionary history has been ignored in the popular "paleo" accounts, because no one can really stand to think about it without writhing.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:34 AM
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quinoa fritters

Might as well just give them a doritos and wonder bread pie with a label on it that says "I shop at Whole Foods."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:35 AM
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246

O eats eggs and beans.

Also crumpets?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:36 AM
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244.3 is great. I mean, it would be very hard to feed a baby like that, but as far as writing goes it's great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:37 AM
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More seriously to 244, try coconut or almond milk as well.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:37 AM
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249

We should start composing comment 325 now, for maximum funniness.

Also: I don't think low-fat is a plus for babyfood.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:37 AM
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Thanks for telling me about the perils of low fat before I starved my kid to death.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:39 AM
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Whole Foods doesn't sell Doritos, but it does sell very nice organic cheese puffs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:39 AM
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250: Well, the topic is baby food, and you specifically mentioned low fat as if it were a selling point, which it isn't. The issue isn't a kid starving, it's things like brain development.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:41 AM
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Fish oil supplements: Get into it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:45 AM
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254

Get into them.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:45 AM
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252: I wasn't being sarcastic, I was actually glad to be corrected.

I'm sure my partner would have filled me in eventually.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:46 AM
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I was thinking "what the hell kind of defective baby is intolerant of milk?? ARE WE NOT MAMMALS" but then looked it up and it's intolerant of cow milk rather than mother's milk. That makes more sense.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:49 AM
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I don't think low-fat is a plus for babyfood.

Fatten them up so they have chunky cheeks to grab and kiss.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 11:50 AM
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Is ghee OK for dairy-intolerant kids?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 12:05 PM
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Pokey is also lactose intolerance (or milk intolerant, who knows what technically but avoiding milk does the trick) and I'm pretty sure he was intolerant to my breast milk. When he gets milk, his poops turn to water and have a really distinct smell, and that smell was present from the time he was a newborn on. He didn't seem to be in particular gas pain or anything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 12:11 PM
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Back on topic? Is it too late for that? It's probably polite to inform the teacher/principal, but realistically, what is the consequence for your child if you simply tell him/her that they do not need to do (all the) the assigned homework? After all, it's your kid. Would a elementary school really hold a kid back over his parents wishes if he/she was passing all the standardized exams/in class assignments but failed to complete their homework?


Posted by: PLW | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 12:12 PM
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Ghee has almost no protein, so it's one of the first things I would try whenever I get around to torturing testing little keyaki's digestive system again.

259: ugh, no fun. What did you feed him? Does lactaid help or anything?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 12:19 PM
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244.last really is great. Also: 247.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 12:22 PM
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get some fat into those little ones.

Avocados.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 12:22 PM
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Would a elementary school really hold a kid back over his parents wishes if he/she was passing all the standardized exams/in class assignments but failed to complete their homework?

My guess is that an elementary school would not, but they might very plausibly make the kid miserable in class over it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 12:48 PM
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Bison marrow! What a delight! Which reminds me I have to deliver a couple of bison osso bucco to a guy today.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 1:10 PM
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realistically, what is the consequence for your child if you simply tell him/her that they do not need to do (all the) the assigned homework?

Potentially immiserating longer-term bad habits of exceptionalist thinking for the kid?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 2:17 PM
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266: Oh, that too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 2:33 PM
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A friend of mine still does a fair amount of her 13 year old's homework, just because she thinks it's so bloody pointless that he shouldn't bother with it, but doesn't want him to get into trouble. And then complains if she doesn't get a good mark, which cracks me up.

I know a few people who told their children's primary schools that their children wouldn't be doing homework, and it wasn't really a problem, but I don't live in your country.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 2:41 PM
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ARE WE NOT MAMMALS

We are Devo.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 3:34 PM
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266

Potentially immiserating longer-term bad habits of exceptionalist thinking for the kid?

Don't you all sometimes claim that knowing when you can break the rules is an upper class advantage?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 6:16 PM
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188: Is this homework that counts for a lot being carefully graded? If not you are just teaching kids to hand in semi-plausible gibberish. Possibly a useful life skill but not one I think schools should be teaching.

This. Eighth grade algebra was the worst for my son. The math department had decided on a rule for the year that each night's homework either scored 100% or 0. Any problem left incomplete meant that you got the same 0 as someone who hadn't attempted the assignment at all. They also didn't accept late homework, so if he forgot the assignment or left it behind at home, it was the same 0. I'm proud that my son insisted on working through all the problems he could legitimately, rather than scribbling gibberish down for the rest (which is how I suspect some of his classmates managed to get a decent grade), but there were a number of nights where we had to call a halt after an hour or two so he could get a decent night's sleep. Ultimately, he started "forgetting" to write down the assignments. He went from having a great time in the GATE pre-algebra in 7th grade (an experimental self-paced computer-based program; he and two others competed to see how far ahead of the rest of the class they could get, finishing all the pre-algebra material and getting through the first third of algebra by the end of the year) to barely passing in a conventional 8th grade algebra class, thanks in part to that homework policy.

I managed to get them to change the policy for the following year, but they didn't want to change midyear for the existing students.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09-12-12 9:42 AM
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