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Homework and the Internet in Children's Lives

October 13, 2011

Dear Friends:

It's impossible to imagine a monarch butterfly coming here right now. We've had cold, wet, cloudy days due to the influence of the last two hurricanes that hit Mexico's Pacific Coast. So, although the monarch season draws near, our rainy season is continuing.

Today we want to show you the way we children spend our afternoons. All morning-shift schools start at 8:30 a.m. and end 1 p.m. Children go home and then have dinner with their families around 3 p.m. They almost always have homework to do, something they are not so happy about. After dinner, children often go downtown to buy supplies to continue school extra-activities.

Most lower elementary school students do not need Internet to do their homework. They can do rather simple activities in their school books at home. However, most upper elementary children in our small town today must access Internet to complete their homework properly.

Since an important part of our population in the region does not have an Internet connection at home, it is very common for us who live in small villages to go to public internet sites. The places have become very popular in recent years. Children can get information to complete schoolwork and, of course, they can record music and learn about their favorite TV music stars! We pay only 8 pesos an hour, about 3/4 a dollar. As you may have figured out, our public education system does not include Internet service in elementary or middle schools yet.

Allowing our children to connect to Internet is something teachers, but most of all, parents watch closely. Some children who have Internet service at home are allowed to use it exclusively for consulting homework issues. Some may also be allowed to use it for fun one hour a day after they have finished their school tasks. These issues are not something easy for children and parents to agree upon!

There are a few cases of very traditional families who have decided not to install Internet at home for their children, due to the negative way it can influence children's dedication in their studies and the way it is distorting our language and traditions.

We wonder what you think about having homework. Are you only allowed limited Internet time too?

Until next week, we send you greetings from our cold and wet Angangueo!

Your local reporter,

María Estela Romero
Angangueo, Michoacán.

Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico Map: Location of monarch butterfly overwintering region in Mexico
Angangueo is in the mountains, near the largest monarch sanctuaries. The monarch sanctuaries are in central Mexico. Can you find Angangueo on this map?

Estela, with her mother Lolita, and daughter Emilia.

Estela Romero reports from Angangueo

Students in Angangueo, Mexico

After dinner, children often go downtown...

Students in Angangueo, Mexico

A public internet site in Angangueo.

Students in Angangueo, Mexico

Weather map of Mexico

The last two hurricanes that hit Mexico's Pacific Coast.