Friday, January 19, 2007,11:44 PM
The Homework Myth
I just started reading The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn. Emma isn't even in school yet, I know, but this is a topic that has bugged me for awhile. The book is tagged as "a compelling exposé of homework – how it fails our children, why it’s so widely accepted, and what we can do about it." I'm sure the book will make me angry and frustrated with the pitiful systems that be and wish more than ever for decent and affordable educational alternatives, but I'm interested (hoping) to read the suggestions for those alternatives. And to read the studies and reasons behind why the current homework trend are pointless (and not just stupid as I would call them).

I see learning as a holistic experience. Engagement, imagination, creativity and critical thinking being far more important than memorization of facts or regurgitation of expected answers. The love of learning is something I value more than a test score or rank. So reading a book by someone who cares about those things and not just finding the best way to manage a failed system is refreshing. I plan to blog about some of the arguments presented in this book as I read through it. But I will start by quoting from the opening chapter. This quote is by Carlton Washburne from Parents magazines' November 1937 issue (a magazine that today is full of tips on how to get your kid to do homework) -
If children are not required to learn useless and meaningless things, homework is entirely unnecessary for the learning of common school subjects. But when a school requires the amassing of many facts which have little or no significance to the child, learning is so slow and painful that the school is obliged to turn to the home for help out of the mess the school has created.

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posted by Julie at 11:44 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/22/2007 11:28:00 AM, Blogger Sonja

    Julie, I hope you're prepared to think seriously about homeschooling. Because if you're already reading books like this and thinking about holistic education, you're already about 7/10's of the way there. Speaking as a homeschooling mom, myself. :-)

  • At 1/22/2007 02:10:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I have started thinking about it a bit. I have to get over the negative stereotypes that were drilled into me my whole life - basically that homeschooling is for conservative christians who insist on sheltering their socially backwards kids from the world. But I'm getting there...


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