Friday, October 26, 2012

Simply too much Homework!

Vera Goodman has written a short, succinct book on how too much homework has negatively impacted our lives.  I invite you to read Simply too much Homework and share it with others.

I've quoted some of my favorite thoughts from the book below:

  • "But no one can prove that homework works, and the evidence is mounting that it can, in fact, have serious negative consequences.  It is time we discussed alternatives.
  • I wonder how many creative, artistic, witty youngsters have failed to develop their gifts because these talents are not valued in the educational system - even though they are highly valued in society.
  • As much as report cards emphasize under achievement, it is homework that repetitively reinforces failure.  Homework forces students to carry their weaknesses home every day to share with family members.
  • How would adults feel if they were regularly graded and labeled inferior?
  • No matter how parents justify it or demand it, excessive homework is an intrusion into the private lives of children.
  • On what view is the decision to design a common curriculum that all students must master or be labeled as failures based on?
  • Another common justificaiton for homework is so that children can learn study habits to prepare for college.  This argument is based in the view that humans are not flexible enough to adjust to circumstances as they arise.  What bunk!  Children are at a very different stage in their development than adults.  No argument about adult study should ever be used as a reason for burdening children.
  • Early intervention can easily become early interference.
  • Kindergarten is the new first grade and first grade is like literacy boot camp.
  • The decision to assign homework at all is based in the view that humans have to be pressured to learn.  Infants and young children tell us a whole different story.  They are curious sponges of knowledge until someone starts to organize their agenda.
  • 'No pupil under the age of fifteen years in any grammar or primary school shall be required to do any home study.' -- California Civil Code, 1901
  • [In the early 1900s] educators believed that homework could, 'weaken children intellectually and foster poor study habits.' They thought an emphasis on results, 'could even afford training in actual dishonesty.'
  • No activity separates the haves and have-nots like homework.
  • [Parent letter written to her child's school] 'I appreciate your dedication to my child and I am grateful for your positive influence and significant contribution to my child's welfare and education.  You will continue to have my support, but please get out of my living room.'
  • [Parent] 'I feel like I'm being forced to be a homeschooler, except that I have to do it in the evening when he is exhausted rather than having him in the morning when he is fresh.'
  • Research concludes that too much work and too little play causes depression, poor health and high stress levels in both adults and children.
  • Is it the responsibility of schools to keep students busy at home?
  • Like me, many parents are beginning to resent the way schools cast their tentacles into the home.
  • Children cannot define their own problems.  They accept the definitions handed to them by the adults in their lives.
  • I could not survive if I had to face my weaknesses for most of my waking day with no time left in the evening for all the other things that make life worth living.
  • Rarely do schools say when a student is failing, 'Where are we going wrong?'
  • Rather than expecting parents to create ideal environments for homework, we can change the concept of it.  Homework can be altered from drill and kill exercises to opportunities to learn life skills.  Such things as cooking, cleaning, doing household repairs, volunteering, discussing issues, and engaging in experiences not available at school are all ways to participate in important learnings.
  • The best teachers deliver this message - learning is its own reward!
  • Collaboration never takes place in obedience - only in mutual respect and trust.
  • Childhood is not a race.
  • Children and adolescents need a voice in how they spend their free moments.
  • Changing the way we regard homework is a small step, but involve students in the discussion and we could end up changing the world."
The holidays are approaching.  Perhaps this book would make a nice gift for a teacher or administrator?  You can buy a copy here.

1 comment:

  1. The quote about facing your weaknesses all day and then not having time in the evening for what makes life worth living makes me want to cry! I wish teachers would read this. My 8th grade son is intelligent, creative and a natural learner but HATES school because of the hours of homework.