Using StumbleUpon the other day, I came across an article on arguments against homework. The article’s a few years old, but schools still give so much homework I found it interesting.
In first grade, my daughter gets 4 nights of homework a week. She has a total of 3 pages of math plus 3 assignments to help her learn a spelling list of 9 words, plus 20 minutes of reading a night.
I have to admit, I like the 20 minutes of reading a night. So does she. We often go over on that one. She even reads on her own sometimes.
But I found it very interesting that there’s no evidence that homework in the early years has any benefit at all.
Just think about it. Kids spend about 7 hours at school, then have to do homework too. That’s a pretty tiring day for a kid. And very little time for play.
It’s not an easy thing for schools to admit that homework might not be worthwhile, especially when they’re under so much pressure to show great academic results. It’s a rather troubled system these days.
My own feelings on this topic are pretty mixed. There are some areas where my daughter definitely needs improvement, but the main one is penmanship. She’s a sloppy writer even for a first grader. Then again, I’m not that neat a writer either.
But I’m also starting to get this feeling that if I wanted to spend time helping my daughter learn, I may as well homeschool. It would take more of my day, but less of hers and let her be more of a kid. If that made for a better attitude toward learning, it would be worth it. Just now she feisty, to put it kindly, about a lot of topics, and work in class and at home can take her far longer than it should just because she’s bored.
The trouble comes from homework that is more or less busy work. In the lower grades it’s hard for teachers to assign anything else. It can be more effective, I gather, in high school.
At any rate, I’m thinking more teachers and school administrators need to read The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing. So do parents. It’s worth questioning the worth of most homework assigned.
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