The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing

Alfie Kohn

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0738211117

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oil-or even demand a larger dose? Kohn’s incisive analysis reveals how a set of misconceptions about learning and a misguided focus on competitiveness has left our kids with less free time, and our families with more conflict. Pointing to stories of parents who have fought back-and schools that have proved educational excellence is possible without homework-Kohn demonstrates how we can rethink what happens during and after school in order to rescue our families and our children’s love of learning.

















harder—during school and after school. They don’t like it? Tough cookies. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like. The first thing that strikes me about these two reactions, the gentle and the harsh, is that they differ in tone but not really in substance. In the final analysis, both fail to take children’s unhappiness seriously and both are therefore disrespectful. Even more important, if we fail to appreciate the significance of children’s reactions, how those reactions color the way

statistical significance to) being at the bottom. If all the countries did poorly, there would be no glory in being at the top. Exclamatory headlines about how “our” schools are doing compared to “theirs” suggest that we are less concerned with the quality of education than with whether we can chant, “We’re number one!” Consider an essay published in early 2006 that reported U.S. students are now doing better in mathematics than earlier generations did. Was the author moved by this fact to

if students don’t want to do so, the problem may lie with the quality of classroom instruction. This possibility is almost never addressed in discussions of the topic; rather, students’ lack of engagement with the curriculum is cited as evidence of the need for mandatory assignments.) Cera continued: Ideally, a student becomes caught up in a subject or a project and does not want to stop working on it. I think it’s an ideal that we achieve pretty often—a student starts reading a book and can’t

Classrooms. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1986. Solomon, Yvette, Jo Warin, and Charlie Lewis. “Helping with Homework? Homework as a Site of Tension for Parents and Teenagers.” British Educational Research Journal 28 (2002): 603–22. Sparks, Dennis. “We Care, Therefore They Learn.” Journal of Staff Development 24 (2003): 42–47. Spring, Karen. “Parents Ask.” M: The Magazine for Montessori Families, January–February 2006: 7. Stettler, Rachel Friis, and Joseph Algrant. “Changing Course for the

Ayelet. “Homework Hell,” October 22, 2005. Warton, Pamela M. “Learning About Responsibility: Lessons from Homework.” British Journal of Educational Psychology 67 (1997): 213–21. Washburne, Carleton. “How Much Homework?” Parents, November 1937: 16–17, 68–71. Watson, John B. Behaviorism. Rev. ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930. Wildman, Peggy Riggs. “Homework Pressures.” Peabody Journal of Education 45 (1968): 202–4.

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