Thursday, June 28, 2012

Healthy Homework Guidelines


"Homework may be the single greatest extinguisher of children's curiosity that we have yet invented."

--Alfie Kohn



The academic piece of their day is one part what they need, they also need time for fresh air and exercise, they need time for friends and family.

We are looking at kids not only in terms of academic growth but we are also interested in their growth artistically, emotionally, physically and socially. We want kids to develop in all kinds of ways.

HOMEWORK: THE DOWNSIDE

No research has ever found any benefit to assigning homework before kids are in high school. Even in high school there isn't a strong reason to that kids that got no homework at all would be at any kind of intellectual disadvantage.

Homework contributes to the gap between the rich and the poor. Some kids go home to well educated parents, access to all kinds of resources. Other kids go home to parents who may work at night, no Internet access, to parents who might speak a second language that can't help them with the homework. So the inequalities that exist in our society are actually magnified by the practice of homework.

MOVING FORWARD: HEALTHY HOMEWORK GUIDELINES

Guideline 1

If we are going to have homework at all, it must be about promoting real learning. In other words, 6 hours a day of academics is enough except on those occasions where the teacher can make a strong case that a given assignment is likely to help kids become deeper thinkers who are more excited about learning.

Guideline 2

We want to make sure that any homework that is assigned is student directed. Kids tend to learn better when they've had some say in what they've done. Some assignments that might make sense would include having kids read books of their own choosing.

Guideline 3

We need to focus on a balanced schedule. Kids should have a chance to just chill-out and be kids.


***

On Wednesday, June 20th, the "Race to Nowhere" Team, as well as education and homework expert Alfie Kohn, Sara Bennett and Etta Kralovec presented Healthy Homework Guidelines to the National Parent Teachers Association in hopes of gaining their endorsement.


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