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This is not a new way of thinking by any means; in the mid-1960s, the American Educational Research Association stated: “Whenever homework crowds out social experience, outdoor recreation, and creative activities, and whenever it usurps time that should be devoted to sleep, it is not meeting the basic needs of children and adolescents.” So why are we moving backwards, assigning more homework instead of less, or none at all?Much of the push for homework comes from a mistrust of children’s innate need to learn.
Perhaps what we mean here is “conformity” rather than responsibility, as in this sense, we are speaking of a child’s willingness or acceptance of what she has been told to do.
True independence and responsibility (including greater academic self-confidence) comes when a child is given a greater sense of autonomy, which is, not surprisingly, associated with more successful learning.
Homework, or , should be chosen by the child if it is to encompass true learning.
So what happens when a teacher decides to stop giving out homework, and instead focuses on covering the entirety of the material during class time?
A common argument from homework proponents is that the act of doing homework every night is in itself “character building,” that it helps with study skills and self-discipline, initiative, and independence.
However, these ideas are just that: ideas, with no studies to support them.In fact, more recent studies, such as those conducted by Sandra L. Sandberg (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001) show that time commitment to homework was “not associated with higher or lower test scores on any [achievement] tests.” Rather, the amount of time children spend reading for pleasure was strongly correlated with higher test scores.If, as Kohn revealed from such studies, there is no academic benefit to homework, why do some still argue its importance?When students are intrigued or inspired by something they learn about in school, they naturally seek out more knowledge on their own, in their own time. Children and adolescents have an intrinsic motivation to learn; when freed from homework, they often create their own assignments and projects out of their curiosity and interest.I have seen this firsthand time and time again with my own children.At first, he eagerly tackled the work: the coloring pages, the sight words, the beginning math in the form of counting and circling things in different colors.But then as the weeks wore on, he started to dread the work.Milo entered kindergarten a week after his sixth birthday, two weeks after he learned to read, one day after he sat in our living room and devoured an enormous stack of library books all by himself. His thirst for knowledge in the form of books, a new magical world suddenly and miraculously opened up to him.And then, during his first week of kindergarten, he came home with a thick packet of worksheets along with instructions to complete the work by the following Monday.More than once, the same packet was sent home — the same, exact worksheets, all stapled together in the same exact order — and the obvious pointlessness of it all was not lost on Milo. ” but begrudgingly went through the motions so he could get back to what he really wanted to do, which was learn. Was homework really necessary, and moreover, was it doing more harm than good? People question how much homework is too much, or too little, and ask My argument: they shouldn’t be.[When a kindergarten assignment is really for the parents] Alfie Kohn, author of “The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing,” examined the usual defenses of homework — that it promotes higher achievement, reinforces learning, and teaches study skills and responsibility — and found that of these assumptions actually passes the tests of research, logic, or experience.