As the mom of a kindergarten student with tons of homework each week, I appreciated Alfie Kohn’s The Homework Myth because it legitimized what I was thinking with tons of research and studies to back me up. Kids today get too damned much homework, and it doesn’t seem to be helping them learn at all.
Now, mind you, my son does his homework and actually
likes some of it, but in general, having to watch older kids
drag huge backpacks full of books and homework up the hill I
live at the top of made me wonder – Is our children
learning? (To quote the same joker who came up with the No
Child Left Behind program, which according to teachers I
know, is leaving plenty behind.)
Kohn argues that yes, kids are getting too much, too soon, and he shows in study after study that this onslaught of homework is not really adding to our children’s education, rather it is taking away important creative time kids would otherwise be spending either in play or reading or being with their friends and families. Kohn has authored several other books, including Unconditional Parenting, and he lectures all over the place on education and what works for kids, teachers and parents. In The Homework Myth, he includes plenty of feedback from professionals, educators, and parents in his quest to find that perfect balance of just the right amount of homework…which, in many cases, may be none at all.
The author also documents parents who have fought, and changed, the system in their own local schools, showing that rules don’t have to be adhered to if people band together to come up with better alternatives. Many schools have proven that excellence and homework do NOT go hand in hand, and this book may inspire you to change the system in your own child’s school.
Ultimately, this is a book about empowering teachers, parents, and kids to stand up for what works best, despite the laws politicians enact without thinking, or caring. As our nation’s schools push kids harder and faster to complete standardized tests that are ultimately meaningless, perhaps we can shatter the homework myth forever and truly leave no child behind.
Learning is what it’s all about. Quality, not quantity.