March 15, 2003

The Teacher Ate My Homework

The End of Homework : How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning
by Etta Kralovec (Author), John Buell (Author)

Have you heard this debate? Homework is oppressing America's children and their parents and should be abolished.

Certainly a case can be made that homework should not replace excellent classroom instruction or be a form of punishment, and it should be metered out in moderation, balanced against "assignments" that lead a child learner in directions of their intellectual curiosity and in line with a larger vocational and avocational hopes.

There are arguments on both sides of this debate, and homework works greater hardships on some lower-income single-parent families, it is true. Chief among arguments opposed is that homework is taking away American families' quality time together, and usurping time when the student would rather be reading and otherwise exploring material of their own choosing. As I listened to this issue on public radio the other day, I kept waiting for someone to mention perhaps that if children would cut way back on TV watching and computer play, there would be ample time for well-chosen and moderate amounts of homework. This was never mentioned.

Consider these facts from the Center for Media Education:

  • Most children watch an average of 3 to 4 hours of TV per day, approximately 28 hours each week.

  • Watching TV is the #1 after-school activity for 6 to 17 year olds.

  • Each year most children spend about 1500 hours in front of the TV and 900 hours in the classroom.

  • By age 70, most people will have spent about 10 years watching TV.

Should American schools declare and end to homework? Or does this point of view sound as if it might be the snivveling complaint of self-absorbed parents who don't want to be burdened by the academic stressors afflicting their overly-indulged children who'd rather be watching Spongebob Squarepants?

Posted by fred1st at March 15, 2003 06:04 AM | TrackBack

I have a sinking feeling that the people who complain about homework are the very same individuals who gripe about the failure of the US education system. I am working on a blog post about this kind of thing myself, I look forward to seeing the response you get.

Posted by: ronbailey at March 15, 2003 09:01 AM

When you post your blog, make sure you comment on the moron administrators teachers have to put up with.
Also don't forget,
"God created idiots. That was for practice. Then he created school boards."
Mark Twain

Mad Jack

Posted by: Mad Jack at March 15, 2003 05:05 PM

We homeschool our kids - so I don't have any first hand experience, but from conversations with the neighbors, the news etc it does seem like kids have a lot more homework and they are learning a lot less than I did in school. The public education system is not working for way too many kids. I don't have the answers, we took the road less traveled and never entered the system. At the 50,000 foot level, I think if the schools went back to focusing on reading, writing, and math it would be a good start. If Johnny can't read at age 8, spending 6 weeks in class studying the culture of Ghana isn't going to do him much good.

Posted by: Chris at March 15, 2003 08:14 PM

Homework sucks

Posted by: Mike Hunt at May 8, 2003 02:18 PM

i think that homework is important because children need help and motivation to help them to develop study patterns and habits that are essential for university and senior year study. i believe that people who complain about homework are people who will not succeed in their academic area of life because of their obvious ignorance when it comes to their own welfare. despite this, i think that schools, and more importantly teaching staff, need to give students homework that will aid them in understanding current work at that particular time. i don't believe in teachers giving children homework just for the sake of giving it. on that not i will say, homework is a benefit for students, and it helps them by giving them constructive and helpful assignments to work on, allowing them to better understand the subject in question.

Posted by: anna at May 20, 2003 01:35 AM

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