Wednesday, February 2, 2011

361. Homework


Katie and I got in a big argument today about homework. As kids go, Katie is fairly easy when it comes to homework. Every now and then she procrastinates and then it piles up and then she is behind and then... well you get the picture. Last night I must have reminded her about homework ten times. As she was playing on the computer she swore it was all done. Then of course tonight she looked at her agenda and discovered that there was a lot more there then she had expected - shocking! I am not a big fan of homework for children grades 8 and lower. I think that kids should practice at school and only if they are having difficulty with concepts should they bring it home. Project based learning is great for home - not worksheets. But if Katie's teacher is requiring homework she has to do it.

After our big blowout I ran to meet Curtis and watch a new documentary making the elementary school circuit called, "Race to Nowhere." It is a critique of our educational system. And much of what it claims is true, but much of the movie is based on anecdotal evidence and the perspective of upper-class white families. The argument then is deeply flawed if applied to all, but relevant to the upper crust.  Here is the gist... homework is busy work, parents are over scheduling their kids, kids are suffering from stress related illnesses, and kids are cheating to keep grades up in order to get into college. All this stems from the "No Child Left Behind Act" that created an educational system is based on rote memorization of standards and not the process of teaching creativity and critical thinking.  Through out the film I found myself oscillating between nodding in agreement and shaking my head in disagreement. The movie was able to point to many flaws in our educational system that need changing - I only wish that it made a stronger data based argument so that more people will listen.

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