Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Scientists Agree: Homework Sucks

Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow has posted a positive review of Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish's 2006 book, The Case Against Homework. An excerpt:

"All the credible research on homework suggests that for younger kids, homework has no connection with positive learning outcomes, and for older kids, the benefits of homework level off sharply after the first couple assignments. Not that most teachers would know this -- homework theory and design isn't on the curriculum at most teachers' colleges, and most teachers surveyed report that they have never received any training on designing and assessing homework.

"The book is composed of equal measures of interviews with kids, parents and teachers; hard research numbers from respected institutions; and strategies for convincing your kids' teachers to ease back on homework. One thing the authors keep coming back to is the way that excessive homework eats into kids' playtime and family time, stressing them out, contributing to sedentary obesity, and depriving them of a childhood's measure of doing nothing, daydreaming and thinking. They quote ten-year-olds like Sophia from Brooklyn, saying things like 'I have to rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush through my day, actually through my seven days, and that's seven days wasted in my life.'"

While we at the Inkwell Bookstore in no way believe that this applies to summer reading assignments, we do feel such arguments negate the need for most other forms of after-school schooling. Our younger readers may post their letters of praise and thanks in the comments section below.