A compelling expose of homeworkits negative effects, why it's so widely accepted, and what we can do about it.
Death and taxes come later; what seems inevitable for children is the idea that, after spending the day at school, they must then complete more academic assignments at home. The predictable results: stress and conflict, frustration and exhaustion. Parents respond by reassuring themselves that at least the benefits outweigh the costs.
But what if they don't? In The Homework Myth, nationally known educator and parenting expert Alfie Kohn systematically examines the usual defenses of homeworkthat it promotes higher achievement, "reinforces" learning, and teaches study skills and responsibility. None of these assumptions, he shows, actually passes the test of research, logic, or experience.
So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oilor even demand a larger dose? Kohn's incisive analysis reveals how a mistrust of children, a set of misconceptions about learning, and a misguided focus on competitiveness have all left our kids with less free time and our families with more conflict. Pointing to parents who have fought backand schools that have proved educational excellence is possible without homework Kohn shows how we can rethink what happens during and after school in order to rescue our families and our children's love of learning.
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"There aren't enough case studies in Kohn's work, but Kohn sounds an important note: parents need to ask more challenging questions of teachers and institutions." - PW.
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Kohn is the author of ten previous books including Punished by Rewards, The Schools Our Children Deserve, and Unconditional Parenting.
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