Saturday, 9 January 2016

School and Homework

I read with interest this question on quora by someone regarding the excessive amount of homework children are required to do.  It reads:

My oldest child is in 5th grade, and the burden of daily homework is not yet a disaster. But I see parents and children around us struggling with the daily routine and with deciphering why, exactly, is it necessary for us to see our children through this daily torment of mostly rote memorization.

I want my children to succeed. I want them to have a future full of opportunities. I understand that good grades are a requirement (though I wish they weren't as much). But I can't see why it is necessary for us as a society to have teenagers spend 4 hours a day doing homework, including weekends.

Don't they deserve a childhood?

This article in The Atlantic triggered the question: My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me.

It seems that while there has been widespread panic about American students’ falling behind their peers in Singapore, Shanghai, Helsinki, and everywhere else in science and mathematics, the length of the school day is about the same. The school year hasn’t been extended. Student-teacher ratios don’t seem to have changed much. No, our children are going to catch up with those East Asian kids on their own damn time.


Every parent I know in New York City comments on how much homework their children have. These lamentations are a ritual whenever we are gathered around kitchen islands talking about our kids’ schools.


Homework is a good idea in principle. It allows children to consolidate what they've learnt (or in my case learn it in the first place since I never listened in class). But I certainly don't regard it as a good idea to do it *in addition* to attending school 30 hours a week. My opinion is that children should only attend school in the mornings. In which case a moderate amount of homework would be desirable.

I very rarely did any homework when I used to go to school. It was depressing enough attending school without doing homework too! My advice to children would be to simply point blank refuse to do any. They should politely say to teachers, "no sir I have not done my homework, it is bad enough being forced to attend school during the daytime hours without my evenings being robbed too. Childhood should primarily be about playing, not work".

Admittedly I didn't used to say that. I used to say "I forgot sir".

Also see my blog entries:


Mathematics, Education and School

School and Education





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