This work is a compelling expose of homework – its negative effects, why it’s so widely accepted, and what we can do about it. Whilst they’re free of many of the worries of adulthood, one of the inevitable downsides faced by kids is the idea that after spending the day at school, they must complete more academic assignments once they’re home. The results are predictable: stress and conflict, frustration and exhaustion. Parents respond by reassuring themselves that at least the benefits outweigh the costs. But do they? In “The Homework Myth”, Alfie Kohn, one of America’s leading educators and parenting experts, systematically examines the usual defences of homework – that it promotes higher educational achievement, “reinforces” learning, and teaches study skills and responsibility. None of these assumptions, he shows, actually passes the test of logic, research, or experience. So why do we continue to administer this modern-day cod liver oil – or 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 back – and 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.
From the Koemba Book Club: