Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why Homework Takes Too Long

It comes as a nasty shock to a young child to get home after an exhausting day of school only to have Mom dig some assignment out of the backpack and try to force more schoolwork on him. Kids, quite rightly, resist, feeling that home should be a place where they get to unwind at the end of the day. Instead, they find that their own family has unaccountably become part of the oppressive school regime. The resistance, procrastination, and nagging that result add a great deal of time to even the simplest assignment.

Many assignments eat time because they're so boring. I have seen my daughter shut down in despair over the tedium of some of her schoolwork.

Other assignments eat time because no-one in the family can figure them out. They're so ill-formed that you can't tell what the child is supposed to do or how you can tell when they're finished. This is often true of assignments that the teacher thought would be "fun" or "creative" -- the posters, the dioramas, the "personal reflections".


  1. PsychMom here...I picked up Tim Ferriss' book, "The 4 hour work week" on Monday. I'm 75% through it. Aside from some wonderful famous quotes that are very applicable to our plight here, I was left stunned by this book.

    Tim is a dozen years younger than me. A child of the 70's...and he's a part of a world that I don't think I can be a part of. His ability to navigate the world through the use of media and technology is beyond me. He may disagree with me but I really don't think I have the wherewithall to function the way he functions.

    And, he's in his late 30's. What does this say about what MY child will be like and the navigation she will be able to do? That's going to be on another level altogether.
    My point is this. I have her enrolled in this lovely school that satisfies my sense of providing a good education, but I think I'm wrong. Her education is quaint at best, if we consider for 5 minutes that Tim Ferriss is correct about how the world will work in 10 years. Homework becomes laughable in this context. The flow and flexibility of thinking that will have to be nurtured in our children doesn't stand a chance if we stick to outmoded concepts like, "homework" and 9 to 3 schooling.

    I'll send along some of the neat quotes later but here's one from Einstein:

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance you need to keep moving."

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