The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing

by Alfie Kohn
     
 

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We're all familiar with the downside of homework: frustration, exhaustion, and nagging. But most of us assume that it's all worth it because homework promotes higher achievement, "reinforces" learning, and teaches study skills and responsibility. Unfortunately, none of these assumptions actually passes the test of research, logic, or experience.

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Overview

We're all familiar with the downside of homework: frustration, exhaustion, and nagging. But most of us assume that it's all worth it because homework promotes higher achievement, "reinforces" learning, and teaches study skills and responsibility. Unfortunately, none of these assumptions actually passes the test of research, logic, or experience.

The available evidence indicates, for example, that homework provides absolutely no academic benefits for younger students. It also raises serious questions about whether homework is necessary for older students, and it challenges the belief that homework promotes independence and good work habits.

If homework really offers all pain and no gain, then why do we force children to come home from school and work what amounts to a second shift? Kohn's incisive analysis reveals how a set of misconceptions about learning, a mistrust of children, and a misguided focus on competitiveness have left our kids with less free time and our families with more conflict. Pointing to stories of parents who have fought back-and schools that have proved educational excellence is possible without homework-Kohn demonstrates how we can rethink what happens during and after school in order to rescue our families and our children's love of learning.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Education watchdog and author Kohn (No Contest: The Case Against Competition) questions why teachers and parents continue to insist on overloading kids with homework when there are no definitive studies proving its overall learning benefits. Indeed, argues Kohn persuasively, homework can be detrimental to children`s development by robbing families of quality evening time together and not allowing a kid time simply to be a kid. Americans in general advocate a tough-going approach to education and push teachers to give more drudgery nightly as a way of "building character." Yet Kohn shows that doing forced busywork only turns kids off to school and kills intellectual and creative curiosity. The American insistence on producing good worker bees "by sheer force or cleverness," notes Kohn, "reflects a stunning ignorance about how human beings function in the real world." Kohn pursues six reasons why homework is still so widely accepted despite the evidence against it, including the emphasis on competitiveness and "tougher standards" and a basic distrust of children and how they would fill their time otherwise if not doing busywork. 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. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Some of the most fundamental expectations of children, parents, and educators are that children need homework, that they should get homework, and that the more they get, the better. According to Kohn (Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes), we assume that the benefits of homework outweigh its costs in time, family conflict, frustration, and loss of interest in learning. But, he argues, research doesn't support the value of homework in teaching children either academic subjects or habits like self-discipline. Kohn explores society's assumptions about homework, notes that none of them are supported empirically, and provides guidelines for alternatives to traditional homework assignments. The book is a little dense at times but is well argued and will stimulate lots of discussion. Recommended for academic libraries supporting programs in education as well as for public libraries serving patrons interested in educational policy.-Mark Bay, Univ. of the Cumberlands Lib., Williamsburg, KY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738210858
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
09/28/2006
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author


Alfie Kohn is the author of ten previous books, including Punished by Rewards, The Schools Our Children Deserve, and Unconditional Parenting. He lives with his family in the Boston area.

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