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

Overview


So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oil-or even demand a larger dose? Kohn’s incisive analysis reveals how a set of misconceptions about learning and a misguided focus on competitiveness has 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 ...
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The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing

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Overview


So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oil-or even demand a larger dose? Kohn’s incisive analysis reveals how a set of misconceptions about learning and a misguided focus on competitiveness has 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.
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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738211114
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 8/13/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 417,870
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (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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Table of Contents

1 "Missing out on their childhoods" 1
2 Does homework improve learning? : a fresh look at the evidence 25
3 Does homework provide nonacademic benefits? 49
4 "Studies show..." - or do they? 71
5 The questions left unasked 87
6 What we haven't learned about learning 101
7 The "tougher standards" fad hits home 119
8 Better get used to it 141
9 Idle hands... 151
10 Rethinking homework 163
11 Making change 183
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2008

    Everyone Has To Work In The Real World!

    After reading Alfie Kohn's book on homework, I realized that this guy is a whiner and nhilist. He ridicules productive and proven educational methods as 'lacking in empirical support'(which they aren't) and presents research that supposedly proves that progressive methods are sound(He fails to mention that this 'research' he cites repeatedly throughout the book is just a collection of sujective, biased critiques that are themselves open to debate.) What really irks me is that he says that competition is 'harmful' and 'destructive' to kids. I've competed throughout my life, winning many things and doing what I love. If somebody hates my success, that proves they're just jealous and hateful and that only makes me want to be even more successful in whatever I do. People like Alfie Kohn hide under the banner of 'reform' while promoting their socialist, anti-American agendas. Its up to people like me to tell this guy and people like him to go away and live under a rock somewhere.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2008

    EXCELLENT!!!

    After reading this book, I have all the arguments I need to challenge anyone who still believes in old, outdated ideas about education. I've done a lot of homework over the years as a student and it never has led to conceptual and real understanding that kids need to be able to function in the real world. Mr. Kohn's insightful analysis of the research and evidence is outstanding. During college, I plan on being a progressive teacher and using a lot of the strategies outlined by Mr. Kohn in this book. These are things that I never got while I was in grade or high school and that every kid deserves. For the previous reviewer, I too have competed in competitions and have won awards for being good in a particular subject. I've also, however, felt bad about myself and no interest for the subject because the award ment more than learning. We need more books like this one that challenge accepted 'wisdom' and make our society safe for democracy. Homework belongs in the trashbin of history!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    New Perspective

    The book presented a new perspective on Homework and whether or not it is beneficial to all students. It was very useful when working on my masters thesis topic.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    Common sense in education

    As a retired educator with over forty years experience serving public schools in New Hampshire, Wyoming, Connecticut and Massachusetts I would recommend THE HOMEWORK MYTH to every parent, every teacher, every administrator and to everyone at the top of the political spectrum who has anything to do with setting educational policies starting with the Presidetn of the United States. Though those at the top set the policies they are at the root of the problems in American Public School education. Many have never attended public schools and know not of what they preach. If every policy maker would read this book and begin to think clearly rather than through smoky mirrors our educational system would be much better off. It is amazing that our public schools, who have to educate all those who get off the bus compared to independent schools who educate only those they choose to, do as well as they do with the ridiculous policies they have to follow starting with NCLB. This book is the most down to earth, realistic, common sense book I have ever read in my educational career. Hopefully the efforts of Alfie Kohn in this book will fall into the hands of those who will help change policies in education, not only in homework but standardized testing etc. as well. We are wasting billions in this country on programs that have little to no chance of succeeding. Maybe this book will be the impetus we need to get us going in the right direction.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2010

    Why?

    Why is the ebook $18 and the paperback $9.99?????

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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