Reporter Anne Marie Owens contacted me after I posted on the topic and followed up on some of the comments over at Rob Paterson’s blog (where all the good conversation is on this stuff). Anne Marie used a couple of us to illustrate a nice review of recent research on the topic.
Those that read here know that we engage in life learning with our kids, sometimes called unschooling. Amanda Cockshutt is the other parent quoted in the article and she is campaigning within the school system in New Brunswick to have homework reduced. At Rob’s blog she tells her story:
Homework has been a revolting experience for us the past year. My son was in grade 2 last year and would routinely spend an hour on the “20 minutes” the teacher assigned every night. Boring? Unbelievable. When I approached the school about it, I got a huge great justification of the process, with the usual arguments about making good habits… What really got me though, was the suggestion that after 20 minutes we stop and send a note that it hadn’t been completed, after all, it was the process not the product that was important. Now, I’m no raging capitalist, but I know that we live in a product driven society. I also know from my experience teaching university, that I don’t really care how long the student took to complete the assignment, it was the product that was graded not the time it took. If the lesson that students are to learn is that they can call it quits when the time is up, then we are sliding down a very slippery slope indeed.
What’s useful to know is that there are options. If you’re in school and you think homework is worse than a bad idea, you might be surprised to learn that many educators are actually on your side, as Anne Marie’s article points out. And there are lots of teachers and local school folks that are thinking carefully about all this.
And of course, there is always the option to do what we do and unschool, homelearn or life learn. That’s a whole other trip, but one that I have never regretted taking. It’s a rich and deep experience creating and supporting autodidacts and life learners in our family.
[tags] homework, National Post[/tags]