Adventures in Ethics and Science

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half went to the Free-Ride offspring’s school for Back to School Night earlier this week. (I stayed at home with the sprogs to oversee dinner and baths.)

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half reported back that the younger Free-Ride offspring’s third grade teacher “doesn’t believe in too much homework”. (“She doesn’t believe it’s possible to assign too much homework?” I asked cautiously. “No, she doesn’t believe an excess of homework is a good thing,” my better half replied.)

And, she supported her stance with a page she distributed to parents summarizing recent educational research on the question of homework and student achievement.

I think we’re going to like this teacher.

Comments

  1. #1 Eva
    September 16, 2009

    My elementary school in Holland never gave any kid homework. We only worked in the mornings, and did art/drama in the afternoon. From grade 4 onwards we had to make weekly planners to schedule in all the tasks we had to complete that week. We all turned out just fine.

  2. #2 LindaCO
    September 17, 2009

    As the mom of a third grader, I’m onboard with this sentiment. Don’t they do enough school during school?

    On the other hand, I can also see the viewpoint that the amount of homework is just going to increase as they get older (at least in traditional schools), and giving HW when they are young is an acceptable way to encourage good HW habits.

  3. #3 anna
    September 17, 2009

    If all teachers would work with multimedia stuff at school like this http://video.yahoo.com/watch/5625166/14758727 it would be much more fun for the kids and maybe they would like to learn at home….

  4. #4 Pat Cahalan
    September 17, 2009

    @ Linda

    > I can also see the viewpoint that the amount
    > of homework is just going to increase as
    > they get older (at least in traditional
    > schools), and giving HW when they are young
    > is an acceptable way to encourage good HW
    > habits.

    I will accept that as a theory. Before someone wants to say it’s the basis for their homework policy, they should provide some sort of evidence that giving homework while they’re young actually encourages good homework habits.

    I personally suspect that there is little or no correlation. “Citation needed”.

  5. #5 LindaCO
    September 18, 2009

    Pat,
    Agreed. I don’t have citations, but would imagine there are a lot of elementary educational practices that happen because that’s the way it’s always been done.

    Not sure there’s harm to doing it that way, and for my sample size of one, it’s probably not a bad idea to get him in the habit of doing daily homework.

  6. #6 Carol Meyer
    September 21, 2009

    Would be interested in the research if you’d care to share the teacher’s bibliography. Our middle school is undergoing a parent/student/staff survey about how much homework is appropriate.

    A rule of thumb I’ve heard from some very good teachers is 10 minutes per grade per day. Our middle school policy exceeds this substantially–the guideline is 90 minutes per day for 6th graders and 2 1/2 hours per day for 7th and 8th graders.

    Seems like a lot to me.

  7. #7 Carrie
    September 21, 2009

    This book has actual citations for your arguements: http://www.thecaseagainsthomework.com/ . Anyway, 2.5 hours of homework is ridiculous. How are you supposed to go to school for 6 hours (8-2), eat a family dinner, get some exercise AND do 2.5 hours of homework. Ridiculous.

  8. #8 Donalbain
    September 22, 2009

    Aren’t the Philosophettes still at primary school? Why would they be getting any homework at all? Bah says I! Bah!