Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And they demand homework too?

A child in public school spends something like 7 hours a day for 180 days a year attending school. And yet this is not even enough for them. Teachers demand not only the in-class time, but the child's time when he or she is at home in the form of homework assignments! Families spend so little time together as it is, and after school and work there may only be one or two hours of opportunity. Is this time really best spent on classroom assignments?

Of course, demanding the child's time even when away from school helps reinforce what I consider the most evil aspect of public schooling: replacing the home with the school as the center of the child's existence; replacing one's family and community with class-mates as the center of the child's social life.


  1. It also seems that most children in public schools focus a little bit on a wide variety of subjects, yet specialize in nothing even at the high school level. I think it is great to cover the bases yet it is sad that most kids don't have the time or opportunities to focus on what they are really interested in.

  2. As a teacher, I have to say that homework is not evil. Yes, it can be overdone. But practice makes perfect, and that is supposed to be the point of homework. Also, homework can be family time when done together, or even at the same table as a parent who is working on his or her own project.

    According to my principal, students retain 60% more of the material when they do homework on it. And, though the curriculum is not perfect, there are many skills taught in public schools that children need to know. I remember being in Mrs. Sweatt's math class and understanding what she was doing on the board. When it came time to do it by myself, however, often I realized I did not know it as well as I thought. I really learned it by having to do it by myself.

    While the idea of a fun and open family time every night is nice, the reality is that if kids do not have pressure applied to them, they will not grow. I have seen this over and over again as a teacher. Students will start out the year "on their own" so to speak, and their grades will drop immensely. They will not do any work because they know they don't have to. Finally, when the parent realizes this and applies pressure to the student, many students step up. It is human nature to be lazy. It is why communism works in theory but not in reality. Do we all have interests we pursue on our own? Yes, of course. But imagine if you are a kid and you are not interested in math. You still need to learn it. And, while I agree that kids do need more options to personalize their learning, if education is only centered around what the child is interested in, then that child is not being given a very good education, and in the long run, that is the worst possible thing for that child.