20 November 2009

School daze: the homework rebellion

Parents, it seems, are starting to rebel against the amount of homework given their children. A couple in Calgary, for example, have contracted with their children's school to free their two kids from homework. Speaking from my own experience as a child, I applaud their effort. Although it's been many decades since I was little, the memories growing very vague indeed, I still remember the joys of after-school. And I was a kid who liked school.

I've always thought of school as a kid's job. Everybody should enjoy their job, but there's much more to life than work, and school can be hard work. Just as a healthy adult life needs lots of time for other things -- family, community, fun, etc. -- so does the life of a child. Indeed, especially the life of a child. Children need to play. They learn from play as much or more than they do from academic pursuits. Play expands their brains in ways of its own.

And as for homework, it doesn't seem to do any good anyway. According to a variety of studies, homework is of little or no benefit to elementary grade students. It does, however, add to the stress on children and on families, rather like what happens when adults bring their work home. In other words, it may be leading kids into bad habits.

So let them play sports, make music, read, goof off, whatever. Liberate the little rascals.

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