[Library Media] Well, duh!

georgeweight at integrity.com georgeweight at integrity.com
Wed Aug 9 08:24:39 MDT 2017


I don't know if one person's personal experience means that much, but here
it is:

When we were in Elementary school in the late 1940's and early '50's,
homework was never assigned. We had home chores, and free time was
plentiful. We lived on the edge of town, and roamed abundantly in farmer's
fields, the foothills, and a horse-racing track near our home. (My mom
worried about us spending time there, but it gave us many experiences we
wouldn't have received in more sheltered environments.)

I was heavily involved in the "experiential learning" of Scouting. And I
read voraciously.

I never had problems passing tests because I paid attention in class.
Didn't take notes (at least in elementary.) Didn't study for them.

I hesitate to bring up church in an academic discussion, except that it
was important for me to learn to concentrate in the same manner that
school did.

I had some downsides when I got to college--had the habit of ignoring
study outside of class, and didn't fare as well on tests. But my grade
point average was still around 3.2, equating a B+ level.

Most of the problem I see with a number of teachers that assign homework
is that it is repetitive of what has been taught in class--becoming more
drill and practice than anything else. That's fine for a music curriculum.
But in math? In many cases, it becomes redundant.

The exceptions mentioned in the article--such as science fair--are
experiential, and the students have more freedom to choose a subject on
their own. We did history fair for National History Day competition and
many of the projects were amazing--some even coming close to what may look
like a budding Master's Thesis.

I still judge history fairs occasionally, and am impressed with the
quality of much of the work. I've also seen very well done projects when
substituting in a shop class--many that required extra hours beyond class.
I've also seen music students spend their entire lunch period practicing a
vocal or instrumental number to perfection.

I'm a little concerned that an overall dictum from a district office may
be shotgunning some worthwhile projects. But overall, the attitude to
examine carefully what is assigned outside of class is a beneficial
one--especially at the elementary level.

And reading--both fiction and non-fiction--benefits students in any
curriculum. So does writing--as it applies to the specific curriculum
(think drafting for a vocational class; even web design qualifies.)

Thanks, Fawn. This is a very worthwhile subject to consider.

> Every once in a while the message gets out.
> http://bigthink.com/design-for-good/why-reading-to-a-kid-about-anything-is-better-than-homework
>
> Fawn
>
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