The Homework Wars: Too Much, Not Enough, Or Not the Right Homework At All?

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September 23, 2013 by IdeaFuel Consulting

Karl Taro Greenfeld has a fascinating article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled ‘My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me.’   He basically tries to do her homework for one week. And is exhausted and questioning at the end of the week.

Not having high school students at home it is hard for me to understand right now. Right now we are in elementary homework which may not take long but is as mind-numbing as it gets.  The amount of rote learning without any complex thinking or problem-solving is a little scary.  For the rote stuff we are completely ok with using a fun but educational apps to practice 20 multiplication problems in a minute.  At least it is motivating to kids.

Regardless of whether you are on the too much or too little side of the argument, MindShift recently writes: is it the right homework and can we make it worthwhile?  They ask a GREAT question in their article:

What should matter to parents and educators is this: How effectively do children’s after-school assignments advance learning?

And classroom ‘flipping’ is another interesting phenomena – let students do their work in-person during class time and let them watch the lectures at home. Again the Atlantic weighed in on this subject offering new research on college students trading online lectures for in-class homework time.

“A three-year study examining student performance in a “flipped classroom” — a class in which students watch short lecture videos at home and work on activities during class time — has found statistically significant gains in student performance in “flipped” settings and significant student preference for “flipped” methods.”

While it is far from perfect for elementary and secondary schools, all it takes is watching a few Khan Academy videos on multiplying decimals or solving basic algebraic equations to make you wonder when (not if) that shift will take place.

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