Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homework, the iPad, and Busy Work

I have written before about grades and how I feel they are used ineffectively throughout our educational system.  Recently, I have been thinking about the tasks and the homework we assign our children.  I follow Alfie Kohn's thoughts about homework and grades.

I have been thinking about the following:

  • I have informally surveyed the "average good kid".  Junior in high school does 3-4 hours of homework per night.
  • This is equal to the amount of time they spend in class each day.
  • Many do 3-4 hours, many do no homework.
  • Most, if not all, homework in many schools is first level Blooms type of questions.
  • Worksheets suck the life out of many children.
  • Parents want time with their kids.  They don't want all the time to be for homework.  
  • In high school students are not able to learn at their own pace.  In elementary school they generally are.  It takes 186 days to get through HS Chemistry whether you are the most brilliant or the most not brilliant.  
  • The most brilliant kids are epically bored.
Would a 1-1 initiative change this?  We are going to block schedule next year with 88 minute periods.  How will homework change?  If you can look up everything instantly do we move to more project based learning?