Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today's Homework Articles

Today, I am introducing a new feature to my blog. Every day, I look through the news for articles on homework. At times, I post comments to those articles. From now on, I plan post regular homework news updates. I'll find articles where homework is an issue and offer my comments here.  Today I have three articles on which I will comment.
This article refers to school board business in Watertown, Wisconsin.  Along with its routine business, the principal tells the board of an education (it is not clear if this is a goal or a policy) that no child will fail simply because that child fails to do his homework. The concept appears connected to the fact that the district has numbers of disadvantaged students who do not have a good home or other setting in which to do homework. I applaud the principal in making this statement. I think he should go further (if he has not already) and insure it is a policy. And finally, I don't think it should be specific to disadvantaged circumstances. It think it is good policy to diminish the weight of homework and not fail children for homework noncompliance. Rather, we need to look at the reason for the noncompliance, which in this case is presupposed to be the environment, but in most cases is an under the radar learning problem. 

You Can’t Bribe to Make Your Child Comply
This is an article on parenting. It is very good in that it shows how authority stems out of the relationship between parent and child, not from coercive techniques. What I found most interesting in this article are these words used by the author, "Sure, we establish ground rules, bed times, and provide homework supervision."  It is interesting the distinction between the rules we set and then the expectation to provide homework supervision. I would like to see our understanding of homework requirements changed so that the author, in the future, would say, "Sure, we establish ground rules, bed times, and our own rules regarding what homework the child must do."
This blog entry refers to research that shows that parents who do homework projects for their children are actually not helping them. I agree that where homework requirements are reasonable and doable, the parent should not take them over for the child.  There are certainly those parents who are driven to make sure their kids do the best projects ever. That said, there are other parents who "help" their children out of desperation because that child is in danger of failing.  Those children, in my estimation, have under the radar learning problems. They are forced to do things they can't do, and their parents get panicked and do the work for them.  For these parents, the problem is not that they have some hidden need for their child to excel that they cannot control, but that they have been terrorized by their lack of control over what is required to take place in their own homes. These parents desperately need to employ the concepts of The Homework Trap.

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