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Book Review: The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn


Book Review

The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn

So, maybe it's like this. You hated homework as a kid. You hate making your kids do their homework. They hate doing it. When they don't have homework, you're as happy as they are, maybe happier, because for one blessed evening you don't have to argue about it and watch them stretch a 15-minute assignment into a 45-minute tear-studded marathon.

But. You don't protest, because you've been told that homework is important, that it reinforces what your kids learn at school, teaches good study habits (whatever THAT means), and makes your kids more independent as learners. Plus, if kids don't start doing homework in elementary school (kindergarten!), they'll be overwhelmed in high school when things really get tough.

What if you found out that not one of these assumptions is supported by research? That in fact, where there is research regarding these points, they often show that homework is at best useless and at worst detrimental?

In The Homework Myth, Alfie Kohn goes through the rationales for homework, one by one, and decimates them. In one way it's pure pleasure to read something so rational, clever, and careful. On the other hand, it's hard not to get angry about the pain that's been foisted on families, about the waste of teachers' time, and about the theft of family and play time. After you read the Homework Myth, buy another copy and send it to your superintendent.

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