Mary Jane Cera is the academic administrator for the Kino School, a private, nonprofit K school in Tucson, Arizona, which maintains a no-homework policy across all grades. The purpose of the policy is to make sure learning remains a joy for students, not a second shift of work that impedes social time and creative activity. Cera says that when new students are told there will be no homework assignments, they breathe a sigh of relief.
Kohn challenges this popular notion: At the Kino school, Cera says children often choose to take their favorite parts of school home.
Anecdotal information from Kino graduates suggests that the early control over their education continues to serve them well into college; they feel better equipped to manage their time and approach professors with questions. One of the reasons that we continue to dole out mountains of homework, Kohn says, is our obsession with standardized tests.
This concern is especially relevant with the latest Program for International Student Assessment PISA results placing American students 25th in math and 21st in science. A recent comparative study of kids in China, Japan and two U. The National Parent Teacher Association suggests children in kindergarten through second grade should do homework for no more than 10 to 20 minutes a day, and for third through sixth graders the limit is minutes a day.
That means repetitive practice problems from page textbooks get tossed out the window. Instead, Kohn says parents should be asking two fundamental questions: Does this assignment make kids more excited about the topic and learning in general? Does this assignment help kids to think more deeply about questions that matter?
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