Saturday, October 12, 2013

Reflecting on writing, reading and homework!

I'll likely never meet Karl Greenfield in person; however, his writing voice is memorable.  I suspect he puts "juice" into parts of a recent article to get your blood running...Karl values writing, creative writing, voice in writing, time for writing! 

Karl is, in fact, bemoaning his daughter's homework while reflecting that she is living a life very different from his own!

He write in September's Atlantic about doing his daughter's 8th grade homework from her NYC Lab Middle School for one week (he does it for himself not for her!).  He writes, reflects and ponders on what we are doing to a generation of young citizens who are doing 3-4 hours of homework and getting 6 hours of sleep!

He starts with a quote from his daughter that would make CCSS and PARC people cringe," Memorization, not rationalization."  Yikes!

Later he adds some reflection on his own homework, "My study habits were atrocious." I'm not sure I would be bragging about that!

Then he ponders, "There is little to no coordination among teachers in most schools when it comes to assignments and test dates. That might very well be true! * "According to a 2005 study by the Penn State professors Gerald K. LeTendre and David P. Baker, some of the countries that score higher than the U.S. on testing in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study—Japan and Denmark, for example—give less homework, while some of those scoring lower, including Thailand and Greece, assign more."
Then, he hits the nail on the proverbial head (or CCSS idiom) with, "it turns out that there is no correlation between homework and achievement,"  citing studies that make me reflect on my own children.
I reflect, wonder and ponder.  One of my own kids spent endless hours for endless years doing endless honors homework assignments for endless teachers as she pursued academic excellence through the honors track of classes (just like I did way back in the era when Karl was doing little or no homework on the other side of the country)!  My other child found a way to spend far fewer hours doing homework causing me (at the time) hours of angst and worry.  However, in a twist of fate that may just be 'destiny," that child is now giving, correcting and thinking about homework every day!

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