Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Catablogue: Stop Homework

Stop Homework

Today is the start of the school year here, so it seems an appropriate day on which to share this particular blog with you. I hadn't heard of Stop Homework until it was cited in an article that I read this summer, so I checked it out briefly. Because I'm not a regular reader of the blog, or a visitor who has spent much time perusing its archives, I can't say that I have any strong opinions about it or insight into it. I can only say that its focus--discussing the worth of homework for students--is important for anybody to consider who is a student, parent, educator (teacher, principal, etc.), or other citizen interested in what's happening in your local schools.

The blogger's biography states that she is a parent who "has been an anti-homework activist from the time her older child entered first grade." However, from what she writes in the posts to her blog, she seems less anti-homework and more anti-busywork. She writes from the perspective of a parent frustrated with homework tasks that do not accomplish enough for a child's learning to be worth the personal time that they consume (potential "family time" that is spent, by the child, doing homework or, by the parent, cajoling the child to complete homework).

So it seems that she--and like-minded commenters on her blog--want teachers to think carefully about the purpose and results of the homework that they assign. She also encourages parents to initiate, at their children's schools, conversations about homework policies and practices. Stop Homework doesn't seem to advocate never assigning homework at all. But homework assignments are not, in and of themselves, the mark of a serious teacher or a rigorous course. You don't have to dig too deeply into the blog's past posts to find a parent who blames excessive homework on his/her child's lack of interest in learning or reading, or a teacher who outlines his/her approach to designing effective at-home assignments.

Check out Stop Homework. You may agree with what you read, or disagree, or start to rethink your own beliefs about homework for school children. So long as it gets you thinking (or, potentially, talking to others and/or taking action), it will have been worth the visit.

P.S. Family Homework Answers is a similar kind of blog that, in addition, links back (click "Home" at the top of that blog) to a site with homework-related resources for teachers (e.g., questions to ask oneself before assigning homework), for students (e.g., study resources and suggestions), and for parents (e.g., how to communicate with a teacher about a child's homework).

(What is a catablogue?)

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