Today I have 3 more articles that I thought were worth quoting and commenting upon. Topics include questioning the value of homework, why creativity begins with purpose, and combatting a culture of learned helplessness among kids. All of these articles have given me food for thought, and I hope they will do the same for you.
Dr. Tony Sinanis: "So, if our kids don't want to do the homework and their only motivation is to be compliant and please someone else, does the homework actually have any sustainability or value? From my lens, the answer is no. Maybe I'm missing the mark... maybe there is some value to homework but I have yet to see it... (On doing homework with his son:) Homework became the "black hole" of our time together - it sucked out the fun and took away time from the things we actually wanted to do together (build Lego sets, read books for fun or play video games)...
Can we throw out homework completely at the elementary level? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts, insights and opinions!"
Me: This piece is about how a principal's views on homework shifted once his son started having significant amounts of homework in 3rd grade. Dr. Sinanis looked to research (e.g. by Alfie Kohn) and was surprised to find if anything research seemed more to show harm than benefit from homework for elementary school kids.
I'm not a principal or a teacher, and my daughter has quite minimal homework so far in kindergarten. But I'm reading this research, too, and becoming preemptively worried about the impact that homework will have on my daughter's joy of learning, and on our family life, as she moves through the school system. What can be done? That is my question.
A.J. Juliani: "I used to think all I needed to create something that mattered was passion…I was wrong. It turns out passion might start the engine and get the creative process moving, but purpose is what takes it all the way to the destination (and beyond)... In the last year I’ve learned to really focus on projects that I’m not only passionate about, but also have a purpose that can carry me through the difficult times in the creative process. I’ve gone from a passionate creator, to a purposeful creator. And it’s made all the difference."
Me: To me, this is about the difference between being passionate about some topic and having a specific problem that you want to solve (your purpose). As I've been thinking about the new direction in which I'm taking my blog, I'm PASSIONATE about the idea that kids should grow up as joyful learners, but my PURPOSE has to be around working towards the improvement of particular things that get in the way of joyful learning.
Catlin Tucker: "Our students are conditioned from a young age to ask a teacher for help the minute something doesn’t go right or the moment they have a question. Where is the curiosity? Why don’t they want to figure it out themselves?..More and more, I have come to feel that my main responsibility as an educator is not to teach students about literature, writing, vocabulary or grammar. My job is to teach them how to learn."
Me: Tucker's advice for teachers resonates for me as a parent, too. She advises that we stop and think before answering kids' question, and encourage kids to figure things out for themselves.