The Great Homework Experiment

Posted on November 26, 2012Filed Under experiment, homework | 2 Comments

This time it’s for real.

This morning, having my coffee and shingles and news reading before school, I read a blog post by the education lefty (and even though they don’t know it, hero to middle schoolers everywhere) Alfie Kohn, who was railing (again) about the evils of homework. He even used that word, evil. And NOT as in the necessary kind.

Well, my 3 or 4 long-time readers know that for the past several years I have run the Great Homework Experiment. It just got that groovy name this year. I eliminate  all written homework (except essays and end of novel projects) for 2-3 weeks to show them that all that homework does two things: it makes you practice stuff that will be on the test and it pads your grade in case you still do badly on the test. Here’s the link to the original post about it. Those long-time readers might recall that most kids were begging for homework by the end of the two weeks.

“It’s better than being grounded for a bad grade.”

Well now I have been motivated by Alfie to really go for it this time. Here’s the message I put on the homework page, and after I did a brief intro about the history of the experiment, I didn’t take questions.

Week of November 26 – The Great Homework Experiment Begins. Let’s see if he’s correct.
Ok so, the only written homework from now until Christmas break is KBARR and 600 words/week (which I will explain on Tuesday and begins Tuesday). Yes, that also means the end of SSI until 2013.

There was much rejoicing. Even after they heard they had to take the district LA Benchmark Test for the whole period. We’ll see how long that lasts.

However, I think this time I will “kick it up a notch.” I have a few ideas that I want to try on this year’s lab rats.

Stay tuned.


2 Responses to “The Great Homework Experiment”

  1. Heather on November 27th, 2012 6:38 am

    I am a bit of an Alfie Kohn devotee and one of the authors of the homework study, Bob Tai, was my college professor. I try to assign additional homework (reading response is the only “set” homework) only as needed for extra practice and the students usually agree that it’s a fair way of doing things- i.e., “3/4 of the class failed this quiz on context clues, here’s a little packet of context clues activities to give you some extra practice before the test.”

  2. Mrs. M~ on November 27th, 2012 8:58 am

    I am also a devotee of Alfie Kohn. I am not a fan of homework, especially now that I have a daughter in elementary school. Seeing her struggle with tons of homework each night kills me–it is destroying her love of learning and school. I try to give very little work that needs to be done outside of class, and when I do, I try to give several days or a week to get it done. My feeling is that kids are already in school for 8 hours a day–they do NOT need more “school” at home. The pressure we put on kids today is too intense, and it is damaging.

    My feelings on this issue have changed a lot over the last 22 years. As times have changed (and I have changed), I see less and less value in homework. It only widens the divide between kids who have help at home and those who do not.

    Do not even get me started on standardized tests or Common Core . . . 🙂

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