Time For Kids Says Math Homework is Boring and Unnecessary?

Many elementary students in PWC Schools receive copies of a magazine called “Time for Kids”.  The magazine contains news related articles about topics that are interesting to children and written at a level they can understand.

One feature is the “Debate” section, which presents a topic and opinions from subject matter experts on that topic.  The topic this month was Homework for the Holidays and discussed whether homework is or is not necessary.

Janine Bempechat, associate professor of Human Development at Wheelock College, was the subject matter expert cited in the article in support of homework.  She writes, “A good many students see a break from school as a break from learning, but actually, learning does not stop when the school building is closed.  Unfortunately, many students have a lot of experience with homework that is boring (think math worksheets), and from which they feel they are not learning.  Their gut reaction is a justifiable dread and resentment of homework over a school holiday, especially if the assignment is mind-numbing.”

Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and other books about education, was the subject matter expert cited in the article opposed to homework.  He writes, “Some experts wonder whether homework is necessary at all.  People who say it helps you learn better may not realize that scientific evidence doesn’t support this belief.  There’s actually no proven benefit to doing homework, at least before you get to high school.  That’s why many teachers – and some schools – don’t give any homework.”

Children who read this article will take two bits of information away from it: (1)  math worksheets are mind-numbingly boring and unnecessary, and, (2) homework is a waste of time.  Debating the merits and value of homework is expected among parents and education professionals, but this article appeared in a magazine distributed in the schools to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. It’s one thing for adults and teachers to have this debate, but is this topic really appropriate for our 9 and 10 year olds?

If you’re as appalled by this as I am, please send a note to the editor of Time for Kids expressing your concern.  The address is emailbag@timeforkids.com.


One Response to “Time For Kids Says Math Homework is Boring and Unnecessary?”

  1. Victoria Smith (Homeschooling Mom) Says:

    I was surfing the internet for reviews of children’s magazines when I found this blog post. I am going straight to the website to get a subscription immediately. I am so glad our main stream media is finally catching on to the on-going problems in our education system. My child was sent home with a math worksheet that looked like something a preschooler would do in day camp. A few weeks later I withdrew my child from the school because I was afraid they would reverse what he already knew. He was in first grade. Sending kids home with work leaves no time for a parent to direct their education or for a child to be a child. That was the issue I had regularly with the system. My child is 8 years old and has been reading chapter books since last year. I began teaching him to read at 3-years-old because he mastered basic phonics from a toy in three weeks. In kindergarten they sent him home with books that were full of one line pages, “The cat sat.” He was reading paragraphs from the stack of books we checked out from the library every week. I tested his reading abilities a few months ago using the Gunning Fox Index and his score was 7.2. He has read so many kids science books and attained so much scientific knowledge that I am currently planning a high school science curriculum for him to learn at an advanced level. All that and I am just a G.E.D graduate. In the summer time we unschool with visits to nature centers, national parks, museums, caverns, and so forth. We spend the summerfossil digging, rock collecting, butterfly hatching, and gardening. Families are fully capable of providing their children with their educational needs. The school system was holding us back. We had to also plan our day around the school system. Since the non-sence of sending our children to school is behind us we have risen to heights unimaginable. Time for Kids is a great magazine and your school should be grateful for having such a wonderful resource that is not mind numbing. Thanks again for the heads up on the great magazine!

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