This weekend, Sam made a whole bunch of signs and stuck them up: on the fridge, on the walls, on the computer, at Bunty's house, in the garden. They were all different, but they had one purpose: the abolition of homework. "HOMEWORK = SLAVERY!" "DOWN WITH HOMEWORK!" "HOMEWORK SUCKS!"
And when I logged in to MSN today, it appears that the universal subconscious is thinking along the same lines. Vote now! For the abolition of homework!
It appears that there is no evidence that doing four hours of homework a night will improve a child's grades. I had suspected as much. Surely, a child who spends his entire day sitting in a classroom and then the entire afternoon and night staring at his copybook, and going to bed late, will not be more intelligent or better adjusted than the child who is being read a story in bed at a reasonable hour after an afternoon of PLAY and HELPING OUT and CONVERSATION.
It has always surprised me that parents would make a child as young as two "Study" at "Schoolwork". They claim that the earlier a child can get a headstart at his education, the better off he will be later on. This is baffling. Are there any statistics out there? I haven't found any, and while it is possible to teach the average two-year-old (or the average dog, or the average monkey) to recognize words or symbols and "Read" nicely, isn't it a waste of their time? Those formative years when the human brain is developing and soaking in information faster than it ever will again... you want to spend it teaching your child to recognize symbols? Something that they can learn in one-tenth of the time later on?
I can understand that spelling words have to be learned, times tables revised, the work of the day looked at and discussed if the child does not "get" something. But forty long division sums? Twenty sentences to underline the nouns? Good grief. That is torture. Sam says it's child abuse, constitutionally illegal. He's right, I think. Educational Psychologists everywhere agree. We are incredibly lucky that in the competitive Trini system we have a school that doesn't try to kill the little ones with homework. (We love you, School!) Max usually doesn't get any at all, and I know that Chas and Sam have it easier than some.
Here's an interesting fact: When Max started primary school at nearly 5, he had never shown any interest in learning his letters. He was the least likely to succeed in that department, in a class of kids who had many of them been to extremely expensive preschools and could read, add, and count to whatever. While they were learning these skills, Max was playing in the dirt, making things out of clay and learning not to mess with fierce mama hens.
In his third year of school now, I am told that Max is a fine reader. More importantly, he absolutely loves learning things at school. He gets wildly excited at Math, and enjoys reading. He is also terrified of mama hens. Maybe he would have been better off at pre-university after all!