Homework Causes Family Arguments

Unknown, BBC News, Feb 10, 2004
Commentary by Stephen Downes

A debate is raging on the BBC website about the role of homework. As Mark Nelson wrote to me this morning, the more interesting content is in the comments. And he asks, does e-learning have a role here? Yes - but exactly the same comments that are made of e-learning could be said of homework. It's a question of accessibility. Homework favours those who have better access to educational materials, be they home computers, home libraries (as I had access to when I was young), a place to study in peace, time (for me, homework always came after two or three hours delivering newspapers) and motivation. After-school homework clubs redress that concern, but then, what happens to after-school drama, sports, or clubs? I think the best argument is this: "There would be big arguments if we tried to force adults into doing compulsory overtime - homework is the same." A child's life need not - should not - be completely occupied with education. Far better to reserve educational activities for the work day, and to make a wide range of recreational (and even educational) activities available, at their leisure, in the evening. They may not learn to become compliant 80-hour-a-week workers, but they will have a much more balanced and healthy lifestyle.
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