In an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, Daniel Donahoo, the author of Idolising Children, a book slated to come out in the United States in August, has much to say about the perils of homework.
Much homework is the antithesis of holistic learning because it brings the constraints and limitations of the education system into children’s homes. Instead of asking parents to teach their children something they themselves know and are inspired by, we ask parents to fumble over calculus questions they haven’t done for the past 20 years, or were never taught. If we respect children and support a holistic learning experience, we must realise they need time to “learn” to be part of a family and a community. They must learn their responsibilities in helping to maintain a household and participate in community life.
Homework in turn limits parents’ growth by putting a restriction on their role in guiding their children’s development. Homework impacts on the amount of time children and adults spend together. It means we lose the skills of developing and maintaining our relationships. This is never more crucial than during the teenage years as children are moving through developmental stages and into adulthood.