Rational American

Since the beginning of Stop Homework, I’ve been corresponding with John Painter, a father of two from Readington, New Jersey, who maintained an active web site for five years where he wrote a number of interesting articles on such topics as scripted learning, cheating, and homework. He has recently started a new blog called Rational American. Stop by and take a look.

5 Comments on “Rational American”

  1. MORGAN says:

    IM 10 YEARS OLD AND I THINK HOMEWORK IS GOOD FOR OUR FUTURE!!!!!

    June 5th, 2009 at 3:02 pm
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  2. Lloyd says:

    yeah, stress may be large on certain student. But, those students tend to be the ones who want to succeed, and they have made the decision to work hard and achieve high grade.
    Then there is the students who say its hard and complain and moan about it. These type annoy me because it’s them who say that homework should be banned and that comes down to one fact they are lazy and do not want to work.
    Homework has a point and that is revising things that they have already learnt, and by doing homework it help them revise what they need to know long before the mad rush before an exam.

    June 6th, 2009 at 8:11 pm
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  3. HomeworkBlues says:

    Lloyd, when I wrote our principal, I included this line, “My daughter is not the one complaining, I am.” She doesn’t whine and moan, she’s earnest and she’d stay up all night if I let her. She attends a demanding school and it was her choice to remain, I wanted to try for a different school (or homeschool) that would reduce the pressure. She starts to moan when she gets herself into a crisis situation, a cycle of repeated sleep deprivation caused by an relentless overwhelming load and it all comes to a head.

    My job, first and foremost as a mother, is to protect her. I see no value in all this sleep deprivation, all it does is kill her next day and all it will do is burn out our best and brightest.

    I acknowledge homework has a place in high school. But we desperately need to revisit how we do education in this country, because the way I see it, it’s homework that needs revising, not the work sent home.

    June 7th, 2009 at 10:51 am
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  4. HomeworkBlues says:

    A relentless load, not an relentless. Typo, had to run and didn’t have time to review.

    June 7th, 2009 at 10:52 am
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  5. HomeworkBlues says:

    Lloyd writes:

    yeah, stress may be large on certain student. But, those students tend to be the ones who want to succeed, and they have made the decision to work hard and achieve high grade.
    Then there is the students who say its hard and complain and moan about it. These type annoy me because it’s them who say that homework should be banned and that comes down to one fact they are lazy and do not want to work.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Lloyd, I want you to imagine your polarizations. You place students in two categories, and by your descriptions, I’m assuming we are talking about high school students. That’s fine with me. That’s what I have and that is where my prime focus lies now. How to challenge and inspire without undue strain. How to reach without pulling a muscle.

    Lloyd, you see students as either one or the other. The high achiever who wants to succeed so by its very virtue, places burdens on herself and naturally will work harder for those stellar grades. On the other side of the coin, you see the lazy student who moans and whines, complains because she is lazy. Those lazy students annoy you.

    It’s not always so black and white. It’s not one or the other because often the hardest working kid is the one who moans the most. The moans though, tend to be internal so you don’t hear them unless you are especially attuned. High achieving students have a reputation to maintain, and only her psychiatrist knows exactly what ails her. These are the students the brand name high schools trot out as model students. Inwardly they are crushed and suffering, often on the verge of falling apart. But you don’t see it unless you look.

    Lloyd, lazy students annoy me too. Students who ram through the material, knowing exactly how to play the game, do whatever it takes to get that A, even if it means resorting to cheating and plagiarism annoy me even more.

    Then there are the students who are smart, hard workers and are honest and earnest. Not to brag, but like my kid. They may not always do all their homework. They can’t or they’d be up all night. You, Lloyd, might automatically jump to conclusions (many teachers also do) and assume these are lazy kids and blame it on procrastination, poor time managment and the lure of Facebook.

    Sometimes these students don’t finish everything because they are perfectionist. They might be highly gifted so they think more, go more in depth. Some kids, hard working and smart though they are, can’t transition easily from one subject to another. Rather than a train of homework with many intermittent stops, these kids would thrive on one long engrossing assignment, one that lifts them into the magical state of flow.

    Essentially, it’s not always as it seems. And instead of that excuse on the other thread, that homework is a window into a child’s home life (how intrusive), let’s not be so one dimensional. Teachers and administrators must realize that children have a variety of learning styles and that homework is nothing like schoolwork. They may see a kid work at a clip, going from class to class and assume when she gets home, the same thing happens.

    Take out math, 45 minutes, ring a bell, take out language arts (I’m talking elementary here), half hour, ring a bell. It doesn’t work that way at home, as many parents on this forum will be quick to tell you. When teachers think it does, and intone that dreary mantra, homework should only take an hour and a half, they turn a deaf ear to the realities of home and homework and how a student functions and operates within her home. Never mind that elementary homework is a huge waste of time to begin with.

    June 7th, 2009 at 2:58 pm
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