For three years now, I’ve corresponded every so often with Stan Goldberg, also known as Senior Dad. Stan, who lives in the Bay Area, has his own podcast and has many interviews with educators and other experts that are well worth listening to, including his four-part series on homework, where he interviewed Alfie Kohn, John Buell, Harris Cooper, and me.
A few weeks ago, Stan interviewed me via skype for his new video series. Since he hasn’t written a guest blog entry on this blog for a few years, I asked him to let us know what’s on his mind. Read his previous guest blog entry here.
Senior Dad Speaks Out
by Stan Goldberg
I first started looking at homework when I read your book, The Case Against Homework. It started me down a path that I didn’t expect. Last week we did a video about homework, (posted on YouTube in two parts and in the Homework Briefing Room ), where we discussed our homework breakthrough and your views on homework reform today. That’s not the only good news that I can share with you. Several families at the school my daughter is attending have now embraced homework as the parent’s tool. Armed with homework they are trying different strategies to see what works best for their family and their child. A friend who has a child at another school reports that this year’s second grade teacher told the parents of the class that she is ambivalent about homework. She will continue to issue it but is up to the parents whether the child does it or not. The teacher will not grade homework. No issues either way whether the homework is returned or not.
So I view this as another breakthrough. I find that growing awareness among educators in giving homework as a parent’s tool will ultimately benefit the child. You and I share similar parenting styles. We want our children to be in charge of themselves early on as possible, so that they have comfort in making decisions. Placing a child in charge of his or her own homework is a reasonable step towards those goals.
I believe that the homework reform movement is growing as more people become aware that each child must be treated individually. As more educators embrace this point of view the attitudes towards homework will gain greater momentum.
3 thoughts on “Moms (and Dads) on a Mission – More from Senior Dad”
Sara – I wouldn’t call this an interview of you, since Stan did about 90% of the talking, but it was interesting. I liked his idea of the “supplemental packet”. I would like to see a system where most homework was described as “supplemental”, with the understanding that parents have the final say in what gets done.
I think the comment about airtime is a valid comment. I was excited about the progress the reform homework movement was making in San Francisco and Sara is a good listener and gave me the freedom to tell my story, my way. i thank her for that. it were her thoughts that enlisted me to move for homework reform. I feel the video effectively presents homework reform. i am glad the packet system and having parent use the homework tool resonated with you. I feel it is a non threatening method that everyone can embrace.
Hi Stan! I think the “parent choice” meme is a good one to follow. Just getting rid of homework is too threatening to too many people. If we could establish a policy that homework is the parents’ choice, and that schools are not allowed to punish kids for incomplete homework, that would be a huge step in the right direction.
Also, nothing personal, but you’re showing your age when you describe opening up the newspaper and looking in the want ads to find a job. Does anyone still find a job this way?
But I completely agree with your underlying point, that telling kids they have to put with bad teachers and bad schools “because someday they’ll have a bad job they have to put up with” is a terrible message to send to kids. If they have a job that’s as soul-destroying as a bad school, they should look for a new job.
And no, most of adult life is not at all like school. Thank God.