So Long

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
– Mahatma Gandhi

After four years and 530 posts, I’ve decided its time to retire the Stop Homework blog and turn the homework advocacy over to you, my readers. You should be able to find whatever sample materials you need in The Case Against Homework and/or the posts, especially those in Moms (and Dads) on a Mission, Students Speak Out, Teachers Speak Out, and Success Stories.

I can’t thank you enough for your support. I’ve enjoyed your emails, comments, stories, and guest blogs and I’ve learned so much from you. I want to particularly thank the small family foundation that provided such generous support and allowed me the freedom both to run this blog and advise untold numbers of parents, teachers, and school administrators on ways to advocate for policy changes.

Stop Homework will remain up on the web as a resource and, more importantly, as a place for you to communicate with each other. Starting tomorrow, there will be a new entry, Open Discussion, where you can do just that.

I hope you have a homework-free summer!

p.s. In case you’re wondering what I’m going to do. I’ve decided to return to one of my other passions, criminal justice.

25 thoughts on “So Long

  1. Sara, There are many who will sorely miss you here! Thanks for all you did to help and support us homework-weary parents and students. You, your book, and this website were invaluable resources to me and I thank, thank, thank you! Best wishes on your new chapter.
    Cheers! – Diane

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  2. Thanks Sara for starting something really wonderful with this site…a place for parents and teachers and students to talk. You have been the catalyst for change that is sorely needed. I’m thrilled for you that you have found work that you are passionate about…it’s what everyone deserves. Best of life to you!

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  3. Sara, I just read your last post, and want to say thank you for all that you have done for changing the destructive homework and other school policies that prevent young people from learning about who they are and pursue their goals. I wish you the best of luck in your equally important work in criminal justice.
    – Dana Bennis

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  4. Sara, I wish you all the best as you follow your passion. You have been such an important voice in the homework debate.

    Is there anything we can do to keep the StopHomework brand going?

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  5. I hope this site will still be a strong clearing house for information. So many ongoing efforts, and so few comforting resources. Thanks for putting the guts into this fight.

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  6. Sara, funny you should reference that Mahatma Gandhi quote. It’s prominently featured at my daughter’s high school!

    NO, NO, NO!!!! You can’t leave. Just when it was getting good. Remember how you always asked me to post a column? I have several waiting and had planned on giving them to you next year when daughter is out of K-12. When I can speak more freely.

    NO, NO, NO!!!! Please don’t go!

    Seriously, Sara, I’ll add to the chorus of commenders. I read your book and then found out about this blog from Susan Ohanian soon after it got off the ground. I’ve been hooked ever since.

    Before you, there was almost no debate on this worthy subject. When daughter was in first grade, and I was fighting with her to get homework done one late afternoon, I knew something was terribly wrong with this picture. This adorable six year old wanted to read chapter books all afternoon and I was needling her about a spelling worksheet, too easy and too boring. If only I knew then what I know now, she wouldn’t have lasted another day in school.

    I can’t get back six. But I hope I was able to influence a few people here to homeschool, not to make my mistakes (I waited too long to homeschool, we had a magical year but it was far too short), to convince some that you don’t have to have these battles, you don’t have to play Homework Cop, you can take back your child, your home and your life.

    That day, when we were fighting about homework, I left the house before I blew up and regretted it. I walked a half mile to the local supermarket and there, lo and behold, was a Time Magazine cover story on homework! It felt like a godsend, JUST what I needed. It featured Etta Kralovec, and her new book on homework, “The End of Homework: How Home work Dis­rupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning.” It was the Limits Learning that really got my attention. I knew that for every hour daughter was slaving over a worksheet, she was not reading, visiting a museum, playing (Play is a Child’s Work, Maria Montessori), talking to her parents or socializing. I knew something was dreadfully wrong.

    I read the article and showed it to friends. All agreed homework was actually doing those things, causing those deleterious effects. Interestingly, some friends had never given it any thought before. Even when they fought with their kids, even when the children were up late finishing homework, even when weekends were crushed under the weight of projects, somehow they’d convinced themselves this was all a necessary evil and only good could come of it. They were irritated that all that blood sweat and tears was just that, blood sweat and tears.

    This watershed moment occurred when my daughter was in first grade. She is now five days shy of high school graduation. As I survey the long landscape of her educational journey, I am disillusioned to report that not only have things not gotten better on the homework front overall, they have actually gotten worse. I’m just relieved it’s over. Believe it or not, there are aspects of her high school I love. I love the energy, the kids, some teachers. But it was all overshadowed by pounding relentless homework. She has three more days of school and she put in yet another eight hour Sunday homework marathon. I found myself thanking the stars she wrapped it up at midnight. It’s usually worse.

    Sara, and others like you, such as Alfie Kohn and Susan Ohanian, don’t give up and throw in the towel. That’s what we all feel David Elkind did when he sadly admitted recently that play is dead. It’s not dead. It only died because our culture allowed it. We can get it back if we try. I’m preaching to the choir here.

    I’m sorry to see this blog go. Just when we were turning a corner. I’m with FedUp. We should find a way to keep it going, pass the torch. We’ll always reference you, Sara!

    Sara, thanks for your tireless devotion to this vital area of our lives. My best wishes for your continued success.

    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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  7. Anonymous, I have the feeling you are HomeworkBlues.

    You know, kitchen table math is run by a group of bloggers. I don’t know the details of how it works, but could we put together a StopHomework consortium and keep the blog going?

    I still have plenty to say, as I’m sure you do, HWB (side note — no, we are not the same person!), and many others have contributed interesting and useful posts.

    Come to think of it, kitchen table math has gone through a couple of versions already. StopHomework could do the same.

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  8. I agree…totally Anonymous sounds just like HWB..

    I live near the ocean and I love to watch waves. StopHomework is like that wave you can see way out there that is slightly bigger then others…that once it breaks on shore it will be bigger then the rest because of its building energy. I want to keep my eye on that wave.

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  9. Sara,

    You were my inspiration. My call to action came from your book. The success that I have enjoyed on this issue is the result of your words.

    Thank You

    Your Friend

    Frank Bruni

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  10. I agree with FedUpMom, PsychMom, Anonymous, and others. I’m happy for Sara that she’s moving on to her other passions, and deeply grateful to her that she provided this wonderful forum for four years, but I can’t help but feel bereft. I know I’m a Johnny-come-lately to this blog, but I felt that I found a kind of home of kindred spirits here. I do hope the web site can continue in some vital form.

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  11. I too want to add my own thanks for your website and book. Growing up I always despised homework and hardly ever did it, earning myself a pretty poor GPA, even though all of my test scores were really good I wish I had had your resources so I could have more effectively communicated with my teachers. I am happy to have it now though with our new son and to know that because of what I’ve learned from your site, he won’t be ridiculed or ostracized by teachers for not doing his homework, nor, as my husband was, always be trapped inside because there’s still three more hours of work to be done. Thank you for all that you’ve done and I know we’ll keep trying to spread the good word and reassurance that you’ve brought into our lives.

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  12. Sara,

    We can’t thank you enough for all that you have done on the homework issue. Your book, this site and all the help you have given so many people have led to real meaningful changes all over. You, your book and your resources inspired us to take action. We couldn’t have succeeded as we did with the opt out plan and the changes we have accomplished in our school and the awareness we raised in our district with out your ongoing support!

    Thank you!

    Shelli

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  13. Sara, thank you so much for the work that you did to change attitudes and perceptions of the necessity of homework. Because of your book I will be limiting homework in our family this coming school year. No, my Kindergartner will not be doing homework and yes, my third grader is entitled to a balanced life outside of academics! You should be proud that you made a difference!

    With Gratitude,
    Tracy

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  14. Thank you for your contribution to this subject and for inspiring all of us to stand up for what we believe in. I have learned a lot. Thank you also for your personal support and answers to all of my questions. It sounds like you have an amazing family. Good luck in your new adventures!

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  15. Sara,

    I wouldn’t have been able to change homework policy in my district without your website, book and advice. You have helped so many people with your words and wisdom. I’m so thankful to have your friendship and I am sad to see you stop posting on Stop Homework.

    Maybe you can take a break from it for a while and then resume? I’ll keep hoping…

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  16. Sara, would you consider taking Kerry up on her offer to take a break, recharge your batteries (it’s a draining topic) and then come back in the fall? I’m hoping too…

    I feel we’re starting to turn a corner and I hate to leave the battlefield when we are finally scoring. Forgive the military analogy from this peace-nik but I’d be lying if I said this is a dialogue,not a fight.

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  17. Sara- I admire your courage. To put yourself in the public eye with a highly charged topic is brave. I hope that HWB, Fed-Up, Psych Mom and all others whose posts left me awed and inspired will continue to be heard. You’re all such fantastic writers and great moms!

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  18. Sara —

    There are people all over the world grateful for the work you’ve done, both here and in your book. Thank you.

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  19. Thanks for the compliment, Disillusioned. I’ve enjoyed your tales as well. I was thinking of you at last night’s PTSA meeting. The Stepford Wives were in full bloom.

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  20. Sara,

    Thank you very much for your direct, prompt and abundant help over the past few years.

    Your work has help define, frame and clarify issues that are so important to students, families and educators. You’ve drawn critical attention to the fact that much homework, especially in the early years, is counterproductive to the goal of encouraging children to be curious and excited about learning.

    It’s my hope that we will move beyond the persistent myth that school work done at home is always necessary at all levels as a matter of routine, and should be expected and accepted unquestioningly by the families on the receiving end.

    I especially hope we are on our way to realizing that many students who vent (frequently in private, to parents caught in the middle) about the pointlessness of homework are in fact bright, hardworking, committed students who are simply asking to be treated with dignity and respect.

    Best wishes for the future,
    Peggy

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  21. Wow! I didn’t think it had been so long since I’d logged in to your site! I’ve just read about you leaving, Sara. I wish you all the best with your future endeavors, and thank you most sincerely, for the care and concern that you’ve shown for all children/families. With your background, you could have simply fought, just for your own. Instead, you chose to help give a voice to many, and I am very grateful. Best wishes!

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