The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
If you were to ask me my thoughts on homework, I’d say it was one of the most unproductive concepts of our time. In The Homework Myth, Alfie Kohn provides evidence as to why this idea of doing work at home is not beneficial to our society. Within the book, he includes how it doesn’t help us learn, that it makes us miss out on our childhoods, why studies that support it are wrong, etc. In his writing, he voices his clear opinions and uses tons of evidence to support his claims. Generally, I concur with his notions throughout the book; however, he tends to be very repetitive and has the absence of stimulating language to engage the reader, and therefore I did not particularly enjoy this book.
Although I agree with his main points and overall opinion about the negativities of homework, Kohn writes a 200-page book that could have easily been cut in half and avoided constant repetitiveness. For example, Kohn remarks more than enough how many studies that have been done in the past show no correlation between amount of homework and success in and out of the classroom. Chapter 2 describes this idea, explaining that “at best, most homework studies show only an association, not a casual relationship,” to achievement in and out of school (28). Then, there is whole chapter following this dedicated to, wait for it, more research proving that homework is not the cause of accomplishments. While one section would have been acceptable on its own, these separate two provide endless information on the same idea that causes the reader to quickly lose interest. I’m not denying that the information is good and actually verifies a point, but was it really necessary to go on and on about it for a fourth of the book?
In addition to this, the book itself lacked intriguing writing and thoughts to draw the reader in, leaving the need to finish as a chore rather than a pleasure. Personally, when I read a novel, I enjoy being sucked in by the exceptional language and storyline, and love that feeling of not wanting to put it down until it’s finished. Unfortunately, while reading The Homework Myth, I found myself disinterested and easily distracted. In fact, I ended up making excuses of why not to read the book, so that I could put it off as long as possible. Needless to say, when I finally did finish, I was relieved. The overall concept of the book was a fine idea, but there was nothing in it to provoke attention and therefore it was a cringe-worthy read.
Lastly, the way the book was written made each part one of two things: extremely boring or utterly complicated. Most of Kohn’s sentences were either short with no substance or long and tedious to read. While the repetitiveness of basic, simple lines caused the reading to be dull, the complex ones such as “imposing competition or standardized tests or homework on children just because other people will do the same to them when they’re older is about as sensible as saying that, because there are lots of carcinogens in the environment, we should feed kids as many cancer-causing agents as possible while they’re small in order to get them ready,” made a lot of the book confusing (146). Though a sentence like this may seem easy, you’ll probably find yourself needing to reread it several times before actually comprehending it, especially if it happens to follow a similar one. ~ Student: Sasha B.
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