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Posted On 01-23-2007 12:13 PM
Your Name: George Castonguay
Email Address: gcstorm@aol.com
Location: New Braintree, MA
How did you find our site?: American School magazine
Comment: Thank you for putting in print what I thought throughout my boys' school time, there is simply too much homework given for no really good reason than to provide busy work. I always believed that class work should be reviewed in the evening but all the written work was just too much. A simple quiz the next time the class met would have revealed who did review the work and what more was needed on the subject. Too much grade emphasis was put on homework and other 'home' projects as well and as the parent of a boy that hated homework though he did excellently in class it depressed me to see how much his grade fell because of the homework he failed to do. 'A' classwork means the person knows the subject and that should be the grade, not a 'D' for failure to pass in homework.

Posted On 01-21-2007 9:57 PM
Your Name: Ali
How did you find our site?: GL
Comment: I wanted to thank you for being one of the few and proud adults who believe that piles of homework is an evil thing. When kids say there's too much, THERE'S TOO MUCH! Anyways, thank you so much. I'll be ordering The Homework Myth sometime soon.

Posted On 01-18-2007 6:21 PM
Your Name: Katie Trimble
Email Address: katie.trimble@simpson.edu
Organization: Simpson College
Location: Indianola, Iowa
How did you find our site?: Assigned to read Beyond Discipline for a practicum class
Comment: Despite plane troubles and weather conditions, Alfie Kohn still managed to deliver a very inspiring speech regarding teaching children to care and all of the things teachers and parents do (sometimes unknowingly) that are counterproductive to teaching children to be caring people.  I plan on reading other books by Alfie Kohn and I encourage others to do the same!  Thank you for coming to Simpson!

Posted On 01-16-2007 4:40 PM
Your Name: Britney Hospelhorn
Email Address: britney.hospelhorn@simpson.edu
Location: Simpson College, Indianola, IA
How did you find our site?: Mr. Kohn mentioned it in his forum last night
Comment: I was privileged enough to have the opportunity to hear and listen to Mr. Alfie Kohn last night.  Although the weather tried to impede his travels to little Indianola, IA, he made it here to Simpson College and gave a wonderful talk about "Teaching Children to Care."  I loved the forum and felt that I gained a lot of valuable information that I will be able to take with me into my future classroom in 2008.  I would like to thank Alfie for making the trip and taking time to talk to a bunch of college kids!

Posted On 01-12-2007 12:48 PM
Your Name: Marla Fleischer
Email Address: marlafleischer@sbcglobal.net
Organization: Fleischer family, Bookseller & PTA member
Location: University Heights, OH
How did you find our site?: heard WCPN interview & googled Alfie Kohn
Comment: I heard Mr. Kohn interviewed this morning on WCPN, Cleveland and was on the line to speak but time ran out...I can't wait to read the book (ordered it on Amazon immediately) and I am hoping to organize a core group of parents through my local PTA to consider instituting some kind of homework moratorium in our school and/or district.  Thank you for articulating what I have been saying all along (not just about homework, but about learning in general); our schools need to do a better job of motivating kids to WANT to learn, rather than just busying them with monotonous tasks in and out of school, dampening their enthusiasm for school -- and more importantly, learning -- altogether. 

 

Please add me to any email list for future books, appearances, etc. and anything that may be of interest!   Thank you : )


Posted On 01-12-2007 11:28 AM
Your Name: Annette Ciaravino
Email Address: jer1and9@yahoo.com
Location: Stockbridge, Ga
How did you find our site?: back cover bio of The Homework Myth
Comment: Thank you so much for validating what I have been feeling since day 1 of my teaching career!  I've always felt as if I'm not as good a teacher as others and that I just don't fit in with the general teacher population due largely to the fact that I tend to see things so differently than most.  One of the first differences I noticed was my belief that homework is not a necessity.  I always felt that students should have time to be kids and to do things with their families after school hours rather than wasting that time on busy work that usually did not contribute one bit to their actual learning.  Of course, other teachers and administrators did not agree with me at all and assumed I just didn't understand the benefits of homework because I was a new teacher.  Now, I'm seven years into it and still do not believe in assigning homework!  I could go on and on about my reasons for that, but I think your book The Homework Myth covered them all.  Again, thank you for showing me that maybe I'm not such a terrible teacher after all.

Posted On 01-07-2007 10:41 AM
Your Name: Holly Batsell
Email Address: Holly.Batsell@so.dvusd.org
Organization: Sandra Day O'Connor High School
Location: Glendale, AZ
How did you find our site?: I am a repeat visitor and fan
Comment: Just got the new book, The Homework Myth, and look forward to adding more researched support to my understanding of the role of homework in my teaching practice. I have recently developed an aversion to assigning a lot of homework for the sake of assigning homework, and hopefully the book will shed light on why that is a positive.

Posted On 01-05-2007 9:45 AM
Your Name: Kristen Thomson
Email Address: baccuda@comcast.net
Location: Oregon
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment: Finally got my hands on this very popular book at the library!  However, I wish it made me feel better about school and homework.  I have to echo the dad who read it and was sad.  Maybe these feelings will ignite action.  Like....I'm wondering when the DVD is coming out?  Would make a fine presentation at many a PTA meeting, eh?

Posted On 12-31-2006 5:05 AM
Your Name: Steve Bushemi
Organization: Idaho WRFS
Location: Earth
Comment: I am a college doctor and I am wondering what research has been done, if any, about the benefits or lack of benefits of homework in college classes?

Posted On 12-28-2006 10:47 AM
Your Name: Yehuda Krohn
Email Address: yemekrohn@sbcglobal.net
Organization: Private Practice
Location: Chicago, IL
How did you find our site?: Colleague
Comment:

Before I launch into my post, I want to briefly share my bio.  I am an ordained Orthodox Rabbi and member of what some would call the Haredi – or Strictly Orthodox Jewish – community.  I am also a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, in a Chicago area private practice.  Lastly, but certainly not the least important of which, my wife and I are the proud parents of children, who range in age from 16 to 3. 

I recently read Unconditional Parenting, on the advice of a close colleague (Dr. Dana Flynn-Schneider), and was very moved by Alfie’s messages.  I also enjoy Alfie’s playful style of writing.  Of particular interest to me is the intersection between U.P. and the parenting values found in the Orthodox Jewish community.

It seems that there are several parallels that can be drawn between the goals of Unconditional Parenting and the values found within my community.  A few examples that come to mind are the requisite dignity with which each person – no matter how young – must be treated, the ideal of attributing to children – and others – positive motives (when consistent with the facts), and the stock that is placed in the relationship between parent and child. 

At the same time, there are ideals and values stressed in the Orthodox community that either seem out of place in Alfie’s book or are outright challenged by him.  For one, Orthodoxy places a premium on the wisdom that a younger person can acquire from an older person – be it a 14 year old high school student from a 40 year old educator or that same 40 year old educator from her 74 year old mentor.  As such, the counsel of an older person can be, in the least, a valued part of a younger person’s decision making process. 

Secondly, within certain contexts, Orthodoxy does encourage obedience – and not just by children.  Let me explain this in more detail.  Orthodox Jews accept the entire Jewish Bible as being divine and, thus, a priori, valid.  Whereas Orthodox Jews may work diligently to intuitively understand as much of the Bible as they can, there are certain domains which simply defy simple rational explanation.  An Orthodox Jew approaches these areas, ideally, with a sense of humility and, when action or abstinence is called for, obeys the law/commandment.  A philosophical understanding of the law’s underpinnings may come later; it may never come.  In short, obedience is not simply a device used by older people to save time, when managing younger people.  Rather, it is a key element of people trying to relate to that which they perceive as divine or, in the least, larger than their selves.

It is of use to me, both personally and professionally, to me to know whether there is room in Unconditional Parenting for the above ideals and values.  Practically speaking, can a father nurture in his daughter the ability to think critically, while also accepting that there are certain things that are beyond her understanding?  Can a mother demonstrate the value of an older person’s wisdom, without crushing her son’s budding capacity to make his own decisions?  In short, I want to find out whether or how I can adapt U.P. to reflect more of the goals and values of my community that it currently does.

I would love to hear from readers of this post, whether via the guestbook or directly to my e-mail address.


Posted On 12-21-2006 1:42 PM
Your Name: JimB
Location: Lenexa, KS
How did you find our site?: Heard Alfie on the Radio
Comment: As I told my wife in an e-mail, I would have branded you a raving lunatic if our own personal experience didn't validate what you are saying.  I have four kids each at different levels of ability and some with developmental delays and other disorders.  Some get their homework done in school, others bring home a little.  The champion, if you can call it that, is the Asperger's child who is extremely smart (gets it the first time almost every time) yet gets to spend 2-4 hours (that's right - HOURS!!!) at night doing what, for him, is extremely mundane and stupid tasks.  I want to scream at the teacher "He gets it!!!"  He doesn't need to repeat it 200 times.  All that takes is an extreme effort (he has horrible penmanship) to write it down.  All this time would be much better spent (especially since he is a child with Aspergers) interacting with other children.

 

Please get your message out there however you can.  Has anyone led a homework boycott yet?  I am this (||) close to doing it myself.


Posted On 12-15-2006 5:57 PM
Your Name: Jared
How did you find our site?: Google, after reading The Homework Myth
Comment: I was reading your book when it bothered me--a memory of something a teacher once told me. When I was young in elementary school, we were practicing a new way of multiplying numbers which had more than one digit. I learn quickly, and after a few problems I was set. But it was now homework since the day ended, and I needed the worksheet done by the next day. I was angry as I saw no reason to do it. I besought  him, "Why  must  I do all 30 problems, I get it now,". But he replied that "Some people need to do it 30 times to learn it". I still don't understand why I was forced to do 30. It didn't suit anyones needs. I know how to study, all homework did for me was waste my time. On all my other homework I only needed to do several, but again I was forced to do more. It just horrifies me when I hear people say it teaches study skills. The most it does is teach students to study more than they need to.
    It disturbs me greatly that I lost interest in school after the 6th grade. By then instead of loathing the weekends (because I loved school much), I started to hate school. Not until I read your book did I realize why I lost my interest. The excitement of getting to school to learn more was warped into the anxiety of did I finish, and do the homework right? It also became a problem when I was given projects unrelated to the subject. I would simply ignore them. The failing grades shocked my parents.
    I guess it's been a problem for me throughout school, that when I get a grade it is meaningless to me. I know how much I learned. That is why I was there. I have and will keep a love for learning, but I guess it just causes problems in school. I always did extra things in school, but sometimes I would cut short the fun, voluntary learning for 'learning' that they had prescribed me. All the homework did was beleaguer my interest and diminish my time spent on learning.
    I've always been labeled lazy for not doing my homework. When people ask me why I didn't do most of my work, I reply  "I had a life to live, and I won't waste it on  worthless worksheets". But I suppose I am a special case--that is, I am one of very few who had problems like this. Only one other person I knew of had the same issues. He was a great intellectual, but after he was forced with homework in high school, he lost all interest in learning and expanding his great knowledge. It is not unlikely that nothing will ever be done to fix this. It is awkward that forcing these extra pieces of homework on people who don't need it, is seen as a great thing. Why must a person suffer, because his neighbor can not learn?

Posted On 12-11-2006 9:24 AM
Your Name: Ashley
Location: NY
How did you find our site?: A college professor told me about it
Comment: You've got the right ideas and the guts to tell people what those ideas are. Keep up the good work.

Posted On 12-08-2006 10:10 PM
Your Name: Edith Lueke
Email Address: elueke@charter.net
Location: Rochester, MN
How did you find our site?: www.alfiekohn.org
Comment: I’m currently reading the book "The Brighter Side of Human Nature". It makes good points about violence, but in Chapter 5, the self with the other, the same mistakes are made that are pointed as mistakes. On page 156 of my paperback: "Cooley .. wrote before the SS existed.." - the grouping of humans as ‘the SS’ is a case in point. In fact, there were two groups under the term SS, one of which were ordinary soldiers on the front. For example, do you think that Guenter Grass, the author, who admittedly joined this group at the age of 17, had and has all the characteristics that are often attributed to a member of the SS???

 

Secondly, on the next page, there is a statement "why Nazism was so attractive to the German people".. Was it? Or did the German people suffer from continuous repression from the Versailles treaty on, where they were in compliance with the treaty while at the same time the French, British, US, and Japan were on an arms build-up binge, among other things? After the regime change, their economy began to flourish, not least because of the barter trade that was built up between Germany and South America? Was not Poland attacking its own German citizens, hoping to force them, Jew and Christian alike, across the borders into Germany proper? Taking their passports on the way to ensure they couldn’t return? Perhaps the support came from something totally other than any kind of bigotry, but from plain security and economic reasons? Perhaps? All I’m suggesting is that these are two examples of the grouping which the book points out as being part of the problem.


Posted On 12-03-2006 10:05 AM
Your Name: Edward
Email Address: eewrite@gmail.com
Organization: Private English Teacher
Location: Portland, Oregon
How did you find our site?: web search
Comment: I first discovered Alfie Kohn at D'Youville University, which is located in Buffalo, New York when I was completing the Masters of Education program there. Dr. Paul T. Hageman first introduced me to Alfie in the Theories of Education class that I took.  I want to thank Dr. Hageman publically for introducing me to a positively wonderful theorist and  individual. Since graduating from D'Youville, I have passed on Mr. Kohn's books and articles to many of my friends and associates. Thank you for the superb research and work you have done and continue to do. Proceed with the struggle. Warmest wishes, Edward Evans

Posted On 12-02-2006 2:00 AM
Your Name: Heidi
Email Address: galaxy_police_agent_005@hotmail.com
Location: Missouri
How did you find our site?: Research
Comment: I have found many of the articles on this site to be both enlightening and depressing. It is a sad state of affairs that the education system is allowed to go on as it has been with, what appears to me, little being done about it. As a senior in high school, I am glad that I am no longer required to take the required standardized test... but I regret deeply that my younger peers will have to take it. In my school, it is sickening how they glorify the test. Around testing time, pep talks are frequently given about how important the standardized test is and how important it is for you to do well on it... and so on and so forth.

 

The teachers and principals remind the students that if they have a Proficient or Advanced score they will be rewarded $25... $50 if its the same on the other test. On the actual testing days, students get to feast on Krispy Cremes and milk provided by the school... and candy is placed in the center of the table. When I was tested, I was glad for these things... I simply can't turn down free doughnuts and free candy, and when your family is hurting for money, a 25-50 dollar bonus is something to look forward to.

I have always hated those tests, though... By the end of the test, I'd be exhausted not from thinking deeply, but from restraining myself from thinking too deeply. Because if I thought too deeply, I knew I wouldn't come up with the answer that the test-scorers are looking for. I am upset by the fact that the school is thinking about changing the amount of test prep time from two weeks to three weeks.

Standardized testing and the future of the next generation's education is not the only thing I'm concerned with, though. I'm concerned with the future of my education, as well. For years, I have wanted to go to college. Sure, I would like to have a good job and be successful, but... my main reason for going is entirely different from that. I wanted to go to college because I thought I would learn more there... and more in-depth, too. I've been looking into the differences between a college education and a high school education... and I am starting to become fearful that college will be nothing more than a test-oriented (rather than homework-oriented) version of high school. The occasional research paper has been one of the few things that have kept me hopeful about college... but the idea that I'll get cheated out of real learning experiences still worries me.

I will not let myself despair too much... I take the matters of my education into my own hands here in high school (limited to after-class discussions with teachers, visits to the library, and my free-time writing projects... I have an extremely difficult time of finding students to engage in intellectual conversation... even with my friends) and I will do that in college, too. There is only so much I can do by myself, though... and I will be disappointed yet again if I'm left to my own devices.


Posted On 11-29-2006 12:02 PM
Your Name: Doug Hyde
Email Address: dhyde@fusesite.com
Organization: www.fusesite.com
Location: Gatineau
How did you find our site?: From CBC Radio
Comment: I think I would like a very minor amount of homework for my younger children, because helps to inform my own judgment of how they are progressing. It wouldn't have to be every night, just enough so I can gauge my own sense of their progress. Report cards don't do that for me, and my approach is to integrate these activities into my day-to-day living, though I enjoy working with them from time to time. I don't like to completely delegate my children's learning. For my older children, I feel a bit more homework is appropriate...it is a discipline they will have to have if they are to success at University. Not everything you have to learn in life is fun, however much fun you make it, and learning to learn these things is key to long term academic success in my view.

Posted On 11-26-2006 2:10 PM
Your Name: Rebecca Mohun
Email Address: maxmohun@speakeasy.net
Location: Vallejo, CA
Comment: I have just finished reading Unconditional Parenting and I want to thank you for your courageous, clear, and kind book.  I have been on this path for some time through reading the writings of people like Maria Montessori and John Holt, but you have helped me be more aware than I have ever been about some of the things I have done, and why, and what the better road is.  I am a mother of three girls, 6, 4, and 1.5, and we are currently "unschooling" (for want of a better word).  I myself attended public schools and lived for the A's, and I am so glad that my children will never worry about grades or being compared to others or being forced to give thought to their "performance"; I am so glad to watch them growing up with interest in everything, enthusiasm about living, and so much joy.  I look forward to becoming a better and more honest parent with the help of your insights, and by God's grace.  I would also like to mention that I am a convert to the Catholic Church and that I see your views, far from being incompatible with the longstanding orthodox teaching of the Church, as being particularly compatible with them--I mention this because of your comments about the Bible.  I found your comments very understandable (particularly in light of the Protestant idea that nature is fundamentally flawed and completely corrupt), yet I take them as a friendly challenge for me to gather some evidence that the true Biblical view has nothing to do with the puritanical childrearing tendencies of many Christians in our country.  

Posted On 11-24-2006 6:44 AM
Your Name: Paul Neufeld Weaver
Email Address: weaverpn@bluffton.edu
Organization: Bluffton University
Location: Bluffton, Ohio, USA
How did you find our site?: google search
Comment: I am a college professor and I am wondering what research has been done, if any, about the benefits or lack of benefits of homework in college classes? 

Posted On 11-21-2006 7:13 PM
Your Name: Greg
Email Address: gregc@pky.ufl.edu
Organization: PK Yonge Developmental School
Location: Gainesville Florida
How did you find our site?: Teacher Network listserv
Comment: Dad and son, 9pm, post-Bempechat (trying to be balanced)

 

“Hi”

“Hi”

“I was reading something sad and I just wanted to kiss your head.”

“Oh.  What was it?”

“I’m doing some research on homework.”

“Oh… Just hearing the word homework makes me sad.”

“Me too.”


Posted On 11-12-2006 8:11 AM
Your Name: Michele Molden
Email Address: mamamolden@netzero.com
Organization: student @ Saint Joseph
Location: Indiana
How did you find our site?: research on the web
Comment: Your website was the icing on my research cake!  I am writing a paper on homework for college.  I also have a 6-year old son, who comes home from school each day with 2 math worksheets, vocabulary, and reading assignments.  He already knows the material, so it is a boring and repetitive waste of his time.  His school has only one recess per day, so after sitting and doing papers all day, the last thing he wants to do after school is sit at the table and do more papers.  He regularly tells me that he hates school.  It breaks my heart to hear that at such a young age.  I am taking elementary education in college and I can't wait to have my own classroom.  I tend to prove that we can achieve awesome results with out the spirit-killing drudgery of homework!  I would love it if I could convince my college or my son's grade school to book Mr. Kohn for a speaking engagement. 

Posted On 11-06-2006 12:27 PM
Your Name: James Leiter
Email Address: usa_directo@infosel.net.mx
Organization: Individual
Location: Expat in Mexico
How did you find our site?: The Schools Our Children Deserve
Comment: Can a valid case be made for a legal action to eliminate some or all standard tests? Thoughts and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Posted On 11-05-2006 8:00 PM
Your Name: Janine Ross
Email Address: rossjanine@hotmail.com
Location: Sarnia, Ontario
How did you find our site?: researching on the web
Comment: I am currently doing my masters of education at Medaille College in Buffalo and came across this site for my research in education project.  I have chosen to question "Are there any benefits to assigning homework in elementary school?". I am glad I came across this site, it will really help me out when I have to conduct my research. I know that as an elementary student homework had a negative effect on me, it's about time someone has the answers to challenge this in the schools.  When I complete my program and become certified as a teacher I do not intend to send homework with my students.

Posted On 10-31-2006 7:13 AM
Your Name: maurice frank
Organization: Centre for Personalised Education (UK)
How did you find our site?: Aero's circular of a review of The Homework Myth
Comment: I was a child author. I got as far as getting reported as one in a local paper (South Wales Echo) in 1980 - ironically in an item that was beneficial to my foul school. Then my chance to complete a book and be the same as Pamela Brown or Luke Jackson or Catherine Webb or Libby Rees was ruined, by abusive homework load and a terror system of effort-checking for enforcing it. This is an utterly scarring ruin of life and a crime of child cruelty. It has no sympathy from the mainstream media whatever, yet the unexplained lack of child authors to emerge in the period 1978-2001 suggests a whole stolen generation of us have had our creativity raped like this.

 

So talk about it.


Posted On 10-30-2006 7:38 PM
Your Name: Cherie L. Burau
Email Address: Cherieburau@hotmail.com
Organization: Special Education Teacher
Location: Buffalo Public Schools
How did you find our site?: Web research
Comment:

 

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