A compelling exposé of
homework – how it fails our children, why it’s so widely
accepted, and what we can do about it.
Death and taxes come later;
what seems inevitable for children is the idea that,
after spending the day at school, they must then
complete more academic assignments at home. The
predictable results: stress and conflict, frustration
and exhaustion. Parents respond by reassuring themselves
that at least the benefits outweigh the costs.
But what if they don’t? In
The Homework Myth, Alfie Kohn systematically examines the usual
defenses of homework – that it promotes higher
achievement, “reinforces” learning, teaches study skills
and responsibility. None of these assumptions, he shows,
actually passes the test of research, logic, or
So why do we continue to
administer this modern cod liver oil – or even demand a
larger dose? Kohn’s incisive analysis reveals how a
mistrust of children, a set of misconceptions about
learning, and a misguided focus on competitiveness have
all left our kids with less free time and our families
with more conflict. Pointing to parents who have fought
back – and schools that have proved educational
excellence is possible without homework -- Kohn shows
how we can rethink what happens during and after school
in order to rescue our families and our children’s love
"Parents take note: this is a stinging jeremiad against the assignment
of homework, which the author, a prominent educator, convincingly argues is a wasteful, unimaginative, and
pedagogically bankrupt practice that initiates kids into a soul-sucking rat race long before their time."
"The Homework Myth should be required reading
for every teacher, principal, and school district head in the country. . . . Kohn cites plenty of
research to back up his thesis. None of it shows the slightest connection between homework and independent
thinking. Kohn argues that homework is a burden to children, and, not surprisingly, their parents. . . .
It's hard not to see his point. Or wish that we could find other ways to measure intelligence and nurture
the curious minds of children."
"Alfie Kohn . . . has made a convincing case against homework
. . . . This book is typical of his work. It is engaging, informative, and exudes the passion that drives
him to write. It is a well-researched volume with more than 300 references. Kohn has never been better at
challenging the status quo and declaring that the emperor has no clothes."
--Kappa Delta Pi Record
"Kohn takes many of the things we assume about homework and shreds
them, showing over and over how little research there is to back up all the accepted theories. . . . [He] chip[s]
away at the conventional thinking that homework improves achievement, that homework improves grades, that homework
builds character and all the other things we've heard about it since we were doing it . . . Worse, [it] may
have the adverse effect of dulling a child's interest in learning altogether.
"'Some parents seem to figure that as long as their kids have lots of stuff to do every night, never mind
what it is, then learning must be taking place.' That statement, early in the book, is the one that will keep parents
reading the rest of the book. And hopefully, teachers, too. Because, in the end, what Kohn wants parents and teachers
to do, if nothing else, is think about this homework issue. Really think. And then talk about it among themselves.
And, ultimately, take that conversation to the principal and the district level. And that may be the crucial thing
parents and teachers take away from the book: Challenge the status quo."
--San Diego Union Tribune
"Like all Kohn's books, The Homework Myth provokes thought and encourages
activism. But best of all, it brings back the now almost forgotten question: 'What is good for the child?'"
--Our Schools / Our Selves
"Powerful and thought-provoking."
--Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry