Friday, June 20th, 2014
The Swedish town of Hallstahammars is reportedly considering a school-sanctioned ban on homework, in an attempt to encourage students to learn efficiently, which means minimizing the stress that can come with an unmanageable homework load. More from ABC News:
Leena Millberg, the head of schools in Hallstahammars, said officials for the municipal government are still investigating if the proposal to ban homework makes sense. However, the students of Hallstahammars shouldn’t jump for joy just yet. Millberg said if the proposal does go through it’s likely that the school day would be lengthened.
“When children learn to read, for example … we often give them homework to train,” Millberg told ABC News. “If we want to do that in the school day, we may need to make the school day a bit longer.”
The debate is not unique to the town hall of Hallstahammars, according to education experts.
Arguments for and against homework have raged on and off for decades according to Harris Cooper, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, who has researched how homework impacts families.
“It comes in waves,” said Cooper. “Generally it comes into public consciousness, giving kids too much or too little, depending on broader societal [news].”
Cooper said when a country’s reading or math comprehension is ranked lower than expected it can lead officials to want to ramp up homework. However, when studies show children are overworked or stressed, Cooper said officials will look at pulling back on assignments. In 2012, French President Francoise Hollande proposed banning homework in the country, though that proposal did not go through.
Cooper said he did not know of a country or region that has fully banned homework from schools. “Homework has been with us for a century,” said Cooper.
Image: Girl doing homework, via Shutterstock
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Monday, June 16th, 2014
Fathers are far more engaged with their children than they were four decades ago, according to a new British study that found that dads spend seven times as much time with their kids as they did during the 1970s. More from the Guardian:
While the time focused on their offspring still comes in at a fairly low average of 35 minutes a day for working fathers, it is far higher than the five minutes registered in 1974. Mothers’ quality time with their kids has also risen over the same period, from 15 minutes a day to an hour.
But while it would seem to be good news for children, the researchers found a worrying social disparity over how that extra time is spent. More educated parents were far more likely to report spending time helping their children with homework, while parents without further or higher education were less likely to get involved in any kind of learning activity.
The research, by Dr Almudena Sevilla of the school of business and management at the University of London and Cristina Borra of the University of Seville, used parent and child time diaries between 1974 and 2005 and looked at how parents divided heir time between work, leisure and childcare over a 24-hour period.
Sevilla said the research, to be presented at the ESRC Research Methods Festival this month, showed that, while the extra time given by mothers was coming out of their leisure time or time doing housework, fathers were finding more time out from their working lives, indicating more appreciation of the importance of fatherhood versus a career.
However, Sevilla said the main implication of the findings was about inequality. “If more educated parents are spending more time with their kids in valuable activities for their development, then children will be doing well. But what do you do about the children whose parents are not spending their time in these kind of educational activities? That’s the question for policy makers I think.
“With this data we couldn’t tell the impact on child development, but other research has been done that suggests the more time we spend with our children, the better for cognitive development.”
Find out what career your child will have and shop fun kids’ games.
Image: Father helping son with his homework, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
French President François Hollande has made a promise that kids are likely to love–as part of a sweeping package of changes to the country’s education system, Hollande proposed a ban on homework. “Work should be done at school, rather than at home,” Hollande said. Time.com has more:
He also proposes reducing the average amount of time a student spends in class in each day, while stretching the school week from four days to four and a half. It’s a bid to bring the country more in line with international standards and to acknowledge some of the current system’s shortcomings. Even the homework isn’t just an empty populist gesture — it’s meant to reflect the fact that many of the lowest-performing students lack a positive support environment at home.
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Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Everyone has their own ways of coping with the stresses of modern motherhood, and a new survey commissioned by Ivory, the soap made by consumer products company Procter & Gamble, has found that as many as 66 percent of moms admit to hiding out in the bathroom just to get some quiet time.
The survey, which was based on data collected from 1,000 mothers, reports other findings on what overwhelms moms the most, and how they cope including:
- 75 percent of moms feel pressure to make every daily experience a “teachable moment” for their children.
- More than 60 percent of moms said that filling out tax returns is less complicated than their children’s math homework.
- Moms say they receive parenting advice more than 3 times each week, regardless of whether they’ve asked for it.
- 83 percent of working moms say they have the harder job; 60 percent of stay-at-home moms say the same.
Image: Woman relaxing in bathtub, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, September 2nd, 2011
A T-shirt for girls sold by JC Penney caused an online uproar this week for its message suggesting that pretty girls don’t do homework.
Sold in sizes 7 to 16, the shirt said, “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me.” The description of the shirt read: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.”
But many bloggers and others saw the shirt as anything but cute, decrying what they viewed as an unhealthy message for young girls.
“I have three bright, funny nieces who are 7, 5 and 5 and I never want them to believe the message on this shirt is true,” Jessica Wakeman wrote on TheFrisky.com. “Its sale price ($9.99 down from the original $16.99) seems to indicate that people may be too smart to buy into such girl-undermining messaging,” Jen Doll wrote on The Village Voice blog. Jenna Sauers on Jezebel.com said that the tee “explicitly associates intelligence with being a boy, and looking pretty with being a girl.” An online petition demanding that JC Penney stop selling the shirt quickly gathered more than a thousand signatures.
JCPenney reacted within hours of the first complaints Wednesday, removing the shirt from its website, and issuing a statement. From The Village Voice:
J.C. Penney is committed to being America’s destination for great style and great value for the whole family. We agree that the “Too pretty” t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale. Our merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers and are taking action to ensure that we continue to uphold the integrity of our merchandise that they have come to expect.
Kate Coultas, spokeswoman for JC Penney, told The Voice:
“One of the reasons we’re so outraged is that this is not what we stand for. We’ve facilitated over $100 million [in donations] over the past 10 years to support after-school programs in local communities. That’s a key important message for us.”
What do you think of the T-shirt? Would you let your daughter wear it?
(image via: http://www.thefrisky.com)
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