New Report: Kids Say School is Too Easy
But don’t worry, kids, this report will ensure you get much more homework
Well, American kids definitely lead the world in one area: admitting to things sure to cut into their video game time. A study from the Center for American Progress reveals that from as early as 4th grade, kids are admitting that school fails to challenge them. The study also surveyed many junior high students who find history to be humdrum, and high school students who lament that they don’t do enough writing. Maybe that’s why teens love to text, it satisfies an unmet need to work on their reading comprehension.
This study is interesting when measured against the highly competitive prep and high schools. There are pockets within the education system that do a great job challenging kids. In fact, some are so competitive, they draw criticism that they’re too taxing. But those schools are the exception, not the rule.
So how should bored kids get the challenge they need from school? I say that they should assign more homework. This would teach self-discipline—arguably the single most valuable life skill. Our children are coming up in a world oversaturated with distractions. Facebook notifications, text messages, and emails all conspire to block kids from becoming their best. If a large amount of homework is assigned, it will force kids to focus on their schoolwork amidst a house full of distractions. Yep, more homework is the answer—just don’t make it so hard that the parent has to help.
Do you think schools should assign more homework?
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Why is there this conception that 'more homework = more challenging'? What happened to the focus on content that you were previously talking about? Homework indeed has its merit, but it only has that merit if it challenges a person to critically think. Give me 10 easy addition math problems, and I'll say its too easy. Give me 1000 easy addition math problems, and I'll say its too annoying. Give me 1 hard math problem, and I'll be studying the steps and logic and derivations that are required to solve it - that is worth more than any amount of tedious problems you'll throw at me.
I went through elementary, junior high, high school, and now am breezing through a university. Each time the teacher or professor will say something like, "Wait until you get to high school," or, "Wait until you get out to the real world." Here I am, still waiting for what they were trying to blow up into a big proportion.
The problem is there is not enough specific tiers of teaching for the great diversity of students and their ability to learn. Not enough teaching specialists. Too much grouping and simplifying classrooms among students of varying abilities to learn.
The problem is also that so much of the existing system is old, outdated. The United States is living in a huge tech era, amplifying the amount of resources that a child has to learn compared to the 90's. The lag to catch up is what is causing this statement of school being 'too easy'.
On another note, who honestly expects junior high history to be anything more than humdrum?
I remember back when I was in grade school. Around the 4th grade, I stopped being diligent about homework, so my grades suffered. My tests were always in the high 90% range, but my grades didn't reflect it, because I didn't do the homework, because it wasn't involving, and I simply didn't need it. I learned it in the classroom, practiced it in the classroom, and had been exposed to the same information repeatedly. It was ridiculously easy. (I actually had one teacher call my parents in for a conference and recommend that I don't get homework assignments, since I so clearly didn't need them)
That pattern of 'no homework but high test scores' followed me all the way to college. I often got low B's and C's, even though my in-class efforts clearly showed that I had a firm grasp of the content. Had there been reason to really apply myself, I would have gladly done so, and my grades would have reflected that.
However, in college, there's relatively little homework. The responsibility of learning and understanding the content is up to the student. Because of that abrupt shift from 'doing it all in class' to 'lecture the entire time, then go back to learn it at home', I struggled through my first semester. I was able to remedy it in subsequent semesters, but I feel that it wouldn't have been such an overwhelming transition if education remained challenging and engaging throughout each student's school experience.
My idea of a solution would be to split classes into smaller sizes, based on level of ability. That way, each group can be challenged at their own level, without completely overwhelming those that aren't as proficient at the topic. It definitely isn't a perfect solution, but it's certainly a lot better than "more homework".
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