PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, October 7, 2013

Do Kids Have Too Much Homework?

(Daniel Go/Flickr)

(Daniel Go/Flickr)

Journalist Karl Taro Greenfeld is well-known for his reporting on Asia. However, in a recent article in The Atlantic, Greenfeld wrote about the experience of doing his daughter’s homework for one week.

He was alarmed by how much homework she was being assigned, and gave himself the challenge of doing the assignments alongside her. He found it incredibly difficult, as the headline of his piece suggests: “My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me.”

Greenfeld joins Here & Now to discuss his article, and the reaction to it.

Interview Highlights: Karl Taro Greenfeld

Interesting but unreasonable

“The takeaway from it, for one thing, there is an awful lot of homework. And the content of that homework varies very widely from stuff that is very thought-provoking, that I found interesting and challenging, to stuff that seems a lot more like busywork that is very difficult to get done in a reasonable amount of time.”

Memorization versus comprehension

“We were doing earth sciences and she had written down some notes that I found incomprehensible. So I asked her…‘What does this actually mean?’ and she looked at me and said, ‘memorization not rationalization, dad.’ And I think a lot of kids face this, is that their time is so crunched, they just have to choose and triage and say ‘You know what? When it comes to this subject, I’m going to memorize, I’m going to understand just enough to get through it, and that’s good enough.’ In Spanish class, especially, she decided ‘You know what? I’m just going to understand enough to get through these tests. I’m going to use Google Translate…to get through a lot of my homework, and that is just what that’s going to be.’”

A strong curriculum

“It was a really impressive curriculum, and if she could somehow take aboard all that material, she would emerge a very well-rounded and interesting person. So on the one hand, I fault them for the, what I consider sometimes, an excessive workload. On the other hand, I have to give credit in saying ‘these people are really trying their best to mold interesting and intelligent people.’”

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

From controversial new textbooks to a Maverick family reunion, here are stories from Jeremy Hobson's week in Houston and San Antonio.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 2 8 Comments

Professor Says Jefferson Davis Statue Should Be Removed, Preserved

At the University of Texas at Austin, there are calls to take down a statue of the Confederate president on campus.

July 2 2 Comments

Sweet And Savory Watermelon

Our resident chef shares five recipes, including watermelon pickles and a watermelon, crab and arugula salad.

July 1 5 Comments

What It’s Like To Lead A Non-Hierarchical Workplace

Terri Kelly is one of few people with a title at W. L. Gore – the maker of Gore-Tex – and she says she really doesn't like having one.

July 1 3 Comments

Joy Williams’ New American Songbook

The singer-songwriter and four-time Grammy winner joins us with a playlist of what she considers quintessentially American music.