A Modest Proposal: Pump Up the Homework*
America is in a state of crisis. It isn’t what you think. Yes, the country is polarized politically, and congress is earning some of the lowest approval ratings in history. Sure, the economy has seen better days and our debt is astronomical. Crime and poverty continue to plague many of our cities and towns. But I’m focused on the biggest problem of all, on the source of all of our problems: homework. We simply aren’t assigning enough of it.
If only our teachers would stop and think for a moment: How can we better educate our youth? How can we develop young men and women with character? How can we raise leaders for the next century? If they were asking these questions, they would clearly come to the one, and only one, conclusion: homework. Homework is the answer to all of our woes! Let’s briefly review (as if it requires explanation…) just a few of the benefits of menial tasks homework.
First, we all know that the strength of our nation depends upon a solid family unit. Anything we can do to bring the family closer together is something we should be pursuing. And, as every parent knows, there is nothing more unifying between a parent and a child, nothing that can create an everlasting bond, like the cupid that is homework. In most homes across the land, parents hardly ever have to nag their children to do homework. And in those rare instances, one can sense all previous tension in the home subsiding, as parent and child lovingly discuss just how much the child would rather do homework than just about anything else. It is no wonder that homework contains the word “home” in it. It is the glue which binds families together, generating peace and harmony at all times.
Second, if children aren’t bombarded and overwhelmed with homework, the alternative is truly alarming. Many of these children would find themselves free to socialize with friends, exercise, and even -you’ll forgive me- play. Yes, that is correct, dear reader. Children left to their own devices will wander outside with their friends, possibly pick up a ball and throw it, and maybe even engage in real interactions with fellow human beings. All of these activities are dangerous from a number of perspectives. Outdoor play exposes children to real physical danger: bruises, cuts, and even scrapes. Talking to other children may lead children to believe that it is ok to genuinely speak to another human being without a smartphone serving as an intermediary. Why would we want our children to think such a crazy thing, now, in the twenty first century?
Third, these children won’t be in school for their whole lives. Our task is to inspire them to love learning now, so that they will continue to learn even after they have completed their formal studies. What better way to inculcate a love of learning than to force children against their will to complete endless worksheets from the comfort of their own homes?
And finally, homework is beneficial because…well, it is beneficial. Any good teacher assigns homework, right? And the more the better. Why? Because, that’s what teachers do. To even question the value of homework is absurd. Who could imagine any respectable teacher not assigning copious amounts of homework?
*(with a tip of the hat to Jonathan Swift and to Alfie Kohn)