Just read an interesting article from the LA Times on some schools that are cutting back on homework. Afterwards, I kept thinking about what the article had said.
Apparently my son's school did not get that same memo, as they have been piling on some serious quantities of work since the 3rd grade. Sure, some of it has probably been busy work. However, I have been really impressed by the quality of some of the assignments.
For example, they had a weekly assignment called "Crack The Code". This was 7 problems, one for each day of the week. One was a Sudoku, another a cipher of numbers to figure out what was the sentance actually encoded. There would frequently be a list of numbers where one of them did not belong, one week they were all prime numbers except for one. Basically, with homework like this, these kids will be ready for their Google interviews.
But much homework at less well funded and organized schools than the creme-de-la-creme of LA's gifted magnet programs is likely a lot less fun and interesting than what I just described. That said, is it really right to just give up? Kids need time to play and have fun, and they also need to spend some time getting to that mythical 10,000 hours to mastery.
The real question is, how can we make learning more fun?