"What day is it?" asks the little D as we go to school in the morning.
"Thursday," I reply, and can't help adding, "and what day is tomorrow?" You see he still has a tenuous grasp of the sequence of weekdays, and I figure a little impromptu drilling can't hurt. He ignores the question in his usual pre-teenage way.
"Yay! No homework today!" he yells.
"Why not?" I ask.
Well, it turns out that his class has managed to be "good" enough on every occasion when it counted towards a star, or, more accurately, a marble which was placed in a jar. When the jar is full, they have no homework for a weekful of days, which they, again collectively, decided to take one day off a week on Thursdays. Apparently a marble can be taken out too, for "bad" behavior. Seems to be a school rule, as D claims that any teacher can affect the marble level.
"You mean that if you (not putting him on the spot or anything) are bad, the whole class is 'punished?'"
"But everyone has to be good to have a marble added?"
And I thought collective punishment was outlawed under the Geneva Conventions...oops, I forgot that as of Oct 19, 2006, our dear lame-duck President Bush had decided that these laws no longer apply to the inhabitants of these United States of America.
Didn't take long for the news to hit the local schools, did it? Just kidding...
But on a more interesting note, what does this say about the symbolism of homework as conveyed by our school? If you can avoid homework by being "good" (albeit collectively), then:
- Homework must not be "necessary" for academic success.
- Homework is "bad" and a chore.
Is this what the little D needs to hear?
And do the authors of the book mentioned by me and originally by OTBKB (here) a few weeks ago, "How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It", who'd agree with D in considering homework evil, or at least non-productive, know about this trend?