> “What’s a bad day?” I ask the class, when I’m done reading. “A school day,” Lea... says. Lea has always seemed perky and upbeat. I start to laugh as if Lea’s comment is a joke, but no one else does. Her eyes look watery. The boy beside her nods. I ask Lea why, and she tells me she is stressed out and unhappy, “every single day” during the week.
The principal of the school would like to eliminate homework, but the parents demand that their children are "challenged". There is no evidence that this pressure and forced study actually benefits children.
What about letting kids find out what they want to do for themselves? Try things out, feel free to fail without an adult standing over and judging them.
There is a totally different style of education called "democratic free schools" or "Sudbury schools" where children are free to do as they like (within democratically made rules), no curriculm, no mandatory exams or meetings, no book reports, no required English or math. In follow-up surveys, graduates are happy, well-adjusted, and successful.
Here is a 9 min intro video about the original Sudbury Valley School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awOAmTaZ4XI
And here is a book "Free to Learn": http://www.amazon.com/Free-Learn-Unleashing-Instinct-Self-Re...