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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Education

Choosing real life over imposed homework

I’m so glad to see staff columnist Jerry Large spreading Alfie Kohn’s message about the evils of homework [“Homework hater’s spiel makes sense,” Local News, March 9].

I know many families that struggle with homework and whose kids have no down time. When my friend talks about her sixth-grader doing two hours of homework a night, I feel horrified — and a little guilty — because homework never intrudes on my family’s evenings.

What I want for my 11-year-old son is much like what Kohn’s audience listed as long-term goals for their children: “Be a mensch, happy, independent, curious, self-motivated, passionate … ”

My son’s unusual school supports him to develop these attributes. At The Clearwater School, he doesn’t get homework or grades. Instead, he chooses how to spend his time and what to learn. The students also make the rules, mediate disputes between other students and hire and fire staff.

My son doesn’t see reading as a chore and has time to read for pleasure. I sent him to Clearwater because I wanted him to be happy and develop his whole self.

Indulgent? Maybe. But, Clearwater students grow into well-rounded adults with practical skills employers and colleges love. Every day, my son makes real decisions that affect his life and community.

At Clearwater, school isn’t drilling to practice responsibility; it’s real life.

— Amanda Klein, Seattle

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