Does “The Homework Myth” = “The Tutoring Myth”

This is a comment I just posted on Remi Collins’ blog about parents asking if they should enroll their children in after school tutoring.

We just finished parent conferences at my school and I was thinking about Kohn’s “Homework Myth” throughout. The number of times I was asked about tutoring was staggering!

I agree, that much of the homework that is assigned isn’t meaningful. Children who “get it” at school don’t need to continue proving this by doing the same work at home, and students who don’t “get it” at school aren’t likely to get it once they take it home and struggle through an assignment they don’t understand.

But the issue of tutoring, especially for young boys (because it was mostly the parents of boys who asked for my thoughts) surprised me.
What is going on there? I have read “The Homework Myth” and I agree with so much of what Kohn has to say. I haven’t read any research on tutoring, but I’m guessing Kohn’s position would be the same for tutoring and homework.

I would love to see schools creating policies about reducing homework, in favour of kids spending time in sports, arts and reading. Reading! As A resource teacher, every teacher I met with during conferences with parents, replied, “support reading at home every night, in any language” to the “how can I help?” question. But I’m not sure most parents were listening. So what to do next time? Maybe provide articles, discussing the importance of reading for pleasure?
All this left me thinking, who is advocating for tutoring for young kids? Parents? Private tutoring agencies? Teachers?

I was a great student in elementary school. I did well. I loved to read. I loved school and my teachers. And had my folks decided I needed more school time, I would have hated it. After school time was for reading what I wanted to, for getting on my bike, girl guides, soccer practice and swimming lessons, and afterschool ski trips with my dad, when my mom let us go.

Now imagine I didn’t like school, and didn’t feel successful there. Or, like some of my students – I’m barely holding it together to sit at that desk for most of the day and am trying my best to listen, pay attention and work harder. I would get MORE school?!  I would move in to my tree fort and never come down.

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