Monday, October 20, 2008

Y'all tell me: homework around the world

I'm "borrowing" this You Tell Me...  idea from Nathan Bransford who has my favorite blog.  I wanted to get some feedback so... Y'all tell me...

Since my most read post is about homework, I thought I would revisit the issue.  I've been asking around to get some personal stats from people that I know in different countries to see what school is like where they are--how much homework there is.  So far I've gotten a little bit of feedback.  A friend's little sister is on an exchange in Spain for the year (11th grade) and she said that she generally has 15 minutes of homework a night there compared to 4 hours of homework a night here.  I figured the difference would be significant, but I was completely floored at how big it actually was.  The classes that she mainly has homework in?  foreign language.

A friend from Norway told me that they just lowered the age for school to start there 4 years ago from 7 to 6.  He doesn't have any kids but he said that he knows they don't have any homework that first year.   The reason they lowered the starting age?  Pressure to have as many years of schooling as the rest of Europe.  Most European countries have 10-12 years of school and Norway only had 9.  Will it make for more educated kids?  Will they be more well rounded?

I'm still waiting to hear from a friend in Switzerland, but I think they have a fair amount of homework there.  I'm anxious to hear what she says.  I'll let you know when I hear.

How about the rest of you who live in foreign countries or have lived there?  Becky, what was it like in France?  When I was there, I wasn't really aware of that kind of things, since I didn't have any kids then.  


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey there!
My kids had a good bit of homework in France. Probably as much as they have here, and school wasn't over until 4:30. My youngest started nursery school at 2--most kids start then if they aren't already at the garderie--the child care center. I was very impressed with their schools. It was quite a culture shock to return home-- my kids couldn't believe how smiley American teachers are!

lotusloq said...

Thanks for your comments. I'd heard that about french teachers. One of my French profs said that a lot of the teachers there tend to use belittling techniques to get the kids to perform better. I don't think that would go over very big here. I was surprised that they always handed papers and tests back in the order of the score--highest first and lowest last. I thought that was pretty harsh for the poor schmuck who always had the lowest grade.

spinregina said...

No children yet bringing home homework, so no knowledgeable opinion. However, can you blog about homeschooling?

lotusloq said...

That's a great idea. I'll have to do that. I heard from my friend in Switzerland and her kids have the 10 minute per grade rule. The high school kids have lots of homework, but at that point the classes aren't mandatory. They choose university track instead of apprenticeships.