Are we overloading our kids with homework and killing their creativity?

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hwAccording to recent news (see Flanders Today and Klasse Leraren), in some countries, such as Belgium, children are overloaded with homework:

Secondary schools are overloading students with homework, according to Lyle Muns, chairman of the Flemish secondary school students organisation. Muns feels excessive homework assignments are obliging many students to stay home too much, with too little time to develop essential social skills. Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that Flemish 15-year-olds spend an average just over six hours a week on homework; their Finnish counterparts, for instance, spend 3.7 hours a week on assignments but achieve better results.

Personally, I have nothing against working and studying hard, as long as it involves intrinsic motivation strongly coupled with spiritual satisfaction, but I have also started to get the impression that kids these days, at least a representative sample I generally come across, are really busy; busier than adults, if I may say so!

Finland, in this case, stands as the ultimate example of the worn out cliché “work smarter, not harder”. Nevertheless, I think we need to think more about the correlation (and the causality relationship) between the amount of homework given to the kids and their long-term success, because, well, in the long-term that’s what counts, and not some temporary test scores that helps the feelings of teachers and parents.

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The case for child welfare in OECD countries: Let the data speak for itself

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After reading an interesting piece of news titled ‘1 in 4 children in US raised by a single parent‘ I decided to explore recent OECD statistical data in more detail. Being the data geek I am, I was more than happy to find that OECD created very nice and easy-to-use visualization interfaces for many data sets related to the welfare of children:

OECD Data Visulization - Children in Poor Homes

OECD Data visualization - Children in Poor Homes

From average disposable income to inequality in literacy, from infant mortality rates to public spending figures for early childhood, it is possible to dive into the world of data and see how good your country does, compare it with other countries and learn more about the parameters OECD considers worth recording for analyzing childhood welfare. More

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