Quite Right

Brit TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp has been making waves:

Kirstie Allsopp has been vocal about her desire to ban homework in the past, and today the presenter hit out again, branding it a ‘waste of time’.

…and I agree with that, completely.

However, it’s what else she says that’s the best advice anyone can give:

The Location, Location, Location host, 47, who has two sons Bay, 12, and Oscar, 10 with husband Ben Andersen, took to Twitter to respond to new figures released today, which revealed a ‘decline in reading for pleasure.’
According to the research, just over half (52.5 per cent) of eight to 18-year-olds read for pleasure in 2019, down from 58.8 per cent in 2016.

She wrote: ‘No evidence that under 10s gain from homework AND kids hate it, parents hate it and teachers hate it.’
‘Homework is an absurd hangover from another time. Much, much better to focus on reading, reading, reading and more reading.’

Yup.  Back when we homeschooled our three kids, the only mandatory exercise we imposed was three hours’ reading per day, no excuses, no “I’ll catch up tomorrow” or any of that jive.  Three hours straight, and the kids had to read outside their rooms (no distractions), whether in the library (where there was no TV) or, if the weather was suitable, outdoors.  For reading choice, there was my humble book collection (e.g. Bookcase #1 in the library):

…but the kids could also get their own, and the monthly trip to Barnes & Noble was a delight.  There was no spending limit other than self-imposed, but the books had to be text-only, i.e. no coffee-table picture books, comics or manga etc.

The kids could study other subjects, and did, but the reading was non-negotiable.  Kirstie has the truth of it:  all three of our kids are scarily literate.


  1. My bookshelves are wider, and I need a ladder to reach the top shelf but I’ve only two. They are full. Kindle is saving me.

  2. As my ol’ gray haired Pappy used to say, “Teach a kid to read, then get out of the way.” We home educated our only child, then assisted thousands of people worldwide in educating their own children, and my wife wrote a book about homeschooling, now in it’s 2nd edition. The most common use for public schools is as daycare centers for people that care about other things more than their kids. Most talk it but very few walk it.

  3. I have often stated that the single most valuable thing my parents did for me was to teach me to read earlier than I can remember. Certainly before I started school. Heck, my kindergarten teacher took me to read to her husband’s sixth grade class.

    My mother was once scolded for letting me read a comic book. (I was small enough to still be sitting in the grocery cart, so this was, ah, a couple years ago.) Her reply was that letting kids read things they enjoy will encourage them to read more. She was right. I made great use of my library card over the years.

  4. I think it depends upon the subject. Subjects where repetition is necessary should benefit from homework drumming the lesson in. I have mathematics and translation in particular mind. Of course, the latter is just ensuring accurate reading.

  5. 13 schools in the 60’s. (we moved a few times, 3 states) Hated homework, waste of time. Many frustrated teachers, as tests were the only thing I got graded on. Usually read the textbooks the first week. (I noticed they quite often didn’t agree with the books in their own library) Spent my time reading, at least 2 books a day. Your wall of books would have kept me occupied for a few months. At some point, I became more methodical with new-to-me libraries, and would just start at A or Z, and look for books I hadn’t encountered yet. Small libraries (schools and community) were fairly uniform in what they stocked, sigh…

    Oddest place I read a book: passenger on a motorcycle (Norton 750 Commando), after my Norton ate a crank bearing. FL going north on I-95? (about ’73) was a boring scene for a couple states.

  6. My best ‘books’ memory was of walking into the local library (Bilborough, north Nottingham) aged 8 with my very own library card, for the first time. Books fascinated me, I’d already read the numerous books at home so my parents put me up for junior library membership.
    I think that I read every one of W.E.John’s ‘Biggles’ books, then Rudyard Kipling’s exciting tales, then after that I explored. No books were ‘forbidden’, I could take out any book I wanted to. I must have read hundreds before we left England to go to Bulawayo.

    1. Steve,
      Would it surprise you to know that I HAVE every Biggles book, still?

  7. I can’t even imagine not reading. My earliest memories are of happily reading. Words on a page, gimme!

    I grant I do a fair bit of reading via Kindle now, but let’s just say I’ve made Larry Correia, Peter Grant, and Jim Curtis all very happy fellows in my own small way (among others) 😀

  8. Yup. There is a time and place for homework, quite limited, but reading is fundamental (to steal a phrase). I can’t remember NOT reading. And to this day, I’m the guy who has to read everything put in front of me – if it has words, I will read it. I can’t NOT read it. Literally, ANYTHING.

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