Saturday, July 11, 2015

The time I gave up homework

So last year, probably 2 months into the school year, I gave up homework.  

I know what you are thinking... WHAT? You gave up homework? 

Yes, I gave up homework! And it was seriously the best thing I've ever done.  No joke. 

Kids liked it..... duh!

Parents seriously appreciated it! 

And it relieved SO much stress on me. I didn't have to make sure I had homework copied for the week.  I didn't have to worry about having time to check that the kids brought it back and time to check it to be sure it was correct.  I didn't have to motivate kids to bring it back.  I didn't have to give a consequence to those that didn't do it.  

So why did I give up homework?

Well ... #1 - The research done says it's not beneficial to elementary aged students and has no impact on their learning throughout the year.  If they are going to learn, they are going to learn and if they aren't - well - homework isn't going to help.

#2  It's impossible to give timely feedback and therefore any and all learning that could be done on it is moot.  

#3 Kids and parents are tired.  Kids go to school for 7-8 hours a day.  Parents work 8-12 (or any amount) of hours per day.  Now you add in afterschool, dance, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, dinner, bath.  I mean- where is the time?  

#4 There are so many other things kids can be doing rather than doing # 1-20 on a math worksheet, writing their spelling words in ABC order, doing their daily language review sheet, and filling out a reading log.  How about: Practicing how to be a teammate on their soccer team, learning persistence and not giving up even though you fell each time you did a cartwheel at gymnastics, going to the backyard and digging for worms, doing a science experiment.

I'm not even kidding you, this happened...

This is a child who would rather go outside and play baseball or do anything that did not have to do with reading ,writing, math, science, social studies.  One day, he decided to put together his own solar car (or something like that) and over summer intersession, this child brought a BOOK TO THE BEACH!  I am almost certain that if I required any homework throughout the year, that this child would have built a dislike of learning and for discovering the world around him, but instead, he became a scientist and a reader! And that's just one success story.  

And you know that?  This No Homework policy spread to my entire 2nd grade team.. and now to more and more teachers in my school that are taking up the same type of policy.  I truly think it's going to have a positive impact on the learners we teach in our classrooms each day.

So do I require the kids to do any at home learning? 

I require my students to read - every night if they can.  I tell them that reading isn't homework, it's lifework.  I do not assign a set number of minutes per night and I don't ask them to fill out a reading log.  Instead, they come up with a reasonable goal.  Some kids go for 20 at the beginning of the year while others who are more voracious readers, try for 30, 40, 50, an hour!  And if they don't get to read one night, well then, that's OK!

I also send home a "Learning Calendar" every month with possible activities that they might like to do.  Here's an example of one...

Again, this is not required, but if they have an afternoon free and want to do some fun learning, they can look on the calendar and choose something!

Last- if there is something one of my students is really and truly struggling with, this leaves afternoon time open for the kids so I can talk with the parents about what they can do to support their child at home to make learning at home have a positive impact on that child.

Does your school require homework?  If not, I encourage you to try this no homework policy.  Just get rid of one thing at a time! I really don't think you'll have any desire to go back once you say "Bye Bye  Homework!"


  1. I love this!!! I want to not have assigned homework next year. And I want to have options for kids/parents who do like ideas. But I mostly like "reading is lifework." Thanks for sharing what you do.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.