At my spring conferences I had a lot of parents asking me if I was still sending homework, or if their children were just hiding it and pretending they did not have any to do.
It was an interesting conversation that went something like this…
Parent -Johnny (names changed to protect the innocent!) says he doesn’t get homework any more but I feel like maybe he is hiding it from me. Are you really not giving them homework?
Me(<– guilty) – Yes, I am really not giving them homework, Johnny is telling you the truth.
Parent- Why not?
Me – I have come to the realization that it does not serve its purpose. I sent homework to reinforce concepts as extra practice. Often it is done incorrectly by many students in the class. What are they practicing if they do it wrong? I would rather spend the time practicing in our classroom.
Parent – So he is really not getting homework?
Me- I send homework maybe once or twice a week. It will be a lined sheet of paper with one question on it…”What did you learn today in school?” or “What is something you did well today?” It helps you to find out more about your child’s day and bridge the gap from school to home. It also gives your child a chance to reflect on the day, themselves, and what they learned. For me it helps to gain some idea of what was memorable about their day so that I can plan more interesting and exciting lessons.
Parent – So you are not really giving homework then?
Me – No, not every night, and it will not be the same type of homework you are used to getting. It may be different when they have a different teacher, but I am sticking with what I believe is best for them.
Parents will be confused by this idea. Every kid has to sit through hours of torment with homework, don’t they? Well, you are the teacher, you make the decision, do your students need extra practice? Will that extra practice be successful if done at home? or Will you just have to break bad habits? For me, I am done with homework, I will not be giving traditional homework again. I will not be uttering that 4 letter word in my classroom again!
From now on, anything that gets sent home as work is a reflection, and all I expect is honesty and effort.