Monday, November 21, 2011

Abolish the Homework Packets. Just Read.

Parents have this love/hate relationship with homework.
I know this because I've been teaching a long time.
On one hand, parents seem proud of the amount of homework because they think it shows how academically rigorous the curriculum is.
On the other hand, parents are concerned because the amount of homework their kids have interferes with family time, down time, free time. They worry that their kids are tired all the time and not getting enough sleep.
Kids seem to feel the same way, comparing the amount of homework they have with the amount they believe students of other schools do. And yet they complain about the work, too.
I'm not a fan of homework.
I'm a fan of reading.
Yep. Just reading.
And yes, graphic novels count.
I know this view makes people uneasy in this age of accountability. People will point at studies that show our country's students are falling behind.
Falling behind what? Other nations? Based on...standardized tests?
Not a newsflash: Our kids are more than their ability to wield a number two pencil effectively.
I don't believe in homework for kids of any age. If homework worked, we would be moving ahead in all areas of measurement. If homework worked, we'd have kids still be excited and lit up about school when they hit high school.
Everyone's job should be to read. Older students can annotate as well. Parents of younger kids should consider that nightly reading is as critical to their kid's development as feeding them.
Why should a second-grader be stressed out about homework?
Because it makes adults feel good. It looks good on paper.
It's not good for kids.
I say that kids need words and stories and worlds.
I say that kids will grow academically in all areas when they are allowed and encouraged to explore ideas and develop an inner life, unplugged from iPods and computers.
I think writing their own words and stories and creating their own worlds is good, too.
Call the school districts and school boards.
See what happens.
Revolutions have started on less.


  1. I have to agree. Homework is not fun. That's why I have reading at least one priority higher than homework.

  2. I love your ideas on teaching and learning. The best classes I had/have are those where they just trust us to read and do the work. We need to expand minds not make sure they can be bubbled in.

  3. Booo to homework! Yay to reading! Take care

  4. I fear that all they do is teach our kids to take tests, that's what the teachers are graded on, no on what the kids have learned, just on how they do on the tests. Thus, no education, just busy work.

  5. I couldn't agree more. When I was in school, I would read through my classes, the boring ones, at any rate. My best memories of school involve my reading of the books I loved while I was supposed to be doing something else.

    I still managed to graduate with honors, however. I don't know how I managed that. I think I learned the difference between the times when I really needed to pay attention and the times when I could twink out and read the books of my choice.