Teaching Tip Tuesday – Homework Program

Nobody likes homework. I know that I sure don’t. I try to get most of my work done at school during my planning times. It’s part of my teaching philosophy to keep it at school.

That’s why I’ve really been thinking about what I want my homework program to look like this year. I discussed my idea of not assigning regular homework with my principal, but unfortunately the school board has a policy on homework. As such, it is expected that I assign and track homework progress.

I expect my students to use their time wisely in class. If students choose not to do so and don’t complete their work to the best of their ability, then homework is warranted. I sometimes have students stay in at lunch and recess to catch up on their work. That way, I can be assured that the work actually gets done.

It has been my experience that the vast majority of homework I assign never gets completed. I have a few hard-working and loyal students every year who consistently complete their homework. I try to motivate all my students to do so but it often feels like I am running uphill during a mudslide in a thunderstorm. And it seems equally pointless to chase students around about their homework. So I either give up the practice, or end up muddy and worn out.

So what can I do?

I think my best plan is to have some suggested homework ideas. I could brainstorm ideas with my class. For example, read for twenty minutes, help mom make dinner or a recipe, add up the grocery bill, practice your timetables, study the spelling words, etc.

After we come up with an extensive list, I can send a copy of it home with the students. They could keep it in the front pouch of their agenda / planner books or even stick it on the fridge at home.

The goal would be to do twenty minutes of work each night. It wouldn’t matter what that work was either. I wouldn’t have to assess it. I could simply ask the students every morning what they did for homework the night before. I could have parents sign the agenda / planner books as well. I could keep track of what the students said they did and that would be that.

Hmm, sounds like a plan.

I could also assign extra credit projects. This way, students could read, research, and report on any subject that interests them. I could give them two or three weeks to complete each project instead of doing daily homework. All I would need to ask them is what topic they are working on in the mornings.

Let me hear from you.

What you do think about these ideas?

What do you currently do for a homework program?
Do you find that it is effective?