What if our standing homework assignment was to spend time with family, friends, and personal passions? Time to work on our home, not just time to extend school into the place called home. When we think of the balance we want in our own lives and in the lives of our children, might such a practice actually advance us all? What might students choose to do…with time?!
- Longer, recent post from Bo about homework
- Recent Garr Reynolds post about slowing down to appreciate what’s important
I teach two traditionally no-homework classes and now one traditional homework class. Coming from the non-homework background, I’m not really used to giving it, and I don’t really know what to do with it anyway. I find going over the homework still takes class time away, time that could be better spent actually working on it together. So I just don’t give it. This has put us a little behind the other classes. My students have read fewer short stories, but I really don’t think they’ve *learned* any less.
As an English teacher, it’s hard to get through a novel without assigning some reading at home. I try to alternate days of reading in class with a day where the chapter is for homework. It pains me to do it though!
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I am struggling with that right now. This is the first year that I have given only optional homework in my junior high classes. However, I’m tempted to try to “flip” my classroom since I’m hearing so many positive things about that, but that involves reinstating homework to some extent. I’d be interested in knowing what you and others think.
Kristen, I hope others wiser and more experienced than I will chime in – I think you ask an invaluable question. Like you, I have read extensively about the flipped classroom, and I find great value in its concepts and practices. For this post, though, I wondered about when people (students) have real time for “the rest of themselves.” As for me, I am more than just what I work on at school. I say that my family – A-B and the boys – means more to me than ANYTHING…and I really believe this. BUT…do I really act this way? On average, during the week, I spend about 2 hours with my boys. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH! Part of the issue is “my homework.” Part of the issue is their homework. When do we get to work on us? On our home? This should be in the balance, shouldn’t it? Isn’t this also part of being a whole person, or is school mostly responsible for us being whole people [tongue in cheek]? I wrote a different reply of a similar vein on Megan Howard’s 60-60-60 post today: http://marymeganhoward.com/2012/03/19/changed-60-60-60-learn-at-home-work/
Thanks, Bo. I loved Megan’s post and commented there if you are interested in my reply.
I claim neither to be wiser or more experienced, but here’s my two cents: I think we’re all incredibly harried. We’re simply doing too much. We need to slow down and take time for what’s important. Some of what’s important is learning to communicate well (listening and reading, as well as speaking and writing), learning some math concepts, and learning some history and science. But what if we had to do reduce the amount of HW we assigned by four fifths (80%), so that five hours of work had to be distilled to one hour. Which hour would we choose? And would things be better for doing less? I suspect so (though at some point, many students will need to learn to read large volumes of materials).