It's been a few years since my own kids were in elementary school, but I have clear memories of the nightly homework fight with my son. He HAAAAAATED doing homework, especially anything involving any type of writing. We spent so much time erasing and complaining and arguing. It's not a pleasant memory.
Now, as a teacher, I have a real love-hate relationship with homework. No, make that a hate-hate relationship.
I HATE trying to come up with meaningful assignments.
I HATE that the students who need extra practice are the same ones who never do their homework.
I absolutely HATE checking it.
It's just one more source of stress for everyone. So what's a teacher to do? I thought about scrapping homework altogether, but I'm part of a big grade level team and I'd be the only one not doing it. Plus, there are always those few parents who would never accept a straight no-homework policy. And personally, I don't feel like digging up nightly homework for a few individuals.
So this year I'm doing UN-HOMEWORK!
Huh? Yeah, you heard me... UN-homework.
My students are still going to have some assignments but they are going to come from a choice sheet... a list of activities that they can choose from.
These activities will involve very little paperwork and no checking on my part. In fact, a lot of these assignments will be fun and have the sole purpose of encouraging family time.
Here are some the un-homework assignments on my choice sheet.
Many of these will stay the same every week, but I'll be adding a few new ones here and there. One that I'll definitely include in the future is "Visit Sugar Mill Gardens". This is a very cool public garden in town that features sugar mill ruins from the days of Florida plantations. They were burned down during the Seminole Indian War but you can still see what's left of them.
Wouldn't this be a worthwhile family outing? It's free, easy to get to, and so much more meaningful than a doing a worksheet. They would learn so much in just half an hour walking through the gardens!
I know some of my students' parents won't take the time to do this one, but I'm going to add it to the list at least a couple of times throughout the year.
Now, how will I get parents on board with this idea? Most of them will be thrilled with no persuading necessary. But for the few that might not totally agree, I've come up with this little letter...
I am super excited to be making the switch to un-homework! It ALMOST makes me want to get back to school. Nah... I'll take my last few days of summer.
If you'd like editable versions of my choice sheet and parent letter, they are available in the free resource library. Enjoy!