Saturday, October 7, 2017

Homework

    About three years ago, I completed overhauled my homework system.  I switched to a system of a single weekly review assignment, rather than the short daily assignments I had been accustomed to giving before that.  Here are the four reasons why I'm so glad that I changed to weekly homework.

  • #1:   Students have a chance to get help on homework.  When homework is due the next day, students really have no chance to get help if they don't understand something.  Currently, I assign homework on Friday and it is due on Thursday.  I feel comfortable that students have plenty of time to ask questions if they have it....and if something is left blank, I feel totally comfortable telling them that it is their responsibility to make sure they ask for help.   
  • #2:  This lightens the load and gives students a chance to practice time management.  As the mother of a student who works VERY slowly, I know what it is like to face a homework assignment every night....and it is not a good feeling.  Weekly homework gives students and families a chance to figure out what works for completing homework, and to build in plenty of time instead of knowing you only have one chance to get it done on time.  7th graders are notoriously bad at time management, and I feel like this is a good chance to start learning.  I can still remember the student I had many years ago who always struggled to finish anything that wasn't due the next day.  I remember him saying, "If you would just make it due tomorrow, I would remember to finish it."  I could practically see the light bulb go on for that boy when I told him that he could decide to make it due for himself the next day, even if my deadline was later.    
  • #3:  I like having a built in chance for spiral review.  Since the homework is not just over what we did in class that day, it gives me a great chance to frequently spiral back and review skills.  I really think it helps keep the skills fresh.  
  • #4:  I don't lose as much time grading homework, since we only have to check it once a week.  This is huge for me.  My class periods are only 46 minutes long, so losing 5 minutes every day is a lot.  But taking 10 minutes one day is much better.
      Now that I have done this for a few years, I have learned some lessons to make it work better in my classroom.  I will talk about those in my next blog post!  But I will say, I have finally figured out a way to do homework that I love and think is good for my students.

3 comments:

  1. I love this idea. It seems like a much easier way to do homework, and I would have loved this approach when I was in school. With all the extra curricular activities that students do, it gives them a chance to do the homework when they have a chance!

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  2. This seems like a great idea. So many kids are busy after school and daily homework can become a problem. I like that this gives them the flexibility to choose when to do the homework since it is not due every day.

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  3. Excellent idea. I taught for some years in the Silicon Valley where there was a great deal of pressure on students to complete extra work at home. It was exhausting for parents, teachers and students, and I am not sure the benefits outweighed the cons. I would have been much happier with this plan.

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