Day 16 (of 185) ah, homework
I came home and my youngest was very proud of herself….she was asked to do 5 angles for homework….and she did 15 and wanted me to give her an angle to figure out.
I do like it when homework makes a connection to learning….and even more so when it is student initiated….
But I also get nervous when homework is used to do something that it shouldn’t…..something I got an example of today via a For Better or For Worse comic:
added: and 20 minutes after I posted this I saw a tweet/blog from @stevebarkley : http://barkleypd.com/blog/homework-home-learning/
When homework is assigned to “teach something other than what it is designed for”….I worry we are hoping for too much. In my opinion, homework needs to have purpose and meaning. Memorizing vocabulary/terms isn’t the same as “budgeting your time”…..in many cases the fallacy of “X minutes per grade” isn’t even appropriate – I’ve always been a pretty fast reader and can cover a lot of information in 15 mins….but my cursive script always slowed me down (until typing became the great equalizer!)
Homework can widen the gap between students, and we have to acknowledge that. Assigning “marks” to it won’t help. Those that can/have the time and ability to get it done independently will always benefit compared to those who have “extra responsibilities” from co/extra curricular activities in arts and sports to “family responsibilities” which can vary widely from person to person and year to year.
Now, I love it when students ask/tell me that they are doing work on their own to extend their learning…..but I focus on descriptive feedback rather than scores /10, so the extra work benefits themselves without creating a “grade gap” between students…taking their learning deeper based on interest and motivation.
I still hope to encourage nightly reading (15 mins) and writing (as I still try to do – though the time does vary) and even some math (though I like using games: http://www.nsh.sd83.bc.ca/VirtualAssignments ) and will make exceptions for regular practice for musical instruments ….. but mainly because there is usually some passion connected to the instrument (even the recorder….playing the theme from Frozen…)
But… “as time allows”… I hear about (and see) the stress that ensues when “extra work” gets assigned…and even more so when the task is not as clear as it may have been four hours earlier. I’ve never (?) been upset when life interrupted planned “work at home” (there have been some projects that need out-of-school work/learning – esp involving assignments around family) but I try to never have “absolute deadlines”…..and I’ve always encouraged families that if it becomes frustrating (even the 15 mins of reading) to leave the work alone and instead take a break and ask good questions the next day.
I do enjoy discussions around homework and love some of the thinkings around it:
and I could go on about the “blackmarket” of homework “sharing”…..but that may be for another time (don’t want to give away all the secrets of my youth)