I’m going to confess something that some of you may think is crazy:
In my fifth grade classroom I don’t give any homework.
At the beginning of the day they students write down everything we’re going to do that day on their assignment sheet. As we go through the subjects I teach, we do sample problems together, and then they have a little bit of independent practice. If they finish the independent practice they check off the assignment. At the end of the day we have a 45 minute study hall for them to work on anything they didn’t finish. After that, if they have anything left (which is rare) that is their homework.
Parents know about my policy – they know that the students have adequate time in class plus study hall, so if they have lots of homework then it means the student most likely didn’t spend his time wisely. I’m available during study hall to pull small groups and help if students have any questions (usually in math). Study hall is also a time when students can make corrections to their tests and earn back points (they can correct their mistakes and earn half a point back for each problem they fix – more on that in another blog post to come :))
I told them their “unofficial assignments” were to play outside, read to a younger sibling, help with the dishes, etc. My students – and their parents – love this policy! It gives them more time to spend with their families, participate in sports/activities, and just be kids. Every month or so they will have a project they’ll need to work on at home, but the lack of day-to-day homework frustration has been a game-changer in my classroom. I haven’t found a major change in quiz or test scores since eliminating homework – I am purposeful in choosing the problems the students do as independent practice and this helps them master the concept without an hour of busy work each night.
What about YOU? How much homework do you give each night?