I’m someone who has always
struggled with homework.
I hate the idea of kids and parents stressing out for hours after school, when kids should be busy being kids! All too often, I hear that students are breaking down and crying because homework overwhelms them. And I don’t blame them. I know my brain is tapped out after a full day of teaching. The last thing I want to do when I go home is practice what I just spent all day on! I also hear that parents struggle to help their children, or struggle to convince them to complete homework, and that it often leads to fighting. I never want to impose something on my students that will cause them to fight with their parents.
However, homework can provide an opportunity to be independent and to grow as a functioning being in our society. Last school year, I made homework optional and on an “as needed” basis. What I found was the students who didn’t need to do homework did it, and the students who desperately needed support from home didn’t do it. Ugh.
This school year, I finally thought of something that I think is perfect. I’m calling it “home challenges.” I am a strong believer that kids need to learn social and emotional skills just as much as academics, if not more. So this year, homework in my class will be weekly social and emotional challenges to complete at home with family members, friends, or independently. Things like, “write a grocery shopping list with a family member,” and “go on a nature walk and write about something you saw that was interesting.” I want to encourage kids to be kids. To get outside. To interact with their family members and communities. To have a role in their households. I’m really excited to see how many challenges my kiddos can complete this year!
I created a 35+ page packet that teachers can use to implement these home challenges in their own classrooms. It has 27 weeks worth of homework challenges PLUS a bonus for each challenge, a parent letter, student and teacher tracker sheets, and awards.
Click here to find it!