Thursday, July 7, 2016

Why I'm Quitting Homework {And What I'm Doing Instead}


Times they are a changin', am I right? In technology, fashion, politics, you name it! Change is the name of the game--especially in education. As teachers, we are breaking the mold, questioning tradition, and hurtling into a horizon of endless possibilities. Change is hard, but progress is better. And I like progress. I also like news:

I, Erin Waters, am no longer assigning homework. You heard me correctly. The homework that has been in my life since my very own schooling began, is out. I. Am. DONE. As the cool kids say these days, I just CANNOT with the homework anymore. And before I tell you why, you better sit down. Because it's shocking. And it might hurt a little:

I've always thought that sending homework home with my students was helping them, and me, to reinforce topics we've learned in the classroom. HOWEVER; recent studies have shown that the correlation between homework and achievement in the elementary grades is very minimal, if not nonexistent.  I know, right?

In fact, studies have shown that too much homework in the elementary grades actually has a negative impact on students. Take a look:


And here's another thing: the National Educator's Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association recommend 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night. See how that works out for your classroom:


BUT then--there's this:


THREE times too much. That is so much time that is unnecessarily spent. And it turns out, kids don't have much free time to begin with:

The average 8-year-old has one crazy busy life! To top it off, K-5 students receive an average of 40 minutes of homework per day. Ain't nobody got time for that!

Alsooooo, as if 3x too much homework isn't bad enough, studies show there is a severe lack of time available to spend as a family. Due to busy schedules with working parents and school-aged children, the average family spends 2.5 hours per day together. 

That's all, folks.


And 40 minutes of homework is almost 1/3 of "family time" being spent on homework.

Not only does homework encroach on what little family time is available, but this schedule also leaves very little room for play. Kids need to play, but spend a lot of this time hunched over a table with a pencil and frustration.


This is bad. This is really bad.

Now, I've thought a LOT about doing away with traditional homework. This is no willy nilly decision on my part. I've done my research. And once I did my research, I thought about my own experience with homework in my classroom. I've come to realize that, in addition to the statistics, we face the following problems with homework. First of all, homework is: 


Homework doesn't offer much choice. It is assigned, and it has a due date. Elementary students are expected to learn autonomy, responsibility and making the right choices; yet we are not giving them a chance to choose their own learning path!

Also (the worst in my opinion), a lot of times homework is:


OMG. This one just hurts my heart. In classrooms and schools that assign homework, it is common practice to punish the kids when homework isn't turned in on time or done correctly. I'm talking loss of recess*, notes home, deduction of Dojo** points if that's your thing--and more often than not, these kids are being punished for something that is out of their control:

I am a total cheerleader for accepting responsibility for one's actions, but there are a few factors regarding homework in the primary grades that make this a little tricky:
  • These are children. With ages in the single digits. Sounds crazy, but at this age, most kids do this weird thing called following the schedule given to them by their parents. In busy households, homework is sometimes put on the back burner---many times understandably so, given the busy-ness. This is an adult choice, and students should not be punished for a decision made by their parents.
  • Resources vary from home to home. Many families do not possess the same amount of time, education, language skills, or basic supplies to complete homework assignments. A class of students should not be held to the same set of standards when their home lives most likely vary drastically.
*I also must reiterate that I am SO against taking recess from a child, but that's a post for another time.
**I also must reiterate that I am SO in love with Class Dojo. But that's also a post for another time.

Also, I totally get that things of this nature establish a work ethic. But we do TONS of work ethic establishing during the school day. It's time we make some exceptions.

If you are totally a homework person and this is super depressing, I've got news for you: It's going to be okay. I've lost actual sleep over these stats, and realized I (we) needed a solution. Are you ready for the good news, my friends? I have a solution that will save YOU sleep. And time. And lots more:



Friends, I am please to introduce to you...


This little guy has been brewing for MONTHS. Un-Homework is my answer to the woes of traditional homework. Homework as a thing is still physically there, it just looks--and feels!-- a whole lot better. 

Unlike traditional homework, Un-Homework contains:


That's right. Students make a choice: They either do it or they don't. 

Every week, a list of choices goes home with the student. Students can choose 1-5 choices from the list. 



Once it is completed, the student colors in the circle next to the choice.


Also, Un-Homework has:

Yes-prizes! Once the week is over, students fill out one raffle ticket for each choice completed. Raffle tickets are brought in every Monday and entered into our Learning Lotto for a chance to win a prize! It quickly becomes apparent that, in order to have the best shot at winning the lotto, one must turn in as many raffle tickets as possible:



Prizes are easy, simple, and interchangeable. I have 20 prize cards that I switch out weekly depending on how much money is in my bank account  current student interest. Most are cost-free. The ebb and flow of prize excitement is an ever-changing entity from year to year and even month to month. Some classes FLIP for picking their own jobs, others go nuts over lunch with the teacher, whereas other kids are all.about.that.CAAAANDY, yo.


I randomly select 3-4 Learning Lotto winners from the box, and they each roll a die. The number rolled corresponds to their prize. It's a pretty exciting time in Room 65, y'all, and it's a GREAT way to celebrate the students choosing to continue their learning at home. 

Also---did I mention no punishments? If you complete some choices, great--you might win a prize. If you complete zero choices, great---you definitely won't win a prize, but you also won't be sitting inside staring out the window hating your life as your friends have a ball at recess.



This part is better than the prize, in my opinion. The choices given weekly are so dang flexible! Students can complete 1 choice per night, all 5 the first night, or none at all! Giving the students choices seriously empowers them and makes them the director of their own learning. Students who don't typically dig the homework scene might find some thrill in choosing certain tasks and saying adios to others. 


I don't know about you, but I totally prefer to choose my own way rather than being told what to do. I mean, I knooooooow I have to schedule a dentist appointment every 6 months, but it's totally more satisfying to do it on my own accord rather than my husband nagging lovingly reminding me to do it. And these kids---they are all just mini-adults, so I think this making our own choices thing is pretty universal.

In addition, the actual format of Un-Homework is designed to let parents to keep the choice sheet even after turning in the tickets. Once the tickets are cut off, parents stockpile choices throughout the year, so there are always extra tasks on hand if the parent desires something a little extra for his or her little learner.

Also? Most tasks can be done in any amount of time. Because there is no final check-in or grade, tasks can be accomplished at one's own pace. While this will save time on extra busy nights, this will more often result in a child choosing to do a task longer because they chose it and they are having fun.


Okay, this actually might be my favorite part. Gone are the days of PPT (paper, pencil, & tears) homework. No sirree. Un-Homework encompasses all sorts of fun arenas of learning that will really encourage students to exercise their creativity, physical prowess, and *gasp* embrace their kidness. 


We've got playing, singing, dancing, games-you name it. Un-Homework is the life of the party.

Is Un-Homework for you? I encourage you to check it out in my store. Upon purchasing, you'll receive an entire year's worth of Un-Homework*, prize cards, a PowerPoint presentation you can use at Back-to-School Night to break the no-homework-news to parents gently & informatively, plus some more valuable Un-Homework resources. 

*In addition, the UnHomework is fully editable for you to adjust based on your classroom's needs, interests, and desires. The one offered in the pack is geared toward first grade, but you can use a lot of my choices as jumping off points to create your own!

I really hope you'll join me on this no homework train! It's going to be a great ride :)


A Footnote: I've been so touched by the outpouring of feedback on this issue that I am so greatly passionate about. I value opinions of all variations. One of the themes/questions that keeps arising is the importance of reading at home. While I chose not to touch on this issue in this post, I want to clarify my stance on it since it goes hand in hand with the homework. I believe it is extremely important to encourage nightly reading at home. I don't assign it, I don't check it, and I don't log it. A Book Before Bedtime is my stance; if every student can read at least one book before bedtime every night, I hope that it will foster a love of reading that isn't forced upon them. I'm feeling another post on this! Thanks again for your feedback---it has been invigorating and thought-provoking to hear from such amazing educators!
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82 comments

  1. Erin! Fantastic post! Wow! I LOVE everything about this post AND un homework!!!
    xxoo,
    Diane
    One Giggle At A Time

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    1. Thanks, Diane, for the sweet feedback! :)

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  2. Love this! Thank you for sharing!!

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  3. I love the idea of this, but it leaves out one major point: reading. We all know how important it is for children to read/be read to every day. In some places this happens automatically and doesn't need to be homework. However, this isn't true everywhere. My school assigns reading as "homework" every night. Nothing is taken away of they don't do it and yet assigning it means most of them do. In fact, by the end of the year I had a bunch who would tell me they'd read so much more because they just loved it. I just think it's important to consider that not every community is the same and that not all "homework" is to be vilified.

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    1. Hannah, I was reading your post and thought, "wow, that's what we do!" Then I saw your name! Lol

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    2. Hannah, I was reading your post and thought, "wow, that's what we do!" Then I saw your name! Lol

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  4. Hannah, I totally agree with you. I also believe that reading is important every night. This post targets the paper & pencil homework. I have and will continue to encourage nightly reading at home!

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    1. I've thought about having a Reading Club of sorts for next year. The goal is to read 10 mins a night, meaning they should read 1,800 minutes by the end of the year. Every 100 minutes read they would get some sort of prize or reward. I'm thinking a pizza party or pie the teacher in the face for 1,000 minutes read!

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    2. I've thought about having a Reading Club of sorts for next year. The goal is to read 10 mins a night, meaning they should read 1,800 minutes by the end of the year. Every 100 minutes read they would get some sort of prize or reward. I'm thinking a pizza party or pie the teacher in the face for 1,000 minutes read!

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  5. Maybe I'm jaded from working with older kids but would they not just color in the circles say they did it to get the tickets? How do you know they are actually doing the tasks?

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    1. Hi Christine! I understand your concern. And I'm not sure about the discrepancy between a younger classroom vs. an older one, as I have only taught younger kids. I always assume the best in my students. I would imagine the majority of my students would follow through honestly, and if there are some that don't, it is disappointing. However, I would hope that celebrating the success and hard work of those who complete the choices weekly could light a fire in those who might be less motivated. At the end of the day, there is no way to prove if they actually did them or not. In my opinion, the risk of a few students not telling the truth is worth the alternative, which would be the traditional homework route. I know every classroom is different, but that's my personal take on it! Thanks for reading, Christine!

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  6. I have the same thoughts as Christine Stokes (above). I like to give students the benefit of the doubt, but even with a parent initial spot they can easily just fake it. And unfortunately, the school I've been at has had a record of dishonest students (2nd and 3rd grade). Or some parents take zero interest in their child's school work and would either not even look at the paper or just sign off on all of them to make their child leave them alone or give them what they want. It's sad, but true some of the time. Again, this is from the experiences I've had at my school. Not all situations would be like this, but I'm just trying to think of ways to problem solve. I love this idea though and I would most definitely try to implement it instead of traditional honework. Just wondering how to make it work for me and hold students accountable instead of lying about their work just to get a reward.

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    1. I always assume the best in my students. I would imagine the majority of my students would follow through honestly, and if there are some that don't, it is disappointing. However, I would hope that celebrating the success and hard work of those who complete the choices weekly could light a fire in those who might be less motivated. At the end of the day, there is no way to prove if they actually did them or not. In my opinion, the risk of a few students not telling the truth is worth the alternative, which would be the traditional homework route. I know every classroom is different, but that's my personal take on it! Thanks for reading, Shannon!

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  7. I went back to the classroom last year after 2 years as a district specialist. This will be my 2nd year in Second grade and I was surprised by the number of teachers in the school assigning to much homework and then punishing students for not getting it done. I always checked homework as a participation grade. Math was more stru but spelling and reading were done with menus, with all work due at the end of the week. When questioned by other teachers I took the stance that if they didn't do the spelling homework they wouldn't do well on the quiz and that also taking recess was a double punishment. Most kids learned what they needed, you always have the few exceptions that don't do and the parents who complain that it's to much or not enough. I wanted to make sure it wouldn't be more that 20 minutes a nght and understood that families have stuff happening after school so the folder went home on Monday and was due Friday so they really only had 3 nights minimum of homework. It never hurt their grade it only ever helped.

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  8. I absolutely love this idea and will be implementing it 100%, along with encouraging my team members to do the same thing. I've never been a fan of homework and actually checking the homework. I would find that on top of all the other responsibilities we have, this was on the back burner. Like you, I trust my kids to be truthful and give them the benefit of the doubt. I also thought about maybe on the days they turn in their sheets, that during the Morning Meeting students can volunteer to share what choices they did and that in turn could encourage others since they hear it from their peers.

    I do have a question though! Do you still do spelling words/spelling homework? Based on this post it doesn't sound like you do - which is something I've been thinking of cutting out myself. It's more of a hassle than anything :(.

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    1. Hi Michelle! I LOVE the idea of sharing during Morning meeting! That's a great way to uphold integrity and also motivate other students to get excited about their own accomplishments if they haven't completed any choices thus far! I encourage sight word practice at home--we don't do spelling lists--but it is not required.

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  9. Will this work for Middle school students? Are there any changes you would make?

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    1. Hi there! You will have to change the choices each week, but the overall pack should be beneficial. There are a lot of parent materials and prize materials that are listed in the preview and the product description you can check out!

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  10. I was with you until you mentioned prizes. To get a prize students have to participate. To participate they have to have time. To have time and participate they have to have someone who provide the uninterrupted time, materials, space and different kinds of help. You laid out such a good case at the beginning about why you'd done away with homework because all students don't have these luxuries and are punished. So now you're punishing students in a backwards way by telling them to watch the kids who chose to compete. What about the 5th grade child who never did his homework in my room? I made a home visit and found he was responsible for feeding dinner to and putting his 3 siblings to bed every night. His single mom worked at night. He didn't have time for himself much less homework. Read Alfie Kohn's work on rewards to get some perspective on the effect of the raffle tickets. I like a choice contract - that helps students with their work but doesn't count for or against them. Some kids can't do homework. Period. Unless there's a homework time provided during the day. I love your journey and hope all teachers consider your research and its impact on practice.

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    1. It may not work in every situation, but I see some great possibilities to offering choices that involve siblings. Reading to younger siblings before bed. Maybe a choice that has to do with making meals, or even building stuff with younger siblings. You might have to do some digging to find out which families these are and tweak some of those assignments for them or speak with families about those tweaks.

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    2. Karen, I am just now reading this post, so am curious as to how you implemented this. The rewards bother me also. A LOT. I am thinking I could leave out the ticket portion of the papers (if possible edit them out) OR pick five tickets, but those picked got to be the first to share about their unhomework from the previous week. Then others could share as time allowed. Hmmm ...

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    3. Karen, I am just now reading this post, so am curious as to how you implemented this. The rewards bother me also. A LOT. I am thinking I could leave out the ticket portion of the papers (if possible edit them out) OR pick five tickets, but those picked got to be the first to share about their unhomework from the previous week. Then others could share as time allowed. Hmmm ...

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  11. I am on board, but need to know how to handle my fourth graders and developing the responsibility of "studying" for tests. Would you personally still give study guides? I would think so. Parents at my school breathe fire on you sometimes if their child doesn't receive honor roll and that would be less likely if no study guides were sent home. And yes, there are so many that they study guides end up crumpled in the bottom of their bookbag and their parents have no clue how to help them study nor do they even have a grasp of the standards that these young children are required to know.

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  12. Erin, I can totally tell you spoke straight from your heart on this. I can't express how much I appreciate this post. I very much agree that homework can hurt more than it can help. I love this idea so much and want to scream it from the roof tops! Our students get so much in during their time with us. We take play out of school, we can not also take it out of their home life. I see some great changes in my future. Thanks to putting this out there!!
    Kristen

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  13. A concern is what about the class work that isn't finished? In younger grades it isn't a concern of mine, but the older grades they do need to complete their work unless only giving grades on tests. Typically older grades students would be required to finish it for HW if they didn't complete it at school.


    My first year of teaching Kindergarten I did this, but had a list of 100 activities hat would for the entire year, students could choose one, parents wrote what number activity from the list, and signed the verification paper.

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    1. Hi Michelle,
      For older grades, it would be up to the teacher's discretion, I suppose. I teach only younger ages, and know what works best for my classroom. I'd be interested to hear from a few upper grade classrooms to hear how they have adapted this system to a different age range! I applaud your Kindergarten efforts, it sounds like a much more time-friendly option!

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    2. Erin - I have done a lot of research on Homework as well, and I agree with what you write! I have always thought about giving "un-homework" under different categories, such as "Something for My Family," "Something for Myself," "Something for the Community," "Something for Nature," "Something for my House," etc. I teach upper grades - are you planning on creating Un-Homework for grades 4-5? I would love to collaborate with you if you would like a partner!

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    3. I recently read a book called F.A.S.T. Grading that gives the following as an option for incomplete work: have a make up/completion block at the end of the week that is set aside for this. In the book it was a school-wide program, but I could see it working in individual classrooms as well. While students are completing there work, those who are done are doing some elective type fun learning. Maybe a science experiment, geniuses hour, or other thing that often gets left out when we crowd too much into the curriculum.

      Another option could be to figure out why they don't finish. Many students need a longer amount of time to process information, but get the idea after struggling with fewer problems. This is where strong differentiation practices could be helpful. Maybe they aren't finishing because they don't get it, in that case the catch up block is ideal.

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  14. Wow! I've been in education for about 20 years and have always HATED assigning homework--as a teacher and as a parent to a soon-to-be 5th and 2nd graders, I've hated it as a parent. I spent the last 2 years as a district-level coordinator, working with elementary teachers on innovating their classrooms, etc. Now, I'm moving into a new role as an AP, and the principal and I both have the same philosophy regarding homework--we despise it.

    This might be a great compromise for those teachers that still want to hold on to it, or parents (because, I've often found that it's the parents that want/need it, not the kids!) who are still asking for it.

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    1. Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to lend your feedback! I find it encouraging and invigorating that more and more administrators are adopting this mindset. The education world needs more people like you :) I'm excited to hear how this goes for you and your school! Please keep me posted! erinwaterstpt@gmail.com

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  15. Pie the teacher???? Why would you feel the need to offer humiliating a teacher as a prize to students? There are much better prizes to offer.

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    1. Hi Pam! I'm not sure where you saw anything about Pie the Teacher? I never mentioned that in my post, nor did I offer it as a prize choice. Perhaps you are confusing this with something else :)

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    2. This was someone's suggestion in the comments.

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    3. Some teachers would think this is great fun, not humiliating. Their students would be able to do it in fun because of the teacher's attitude. And if the teacher offered it? Well? S/he must be OK with it. (This blogger didn't suggest it her her post, though.)

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  16. Thank you!! I have been saying this since my own kids started school. Although I do some work at home (as all teachers do), I don't sit for hours at night working after getting home. The kids (especially elementary age) shouldn't have to either!! I think family time is far more important than homework (theirs or mine). The ideas I have seen in this article are super family-friendly, and NO MISSING RECESS!!! Love it! Thank you.

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    1. Hi Kim! Thank you SO much for your feedback! I love your thinking, and am so glad there are other teachers like you who embrace this sentiment. :)

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  17. Hi! I love this idea and wholeheartedly am on board with the no homework rule! I teach 5th and noticed your Un-Homework package on your TPT store is to 3rd. Would it work for 5th graders do you think? Obviously I want activities that are age appropriate and not too childish (you know 10 year olds). Thoughts? Suggestions?

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    1. Hi Micheale!
      Thanks so much for your feedback! As noted in the product description and blog post, the actual Un-Homework in this pack is targeted to 1st grade; however, a lot of the activities can be adjusted to older or younger students. There is an editable version that is totally customizable so you can use it to fit your exact class! :)

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  18. I like this idea, but what about grades? Do you only grade what is done in class?We have to have 12 grades per grading period in each subject. If they don't complete the work, I can't give them a grade.

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    1. Hi there! At this moment, we only grade homework on a scale that relates to how often they do (or don't) complete the homework. I will be marking NA (not applicable) this year in the homework grading field. I gather other grades from the vast amount of work we do during the day.

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  19. To the unknown who has risen through the ranks and is now an AP who hates homework: I shared this with my team yesterday and we all agreed that we would need support from above and that we might possibly be even labeled as "nonproductive" teachers. There are only three elementary schools in my county, a total of close to 1800 students, and we would love to have this be a county wide event. But even a school wide one just to start with and someone like you at the top needs to be there to support the staff. Please remember that as you remain in "office". Top down support is a must for something this unheard of. Seriously sounds silly to say that but once word gets out that one class has NO homework, the other homeroom parents will be all over it, either bashing it or wanting it.

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    1. Hi Kathleen,
      Thank you so much for taking your time to lend such thoughtfulness to this post. As a classroom teacher, I realize what a risky move this is; however, I am truly blessed with a very supportive administrator, a forward-thinking group of teachers, and a supportive, trusting community of parents. I am fully aware this isn't the norm; and even within this community I expect to encounter some pushback. I think the value in this idea lies in the research; for years, I've had feelings about homework, but it is nice to have data to back it up. I will keep my fingers crossed that the introduction of this new system is a successful one. Please let me know if I can be of any help :) Thanks again!

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  20. Wonderful post!! I agree on the NO homework!
    BUT I come from a different background! I am a homeschool mom of 4. I believe that while kids need to learn math, phonics, reading and all other subjects they need to learn to LOVE learning! They need to grow in character as well. I come from Being a public school educator and it is hard to break away from what everyone thinks is right. I homeschool because my sons were just being put down constantly and "punished" constantly for not understanding, therefore not finishing HW.
    I believe we need to give our children the space to learn and allow them to learn at their own pace.
    I applaud you for making such a wonderful change!! Now if we can only do something about testing!!! ��

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    1. Monica, thank you so much for your thoughts! I am SO with you on all of this---especially the testing. I have hope that an answer is on the horizon :)

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  21. if only you would of been my son's teacher :(
    I love this approach, it is so much more inclusive for all types of kids with all kinds of challanges

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  22. Aw, you are so sweet. I appreciate your feedback! Thanks for sharing :)

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  23. I enjoyed your post! I begin my first year teaching this August and am reading up on everything that I can! As far as your idea goes, do you ever include specific math skills throughout the year for students to practice on for un-homework? I'm completely up for trying anything new. I enjoy doing things differently than other teachers and love attempting new things. Do you plan time during school days for extra review of math concepts throughout the year that students may struggle with? I teach second grade and fractions as well as telling time to nearest 5 minutes come to mind.

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  24. This sounds much harder to do than actually assigning homework. Waste of time and paper if you ask me. :(

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    1. How is this a waste of paper? It's one sheet per student each week rather than 4+ sheets per student per week. And as for it being a waste of time, after your first year of implementing this, you'd have them all ready to go each year. Plus, you get rid of the time you'd waste checking all of the homework you used to give. It might be better to be a little more open-minded rather than begin SO negative.

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  25. I give a weekly homework packet and frequently have parents tell me that I had my child stay at the table for hours finishing their homework I tell them that does not need to happen. I have had parents make a special trip to the school to drop off their homework. This is a fabulous alternative. I am also a parent of a soon to be 3rd grader and hated the homework battle. I can't wait to try thus out.

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  26. I love this idea and bought the un-homework packet from your store.Last year, I switched from traditional homework to a choice board format so this seems like the next logical step. Do you have a parent letter that consolidates the power point information? I don't know when I would have all parents around to show the power point, and may email it to them, but would like to include a letter introducing the program in my open house packet. I can type one up but if you already have one, it would be one less thing for me to do! Thanks so much!

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  27. I just think about all of the time I spend each morning checking homework and how that time could be used so much more efficiently to help my students! After reading this article, I'm planning on doing a similar un-homework plan so that I can use the extra time to pull struggling students who really need the extra help and won't receive it at home. Thank you for this article. I'm inspired! :-)

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  29. shine FL Girl to NC
    July 19, 2016 at 11:35 PM
    Thank you so much for this post. I'm a mom of 2 boys. One of them is in college now and the other is in High School. Homework has ALWAYS been torture here at our house and caused much grief! I am NOT a fan of HOMEWORK, and I have just started teaching. This will be my 2nd year teaching the 1st grade. I would love to implement this for the upcoming year. Kids need the time to be kids again at home!!

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  30. I LOVE this concept! I'm curious on your thoughts... How do you think this would go over in a middle school setting? I just love this idea so much, but am unsure of how to get older kids to buy in. Most of the work would be in the presentation, but I'd love to know your thoughts!

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  31. Love this idea! But how do you know the students are actually completing the tasks and not just coloring them in to get the tickets?

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  32. Love love love this concept. My daughter just turned 6 and will be entering First Grade shortly. Her recently retired school director posted this link of her FB page about being spot on, so course, I had to read it. I agree with this 110%. This sounds like the first step in getting kiddos to love school again. After recently reading the stats on the # of kids who fail to graduate HS and # of kids who do graduate/obtain GED that do not go onto college/trade school. So scary. Perhaps taking homework out of the equation will help foster a better love of learning and make kiddos want to go to school. My daughter loves going to school so I will do everything in my Mom power to keep her happy about learning. Thank you for this post!!

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  33. I love this!! How about 'Family Dinner' as a choice? We have 5 kids, three in sports... we started homeschooling solely to ease our evenings of the homework. Family dinners are a struggle, and yet the most satisfying and enriching moments of our days!!

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  34. Curious how your teaching partners handle homework? Are they on board? I work in a small school and there is only one other second grade teacher. Unfortunately we have to do similar things such as homework and expectations. Curious how you've handled this. Thanks!

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  35. My son has gone to a no-homework, no grades school since kindergarten. When children start out with this philosophy, they naturally come home and talk about their day! Or show you what they can do. Ask good questions. It creates a culture of learning that lasts a lifetime. Keep fighting the good fight!

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  36. Thank you so much for this! I have been wanting to do away with traditional homework for some time! I am definitely considering this! My only hesitation is the prize/rewarding aspect. I don't do rewards and am racking my brain trying to figure out the best way to implement this without rewarding/giving prizes. Any suggestions? Regardless, thank you again for this wonderful idea! It has motivated me to stop hedging and do something about the fact that I hate homework!

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    1. Cassie, I am just now reading this post, so am curious as to how you implemented this. The rewards bother me also. I am thinking I could leave out the ticket portion of the papers (if possible edit them out) OR pick five tickets, but those picked got to be the first to share about their unhomework from the previous week. Then others could share as time allowed. Hmmm ...

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  37. I wish someone had thought about this when my kids were in grade school. Every year it was the same thing. "Sorry, I have an hour and a half with my kids after work and school before bed and it will not be spent on homework." My kids where punished because of it. None of their teachers understood that as a single mom trying very hard to hold things together that the time I had before bedtime was being taken up by their schoolwork. I also didn't feel it was fair they should be spending 12 hours a day doing school work. But I was the bad mom. I do not regret that decision.

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  38. Is there any way to get an editable copy so we can change the daily choices?

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  39. When I go to the editable template to change my choices, it won't print the template. What can I do???

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  40. Love this! But I was wondering how you get your grades? We are suppose to have 2 grades per subject a week. A lot of times I use their homework for a grade. What do you do?

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  41. Its an interesting subject, and I think it makes a ton of sense for really little kids (kindergarten - maybe 2nd grade). For older elementary students, I think the repetition that traditionally assigned "homework" provides is really necessary, especially when beginning to get into concepts that require practice and repetition before moving onto higher subjects--- long division, fractions, etc. If a school day could be structured so that math or science could be held 2x in the same day, it would help to reinforce higher learning concepts, which is what the point of homework is. But that is not how the (typical) school day is structured. I remember, in 3rd grade, asking my friends how they got such good grades in math (I always felt as if I was having a harder time understanding things). Their response was, after completing the homework assignment, reading through the next day's lesson, so that they were prepared for the following days discussion. Point is, that repetition is necessary, and education, especially in math and science, should not end as soon as you leave the school. The trick is to not make it into a daily "chore", that takes a long time to complete--- a few practice problems is all that is necessary to reinforce the day's lesson and begin to prepare the child for the next day.

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    1. Sorry, I did not sign in-- my name is Erin -- "unknown" seems so shady :) Do you know if there have been any long term studies on the "un-homework" philosophy? At first it seems like fun. But Do the children begin to not care anymore and not do the assignments after a while? I know that our 12 year old's philosophy with extra credit is--- why do it if I am already getting A's and B's? Anyway, thanks for the discussion! Definitely something to think about!

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  42. I am going to teach kinder. Would this work for that age group? I wasn't sure what age you taught.

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  43. I am going to teach kinder. Would this work for that age group? I wasn't sure what age you taught.

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  44. I just purchased and have my principal's permission to institute! I have many other teachers in my building interested as well. Do you have a discount for a school and/or multiple classroom license? I absolutely love this!

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  45. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! I completely agree with the fact that homework has little to no benefits. The hard part is going to be getting parents (especially those of the "high-flyers") on board, but this is a great start! Thank you :)

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  46. I've been thinking about homework also. I've also decided to not have any. I'm in a Title I school and it's hard enough for some of the kids having both parents working. Thank you so much for this post. Definitely looking into this in your store.

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  47. I've been thinking about homework also. I've also decided to not have any. I'm in a Title I school and it's hard enough for some of the kids having both parents working. Thank you so much for this post. Definitely looking into this in your store.

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