My journey to where I am now in terms of homework started when I first began teaching over ten years ago. I originally assigned homework just about every night and graded it, in fact I counted it for as much as 50% of students' grades! Over time, I realized that homework really is practice and counting practice toward the grade isn't really fair. We don't count practice toward the final score in a soccer game for instance. However, I do feel that students need to practice in order to do well so I go do insist that students complete the homework I assign them. Along this line of thought, I'm instituting a type of responsibility binder much like Julie Reulbach (@jreulbach). This will be a great way for me to get some data on which kids are completing assignments and which aren't. I also go by an idea I heard from Rick Wormelli which is "the penalty for not doing your work is, DOING YOUR WORK." Therefore, students who do not complete their homework are responsible for staying after school to complete it. (this isn't really a problem in our district as the K-5 school gets out about 45 minutes later than we do and kids can take that bus.) We are trying something new this year by having band and orchestra after school (it used to be during a time in school we called "enrichment.") so I'm not really sure how that will play out if a kid doesn't do his homework and needs to go to band or orchestra.
So to sum it up my homework policy is basically this:
- Homework is practice and as such is not graded
- I still expect everyone will complete their homework
- If you do not complete your homework, you will have to complete your homework (after school)