By: Whitney Haynes
So, I just read an article by Jon Corippo, and reposted by the “Queen of Sheets,” Alice Keeler, whom I adore. After reading, I was presented with these thoughts, “Since when did homework become this stigmatic, dirty word? It is when we think back to the olden days of children sitting in rows looking like zombies in the classroom? Has our idea of what the classroom should look and function like changed, but our idea of homework stayed the same?” I guess it really boils down to what we define as homework. I gathered from Mr. Corippo’s article, that it seems that the main source of homework he was referring to was the dreaded worksheet! Talk about a dirty word! Worksheet.
The sound of that word strikes fear in all students, right? (Well, not all the time.) After all, this article is rebutting the horrible thought of homework, not worksheets. Maybe we should really reconsider what homework is and should be. Not to mention, I really hate indicating to parents that I’m never going to do something, like “There will be no formally assigned homework this year.” Man, a year is a long time to keep that promise, especially if you change your perception of homework. I think my purpose in writing this response it to change what homework really should be.
Think about the power homework would have if it were actually fun! I think it’s really important to state that not all homework is just strictly worksheets. What ever happened to flipping the classroom? Isn’t that in essence homework? Just recently I assigned my students several texts to read on Raz-Kids in preparation for a presentation another class would by making on Native Americans. Aren’t assigning those texts essentially homework?
I use lots of technology in and out of my classroom, and just recently a parent said to me in reference to some spelling games I assigned, “I can’t get my kid off those games! He loves them so much!” We work so hard, at least I do, to make my classroom a fun, enriching environment. Why does that have to stop with homework. Why can’t kids look forward to it? Why can’t parents look forward to their students coming home, and wanting to do their homework?
So, it boils down to this: we really need to shift the paradigm on homework. I agree, homework shouldn’t take forever to complete, be over a brand new concept the students have never heard or, and most importantly be the same type of work every time; i.e. worksheet. Maybe if we as educators put a new spin on homework, and made it as exciting and fun as our classrooms, kids wouldn’t see the power of learning ending as they get off the bus to go home.