Today, I emailed my daughter’s teacher to set up a meeting to discuss the homework packets that my daughter will no longer be completing. I have had enough of my third grader having homework. I believe students should not have to be choosing between doing the extracurricular activities that they love and the pages and pages of a packet that doesn’t have research supported reasons to be completed.
My 3rd grade daughter’s language about her homework had started to become screeching in my ears when she talked about it. I am a track coach. I know the benefits of being physically active and being outdoors, she wanted to skip the running activities that I do with my athletes so that she could get her packet done. I said no.
As a family we were sitting eating dinner and had the NCAA basketball games on around us. I was asking adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing questions to both of my daughters using the scores, times, seeds and player jersey numbers. Both of my girls were writing down the equations and ferociously trying to figure out the answer before the numbers would switch with the flow of the game. My family was laughing and talking math and checking each other for the correct answer. Then my third grader says, “Can we be done so that we can get home so I can do my packet?” I said no and was sad about my daughters thinking.
I will never again assign homework.
I will fully question any teacher of my children who chooses to assign work to be completed at home.
We were laughing and having a good time doing math and already in my third graders mind it was not of value because it was not on one of the six stapled sheets of paper she had at home.
I will never again be the teacher that breaks up a family dinner all for the sake of work that should be completed when the family is not all together, at school.
I have not read...yet, Matt Miller and Alice Keeler’s, Ditch the Homework, but I do follow both on Twitter. Their tweets about the practice of assigning homework and packets has helped shape my disdain.
I need my daughters to be riding their bikes outside, reading their favorite books, dancing and singing, practicing their sports, sewing a blanket together, cutting boxes to create what they have found on YouTube, adding ingredients together to make their slime not so sticky, going to church and playing with their little brother who lights up when he sees them after school and coming up with their whacky family games to play on Tuesday game nights. All of these activities need to be done without feeling guilty about a homework packet.
I believe if the homework packet is essential work, it should be done in class where the expert is to answer any misunderstandings that come up. If time to have the packet work will not be given to complete in class than it does not need to be completed at home.
Being an educator, I know that Hattie’s Effect Size research says the impact of homework is .29. In our family’s case it has created anxiety and frustration. My third grader has also me that she loses time during Fun Friday if she does not have this packet done. Research has been clear about the positive impact of recess and playing having on children my daughters age, Play Programs, .50.
My experiences over the last week has confirmed and affirmed my feelings toward homework. I hate it.
I need to apologize to my previous students for engaging in a practice that made you feel like you had to make a choice. And if you made the "wrong" choice that you were somehow not a good student. I am sorry for making you make a decision that you should not have had to make in the first place. Parents, I apologize to you for having to support my flawed practices and cause upheaval in your homes.
I will continue to learn and apply that learning to be the best educator I can be for my students.
Mr. Dylan Wince
I am not a writer but I am writing.