Today’s guest blogger, Jeff Valure, a math teacher with 12 years’ experience, the last 10 at a public middle school north of New York City, is the father of two boys, one of whom just started nursery school. He’s upset to find out that his local kindergarten assigns homework four nights a week and is “dreading” next year. Jeff has started a petition for a homework-free week to coincide with TV Turn-Off Week at homeworkfree.org.
A Math Teacher Speaks Out – Why I Stopped Assigning Homework and Am Petitioning for a Homework-Free Week
by Jeff Valure
The past few years I’ve been experimenting with my little guinea pigs – er – students. Three years ago I decided that so much time was spent on homework, checking it, reading answers, going over problems, that I would be able to get much more done in class if I did away with it. After all, I get a precious 46 minutes a day with these kids. Do I want to spend that time on bookkeeping or do I want to interact with them in a more educationally profound way? How often do you get to work with the guidance, aid, and encouragement of an “expert” in the field? Why waste that time?
Of course my students are used to homework, they barely grumble when they get an assignment over the weekend. The idea of not having homework is as scary as it is exciting. There are lots of uncertainties. Will they be able to keep up with the coursework? Will their grades be impacted? How will it affect their performance on standardized tests?