My Kids Don’t Do Their Homework – For the Teachers

Primary_WebsitesYesterday I carried a box into my son’s kindergarten classroom; it was his share day.

I noticed a pile of completed homework packets on the teacher’s desk, and immediately thought, “People actually do those things?”

Because I don’t make my son do his.

And for my daughter, who is in first grade, I don’t make her do her homework either.

As an educator, maybe I should be more likely to make my own children do that work, but I also know, as an educator, that it’s not the best use of their after school time.

I flip through the packets and if there’s something I know they need to practice, we might work on it together.

But they are already bringing home stacks of papers each week, and a great many worksheets they complete in class. So why would I want them to come home and spend even more time filling out worksheets? We know that’s not how kids learn best.

My daughter came home last week, so excited, saying, “Our work packet this week only has nine pages! That’s so much better than last week when we had 22!”

I don’t know if she was right about the amount of work, but what struck me is that what I really want my child coming home from school all excited about is what she’s actually learning.

At home they do practice skills, but in an organic, relevant way. Making cookies? Let’s talk about how to measure. Want to buy something at the store? Let’s count how much money you have. Do you need to wear a coat today? Let’s check the temperature. Wondering what kind of bug that is? Let’s Google it.

We Google a lot of things. I’m pretty sure my kids think Google is the source of all knowledge.

And at home we read. Not enough, I’ll admit. This is one area I’ve slacked off on this year, even though I know how important reading at home is.


But the school year is wrapping up. We won’t be completing any of the remaining homework packets.

I don’t know if my approach is the right one to take. I want my kids to understand the value of getting their work done and of being respectful of what their teachers ask them to do. And I want them to get practice on the skills they really need to practice. But I also want them to connect those skills to real life, and – just as importantly – to have time to play, to be outside, to do kid stuff.

Not to fill in more worksheets.


My Kids Don’t Do Their Homework

4 thoughts on “My Kids Don’t Do Their Homework

  • May 4, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    As an educator, what do you say to your child about responsibility at school? What do your children’s teachers say about the lack of completed homework. I agree that it might not be the best way to practice skills. But, not all children have the luxury of “organic” way.
    Until administration, teachers and parents come to an universal agreement, I think you send a wrong message by “choosing” what if any homework your child does. You’re telling your child that their teacher is not to be listened to or respected. Shouldn’t we be supporting one another?
    I’m curious …Do YOU assign YOUR students homework?

    • May 5, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      That’s a really good point. I did talk with my kids’ teachers earlier in the year so I knew what their intent for the homework was, and they understood mine. One thing I have made sure to follow through on with my kids is unfinished classwork. If my kids aren’t getting work done in class – particularly if they are being disruptive and disrespectful – when that work comes home they have had to do it, no excuses.

      I’m not in the classroom this year, but when I was last teaching I did not assign homework except for one reading project each quarter for which students chose a novel that they read much of on their own time. To encourage home/school interaction I would pose discussion questions related to a topic of the day that students could discuss with their parents – or with siblings, friends or other teachers, since many of my students did not have home support. If I could find occasional ways to simply encourage conversations outside of class about what was happening at school, that felt like time well spent.

      I wrote this post two years ago, and my own kids are in 2nd and 3rd grade this year. This year, they have done their homework because at this age I think it’s more about teaching them responsibility and establishing the pattern as they get into older grades. I greatly dislike it, and still believe it’s not the best use of their time, but I also know that there’s a lot more coming. I cringe thinking about it, but unless there’s a change in school policy, I know they’ll have to meet the expectation.

      • May 5, 2016 at 10:40 pm

        Our school discussed getting rid of the whole homework other than reading. It never flew because no one could agree.

        • May 8, 2016 at 8:52 pm

          That’s a frustrating reason to have homework!


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