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Homework Should Be Optional

I don't agree with homework. I've written my reasons why before, but it mostly comes down to a question of who "owns" a child's free time. To me, that time belongs to the child and to the parent.  I think that the coercion of homework is what kills the motivation in even the best-crafted homework.

Not everyone agrees with me. So, for those who think homework is necessary, I'm thinking they should have a right to make homework the norm in their own home. If parents are not given the freedom to dictate the pedagogical choices at school, why not let them dictate the learning that happens within their own homes?

Some say that homework is necessary, because it provides a great chance to practice skills. Makes sense. Perhaps seven hours of school really isn't enough for some kids. If that's the case, let parents practice those skills with their own kids in their own context. If it really is about helping struggling students, why not let the parents and struggling students decide?

Some say homework is a great chance for bonding and learning and enrichment. That wasn't the case in my childhood. My best home learning memories involved catching on to fractions while cooking or talking politics at our dinner table. But if parents want enrichment activities, I'm okay with teachers suggesting some optional activities.

Ultimately, that's the idea. Homework shouldn't just be well-crafted. It should be flexible and context-based. It should be a tool that parents can choose to use if they find it necessary.

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Professor of Instructional Technology
I want to see kids embrace creativity. As a teacher, this meant murals, documentaries, STEM camps, and coding projects. As a dad, this has meant elaborate pillow forts and home-made pinball machines and the story of non-magical wizard who makes robots. It's also why I co-founded Write About. Interested in having me speak or consult on design thinking and creativity? Visit my speaking page and fill out the contact form at the bottom. I'll get back to you within 24 hours.

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