I found these guidelines for Healthy Homework Guidelines very helpful:
1. HOMEWORK SHOULD ADVANCE A SPIRIT OF LEARNING
Educators at all grade levels should assign homework only when:
- Such assignments demonstrably advance a spirit of learning, curiosity and inquiry among students.
- Such assignments demonstrably provide a unique learning opportunity or experience that cannot be had within the confines of the school setting or school day.
- Such assignments are not intended to enhance rote skill rehearsal or mastery. Rehearsal and repetition assignments should be completed within the confines of the school day, if they are required at all.
- Such assignments are not intended as a disciplinary or punitive measure, nor as a means of fostering competition among or assessment of students.
Educators at all grade levels, but particularly in elementary and middle grades, should limit take-home assignments to:
- At-home reading chosen by the student.
- Project-based work chosen by the student.
- Experiential learning that integrates the student’s existing interests and family commitments.
- Work that can be completed without the assistance of a sibling, caregiver or parent.
Educators at all grade levels should avoid assigning or requiring homework:
- On non-school nights, including weekends, school holidays, or winter or summer breaks.
- On the nights of major or all-school events, concerts, or sports activities.
- When a child is sick or absent from school.
- When it conflicts with a child’s parental, family, religious or community obligations.
These were posted after many posts by Patrick Larkin on homework. I really valued the discussions and learned a tremendous amount from parents who offered lots of feedback on content and amount of homework.
This year when designing homework I asked myself the following:
How can I make the homework interesting, valuable, engaging and allow for creativity and pleasure? How can I structure the assignments so they are not interrupting family and personal time? How can the homework advance a students curiosity? How can I make homework fun?
Yes, homework should be enjoyable! I tell the students that this is about having time for themselves to learn, and enjoy the art making process. It should not be taxing or exhausting, it should be FUN.
Keeping these objectives in mind I posted the following assignments for my class here: Drawing and Painting Quarter 1 Sketchbook Assignments
The assignments are designed to offer a structure but also allow for flexibility. Students can always turn in an alternate assignment.
I also posted this rubric for grading the homework.
You Pick the Topic….
Select from the list of possible topics in the list below. Sketch and find a few possible solutions before selecting an idea. You may use any materials
- Three unlikely objects together
- The inside of something unexpected
- Five things I ought to throw away
- In the News
- Our society would be better if…
- Feeling Trapped
- Frustrated because…