Race to Nowhere and No Homework on Weekends
After watching and discussing the film Race to Nowhere with my colleagues, I stopped giving homework on the weekends. I have two reasons for this change. First, when assignments from all of their classes compound, students do have an enormous amount of homework. Focusing on quality over quantity of assignments and maintaining a no homework policy on weekends has helped limit the sheer amount of time students, especially those who have learning differences, spend doing assignments. A second reason I have cut weekend homework is that I am a mom, and I was a student for many years. Weekend homework is frequently done on Sunday evening after an extremely busy, over-scheduled two days. Usually, the family scurries around collecting shoes and lunch supplies, signing papers, etc. The tension escalates into scolding and arguments, and the homework that the students turn in Monday morning often either consists of sloppy, sub-par work done by the students under duress or beautiful, flawless papers created when parents lose patience, intervene, and provide excessive help.
I have received positive feedback from both students and parents about no homework weekends. I also give fewer assignments, which gives me more opportunity to examine the assignments that I do give in more depth.If you get a chance to view Race to Nowhere, I suggest taking the opportunity. The film raises several salient points, and the shifts I have made in my teaching as a result of the film have made a better classroom experience for everyone.