Saturday, January 21, 2012

There's No Place Like Home(work)

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
I've been thinking about homework (again), and the futility involved in assigning students traditional homework. Traditional homework is an externally imposed construct—it's something done "to" students, rather than something done "for" students. Traditional homework provides little in the way of intrinsic motivation, and there is no correlation between the quantity of traditional homework and academic success (see Alfie Kohn for more thoughts on homework).

Does that mean homework should be completely eliminated from schools (and life)? No. But we need to be more honest about the purpose and quality of homework — homework should enrich students' lives and support them in their quest to become lifelong learners.

So students and parents, here is your daily/monthly/yearly homework:
  • Go read a book
  • Go plant a tree
  • Go for a walk
  • Go take a picture of the sunset
  • Go enjoy the weather
  • Go look at Jupiter through a telescope
  • Go search for the Moon in the sky
  • Go visit the NASA, or NOAA, or USGS website
  • Go watch Cosmos
  • Go research an interest in more detail
  • Go have a conversation about something you learned today
  • Go pick up trash in your neighborhood
  • Go volunteer
  • Go think about the planet and the universe in which you live
  • Go help somebody who needs you 
  • Go be creative
  • Go use your resources
  • Go ask, "Why?"
  • Go stimulate your brain, feed your curiosity, and exercise your body

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