Madly Learning

6 No-Prep Alternatives To Traditional Homework


Need I say more?

This little compound word consumes far too much of my time as a teacher. Whether it is planning it, collecting it, chasing kids to take it, do it, learn from it, meeting about it etc. etc.

It all makes me want to pull my hair out! But why do some parents want so much of it?

Perhaps it stems from our need as parents to ensure that our kids will be successful, that they are meeting targets, not falling behind, that they won’t still be living in our basements playing video games at 35. I mean I hate homework as a teacher but as a parent I still want my snowflakes to do well.

With class sizes growing, a lack of confidence in the education system and teachers in general, and a misunderstanding of what schools are today. Is it any wonder that the homework fight between parents and teachers is growing.

However, research is now suggesting there is no benefit to homework. In fact there may even be more harm than good. The guideline is 10min a night.

So after reading daily, which is supported as a beneficial homework activity. What are kids supposed to do?



ReadNo Prep Alternatives to Traditional Homework

So this is an easy one this is something that students should do everyday.

There are tremendous benefits to reading.

Reading can and should include reading by themselves, listening to reading, reading out loud, and reading to someone. A variety of reading opportunities should be presented including reading fiction and non fiction texts and for a variety of reasons.




Inside, outside, by themselves, with others etc etc.

Play outside, get busy and learn how to entertain themselves. Outside play helps them solve problems, negotiate, take risks, make mistakes. These are life skills that cannot be learned in a book.

Family game night. Teach them how to take turns, use strategy, solve problems, manipulate. Is there anything better than teaching them how to lose and how to win that is better than a game.

Play brings out imagination and creativity. Something that is often lost as we get older but something that we need in today’s 21st century environment.

Fundamental movement skills. Developing better gross and fine motor skills from play is a great skill. Something that has far reaching benefits.



As a teacher what I can do is show them some parts of the world. But often that is through a book or screen. We often cannot utilize the community around us to experience our learning as much as we should.

Parents can give their children the gift of experience. Learning about nature, visiting museums, going places, doing things. This is a learning g opportunity that parents can take advantage of.

These learning experiences only add to the learning that they do in class. Students who have more experiences are better able to make connections between new things they are learning and their schema.



Sometimes once wasn’t enough.

A good use of homework time is to revisit and relearn concepts being taught in class.

Students can watch videos, and practice new skills. Sometimes if teaching a skill I will record myself doing it for my class. Then throw it on YouTube for them to watch later.

The video isn’t of me but often of my hand, a pen and some math manipulatives.


Learn more

Sometimes in class you may spark an interest in your students and they may want to learn more.

This should be encouraged.

Our students live in an age where almost anything they want to learn how to do has a video or blog post about doing it.

They could learn to code, play an instrument, fix a washing machine, or refinish furniture (okay perhaps the last two are just what I look up)

Regardless, students can harness the information on the web to learn a new skill.


Do Nothing

Let’s not discount the value of doing nothing.

I like to relax, do nothing, take a break.

I have my students working all day; Since I am exhausted at the end of the day I imagine they might be too.

As teachers we can point this out and reassure parents that we did our job. We taught those kids. They will be alright. They deserve a break (perhaps even a kitkat bar)

If I do my job and do it well enough then there really isn’t a need for homework.

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