I’m someone who has always struggled with homework.
I hate the idea of kids and parents stressing out for hours after school, when kids should be busy being kids! All too often, I hear that students are breaking down and crying because homework overwhelms them. And I don’t blame them. I know my brain is tapped out after a full day of teaching. The last thing I want to do when I go home is practice what I just spent all day on! I also hear that parents struggle to help their children, or struggle to convince them to complete homework, and that it often leads to fighting. I never want to impose something on my students that will cause them to fight with their parents. Last school year, I made homework optional and on an “as needed” basis. What I found was the students who didn’t need to do homework did it, and the students who desperately needed support from home didn’t do it. Ugh.
However, homework can provide an opportunity to be independent and to grow as a functioning being in our society.
I finally found a solution that I think is perfect, and it’s called Social Emotional Challenges. I am a strong believer that kids need to learn social and emotional skills just as much as academics – if not more. This homework alternative pack consists of weekly social and emotional challenges to complete at home with family members, friends, or independently. Things like, “write a grocery shopping list with a family member,” and “go on a nature walk and write about something you saw that was interesting.” I want to encourage kids to be kids. To get outside. To interact with their family members and communities. To have a role in their households. I love knowing that my kids are excited to go home and do “homework”!
This is a packet that teachers can use to implement Social Emotional Challenges in their own classrooms. It has 27 weeks worth of homework challenges PLUS a bonus for each challenge, an editable template, a parent letter, student and teacher tracker sheets, and three types of awards. It also comes in Spanish.
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