Whether you're dealing firsthand with a homework ban or might face one in the future, you may be wondering how it could affect your students academically. Check out these four ways to encourage learning at home after a homework ban has been put into effect.
The Homework Controversy
Homework has long been controversial; according to a Brookings report, one of the first homework bans in the United States took place in 1901, when California passed a statewide restriction on homework for all pupils under 15 years of age. Since then, homework has consistently sparked a great debate among supporters and critics. And as of late, homework bans have begun to pick up steam. This has some educators—and parents—concerned that students' learning may be affected should bans be put in place at their schools.
That said, whether you support homework or not, you can probably agree that some type of at-home learning is healthy and beneficial for developing minds. Consider using the following techniques to encourage learning at home in the event of a homework ban.
1. Promote Online Reading Platforms
Just because you can't assign homework after a homework ban doesn't mean you can't continue to promote reading, which nowadays goes above and beyond the traditional (sometimes ho-hum) paperback book. Instead, innovative online reading platforms are transforming the way students access, learn and absorb written information.
Here are a couple of online reading resources you can tell your students about:
- Newsela - Reading gets a makeover with Newsela, an instructional content platform that offers engaging, adaptive reads aimed at second through sixth graders. With special features such as writing prompts, quizzes and annotations, students can interact with the content on a deeper level.
- Glose - With thousands of free and paid eBooks, Glose is a social reading platform that gives members the chance to join student reading groups and connect with other booklovers. This free app is available for use on all devices.
2. Support Learning Through Everyday Tasks
A homework ban certainly doesn't prevent children from wanting to learn new things. Since learning can take place anywhere, why not encourage your students to help out with or participate in everyday tasks at home? They might just gain some valuable life skills in the process!
Here are some suggestions that you can share with them:
- Cooking (uses skills such as reading, measurement and time management; teaches responsibility)
- Gardening (uses science skills; teaches responsibility)
- Laundry (uses reading, measurement and time management skills)
3. Provide Ideas for Educational Activities
After a homework ban, you might want to consider providing ideas for fun yet educational activities that your students can complete at home. Both the Discovery Education Young Scientist Lab and this online course chapter on science experiments provide ideas for simple, engaging activities that your students will love.
To enhance the impact of the activities, you might want to suggest specific ones that correspond with the content being covered in class at the time. Depending on the activity, you may have to send certain supplies (inexpensive, of course) home with your students.
4. Introduce Engaging Online Videos
Another way you can encourage learning at home after a homework ban is to introduce your students to educational online videos. These days, there are thousands of online courses available in almost every subject and at nearly every level known to man. These courses use engaging, relevant video lessons to teach subjects and concepts that may otherwise be uninteresting or difficult for some students. By encouraging them to watch these videos at home, you may see their academic performance improve at school!
Using the Ideas
Now that you're familiar with some ways of encouraging learning at home, you shouldn't have to worry that your students will suffer academically after a homework ban. Since these ideas are more or less suggestions rather than requirements (like homework), you may notice that your students are more enthusiastic about them!
Study.com's Teacher Edition gives you access to our extensive library of video courses that have the power to supplement your teaching and transform your classroom for the better. Check them out!