I stopped giving homework. It felt good, too. Nothing to grade on a nightly basis. Kids come in less stressed. Students are appreciative and it feels like there is a better relationship because of my willingness to listen to their requests. None of these are the real reasons that I stopped.
I have been trying to make an effort to improve my lessons. While students are in my room, I want them to get a full dose of the content. Homework is unnecessary if students get the work done that they need in order to truly grasp a concept. After all, a meaningful lesson will stick in the minds of human beings.
The problem? It didn't. We just took a quiz, a pretty heavy one, that was inclusive of everything we had done in the past 4 weeks. I guess it wasn't a quiz. It was a summative assessment. One that told me what my students really knew. What did they "know"? The average score was a 64%. AKA it was awful, and if it was a true reflection of what we've been doing, it was that the past 4 weeks have virtually been a waste.
The easy answer is the homework. Students come in, get engaged, learn some stuff, work with some shapes, then leave and dismiss it. They are busy doing work for other classes, other priorities, and other responsibilities. Are my students struggling because I'm NOT giving homework? It is clear that they aren't studying, so would homework force their hand? Even a little?
The hard answer is that my teaching needs to improve, but I already know that. In my 8th year of teaching, I feel like I'm back to square one. Not to say that I'm in the "teach the same year 30 times" at all, because I'm not, but damn, this year has been a head-scratcher. Less tech, no curriculum, and a new scene, no homework, but those are excuses. I'm searching for answers in the aftermath of what I see as a crossroad in a pedagogical shift of homework in my classroom. Will I ever find what I'm seeking? At this time, the outlook is uncertain.