WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Homework is a pain for kids to do and a pain for teachers to grade. One Lakeview Elementary teacher is skipping out on the after-school activity altogether.
Kaylee Kalman teaches second grade and says she’s fed up with the amount of homework her brother, who is in third grade, has every night.
“I learned that, on average, elementary students have three times more homework than they should. They should have about ten minutes per grade level,” she said. “Elementary students, on average, have way too much.”
Her solution is the “unhomework” approach. Each week, she gives students a choice between five activities after school. There’s also the choice to do nothing at all. The activities are interactive, line up with class content and encourage family bonding.
“Choices include things like going on a nature walk and recording maybe five signs of fall that they see, or taking sidewalk chalk and doing some word problems, interviewing their parents and asking them what problems they have had and how they solve their problems.”
School administrator Ashley Handrych says this policy helps level the playing field for kids.
“Homework is not a level playing field. There are kids that go home to different resources, different environments or even just different time commitments based on whatever they’re involved in.”
Kalman’s students and their parents are loving it.
“It’s gonna be, like, fun homework. It’s not gonna just be, like, stuff where we have to sit down and do it on a sheet,” said second grader Bailey Tolios.
Before this policy, Kalman says she had a hard time getting her students to do their homework.
“Some of them never did their homework, and for the first time in the past two days I have had my learning lotto going on in here, every single student did some type of homework.”
For her, it’s about showing kids that they have control over their education.
“It’s all about kind of getting them to be creative, and empowered, and taking on their own learning instead of us telling them what to do.”
Not all teachers are taking Kalman’s approach, but the administration says she is a leader and if things go well, other teachers might follow suit.