The objective behind Unhomework is to make homework more purposeful and embody within children, a desire to want to complete homework for their own benefit; by Mark Creasy.
That is, to do it; not because it’s set, but because they want to and it is something they have a personal stake in. Not only will this reduce the teacher’s workload; make the child more accountable and provide them with a skill set that will prepare them for their later educational and working lives; but more importantly, it provides a real purpose to the work the children complete beyond the classroom.
Whilst, in essence, Unhomework is a simple concept – get the children to set, check and assess the work so you don’t have to, it is not achieved without securing the right environment for this to succeed. In the book I explain how I have established the 5Rs (respect, relationships, resilience, responsibilities and rights) as my bedrock, upon which Unhomework is achieved in my classroom. It really isn’t just having an epiphany and deciding not to set homework and the children following – though having the epiphany is an important first step!
Presuming that you have the climate to allow Unhomework – and if you’re using Ross’s excellent #TakeAwayHmk idea then you must have – here are a few ideas to secure success.
The Ground Rules
- Work can be presented in any format.
- Work needs to meet a target for improvement, or something you enjoy doing, applied in a new way or to a different subject/ topic.
- The children set the deadline (there is one so ensure they meet it), but handing in early is only positive if it meets their standard of work.
What Why How?
(or Focus, Purpose, Success Criteria)
Establish with the class, that all homework you have set in the past meets these elements (show them with examples) and then ask them to set their own, recording it formally under these headings. By having all Unhomework set, by the children in this way, it is easily referred back to and can be built upon:
- Focus – what are you doing?
- Purpose – why are you doing this, how will it support your learning and development?
- Success Criteria – how will you know you have achieved your target? How will it be measured?
Each aspect is important, but especially the success criteria; as this will allow for self, peer and then your assessment to be focused and targeted. Similarly, the triangulated feedback provided by the child, learning partner and the teacher allows for development to the work to be made, rather than a simple ‘tick box’ or ‘completed, move on’ approach.
Grab a copy for FREE!
I have three (3) copies of Mark’s great new book Unhomework to give away …
How to win a copy? The first three (3) people to tweet this blog, tagging me with “@TeacherToolkit GIVE ME A COPY NOW!” will receive a copy – for free – of Mark’s new book. That’s it! Simple …
Book review by Ross Morrison McGill:
“Unhomework furnishes a philosophy for all primary and secondary teachers with a reliable array of homework tactics, resilience and thought. This book re-kindles the value of home-learning and fosters the process from a creative-curricular experience. This completes the perfect homework utopia. Using project-based learning, Creasy shuns the traditional homework-setting and chasing methods and shares his epiphany millisecond (which you may also have experienced) that transformed his thinking about homework altogether! Unhomework promotes inspiring, well-thought-out and differentiated homework that has stirred my own practice. This will add value for all individual teachers and students alike in any school and in reading this book, you will secure a classroom experience that lowers teacher-workload, yet heightens student grit and independence.
Creasy showcases ‘enquiry within a context’; learning beyond the classroom and equipping students to think, in order to take responsibility for themselves to increase rewards both emotionally and intellectually. He quite rightly berates the worksheet and advocates self-selecting time-frames and missions. Unhomework, full of intrinsic values to shift school policy, has thoughtful analogies: ‘When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad!’ In a nutshell, Unhomework is the passport to ‘free children from the straitjacket of standardised homework’. I cannot wait to get back into the classroom to mutate my plans from homework to Unhomework.
A brilliant read that I want to devour all over again!“