- I give homework every day except Friday. Everybody deserves a break!
- Homework should be a skill that has been learned on that day (i.e. that day's new Edmark word) or a skill that is at the maintenance stage (i.e. counting money).
- Homework should not take more than 15-30 minutes.
- Homework should be attempted, however, if it is too frustrating or too hard (meaning the skill was not learned as well as I previously thought, not that the student is tired of homework), the caregiver should write a note to me on the homework stating that they tried the homework and encountered a problem.
- Homework should go back and forth from school in the homework folder.
- There will be consequences for not attempting homework. This was typically a loss of a break or choice time, doing homework during recess or a loss of a privilege.
I requested either a red or yellow folder for homework each year. I chose those colors (but accepted any color) because they are easy to find (in a messy room, in a hurry, and typically don't blend in to any decor!)/see.
I believe that our students with significant disabilities need homework for the following reasons:
- It's a part of school. Even on those teen/tween shows, the kids complain about homework.
- Homework teaches responsibility. Learning that they must be responsible for bringing something back and forth between home and school is a great precursor for adults who need to take their bus pass/metro card/work id/what have you back and forth between work and home each day.
- Homework teaches prioritizing. Some students have other activities or even TV shows they want to watch. Students learn that they need to get their homework done even though they have other things to do. This happens to all of us in real life.
- Homework helps reinforce and practice skills learned.
- Homework allows caregivers to plan for non school time--whether this is an after school schedule, weekend trips, toys/things to buy.
- Homework allows caregivers a way to bond with their students about school beyond behavior. When caregivers see their students showing off their skills, its a pretty cool moment. It's another chance for positive reinforcement for skills learned. It also gives them a peek into the classroom.
For the most part, I expected that homework should come back the next day. In return, I would check/correct and go over the homework immediately. (The only exception was in high school when we had a block schedule so we didn't have reading or math every day, then we would go over it at the next class period.)
Some examples of homework I have given in the past:
- Edmark extra practice worksheets
- Rereading guided reading books (rereading boosts comprehension)
- Money worksheets from http://www.aplusmath.com/
- Basic math fact worksheets
- Teacher designed worksheets about concepts
- Edmark Black and Purple Cards
- Counting by 5's worksheets
- Small sorting tasks that were easily containable
- Extra worksheets from News-2-You
- World News from News-2-You with a standard Who, What, Where, + 3 facts worksheet
Another great example of homework I have found is this one, made by Kimsmith, located at Adapted Learning.
I really like it for two reasons:
- It covers many vocational skills and these skills are just as important as the academics we teach at school.
- It gives the caregiver another helper in the house.
- It's easily customizable for each student.