Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

“I Assign Stupid Homework”

stupid homework
“I Assign Stupid Homework”

stupid homework

“I Assign Stupid Homework”

One argument I frequently hear in response to the argument that homework is oftentimes of marginal academic benefit, busy work or stupid is

“We should assign better homework.”

Exactly which teacher thinks they are assigning stupid homework or busy work?

I teach pre-service teachers and I will sometimes ask them “What percent of your homework was busy work?” Usually the response is “Uh, like ALL of it.” Take a look at FaceBook, it’s not hard to see the negative impact that homework is having on families.

In my teacher credential classes, I NEVER had a class or topic on homework.

  • I was never presented with research about homework.
  • I was never taught how to evaluate homework.
  • How to distinguish what was good or bad homework.
  • How to differentiate homework.
  • How to be considerate of family time.
  • How to write really clear directions that don’t frustrate students and parents.
  • How to judge how long an assignment will take my most struggling student.
  • How to handle my advanced students who really don’t need the practice.


So here is a survey. If you’re a teacher, do you think your homework is stupid? If we are going to stop giving stupid homework and give higher quality homework we should first identify if we are giving stupid homework.

7 thoughts on ““I Assign Stupid Homework”

  1. I AM SOOOOOO EXICITED, to find your blog. I’ve finally committed to going paperless and the resources you have on this page are a GOD send. Thank you for being so amazing: – ) 🙂

    1. Agree; now if my school district can fully commit to it. Most of my students are doing this with their smart phones; others (5-6) with laptops I get from other classrooms everyday.

  2. For years I assigned stupid homework…mostly because I never really gave it much thought. Then my son started school and I realized just how STUPID homework can be! I was ready to just throw in the towel, but caved to the pressures of my peers and parents. It took me about five years to finally convince myself that it was my JOB to shake-up the homework expectations. Now we call it homeFUN and frankly, if it’s not fun my kids have my permission to simply tell me in some type of presentation form why it was “no fun”. Open ended art/info presentation projects are assigned monthly, students are asked to read for fun and learning each night, and a combo of Khan and IXL are offered for math fun. Crazy thought, but everyone involved seems to think it’s more FUN than stupid homework 🙂

  3. I wish your survey had an option for Sometimes – as in, I will admit that some of the homework assignments I give could be interpreted as busywork or stupid. Or some parts of them, sometimes. I’m struggling with the relationship between school norms (short HW every day), student desires (no HW ever!), and my desire to reinforce concepts through independent practice (but is it really worth it if they’re not getting feedback while they’re working?). I just need to do a lot of thinking about the purpose and role of homework in my class.

    1. The survey is tongue in cheek. Not many teachers would think their work is busywork or stupid. It’s with good intentions; however, we also need to consider all of the implications. Independent practice is ESSENTIAL, it just does not have to be at home. No matter what way you cut it, home is inequitable. We know kids cheat. It causes severe fighting in families. We are not there to see the impact of our assignment. Sometimes it takes longer than we thought it would or the directions are not as clear as we thought. So if we really get honest, can we design our lessons to not be dependent on homework? It’s a worthy challenge to try.

  4. As a parent (and teacher), I appreciate reasonable, consistent homework! It gives me insight as to what my kids are studying and how to support at home.

    1. In researching for the book Ditch that Homework we found this to be true. Overwhelmingly parents dislike homework, except this is how they know what is going on at school. This is not a good reason for homework, this is a good reason to have better communication with parents. By design homework is inequitable. Home situations vary greatly and homework causes severe stress and family fighting. Ditch the homework, ask for better communication from the teacher. Win win

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