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Who Did the Work?

who did the work homework

Who Does the Homework?

Today my little sister Nancy turns 40, she is 14 months younger than me. Being one grade level apart the work we were asked to do in school was relatively similar. It was not uncommon for us to trade homework. I didn’t want to write Chaucer’s tales for English and she didn’t want to do the math busywork she was assigned, so we’d trade. We both could do the work, they weren’t really learning activities. Just didn’t want to lose our points.

Sending it Home

Work done in class, I did that myself. Work done at home… maybe I would do it, or maybe I would have a sibling do it.




Parental Help

As a teacher, I try not to do the thinking for my students. When they ask for help I want to try to ask questions to help develop their thinking and understanding. What happens when students ask their parents for help? “Here, let me show you.” Well then, who did the work? Who did the thinking? The student got the points, but missed the learning. What about the student whose parent couldn’t do it for them? They don’t get the points and missed the learning.

We know some parents do the homework for their child.

We can beat our chest about that parents should not be doing the work for their kids, waste of time. Of course some will. Grades are usually based on an accumulation of points. Students whose parents can help (or do the work for them) are at a huge advantage for grades. Sending work home, by design, makes our classes inequitable.

Not Just Parents

It’s not just parents who do the work for students. We know cheating happens.

Send Home Reflection

Reflection is an important part of the learning process. Many parents want to be involved with their kid’s school, providing reflection questions that parents can go over with their kids is a meaningful way parents can help improve their child’s learning. Previously I blogged about including a parent corner with specific reflection questions parents can ask their child. Students can also do the reflection questions independently if a parent is not available.

Ditch that Homework

Find practical strategies to help ditch the homework in the book “Ditch that Homework” by Matt Miller and myself.

Ditch that homework book




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2 thoughts on “Who Did the Work?”

  1. Pingback: Who Did the Work? – Teacher Tech – Technology and Electronics

  2. I agree with your portion of the article on the parents doing the homework. The more involved parent will help with homework or either just do the homework or project. This is certainly inequitable as you have stated. Every student does not have that advantage of parents available or willing to “get the points.” These are also the parents who email you the next day to see what “their grade” was on the assignment. They are persistent to the fact of contacting the principal to “speed you up” to grade the work. Students are not encouraged at home to take responsibility for their actions. I have even had parents to deliver the homework to the school later in the school day because they were still working on it. The child did not want to do it or either did not get to it, so the parent stayed home and brought the assignment to school. Seriously? What has this taught the student? I know the answer to that and so do you.

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