What's the purpose of homework?
There are probably a wide variety of responses to this very loaded question. I know many teachers who see homework as an extension of the work being done in class. Throughout my years in education, my answer to this question has evolved to consider a plethora of things, including who is home to assist developing readers and writers, what materials do they have access to at home, how many trees will be sacrificed this week, etc. I placed more importance on students listening, speaking, reading and writing for homework. We would brainstorm interview questions to ask siblings, cousins, parents, grandparents, different family members about topics covered in class. Students recorded responses and came to school ready to share their findings. Dictation is a great way to see how students understand and apply knowledge of letter sounds. Instead of making homework packets, I encouraged students to watch the news or their favorite television show and write what they learned.
Now, more than ever we need to consider how we can make homework more meaningful. We can't assign independent practice for homework, then take a grade on it. Independent practice is meant to be completed in class with the teacher on hand to assist if the student has any issues applying the new learning. Time has not been the friend of any educator I know, so I know balancing synchronous and asynchronous time for both face-to-face and virtual students is challenging. Resist the temptation to have students complete independent practice for homework. Instead, consider the following:
Please share any other suggestions in the comments.