Ahh, homework. I believe homework should help students develop skills. I believe students should be asking questions, not answering them. I am aware that homework can be the source of confusion, power struggles, and anxiety (for both parent and child).
Most days, the homework will be, "Read for 20 min.," or "Read something you enjoy," or "Read a news article." When students read, they will be adding to their knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, schema, ethos... "The analyses [between direct reading and reading growth] suggest that an increase of five minutes daily silent reading would be predicted to produce an additional month's growth on a standardized reading achievement test" (Allington, 31). We will use their independent reading to delve into grade level outcomes. These reading opportunities will be a significant portion of our curriculum. I will be using student choice to connect and learn together. (Here are two articles that help me decide what to assign for homework... Five Hallmarks of Good Homework and Assignments Students Own.) I believe homework should be authentic - something students would LIKE to learn, not fabricated by me. I'm sure they'll have plenty of work and activities outside of school, and I hope that the reading they do at home is seen as a respite. And until students are reading independently - a TON - they won't apply what we teach them about close reading. Once they are independent readers, they will be able to use texts they've read to help them develop as writers.
Classwork will (ideally) be generated by questions students ask, discuss, and process, and not be limited to worksheets and questions I ask of students. The more questions students ask, the more deep their learning will be. Of course, if students do not finish classwork we do have, and the class will be given ample time to finish, this will become work to complete at home. I will put the grade as missing (mi) in the gradebook and will contact parents as necessary. Students can expect to be asked to stay at lunch if they have missing or incomplete assignments. They are always welcome to come see me to get assistance on their work.
Citations: Allington, R.L. (2001). What Really Matters for Struggling Readers. Boston: Addison Wesley Longman. Kittle, P. (2013). Book Love: Developing depth, stamina, and passion in adolescent readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Willingham, D.T. (2009). Why Don't Students Like School? A Cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Alfie Kohn's The Homework Myth.