5 Homework Alternatives For Busy Teachers

Author: Antoinette Morris

Posted: 13 Nov 2023

Estimated time to read: 4 mins

Feeling caught up in the endless cycle of setting and marking homework? You’re not alone! Every busy teacher needs a break from the relentless homework every now and again, so keep reading for 5 suggestions that you can use instead of traditional homework to save yourself time while keeping your students engaged.


We had to start with the obvious, reading! Reading is a great way for your students to train their brains without completing a full blown assignment. You can pick a class book if you’re reading something together, get them to read more of a book they’re already reading or do a quick class visit to the school library. 

The main problem with setting reading homework, as many teachers will know very well, is not being able to tell if your students have actually done it. Try setting a mini task along with the reading that ensures your students engage, like a 2-3 line summary of what they’ve read or picking 5 of their favourite adjectives. This will take far less time for you to look over than most regular homework tasks and your students will love it too!


Make a piece of art 

Encourage your students to get creative and bring back a piece of art they’ve made! It helps to give out a prompt for this task like ‘nature’ or ‘your kitchen’ so your class don’t feel stuck on what to create. 

Make sure you’re aware that not all children will have art supplies at home, so give them the freedom to work in whatever medium or style suits them. All they should need is a pencil and some paper to get started! 

It’s also beneficial to set time expectations for this one, for example that they should spend no more than 30 minutes on their work, as well as to not ask them to show the whole class (as this can really take the fun out of being creative).

Homework alternatives for busy teachers

Play games 

Gamifying education is an excellent way to get your students engaged and having a good time. Your school may already use educational games for maths, english or touch typing study (in which case you can easily set work on these), or BBC bitesize have a great variety of games for both primary and secondary

Check out this blog if you want to learn more about the benefits of gamification in the classroom!


Learn a life skill

Sewing, skipping stones, identifying plants, using a dustpan and brush… there are an endless number of random little life skills that are helpful for your students to learn. You can write a short list of easy skills to master as an example for anyone who’s stuck on what to choose, but otherwise let students choose whatever they want and report back next lesson! 

Here are some good options to get you started, this will depend a lot on age, but your students could learn how to:

  • Take care of a houseplant
  • Do a load of washing 
  • Wrap a present  
  • Follow a new recipe 
  • Wash a car 
  • Do origami 
  • Write a letter 

The possibilities are endless!


Write a quiz 

Asking students to make a short quiz on a topic of their choice is another great alternative to homework that lets them engage thoughtfully with something they’re interested in. 

Kahoot! or Quizlet are great options for this, although submitting their questions via Satchel One is also a great option if you aren’t doing the quizzes together as a follow up activity. 

Want to make quizmaking a little easier for yourself too? Try our free quizmaker, Neeto

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