Photo Series Explores What Happens when Kids Don't Do Homework

Photo by: Color: Michael Barker/Black and White: F. Robert Openshaw
Jennifer Ferrari attended Alpha from ages 4 to 14. She works as an automotive technician. Ferrari remembers being treated with ... more 
Photo by: Color: Michael Barker/Black and White: F. Robert Openshaw
Jennifer Ferrari attended Alpha from ages 4 to 14. She works as an automotive technician. Ferrari remembers being treated with respect by her teach­ers who also allowed the students and parents to co-run the school. "I know that because of going to Alpha, some of my hard skills, like math, spelling, and essay writ­ing are not as strong as other stu­dents who went to reg­u­lar school. But I would never trade the human skills I learned at Alpha and have car­ried with me ever since," she says. less 
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Mon, May 6, 2013 2:31 PM EDT
A school with no homework or grades sounds like a child's dream but for the students of Toronto, Ontario's Alpha Alternative School, opened in 1972, that was very much the reality. The public school's policy was founded on the principal of democracy and according to Debbie O'Rourke, the school's volunteer coordinator, kids learn at their leisure. "We value general knowledge, social sciences, arts, and literacy but kids are valued and not judged," O'Rourke told Yahoo! Shine. "There are no grades and we don't waste kid's time by loading them up with homework. Allowing them to learn organically through playing and interacting with other kids in a nurturing environment will help them grow into smart individuals." For the school's 40th anniversary in September 2012, former Alpha student and photographer Michael Barker shot portraits of alumni in a series called "Alpha Alternative School 1942/2012." So what happens to kids who don't get grades or take tests? See for yourself.