Hi! I teach CSD at Union Middle School in San Jose. I do not assign homework, but kids do tend to want to work on projects at home, which is totally ok. Also, I have students self-assess and recommend their grades for each project. (I teach 7th and 8th graders, so my kids are different from yours.)
You definitely don’t have to cover everything, but the lessons are really useful to build student understanding. I did struggle to get through the entire Unit 5, and the Adafruit devices didn’t work really well with Chromebooks, but maybe they are better now. Last year, with Covid, we didn’t hand out any of the devices and everything was online.
I did find that adding more in-depth game development was really exciting for students. I would have them play a classic video game (pong or a text based game), learn about the history of that game, then had them try to make part or all of the game.
Also, the new AI unit sounds pretty cool.