Homework in Westtown Lower School
We believe in the value of homework for Lower School students. The purpose of assigned homework is three-fold: 1) it reinforces skills taught in school; 2) it establishes good study routines and habits which will be needed throughout a child's academic life; and 3) homework helps to inform families about what their children are learning at school. We believe that homework should never be used to teach new material; homework should provide an opportunity to practice successfully. We also believe that homework should not be onerous and we encourage parents to stop their child if he/she becomes frustrated. We know that children have full days of learning at school, and that they need time for other activities and for down time, with little or no direction.
We ask that families support their children by providing both the time and space for completing homework. We also ask that families support their child's homework in several other ways: by monitoring the actual time spent on homework (as opposed to getting a snack, taking a bathroom break, or being inattentive to the task at hand), by providing appropriate support (giving a practice quiz for spelling words, etc.), and by providing feedback to teachers when the homework has been too difficult or too lengthy for their child to complete in a reasonable amount of time.
We recognize that every child has his/her own work pace and so the following guidelines are just that -- guidelines, not precise prescriptions.
- Homework should take approximately 10 minutes per grade level. For example, a first grader should not need to spend more than 10 minutes on math homework, while a fifth grader might have as much as 50 minutes of specific homework on a given night.
- We value time spent as a family and do not want to infringe on that time. New homework assignments will not be given on a Friday, due Monday morning, nor will new assignments be given over vacations which are due upon return to school. Older students may have ongoing projects that require some work on weekends.
- In addition to specific assigned homework, each child in Lower School is encouraged to engage in nightly reading. Obviously, the expectation changes as the child gets older and is more capable of reading independently. In the youngest years, we encourage parents to do all of the reading and to read to their child daily. In first grade, children are encouraged to read aloud to a parent for 10 minutes each evening. In second grade, a child is encouraged to either read aloud to a parent for 20 minutes or to read independently. For students in third grade and above, each child is encouraged to read independently for 30 minutes each evening. Research shows that the best indicator of progress in reading is the time spent reading books at an appropriate level. We hope that families will set aside time to read each evening, where everyone is modeling the value and pleasure of reading.