Homework at Walden School
January 3, 2013
Prospective parents touring our school often ask about homework loads. What is the average time spent per night on homework? How much homework is reasonable in kindergarten? In third grade? In sixth grade? How do teachers grade homework and how do they know that parents did not complete the assignments?
Director Matt Allio says that homework is a valuable skill to instill habits of learning. “We recognize the value in setting aside time each day to practice something in numeracy and something in literacy at home. But homework should not be punitive.” Director of Studies Terra Toscano adds, “Homework is often work that a child did not complete during school hours. If, after a reasonable amount of time, a student is getting stuck on the homework assignment, they should bring it back to school the next day for clarification and review with the teacher.” Walden School teachers agree that homework should not be overwhelming or frustrating.
There is no evidence that slogging through hours of daily homework correlates to academic success. In fact, new studies suggest that many children today feel the crunch of too many extracurricular commitments, including too much homework. Overscheduled children do not have the gift of boredom and may miss out on the opportunity to invent and create something out of nothing. (See NAIS recommended article Overscheduled Kids)
At Walden School, we believe in the value of family time and hope that the homework load balances with plenty of time for kids to get a good night’s sleep and eat nutritious meals each day. Additional activities like sports, arts enrichment classes, and play dates can be thoughtfully added to each child’s schedule, as their interests develop.