When done right, homework provides fun and effective ways for students to practice key skills so that class time can be spent on more complex projects and lessons. Practicing what has been learned during the day through homework helps deepen student understanding and improves fluency. In the younger grades, when students are doing homework with their families, homework provides parents and guardians a window into the curriculum and how their child is responding. In the older grades, homework helps students sharpen their executive functioning skills and gives them time to develop independent thinking which deepens class engagement.

  • In Kindergarten and 1st grade, homework assignments are sent home once or twice a month, and involve parents and children engaging with a variety of activities including playing games, going on scavenger hunts to find items relevant to learning, or talking with each other about topics that are being studied in class. At this age, students read or are read to 20 minutes a night.
  • In 2nd and 3rd grades, time management scaffolding begins, and homework packets are sent home weekly. They may include math games, math practice from the Bridges curriculum, social studies questions, guided science inquiries, and language arts exercises. Homework typically is assigned on Monday and is returned on Thursday or Friday. Students read to themselves 20 minutes a night from an independent reading book of choice.
  • In 4th and 5th grades, time management skills introduced in the earlier grades are cultivated further. More focus shifts to scaffolding independent writing and research, and guiding novel annotation and reading analysis. Math practice continues with games and worksheets from the school’s Bridges math curriculum. Students work at home on longer, independent projects, researching and working on final presentations. Students read to themselves 20-30 minutes a night from an independent reading book of choice and/or from their class novels.
  • In Middle School, homework ramps up as students are learning to own their time management, and take greater ownership for their learning overall. In advisory, study hall, and class, students are given support to further develop executive functioning techniques. Each student uses a paper planner and the online Jupiter assignment management system to manage their workload. In 6th grade, students typically have 60 minutes of homework a night, in 7th grade, 70 minutes, and in 8th grade, 80 minutes. By the time students graduate Park Day School they are prepared to manage their own high school homework expectations.

Some families come to us with questions after reading negative research about homework. Most of these studies are based on homework’s impact in schools that measure success using standardized test results. As a school that does not use standardized testing, and instead uses ongoing, formative assessments, Park Day approaches homework in terms of how it improves student understanding and engagement. Teachers revisit the topic of homework each fall as we reconsider the research and our own experiences with homework as progressive educators. 

As our Lower School Director Karen Colaric notes in her Learning Spotlight on Homework, “Individual (students) vary greatly in their feelings toward homework, which are likely shaped by a variety of contributing factors, including their energy level and emotional state on any given evening, their general attitude toward school and specific academic subjects, and their feelings about themselves as learners.” 

At Park Day School, we strive to create an environment where educators and families work together to support learning at home and school. We all want what is best for students—for them to enjoy learning, to build from success and persevere through challenges, to become reflective and critical thinkers. The right homework can support those goals.