For the past three years, we have not assigned traditional homework in our elementary school and encourage families to use time in the afternoons to connect with children at deep levels, set up the environment for children to wonder, create, and play!
At home, we expect students to consistently read for at least 20 minutes a day. There is extended research on how daily reading impacts students’ academic life in powerful ways. There is also important evidence that highlights that, traditional homework in the elementary grades may not be as beneficial to student achievement as we once thought, and in some cases, possibly detrimental to a child’s attitude towards learning. If you’d like to read up on some of the research, please check out the links at the end of this message.
While we do not assign regular homework, other than reading, there may be times when we will recommend specific practice or learning extensions to support your child’s growth. Yet, our most important aim for time at home is to get our children to play, to explore, to create, to enjoy family time and allow time for them to extend their learning in areas that they are intrigued by or interested in. This year, we have been encouraging families to engage in “device free dinners.” We know that many passions and interests are being developed at home, and we invite students to work on personal inspiration projects. These projects are expected to be related to your child’s individual passion through a desire to solve a problem (big or small), make an improvement, invent or re-invent. While inspiration projects formally begin as an expectation at the end of 2nd grade, all children are encouraged to dig deep into their passions and interests as inquirers! Parents of students in grades 3 to 5 will receive more information regarding inspiration projects and showcases in the coming days.
Some research about homework:
Maybe surprisingly, ongoing research continues to show us that homework in the elementary grades may not be as beneficial to student achievement as we once thought, and in some cases, it could even have a negative effect in achievement. Below are links that you may find informative:
Benjamin Franklin stated “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Our Parent Representatives were collaboratively involved in an experience On Oct. 4 as they experienced how children learn in our division. After a provocation of seeing a video of the Earthquake in Indonesia, and the crumbling of their hospital, parents designed a re-structure for the Palu hospital. This experience allowed parents to collaborate, think critically, and show empathy - the essence of meaningful learning experiences.
Paola de Pereira