A common question for prospective parents to ask me is, “How much homework is there?” It’s a great question because it gets right to the heart of a school’s educational philosophy. The amount of homework, the types of assignments and the reasons homework is assigned tells you a lot about what a school believes is important. 

Finding a school that meshes with your own beliefs about homework is an important part of a good school fit for your family. Here are some questions to ask about homework when considering schools:

  • What is the purpose of homework?
  • About how much homework is expected at each grade level?
  • What are typical homework assignments?
  • Are homework expectations the same for every student or is it more individualized? Does the school offer homework help?
  • What is the family’s role in helping with homework?
Homework can be a good way to practice skills and develop good study habits. It can challenge students to stretch and go more deeply into a subject than class time allows.

When I was a kid, I loved research projects, creative writing assignments and reading just about anything  — including textbooks. Now I have revealed myself as a complete nerd…but anyone who meets me probably figures that out in about ten seconds.

I also remember feeling very bored by worksheets that required copying answers from textbooks and memorizing test facts that I never used again. Not surprisingly, when seeking a school for my own boys, I wanted a place that offered the kind of schoolwork that I loved as a kid and very little of what I thought of as make-work.

You may remember times when your own homework was interesting, fun or helpful. You might also recall times when homework felt heavy or maybe even pointless. Our memories help form opinions about whether our kids’ homework is the right kind/wrong kind and if the amount is too much/too little/just right.

As you think about schools for your own child, talk about your homework experiences and expectations with family members. Hearing each other’s best and worst homework stories can be very revealing (and entertaining) and may lead to deeper discussions about schooling.

What is Friends School of Minnesota’s approach to homework?  Learn about homework and other frequently asked questions at FSM.