All students are encouraged to read at home every night, either alone or with a parent. One mother, a literature teacher, said, “I have books I have wanted to share with my girls, but in their previous school there was so much homework, we had no time to read together.”
Individualized Practice Work
If a student requires extra help in developing an academic skill such as reading, penmanship, or math facts, we provide parents with materials to assist their child and make recommendations for practice times. Parents determine the schedule for practice.
Parent Initiated Study
Some parents choose to have their children do some academic work at home. We support the parent’s choice; it is the parent who is choosing when and how this work is to be done. The parent does not answer to us.
Students may use the evening hours to initiate their own creative projects. One eleven year old boy wrote:
“I love to write stories and before I came to Plumfield, all my time was taken up with homework. This year, at home, I wrote 75 pages of the first part of a fantasy trilogy.”
Creative projects could also include work in art, music, inventions, and research.
Child Initiated Extra Practice
A student may choose to bring work home in order to give more attention to a concept he or she struggled with that day in class. One of our third graders, in her second week with us, took her math book home to practice a particular type of problem. Her mother (who was relieved by our no homework policy) said, “Wait a minute! I thought they weren’t going to give you homework! Did they send that book home with you?!?!” “Mom, Mom, it’s okay! I took it myself. I’m taking responsibility for my own education. That’s what we do at Plumfield.”
Extra Curricular Studies
A student may decide to take an evening course in some area of interest, e.g. sports, scouting, Judo, Karate, etc. For example, one of our 7th grade boys took an evening course with North Shore Baseball Umpires Association which trained him to become a baseball umpire.
Parent and child need down time as never before: enjoy a board game, watch a good documentary or movie, read together, take a walk on the beach, go to a ballgame, rake the leaves in the yard, make a card for a sick friend, visit someone in need, etc. There are so many ways to enjoy being together, so many ways to get at real life.