Broadoaks Homework Guidelines

Click here to download a pdf version.


The purpose of homework at Broadoaks is to maximize children’s school experience by (1) reinforcing and/or extending classroom learning; (2) building responsibility; (3) developing essential study habits; and (4) strengthening home-school partnerships and communication. Homework should be a regular part of family life. Our goal is to create homework that is flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of learning styles, achievement levels, family circumstances, and outside activities. Especially in the early primary grades, teachers often provide choice points so parents can tailor homework assignments to their child’s interests and family routines.

Based on research and our experience, Broadoaks recommends that all children have time for relaxation and free play at home each day. Therefore, we have established guidelines for the amount of time students should be expected to do homework each day. For parents who want their children to spend more time on homework than the school requires, we recommend reading with their children, engaging in opportunities for learning that occur naturally in day-to-day life (e.g., counting the number of utensils needed to set the table), playing educational games, and/or obtaining grade-appropriate workbooks and other instructional materials from teacher supply stores or the internet.

Parents play a central role in framing children’s attitudes about learning, school, and homework. Family schedules should be planned to strike a balance between homework, family activities and the child’s need for relaxation. Depending on their learning styles, motivation, personalities, interest in the content, and family relationships, students will need varying degrees of encouragement, reinforcement and support during homework times.

Teachers welcome parent questions and comments about homework. At the beginning of the year, each team will explain how parents can communicate with teachers about homework and other school-related matters.

A child reading

General Types of Homework

Practice assignments reinforce skills and concepts taught in class.

Preparation assignments provide background information before topics appear in class (not usually done in primary grades).

Extension assignments emphasize application of knowledge gained in class and/or creativity, as well as individual needs and interests.

Study assignments prepare students for tests or require completion of independent reading.

Long-term assignments emphasize completion of projects in a planful way over time. Frequency of long-term assignments increases in middle and upper elementary grades.

Catch-up assignments provide opportunities for students to catch up on work missed during an absence and work they did not complete during the regular school day.

Teachers introduce new concepts, information, and skills in school, not in homework.

Student Responsibilities

1.   Students’ responsibility for understanding homework instructions increases with each grade.

* In kindergarten and first grade, teachers write homework instructions with the intention that parents will assist with reading as needed.

* For the most part, second- and third-grade students should be able to read homework instructions and complete the work independently. Teachers preview homework with students in class on the day it is assigned. However, parents should expect their children to occasionally ask for help. Sometimes this is because they really need help understanding the task and/or completing the task; but often they ask for help because they want to spend more time with their parents.

* Third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, and seventh- and eighth-grade students write homework assignments from the classroom board, including the task and due dates.

2.  Students are expected to take home and return their homework according to their classroom schedule. Teachers sometimes require students to get started on homework during the school day. Teachers may monitor progress toward completion of long-term projects by requiring submission of interim work.

3.  Students may be expected to work with a variety of materials to complete assignments. Most homework materials should be readily available within the home. Teachers send lists well in advance when students will need access to materials that may not be easily available at home.

4.  Students at all grade levels should work on homework each day. Students should also devote some time to pleasure reading at home every day.

5.  Broadoaks teachers typically do not assign homework (other than reading) over holiday and long weekend periods or on weekends that typically involve family gatherings, such as Mother’s Day. However, if students have fallen behind, they may be required to do homework during holidays and special-event weekends.

6.   Students should do their own work, but may ask their parents for assistance if needed, unless otherwise specified by the teacher. Upper-grade teachers may ask that students do some tasks without any help.

7. Students should ask the teacher for help if they do not understand an assignment. Immediate feedback from the teacher can quickly resolve obstacles to completing homework successfully.

8. Students should be expected by both home and school to do their best work on homework, as well as on class work and tests.

9.   Students should do both assigned reading and reading for pleasure (at least a little bit) every day.

10.   Students should show their parents their completed homework. Some teachers require that students obtain parent signatures on homework before it is turned in, especially in situations where students tend not to do their best work or turn in work late.

11. Students are expected to return thoroughly, thoughtfully, and neatly completed homework assignments on the date due. Homework expectations increase as students move up the grades.

12. Middle School Homework Completion Policy:

Students in the Broadoaks Middle School Program are held to a high standard of academic excellence. They are expected to demonstrate high levels of personal responsibility and time management. Students are required to complete all homework assignments thoroughly and submit them by the designated due date.

Teachers will not accept assignments that are of poor quality and/or incomplete. Students will be required to correct and resubmit the assignment the next day. All late homework will receive an automatic 20% grade reduction. If students do not resubmit an acceptable assignment by the next day, they will receive a zero.

If students were not able to complete assignments to an acceptable standard at home, teachers will provide students with time throughout parts of the school day. This will include, but is not limited to, nutrition/recess, Workshop time, I.S.R., D.E.A.R., or after school if the student is enrolled in the P.M. Program. If homework completion becomes a reoccurring issue, teachers may require that students enroll in the P.M. Program.

When incomplete homework is submitted or homework is missing, students will be required to complete the green “Incomplete Homework Notice Letter” to be returned the following day with a parent signature.

Click here for a pdf version of the Middle School Policy.


Teacher Responsibilities

1.   Using methods/systems appropriate for each grade level, teachers will inform parents and students about homework assignments and schedules. In upper grades, teachers often include a grading rubric so students will know in advance exactly what is expected and how the work will be evaluated.

2.   Teachers communicate consequences of incomplete or missed assignments. This information is disseminated to parents near the beginning of each school year and to students throughout the year.

3.   Teachers give clear homework instructions, often stating the specific purpose of the assignment. Teachers avoid homework as busy work or punishment. However, teachers frequently use homework for skill practice and to enhance speed (as is the case with practicing multiplication, for example).

4.   As appropriate, teachers give examples for completing assignments.

5.  Teachers typically design assignments that are within the ability level of the child to complete with minimal assistance. However, teachers may include “wiggle room” with such statements as “Complete as many of these problems as you can within 15 minutes” or “Select the problems that are most appropriate for your child and your family’s circumstances.”

6.   When students are absent due to illness, teachers try to limit make-up work to essential concepts covered. Teachers try to allow sufficient time to complete make-up assignments to minimize student and parental stress. However, they also try to see that make-up work occurs as quickly as feasible to avoid further learning delays. Teachers should not be expected to make advanced homework packets for students who will miss school due to travel. (Days missed due to travel typically count as unexcused absences.)

7.   Teachers monitor progress on homework and review completed homework, providing periodic feedback to both students and parents as appropriate.

8. Teachers are expected to provide homework that fits within the school’s philosophy (see above). Teachers collaborate with both students and parents to adjust assignments for the individual needs and learning styles of students. However, it is not feasible for teachers to completely individualize homework assignments. Therefore, if parents believe that the homework is not sufficiently challenging, teachers may suggest that parents use Internet or teacher supply store resources to augment homework packets in the primary grades.

9.  To the greatest extent possible, teachers design homework that conforms to the school’s homework guidelines and expectations:

GRADE LEVEL Typical amount of time to be spent on homework per day




Fall term: sight-word flash cards and daily reading time with parents for 10-15 minutes per day Spring term: 10-15 minutes on homework tasks plus 10-15 minutes reading with parents

1st grade

20-30 minutes on assigned tasks plus 15-20 minutes reading with parents

2nd grade

30-40 minutes on academic tasks plus 15-30 minutes reading

3rd grade

45 minutes on academic tasks plus 15-30 minutes reading

4th grade

45 minutes to 1 hour on academic tasks plus 30 minutes reading

5th grade

From 1 to 11⁄2 hours depending on the student’s needs and projects in progress, plus 30-45 minutes reading and/or studying for tests.

6th grade

From 1 to 11⁄2 hours depending on the student’s needs and projects in progress, plus 30-45 minutes reading and/or studying for tests.

7th & 8th grade

Approximately 2 hours depending on the student’s needs and projects in progress, plus 30-45 minutes reading and/or test preparation.

Check with your teacher about your child’s homework.

Parent Responsibilities  

* Model life-long learning at home. Read for information and pleasure every day.

* Read and follow the school and classroom guidelines for homework, showing support for the school’s philosophy and the assignments the teachers have given.

* Show that you value education and respect your child’s teachers as you discuss homework with your child at home. Go directly to the teacher if you have suggestions or concerns.

* Provide a quiet, well-lighted space for homework.

* Set a specific time for completion of homework every day. Require that your child actually work on homework during these times.

* Assist your child with homework when s/he really needs help. Otherwise, help the child get started and then expect the child to do his/her best without your direct involvement.

* Read aloud with younger children every day. Have older children read to you every day and/or read the same material and discuss it together.

* Establish logical consequences at home when teachers report that students have not completed homework thoroughly and thoughtfully.

* Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise, rest, and pleasurable relaxation time. Limit television and computer time.

* Sign the child up for P.M. Program if homework becomes a struggle at home or if the child needs extra time and/or assistance with homework. (Grades 4 and higher.)

Support your child's learning in the following ways:

  1. Allow your child to discuss school projects and lessons.
  2. Help your child relate school subjects to his/her personal experiences and interests.
  3. Assist your child in locating related learning resources such as books, encyclopedias, videos, games, internet resources, etc.
  4. Speak about school and homework in positive ways. Support your child's teachers.

Assist your child with assignments by trying the following strategies:

  1. Read assignments with or to your kindergarten and first-grade students.
  2. With older students, ask your child to read directions aloud and explain them in his/her own words. Ask your teacher for advice if your child often seems unable to read the directions alone.
  3. If your child needs further help:
    • Read the directions to your child.
    • Encourage the child to get started by saying, “Show me what you will do first.”
    • Ask questions concerning task completion.
    • Point out the order of steps in the task.
    • Check for understanding as the child completes each item.
  4. If your child still needs more help:
    • Model:
      Show your child how to do the first item.
    • Prompt:
      Ask your child to help you do the second item.   Guide your child as needed, using cues/clues such as key words.
    • Monitor:
      Watch your child complete the third item.   If correct, let your child work independently and check back later. If your child's response is incorrect on the third item, Prompt, and Monitor again.

School support with homework:

Beginning in the fourth grade, Broadoaks offers after-school study halls for families that want assistance and support with homework assignments. In some cases, the school may require a student to participate in after-school programs to complete homework. Second and third graders may also elect to do homework during the P.M. program.

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