As an institution that encourages family time as well as school time, Portsmouth Christian Academy wants to make homework a timely, meaningful activity that teaches responsibility, promotes skill mastery, and opens the window of learning to parents. Research indicates that review of learning after time has lapsed reinforces the learning of the day, allowing students to move learning to long-term memory and mastery. Homework amounts are designed to be developmentally appropriate and, to this end, the target is ten minutes times the grade level of the child, as students progress through the Lower School so that they are prepared for the greater expectations of Upper School and college.
Recognizing that the same assignment may take greater or lesser amounts of time for each student, it is critical that there be communication between parents and teachers, so that appropriate adjustments can be made to the amount of homework, if needed. Study time may be provided at the end of classes or during dismissal so that students can start assignments. Kaleidoscope also provides a Study Club for students in grades 5 through 8. Costing the same as Aftercare, this supervised study hall allows students to complete most of their work prior to leaving school for the day.
At the Primary level (Grades K-2) the main focus of homework is to reinforce reading, for developing reading skills is the foundation for future success. Nightly work on decoding, fluency, accuracy, expression and comprehension strengthen skills learned in class. This initially happens when the students and school begin to partner with parents as they support their child with reading. Students are then encouraged to move toward more independence to complete homework. Differentiation takes place as a student progresses at his or her unique reading level.
At the Elementary level (Grades 3-5), homework consists mainly of reading, math practice, and monthly Scripture verses. As students progress through the elementary grades, occasional book report projects and IIM research reports are added; often these reports are started in the classroom but completed at home. Students may also need to use homework time to prepare for in-school projects and tests.
In Junior High (Grades 6-8), the purpose of homework is to reinforce learning and to prepare students for High School. This process begins in Grade 6 with teacher support, gradually building a foundation of independence and responsibility as students progress through their Junior High years. Some specific areas of development:
- Time management of short and long-term assignments.
- Balancing extra-curricular activities, family commitments, etc. with homework.
- Learning to manage the expectations of multiple teachers through the use of Veracross, email, and other forms of communication.