Private Elementary School Homework: What’s it really like?

When I was applying to schools, and once my daughter was accepted to The Willows School, I wondered about the homework. What would the homework be like? Would my daughter be able to complete it on her own or would she need help? Would she resist doing homework or welcome the challenge? Obviously, each private elementary school is different, but here are some examples of my kids’ homework from first and third grades for you to see. At The Willows School, homework in kindergarten is infrequent so first grade is when homework really begins.

When you tour schools, pay attention to the issue of homework. Parents sometimes have misconceptions about the type or amount of homework a school should be giving their child. They want MORE homework or LESS homework. Whatever the problem, if they are out of sync with the school’s educational philosophy, it can be a frustrating situation. And, the problem can probably be avoided if you ask questions early and look carefully at the school’s academic program. Still, at every school you’ll find parents who think the school is “too academic” or “not academic enough” and they tend to focus on homework as the most visible example of their dissatisfaction. Try not to get pulled into the frenzy. You can trust that most private elementary schools balance homework with the entire academic program as well as extra-curricular activities.

First Grade Homework Example:

Language Arts Homework Example:

Read 15 minutes per night, kids choose the book (my son is reading “Diary of A Wimpy Kid”)

Write a sentence for each of these 5 spelling words:

1. Food, 2. True, Spoon, Clue, Glue

2. List the words you know how to spell with the /ae/ sound. (a, ai, a-e, ay ) and /ie (ie i-e, y, igh. Write a descriptive sentence for each word.

3. Trace over each word below and write the word 2 more times.

Wet, Yes, Set, Gas, Hot, Red, Hen,

4. Look at a picture. Use an adjective to describe the picture.

First Grade Math:

1. Make these true: 30>?, 18>? 103>?
2. Count by 2s, starting at 20, ending at 36
3. Count by 2s, starting at 50, ending at 66

Third Grade Homework:

Language Arts:

“Her skill at constructing webs landed her a job as the first spider to go up in space”
The word “constructing” in paragraph 1 above means
a. finding
b. fixing
c. making
d. moving

In Class Math Test:
1, 2 x 322=
a. 644
b. 744
c. 544
d. not given

2. 572 x 468 =
a. 267,686
b. 67, 696
c. 167, 696
d. none of these

Math Homework:
1. 4/5<> 8/11

2. 1/8 <> 1/2

3. What does the 4 in 9,742 mean?
a. four hundred
b. four
c. forty
d. four thousand

At home reading, several books per week (my daughter is reading “Anastasia” by Lois Lowry)

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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at

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