Meaningful, Age-appropriate, Connected
Too often, homework becomes meaningless busywork that stresses and overwhelms students and their families, crushes creativity, and has little impact on children’s future success. In Waldorf education, we take a thoughtful, age-appropriate, and balanced approach. Homework is not introduced until later and is always focused on meaningful assignments to foster creativity and developing a deeper understanding of the subject. Assignments will often include an artistic or project-based component that connects to the theme being studied.
Our approach to homework is rooted in sparking students’ imagination and creativity, helping them to learn to articulate their understanding and viewpoint, and cultivating a strong love of learning. We want our students to lead healthy, balanced lives that include time for rest, recreation, free play, and family time.
An article from the Atlantic Magazine, The Cult of Homework, details how America’s focus on homework is not grounded in research and that excessive homework is not helping to reach our educational goals.
At RWS, homework begins in 3rd or 4th grade with students working on reading and practicing their strings instrument. While this may sound late and light to some parents, especially those whose preschoolers may be coming home with packets of work, our tried and true educational philosophy demonstrates that having engaging and meaningful lessons at school is the most important thing to ensure students are progressing in their learning. Homework does have its place, and Waldorf education believes it needs to be developmentally appropriate and connect the concepts learned at school to a project or artistic experience at home.
As the students grow and become ready for more challenging assignments, we bring that experiential element into the homework assignments, too!
Applying Priciples in a Meaningful Way
At Richmond Waldorf School, we strive for meaning and purpose to be at the forefront of our curriculum and the work we ask of our students.
In 7th grade last year, the class studied physics. Electromagnetism was the final topic of the block, where the students revisited properties of magnets and explored how electricity and magnetism work together. Making simple motors was their final class project, showing that they could apply the principles they learned about magnetism and electricity in a meaningful way.
Instead of a block test, students created their own Rube Goldberg machines at home. It was incredible to see what they each accomplished, and they were able to demonstrate their work in class together, with popcorn! As we know, scientists must often try things over and over again before they get them right. This experience gave students the chance to explore the scientific process of discovery and innovation as they worked diligently on these projects. Not only were they able to complete the assignment, but they felt a sense of pride, accomplishment, and excitement for what they and their fellow classmates were able to do.
This is a perfect example for how we create meaningful, in-depth experiences that help students learn how to think creatively and critically to reach their goals. The concepts learned in class were connected to the projects at home in an exciting and age-appropriate way, fostering a love of learning and genuine excitement to complete the homework!
Want to Learn More?
We would love for you to explore the Waldorf approach! Get to know us and see if RWS is right for your child.
At Richmond Waldorf School, we recognize that our student’s physical, social and emotional well-being are a key part of their ability to learn and thrive. We look forward to meeting you and sharing more information about Waldorf education.
Richmond Waldorf School is a non-profit, private school in Richmond, Virginia offering Waldorf education for grades Pre-K – 8th grade.