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The MRA Homework Philosophy

Much research has been done about the purpose, function, and benefit of homework. The philosophies range from not giving home work at all to giving a significant amount of homework, with data backing each side. At MRA we have crafted a philosophy based on what we feel is in the best interest of the child based on the mission and philosophy of Molalla River Academy along with our study of the research.


As a school that values academic, social and emotional growth and development, we believe that our homework policy must reflect this.  We appreciate the fact that after a day of quality learning which requires children to focus and stretch their brains, there is a need for down time. We want children to relax and unwind at home, participate in extra-curricular activities, and spend time with family and friends.  We also believe that as students get older, expectations and the importance of personal responsibility increase. As with everything in life, there needs to be a balance, and we feel that this philosophy reflects that approach.


We believe that homework helps to reinforce lessons and to encourage responsibility and time-management.  Homework promotes good study habits, helps students recognize that they can learn at home, and fosters independent learning and responsible character traits.  In addition it provides parents an opportunity to see what’s going on at school and express positive attitudes toward achievement.

Our approach to homework is guided by the following points:

  • Homework should not be “busy work”—homework is thoughtfully assigned to build skills and understanding and to give time for reflection.

  • We want our students to understand the reasons behind their assignments.

  • Assignments are given to help students to develop the habits of organization and responsibility, developing an even greater sense of ownership.

  • All homework is developmentally appropriate, both in amount and in what it demands; this differs by grade level.

  • We recognize that there’s a tipping point. Homework can become counterproductive to learning and to help children develop their understanding–we strive to find the right balance.

  • We want to work in partnership with you. We recognize that kids differ and that how they and you approach the homework process can be quite unique to families.

Homework will consist of:

  • Work not finished in class.

  • A question, reading piece, or activity relevant to the next day’s class work.

  • A larger project that requires more time than the classroom can provide.

  • Practice work to help reinforce the day’s lesson.

  • The expectation that students are reading or being read to nightly.


The purpose of homework can consist of:

  • Applying what was learned in school to a real life situation outside of school.

  • Reinforcing skills learned in class.

  • Teaching students levels of responsibility.

  • Completing a well done piece of work to put into a student portfolio.

  • Preparing students for the next day’s lesson.


The parent’s role in the homework process is:

  • To provide a quiet area in the home for homework to be done.

  • To help your child organize his/her work after completion of homework.

  • To be supportive of your child when frustration is exhibited.

  • To inform your child’s teacher when your child is exhibiting frustration with homework or when your child does not understand the material.

  • To gauge if your child is spending too much time on homework and doesn’t have enough down time and play time.

  • Check planner and sign off (grades 5 through 8), know deadlines as appropriate, keep up with ParentVUE.

  • Read with and to children at all grade levels, especially in the younger grades.


The school does not expect parents to help their children actively with homework, with the exception of reading.  We do, however, recognize that parent involvement can vary from family to family. We do ask that families:

  • Notify your child's teacher f your child is having difficulty with a homework assignment. Either many students in the class will be having difficulty or your child may be one of a few children experiencing difficulty. Either way, the teacher needs to know that he/she will need to review the material and/or come up with a different strategy that would ensure understanding and comprehension.

  • Encourage your child to take ownership over the homework. The idea is for your child to be proud of his/her work. This prepares your children for real life when you will always be there to support them, but not to do the work for them.

  • Recognize, as we do, that we all come from different backgrounds with different areas of expertise. We do not expect parents to be fully knowledgeable of the content or the philosophy and methodology. Therefore, we convey to our teachers the message that parents are not expected to actively assist with homework, unless they want to and feel comfortable doing so.


Homework Assignments

  • It is the responsibility of the students to record all homework assignments in their student planner, grades 5 through 8.

  • Teachers help instill that responsibility with each student. In addition, parents and students may access their online Jupiter account where teachers in grades 5 through 8 may post homework assignments.


Any questions regarding student homework should be addressed to the teacher.

Expectations by Class

Trillium and Huckleberry:

Parents of students in kindergarten and first grade are encouraged to read with their children on a daily basis.  Occasional projects may be assigned with specific instructions provided by the teacher.  Any homework at these grade levels is created with the purpose of initiating parental involvement.  Educational games and family activities to do at home may occasionally be posted on the teacher’s blogs and are presented as optional.



Second and third graders are expected to read out loud to a family member or to themselves for 20-25 minutes every evening. Additionally, students may occasionally get extra practice or work to complete in math, spelling, or writing.  Project work such as an interview, survey or some other activity related to the thematic unit they are studying in class will be sent home as needed. Homework will be communicated through teacher blogs and homework packets.  At times, students are asked to create their own homework.



Our fourth and fifth grade Alders should expect to complete about 45 to 60 minutes of homework every evening, which includes 20 to 30 to minutes of reading. Students may be asked to do internet research as part of their homework or will need to type up their writing. Most of their homework will be designed to check for understanding, inform curriculum, and prepare students for activities and discussions during the class period. Teachers will also work closely with students to help them budget their time and break down larger projects into manageable pieces.



By the time students reach the Cedar classes (6th, 7th, and 8th) they may have up to 75 minutes of homework nightly. Because this figure is variable, teachers coordinate due dates for larger assignments so that no one has too much due at the same time. Homework will always be meaningful and meant to reinforce concepts covered in class, prepare for discussions, provide adequate practice where necessary, and complete long term projects or assignments that range over a few class periods.  Students are expected to keep and maintain their short term and long term homework assignments in their appropriate planners and notebooks. Students may be able to access assignments through their Jupiter account in addition to their daily planner.  In addition, teachers will be giving students checklists to help them get organized and develop a useful tool to assist with time and work management.


Some assignments will be given several weeks beforehand. With long term projects time management will be a factor. In most cases teachers provide students with check-in points to confirm progress and ask questions. These projects are generally related to real-life experiential learning, and are created to provide students with opportunities to learn and practice life skills such as organization, meeting deadlines, self-advocacy, etc. Students who put projects off until the last minutes will generally receive a low score.


Independent Projects:

All students at MRA are expected to complete an Independent Project, to be presented at the end of the school year. Project standards vary by grade level. Please consult with your teachers for guidelines.


At MRA we believe that homework expectations should be developmentally appropriate and should increase incrementally.  By the end of eighth grade, MRA students will have a variety of tools to help them manage their time and complete homework effectively and efficiently.  Our goal is to eliminate consequences altogether as completing homework becomes a routine part of everyone’s day.

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