F A Qs
These are just some of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive from parents like you. If your question is not answered here, please feel free to contact us.
The average amount of homework should be ten minutes per grade. So your fourth grade student should spend about 40 minutes completing their homework; fifth graders, 50 minutes; and sixth graders, 60 minutes.
At this age, it is difficult for students to remember all of their homework assignments. Therefore, we have each student complete a homework log at the end of each day that lists all of the assignments due the next day. If your child is enrolled in after school childcare, there is an hour and a half study hall time for students to complete and read quietly. Please take time to check your child’s log and work even if they have completed their assignments during this time.
At the beginning of the year, the children are given an assessment test. However this is not the only tool used to assess them. We find, especially in the math area, some children find the first few chapters very basic, so these are also used as assessment. Though basic, these chapters also contain some very advanced algebra concepts. Once the child is able to grasp these concepts he/she is given more advanced work to expand knowledge of the new algebra concepts. As a general rule, we do not move the child on to the next grade level math, as this would be damaging to the child in the long run. Every chapter at every grade level contains some new algebra concepts which the child needs to grasp completely. To the adult eye, the arithmetic may appear basic, but please be advised the numbers are kept simple because the concept taught needs to be understood completely. It is our experience that children who rush through elementary math arrive at junior high and high school without the solid base knowledge for algebra and abstract thinking. Montessori philosophy is that math is not just about working with bigger numbers, but mainly about logical thinking, making connections, and absorbing all the math rules not by rote but with deep understanding. In our class we constantly observe how the child is assimilating ideas, and do present more challenging work for those who are able to completely grasp new ideas quickly. This is not necessarily from one grade level above, for reasons already explained above.
Our language arts program covers a vast number of skills, and therefore is given more time in the daily work plan. The child’s ability to read is not the only tool used to judge how well the child is doing in the subject matter. Unfortunately, in the society we live in, children are not typically exposed to properly used English language, either spoken or written. The elementary years are the most influential time period that we have to address this problem, and we strive to maximize this critical time through our Language Arts program.
We respectfully request that urgent questions be reserved for after 3:15pm, or a scheduled appointment time, as we are rushing to begin our class in the morning and thus will not be able to give you the full attention that you deserve. We are usually available in our classroom until 4:30 p.m., and sometimes later.
As a parent it is important to be enthusiastic about school and point out the importance of school and a good education. Make sure the homework is done, and show active support for your child’s teacher. Children have a very good sense of adults’ feelings. If your child senses that you are in full support of his/her teacher, he/she will be more inclined to follow instructions and learn. Children are very sensitive and do pick up on your feelings, even if you do not articulate them. Therefore if you have any concerns or feelings of dissatisfaction, please bring it to the immediate attention of the teacher, so it may be quickly resolved.
• Visit to the LA Times offices for sixth graders
• Science Camp for the sixth graders
• Visit to San Juan Capistrano for fourth graders
• Visit to a sailing ship for fifth graders
• Small group visits for further research to the library
We may need parental help with some of these visits and we will be contacting you. If you are able to be of assistance please add your name to the list at the office. We will also need help for events like the recitals and International Culture Day.
• ability to stay focused
• ability to concentrate for long periods of time
• if the child is able to choose work independently
• if the child has acquired inner discipline
The other important fact to remember is that the Arborland curriculum is kept abreast with the California Education Standards. The children do the same state tests as the local public schools, starting in first grade.
All concepts presented to the children are done so with Montessori materials, at the primary and lower elementary levels. At the upper elementary level the children are gradually led away from the materials to more abstract work.
Finally, the children are taught in very small groups, thus getting very individualized attention. We teach the children in small groups, we make eye contact; we constantly observe and make adjustments as necessary. We do not lecture “at the children;” we talk to and connect the child to the work. If the child “does not get it,” we believe it is the teacher’s problem, and we do our upmost to fix this issue quickly.