Intellectual Virtues Academy: Public High School

Skip to main content
Mobile Menu
Please Create A Marquee

Home Thinking & Learning


In order to focus on thinking and learning in all aspects of education at the Academy we have changed the name of homework to home thinking. This name change helps remind teachers, students, and parents that the purpose and value of assignments at home is thinking. Home thinking is a great place to practice intellectual autonomy, a capacity for self-directed , since the students classmates and teacher are not there to support the learning. When parents are able to help, the document below can offer some questions to guide the thinking process. We hope this document can be useful for our parents! We want our students to have the opportunity to struggle through complex learning and feel the reward of figuring it out for themselves. We also provide resources for students. Our families can help equip your children by apprenticing them in organization and troubleshooting so that students know how to use the resources that teachers provide. This apprenticeship into self-advocacy and intellectual autonomy, to think and reason for oneself, is part of the foundations of a love of learning. 

At the Academy, the focus is on thinking and learning. Here are some suggestions on how to support your child's learning at home.

Ask Questions.

One goal in helping to focus on learning is to assist students in figuring out as much as they can for themselves (e.g., constructing meaning). Ask questions that guide, without telling what to do. Good questions and good listening will help students make sense of content, build self-confidence, and encourage subject matter thinking and communication. A good question can help students clarify a problem and support different ways of thinking about it.

You do not need to know how to do the problem or assignment to support your child’s learning. Encourage your children to take responsibility for their success. And ask questions that can direct their thinking.

Thinking Routines at home.

The goal is that students learn and practicing intellectual virtues in their thinking. One thinking routine that can help in processing what students have learned – even if it doesn’t seem like they get all of the assignment – is “I Used To Think, Now I Think”. Another thinking routine that can help students expand on and explain their thinking is “What makes you say that”.

Getting Started

What do you know?
What do you need to find out?
How could you begin?
Are there words you don’t understand?
Have you had similar assignments/problems?

While working

How can you organize the information?
Can you make a drawing or model to explain your thinking?
Are there other possibilities?
What would happen if...?
Can you describe a strategy you can use to solve this? What do you need to do next?
Do you see any patterns or relationships that will help solve this?
How does this relate to...?
Can you make a prediction?
How were you thinking about the question when you did this?
What assumptions are you making?
What did you try that did not work?

Reflection about the solution

Has the question been answered?
How do you know your solution/conclusion is reasonable? How did you arrive at your answer?
How can you convince me your answer makes sense? Can the explanation be made clearer?

Helping your child clarify and extend their thinking

Help me understand this part...
Can you explain it in a different way?
Is there another possibility or strategy that would work? How does the answer you came to relate to previous learning?