I'm reading a book about how to best learn math and science right now, and the book mentions the importance of homework in these fields in particular, to cement abstract learning into chunks and understand how it is used in the real world. When homework was given at DCS, it was pretty good (not just busywork), but since it was only given once every 3 weeks on average, it didn't really fulfill its purpose. I ended up having to teach or review many concepts at home, because my child was not given adequate teaching in class to understand a concept, and not given homework to help practice it either. Often he DID understand a concept, but then didn't get any homework to be able to practice it, so he forgot it! I would end up teaching him a concept TWICE, which was completely irritating.
This depends on your student. My oldest child would have really appreciated more structure, and more feedback in the form of grades. He was never really sure of how he was doing. He would have liked clearer goals to strive towards. Many times at DCS he felt like there was no point in persisting or showing grit, since there were no consequences for failures, and no rewards for extra work. Despite attending DCS for his entire elementary school experience (and being encouraged in intrinsic motivation at home), he is still fairly externally motivated, and looks for external signs of his success.
In the classroom there is very little respect shown to the teachers or presenters. Even in 5th grade, in one of the more structured classrooms, I had a very difficult time getting the students to quiet down and not talk over me when I was guest teaching, and these are kids that I have known since kindergarten. It is a frustrating and stressful environment for those who do best without noise and distractions, as there are always noise and distractions in the classroom, and this is accepted as normal.
They do work on conflict resolution for several weeks at the beginning of the year, and throughout the year. Since there are no grades, there is no real need to cheat. But I wouldn't say that it's a fair environment. There is some favoritism, and the rules are not always clear or fairly enforced.
If you can handle parent participation this is an excellent school, creating the most well rounded students. We love the focus on emotional and social development while achieving the highest academic standards.