At the primary (3-6 years old) and elementary (1-5 grades) there is no or very very little after school homework. At the middle school level there is a small amount of at home work, but most homework is intended to be done during free periods at school.
This school holds (at the middle school level at least) kids accountable for their own actions, without necessarily getting the parents involved at an early stage. That gives the child time to respond, react, plan, and change without a parent pushing them to do it. It's a little scary for them, but it's a great lesson to learn while there's a safety net around the child of parents and school.
We've been with PCS for the past six and a half years. At the end of the school year my girls will be leaving with fond memories, and we'll miss the staff and school quite a bit. My older daughter will be graduating eighth grade and moving on (in a ceremony that will be filled with tears, smiles, laughs, and hugs from the teachers as much as the students). Our family is moving, so our younger daughter will be moving to a school closer to our new home. Her new school will have some very large shoes to fill!!
My older daughter has thrived in a Montessori environment since kindergarten. We love the focus on the child, on more than just math and science (while not slouching on either of those), the responsibility the children have for their own school and classroom, and the community feel of a good Montessori school; which Pacific Crest most definitely is. We feel our older daughter is ready for whatever high school has to throw at her, and she has plans to pursue STEM going forward, hopefully at Stanford or another great university.
Our younger daughter has ADHD and so in a traditionally classroom she would not do as well. She'd be labeled "disruptive" or "bad", and it's quite possible the school would be pushing for medication (we may still medicate, we don't know, but it will be a decision based within our family, not pushed from the school). In a Montessori primary/early childhood classroom there is enough movement that her school day is not bothered by her inability to hold still. If she can't focus she can move to another activity. Her teacher noticed ways to help her cope a little better, all without singling her out as different. Our love for this Montessori principal and ideals is steering us toward another Montessori school closer to our new home.
We will miss Pacific Crest. We'll leave it, but it will never leave us completely. I've met one or two families who found that the Montessori ideas didn't work for them, and that's fine, but the majority of Pacific Crest families and students are thrilled with their choice. If you're considering it, please definitely do.
You will not find a better school in Seattle. So creative, fun, and warm. All the instruction is individualized and the teachers are amazing. It is so respectful and designed to let children follow their own interests so they learn in a deep and meaningful way. Check it out!