Let This Teacher Know What You Think of Kindergarten Homework

I recently came across a blog by a kindergarten teacher who was wondering whether she should assign more homework in kindergarten to prepare her students for first grade. I was so horrified by her musings (and the amount of homework she already assigns) that I posted a comment. You might want to do the same.

Here is what she wrote:

This week our kindergarten team met with our first grade teachers. We had a discussion about homework. I always viewed homework in kindergarten as practice and a way for the students and parents to get in the routine of sitting down each night and doing homework. I was surprised to hear the amount of homework some of the first grade teachers send home and I became scared I was not preparing my students enough for first grade.

I started thinking about what I have my students do each night. I do not believe in sending home hours of work to do each night. The homework I send home is max 25-30 minutes and that is if the students are truly taking their time. I send a homework calendar home at the beginning of each month. I also send a book at the student’s reading level home on Mondays and the students return the books on Fridays. Every once in awhile I send home a project for an activity we do in class. I do not have the students doing homework over the weekends.

I do not feel that I need to send anymore homework than I do. I thought since I have the opportunity to reach out to other Early Childhood educators I could ask for your opinions on homework. I would love to hear what other teachers do and share ideas. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

14 thoughts on “Let This Teacher Know What You Think of Kindergarten Homework

  1. My husband just emailed me from work. He is very upset and not sure how to damage control what happened. He had a conference to go to yesterday and part of today and he completely forgot about it. Yesterday was a snow day and he was able to take liberal leave so he did in order to be home with our daughter. The ensuing snow day all around caused him to forget about the conference.

    In this rough economy, you can’t take chances like this and he feels awful and agitated. Many parents feel a great deal of stress right now. We all know people who’ve been downsized. It’s happened to both my husband and me in the past and although he has a stable job, you just never show for sure. We both know that if he lost his job again, it would throw us for a loop because our lives are quite stressful without the added crisis.

    He’s not about to lose his job, at least I hope not, that’s not why I’m writing. But what got my husband distracted? I am worried about him because for years he’s been shut in all afternoon, evening,weekends and holidays because of our daughter’s relentless homework overload.

    I do feel at times I’m talking to the wall. I write about the damage homework overload inflicts and Heather and other educators start babbling about the ten minutes, it’s not so bad, get over it. And now we have a kindergarten teacher who wants to pile on more than a half hour. For five year olds!

    What is going on with our education schools? Are they offering courses in homework? Isn’t it the job of professional teachers to research homework? We need to make Alfie Kohn and Sara Bennett mandatory reading. With a generous helping of Harris Cooper and Faber-Mazlish.

    Aside from all the other points I have ceaselessly made on this blog in the hopes of reaching a teacher; the play, the downtime, the reading, the field trips, spirited family history discussions that all go by the wayside, what about parents and their jobs?

    Parents work hard all day and they have to come home and be their children’s homework cop, coach, monitor, cheerleader and unpaid teacher’s aide. They are doing the job of the schools because schools wasted time during the day and didn’t get it done.

    Teachers,please stop for a moment and ponder the impact homework overload has on family life and the ability of parents to do their own jobs well (a job that means putting bread on the table and keeping our children clothed, fed with a roof over their heads and enough money left over to buy endless poster board and glue).

    How on earth is a parent supposed to juggle all of his work demands when he’s up late with his daughter, when he wakes up early to help her with a power point presentation and spends loads of his time worrying about her well being? What happens to her career, promotional opportunities, advancement, travel, when schools place so many unrealistic demands on her?

    We don’t do our daughter’s homework, we never have. I am talking about complicated projects that were not well explained by the teacher, a power point presentation assigned two years ago where we didn’t have the requisite software so that my husband had to alter it to suit our specifications, and just sitting in her room and reading a book next to her all night so she doesn’t feel so isolated.

    Years ago my husband left the private sector for a government position. He did this because the hours were more sane and he’d have more time with his only child. Instead, he gets no time, he is stuck at home because he doesn’t want to give our child the impression she is Cinderella. If he works hard all week and gets to play on the weekend, but the child does not, what message is he sending? So out of solidarity, love and his steadfast commitment and devotion to his child, he stays home and his work life suffers.

    Think about all this the next time the National Education Association comes out with its annual message, denouncing homeschoolers, asserting only trained professionals can teach their children. If that’s how you feel, put your money where your mouth is and start doing the job you don’t think we can do ourselves. Because right now, you’re having us do most of it.

    And that’s why I finally homeschooled. I loved doing it actually. What I resent is being middle manager, doing your bidding, forcing my child to complete tasks that pointless and starting school at 4pm after a long day already spent at school.

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  2. Homework in kindergarten is beyond absurd. This is the first real experience many children have with formalized schooling. You want them to enjoy it and look forward to going every day – not dread it!

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  3. I believe children at that age learn best through play. If they were to have any homework to do it would be to play some more, in my opinion!!

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  4. Homework in Kindergarten isn’t developmentally appropriate. Period.

    With rare exception, the outcome is dependent on the parents. Whenever I hear “developing good habits” as a rationale, I cringe. Good habits are best “taught” when they serve a purpose beyond the exercise.

    Amazingly, as people mature, they find they are capable of things they never learned or practiced in school. Somewhere along the way they had opportunities to research possibilities, weigh options, make choices, experiment, learn from experiences, make adjustments, organize, advocate, build relationships, communicate effectively.

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  5. I too am a kindergarten teacher. I send NO homework home with my students. At the beginning of the year I tell parents that the only homework I feel is appropriate is the discussion of what they have learned in school. And, if they would like they my do the activities at the bottom of the few reading pages we complete in class.
    During the second half of the year I send home books that the child can read. They are to keep the book at home and read it as many times as they would like. I suggest they read it to family members, pets, stuffed animals, to the mirror or to anyone or thing that will listen. They may keep the book and enjoy it as long as they like. When they bring the book back to school I send home another to ENJOY. I want the children to read for enjoyment and learn to love books. I do not want them to read the book for a parent signature. My students read as well or better then the K teachers that require the students to read X amount of books and get a parents signature. The children also learn that reading is enjoyable not a chore.

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  6. I am a kinder teacher also. With our curriculum expectations for kindergarten, at least in my district, homework is necessary for practice. We don’t start homework until January but the push is for our kindergarten students read at least on level C (Fountes and Pinnell) and write stories with a beginning, middle, and end, including knowing how to add and subtract to prepare them for 1st grade. I don’t know if that is a common expectation around the country. This is the only placeI have taught.

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  7. I think homework is a good and necessary thing but in small doses. I think it is very approriate for primary age students to have “homework” of reading, either with someone or by themselves, at least 10 minutes a night. The point of homework should be to help foster a love of learning and help students practice skills that they will need the rest of their lives. As a teacher I do not give out a lot of homework, but I do want my kids to read a little each night. I also find it very frustrating when parents tell me they cannot fit in a 10 minute homework activity once a week, this to me is neglect. As a parent you should be able to fit in 10 minutes a week to help further your child’s education. I know my husband and I fit in more then that a week and I work full time, am getting my masters and my husband is in law school. I do not believe in “punishing” students by giving them hours upon hours of homework like Homework Blues is talking about but parents should take enough interest in their child’s education and future to read with them at least 10 minutes a night.

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  8. To Anonymous

    As long as you have a child who WANTS to do kindergarten or Grade 1 homework…fine. The moment this arbitrary activity is rebuked by a child, it is no longer beneficial and that’s what many parents find. I firmly believe in reading to young children too…every night, for often longer than 10 minutes, but I don’t need my child’s teacher to tell me I have to do it. You reading to the class for 20 minutes each day, is just as beneficial…

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  9. You guys are retarded! Kindergarten kids should have homework.
    But I don’t think kids in highschool should because most kids in highschool won’t do it and if they know the material there learning in class and get an A on the test it wouldn’t be fair for their grade to go down because they never do homework.

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  10. I would like to comment to the first person who wrote a book about this topic. You are absurd! I think you might need to get some help with your problem. You have no idea what it is like to teach 20 kids and then have parents like you. Who think teachers don’t do enough during the day and that is why we send homework home. Why don’t you become a public school teacher and see how it really is. Not some tight a## homeschool mom who probably smoothers her kids and they will never be independent. The poor teacher who put the comment first was just asking for some simple advice and you people had to bash her over nothing. Students need to have some work to do at home and yes it should be age appropriate. You have to find a middle ground.

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  11. @ Emma – I don’t think you should be able to make points about the education of others when it is so obvious your own education is lacking. For starters, don’t use the word “retarded” as an insult, it is people like you that perpetuate the culture of meanness toward people with disabilities and force clinicians into using sillier and sillier words to describe very technical disabilities. It is doing a disservice to people with disabilities and the community of people who are trying to help them. Also, in addition to all the other grammatical errors you made – word “there” is locational, for example, “Look over there.” In the context you used it: “if they know the material there learning in class” what you really mean is the contraction for “they are” or they’re. You can fix the rest of your grammar, I have waisted enough time on your comment, which I should have ignored but it was just too awful.

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