Cody has been in kindergarten for five months now. And the homework has been, at times, piling up.

Homework in kindergarten??

Yes, it’s true. Homework. In kindergarten. At the tender age of 6.

Maybe it’s just me, but I have a big problem with my kindergartener having homework. A HUGE problem.

Hence the homework pileup. It’s a symbol of my silent rebellion.

To be fair, a lot of the homework is reading, which is good. My objection is to the other stuff, including fairly long activities involving uncommon household objects and time-consuming math projects.

I feel very strongly that young kids should not have homework. They are already in school for seven hours a day; if they can’t learn what they need to learn in that amount of time, then something is wrong. My kids, and many kids in this area, spend an additional hour and a half on the bus besides, so they are gone from 7:25 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. That’s a long day.

When they get home, I want them to be able to have a snack, relax, play and do their chores, not do more school work. There isn’t a whole lot of time in between getting home from school and getting to bed. When the weather is nice, they often play outside until supper time. By the time they eat and bathe, it’s time for bed. The older two can stay up later to get their homework done, but there isn’t much time for Cody to do his and still have time to just be a kid.

So, Cody’s homework gets done when it gets done. At one point, we had about a month’s worth piled up that we worked on one weekend. I felt a little guilty leaving it for that long, but since I can’t agree with the teacher’s views on the necessity of homework, the lack of time and resentment far outweigh the guilt.

I think a lot of the time homework is assigned to force parents to interact with their children and get involved with school. While I get that, and even think it’s a good idea, for those of us who do get involved and interact with our children already, being forced to do unnecessary homework just makes me crabby.

What’s your take on homework for young children? I’d love to hear opinions on this.

26 Responses to “Kindergarten + Homework = Necessary?”

  1. Kathy says:

    I totally agree with you. I don’t think homework should be a necessity anyway, and probably not until the older grades — certainly not kindergarten!! If you ask me, if young kids have homework, that can be an indication of an ineffective teacher — one who cannot get everything done that needs to be done in the time allotted. If homework is to get the parents to read to the children or something, that can be one thing; if children need one-on-one time, that’s one thing. But in reality, if a parent isn’t giving that attention to their children already, I wonder if trying to get them to do homework with their children will even work?

  2. Laura says:

    Isn’t it bad enough that Kindergarteners have to go every day? That is SO unnecessary. Have you talked to her about it? I’m sure I’ll be visiting next year if it doesnt change!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Amen to that… i resisted the urge to fwd it to my 6 year olds’ teacher!!! i literally could not have said it better. i don’t know if if makes you feel better or worse that it’s no different here in NY!

  4. paula says:

    Outrageous! Homework in Kindergarten! Lots of places still have half day. You have full day and homework? At what point do these kids get to relax? My bigest fear is how early they are teaching children to hate school! At that age I think they should be teaching children to love to learn, not dread it. Honestly, Homework was a huge factor in our eventual decission to pull our children out of public and homeschool them. I hated the “homework fights” Me standing over them, eventually yelling at them to get it done. Our town had a policy of 3 missing or late assignments = detention! and then every missing assignement from there on for the rest of the term, starting in the first grade. Crazy! In teachers defense, My sister teaches fourth grade. She is required by the principal to assign a certain amount of homework per night. (She does NOT believe in homework!) Her answer to this is to assign it all on friday to be turned in the following friday. That way, the children are able to work on it when they have time. I think that is much more reasonable. I still say “work should stay at work” and “school should stay at school”

  5. Gretchen says:

    Kate has too much homework as well. We let it pile up on her desk because the days seem so short anyway (by the time Sophia wakes up from her nap and we pick Kate up, it’s about 4:30 by the time we get home). The week flies by, and then it’s the weekend, and neither of us feel like doing homework. I have to make her sit down and do it, and it’s a huge effort for both of us, and then she gets mad at me for making her do it. I don’t think this kind of battle is necessary for a 5-year-old.

    The reading, I don’t mind. She reads to me before bed, and then I read to her. It’s the projects like “Collect 10 leaves and fill out a very detailed and impossible-to-do-yourself informational sheet on them” that I object to.

  6. mayberry says:

    My 1st grader does not have homework–she goes to a Montessori school and it has a little-to-no homework policy. Thank goodness! Because most days she barely has time to take a bath, let alone do homework.

  7. Tritonesam says:

    As a former teacher from elementary through college, I agree with all who say there should be no homework for the young crowd. Furthermore, it is highly questionable if kindergarten is required at all. Despite what the teachers (and their unions) say, children who skip kindergarten do just as well (if not better) as those who have attended kindergarten. In fact, studies show that those who start school in later years fare better and are better adjusted with all facets. The family is also a stronger unit, which only reveals itself in later years.

    I would advise each of you who have such hesitancy about early, kindergarten school to speak up to the educational “authorities.” It is you, the family, the public that determines what our schools should and shall be, not the educators. They are hired to do our bidding, not vice versa. The government is only constituted to serve the people, not the people to serve the government. If this is impressed upon the “authorities,” we shall all be a much happier nation!

  8. Mark Jambas says:

    Little kids should get used to it.
    Work never goes away.
    They shouldn’t have much, but at least some.
    The purpose of school is to prepare people for their lives ahead, and work is necesary.

  9. Mark,

    Thanks for your input. I can see your point, but at the same time, what you said also illustrates why I have a problem with young kids getting homework: “Work never goes away.” We do it for most of our lives. So why rush them into it? Why not let them be kids without the responsibility of homework for as long as possible?

    Of course, this is just my opinion, but I think kindergarten is far too young to be doing homework. They’re already in school for hours a day (not to mention the bus time that many school kids have). They need time to do kid things because they will be doing plenty of homework soon enough.

    As I said before, I have no problem with the reading we’re supposed to do, but I do resent cumbersome/time-sucking/useless homework that just stresses both me and my kid out. It’s hard enough to get him to read because by the time he gets home from school, he’s worn out and just wants to crash.

    This is a much more volatile topic than I ever thought it would be. It seems that opinions are very divided on this issue.

    Needless to say, I love summer vacation when we’re not so scheduled and my kids can all have plenty of play time, along with their regular chores. Everything in moderation, I say.

  10. Daleene says:

    I totally agree with you. My now 11 year old had homework in kindergarten 4 out of 5 nights. He has worked so hard and has come a long way since then, but unfortunately he is tired of school already and he has 7 more years left to go and atleast 4 years of College. His grades are getting worse everyday. The teachers do not teach. I don’t know how many times I have contacted his now 5th grade teacher regarding his grades. They are horrible and he is not being taught at school. The teachers are relying on the student to bring their homework home for the parents to figure out. I’m sorry, I am a stay at home Mom. I never said that I was smarter than a 5th grader. It has been so long since I have divided fractions and knew what a prepositional phrase is. What is wrong with the school system? I get frustrated with him not knowing it and he gets frustrated with me because I’m upset.
    What can we do as a society? The system is failing hard and fast!

  11. sunnymum says:

    Wow, I don’t remember assigning homework to kindergarten kids when I subbed. They grow up too fast!

  12. Lynn Weddle says:

    I agree with you but my husband does not. We have our daughter in Montessori and we’re into our 3rd week of reading, first week of writing spelling words. I’m waiting now for our teacher to call because my gut feeling is that it shouldn’t take an hour. My child should be screaming at me with frustration because she can’t get an s to look right and worse: she missed dinner because the screaming fit resulted in her going into her room and sleeping for 12 hours, which she never does.

    So I react to the comment that it teaches them to work. Well so does helping with dinner or cleaning up their lunch box or cleaning their room. But I get much more enjoyment out of all that than homework.

    And esp. in montessori, who doesn’t typically believe in HW. I’m just flabbergasted and about to make an argument of “I will do the reading, but if she doesn’t want to do the writing or flash cards, then I’m fine and she shouldn’t get penalized.”

    I want to instill a love of learning and we’re off on path to despising.

  13. Susan Deen says:

    Homework for kindergarten age students is only the beginning when we measure what children learn using paper pencil test. Just remember that school funding is partly based on how well the students perform on tests. If schools want money to run on they must jump through hoops and one of these is increase test scores. Please be careful when playing the blame game the real problem is that our elected officals who make the rules know absolutly nothing about child development. In many schools play is considered a waste of time for 5 year olds.

  14. Crystal says:

    I teach kindergarten and found this entry on a google search. I totally agree with you, and highly recommend Alfie Kohn’s The Homework Myth if you haven’t already read it! I jobshare and was overruled on the homework issue, but when I go back to full-time teaching, I will look at homework very differently because of this book.

  15. Thank you for sharing this, Crystal! I’m so glad that you agree with me. It’s nice to hear that from a teacher, in particular.

  16. Robin says:

    I too find this to be a real problem. I have a little boy that has been in kindergarten for just over a month. He has homework every night of the week, sometimes 3 and 4 pages. He is tested every Friday on letter and word recognition and so far has brought home an “F” on each test. I don’t understand homework and testing at this age. I don’t think that there is a problem, in fact I am impressed with his progress so far, I can tell that he has learned a lot, but there are a few letters that he has trouble recognizing. I am really troubled about his situation and am coming to dread every day of kindergarten. I did not go to kindergarten as a child and in the fifth grade, I was reading on a high school level. There is too much pressure on the very young child. Let them be kids. I am considering the home school option.
    Robin´s last blog post ..The curious mind

  17. Evelyn says:

    Please don’t blame your child’s teacher for the homework as s/he may be as opposed to it as you are. All of the teachers on my team are opposed to it, yet we are forced to create it and send it. We work with children who have never been to school, speak very little English, and are at school for an extended day.

  18. Susan says:

    While I do agree that the amount of homework being described here seems totally out of line, I too would like to point out that some home practice at the Kindergarten level is beneficial for both the child and the parents. I am a kindergarten teacher in a state that requires a full day curriculum but our budget allows us to provide only a half day program for Kindergarten. Therefore I rely on the help of parents to work with their children to reinforce the skills I am teaching in school because there is simply not enough time to fit everything in. This is especially true when a child is struggling with a skill or concept. I find that by sending practice activities home, parents have a much better understanding of their child’s ability levels and their progress than any report card ever could. Parents often ask me what they can do at home to help their kids. And, as a parent myself, I always viewed helping my kids with their homework as another routine of the day like feeding them dinner and giving them a bath. Educating our kids is not just the responsibility of the teachers, it is a community responsibility that needs to start with a partnership between teachers and parents. Refusing to do the homework is not the answer and teaches children that when they don’t like something they should just not do it. I think this is a much more dangerous message than asking them to do a little homework. Try talking to the teacher and coming to an agreement rather than promoting an adversarial relationship. That would be much better for your children.

  19. Worried Mom says:

    I totally agree with you. My kindergartener was given a math homework packet last month containing 21 pages that ended up taking us between 20-40 minutes per night to complete. Much of it was not age nor developmentally appropriate (containing such problems as 9-____ = 6). In addition there are 3-5 different books sent home each night for us to help them read nightly. What in the world is going on and what do we do about it? We have got to stop this insanity!

  20. christine says:

    I just got done doing hours of homework with my 5 year old. There is no enjoyment from it. It feels like we are just rushing to get it done. My husband and I both work full-time. He works afternoons and that leaves me on homework duty. Sometimes I do not even get home till 8 at night. Talk about stress on me and her!

  21. Miranda Allison says:

    i have a 5 yr old in kindergarden and he was crying last night saying that he is dumb and that he hates school i was so upset i do not want him hateing school he said i just do not understand why i do not get what the teacher wants from me and doing homework is so hard it takes hrs for us to get it done

  22. Stacy says:

    My sister sent me a link to this post, saying that she had heard some of the same frustrations spoken from me. Granted, you wrote this a few years ago so that means we have kids about the same age as I have a second grader. My second son now has the same anal teacher and things have not improved with her. She sees homework as a way to help the kids be organized. I have a second grade son who hides his homework and watched him cry out of frustration during that year in kindergarten. Now I am facing a time when while our eager five year old son will do it, I wonder how much longer I have.

    Why not just ask me to sit with my child and read? I hate the coloring pages and hate the fact that I as a mother am forced to sit down and read the directions to him so he can do his busywork. 30 minutes of wasted time.
    Stacy´s last blog post ..Thanks, I Like it the Old Way

  23. Terri M says:

    Thanks for this letter. I appreciate it. My first son hated homework after a 7 hour school day (“School is too long”), and the only way I could find to make him enjoy it was to take him to Starbucks to do it (worked well actually!).

    However, I’m debating about refusing to do the homework for my second kid who enters Kindergarten next year, simply on principal. Nightly book reading/book bags are fine.

    As for “teaching kids that life is about work”, I totally agree! It’s important to teach them that life requires work. But absolutely, the best kind of work to make them do is the kind they’ll be doing all their life: fold their laundry, put it away, set the table, put dishes away, clean up their room, clean up their playspace, cook dinner, help with the finances. If they weren’t so frazzled after school, I’d be able to get them to help do this, but instead it falls on my shoulders to pick up this work because they’re working on often unnecessary work. I can see why a lot of people yell at their kids…. By the end of the night, you’re frazzled.

  24. timmy says:

    That is what happens when you get number cruncher elected to the school board or become a principal.

  25. taiganaut says:

    I found this as one of the top hits after doing a search on “homework in kindergarten.” My nieces had homework starting I believe in first grade, and my partner now has a kid in kindergarten who’s bringing home piles of it. She’s angry to the point of, like other commenters in this thread, doing it if it gets done, and the heck with it if not.

    People hit the nail right on the head when they bring up concerns about teaching hatred of school and little else. That’s exactly what it did for my older niece, and her mom (who hated school too but was somewhat aware that blowing it off for as many years as she did led to some of her life problems) thought it was BS but made her do it, and long story short, it turned into a HUGE ongoing war/anxiety focus. Her daughter hated school, hated homework, and to this *day* thinks she’s “dumb” because of the marks she started getting on those worksheets in first grade. She had dyslexia, and (like many dyslexics) is gifted with an incredible visual imagination the likes of which I can only dream of, and I tested off the friggin’ charts on the IQ tests they doled out in *my* 1st grade class. (I didn’t have homework until 5th grade, as I remember.)

    Sickening. And, a lot of other people picked up on another big truth about homework for young kids: it’s a way to push the unfunded costs of “teach to the test” style factory schooling onto the shoulders of overworked parents.

    I recently wrote a blog post about this. Please excuse the occasional profanity; I’m still angry at how badly my older niece and myself were both failed by public school, and I didn’t even have any of the above to deal with.

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