My post from last February about homework in kindergarten has attracted such a large number of readers, I decided to revisit the subject.

This year I have another kindergartner and the homework that started to trickle in at the beginning of the year has been gaining speed by the week.

Last week, when I went on my writer’s conference/cruise, the kids went with their dad to visit their grandma in the hospital for a couple days, thereby missing school. I got home to find a huge pile of make-up homework for Logan. We’re still not done with it, a week later!

I’m beyond frustrated. Logan, being a completely different kid than Cody, is a perfectionist when it comes to his work. Everything takes him 5 times as long to do as it took Cody. For instance, he had to color a few animals in a picture. Instead of just scribbling one color like many other 5-year-olds do, he had to painstakingly draw colored stripes in each animal. He wanted it to be “pretty so my teacher will really like it.”

The 1 hour+ picture

The 1 hour+ picture

Completion time: over an hour. Yes, seriously. I was sitting there watching the whole process, so I know he wasn’t messing around.

Tonight he had to create a “Word Monster.” He chose to use a cereal box for this project, cutting the top into little strips for hair and adding multiple bee stickers, and it took him approximately two hours to complete.

Word Monster

Word Monster

It even has a “backbone, so he can be straight,” explained a proud Logan.

The backbone

The backbone

Sigh.

This is going to be a long, long year.

What is a parent to do? We all know that if I protest the homework, even silently like I did last year with Cody, I’m going to be viewed as a bad, uninvolved parent. At the same time, I’ve already got way too much on my plate and frankly, I don’t have time (or patience) for this sort of homework.

I said it before and I’ll keep saying it: Beyond reading, I don’t think any kid this young should have homework. He’s already gone every day from 7:30 to nearly 4:30. Having to come home and do homework on top of that, when bed time is at 8:00, doesn’t give him a lot of time for kid stuff. At the rate he works, it barely gives him time to eat and bathe, let alone play.

Yes, I understand teachers have to meet certain requirements with their students, I really do. In this situation, though, I think it’s the teacher (who I like very much, incidentally — she does a great job) more than test scores. Case in point: My first grader does not have anywhere close to the amount of homework that my kindergartner does and this was particularly noticeable when the kids missed school.

I’m curious what others have done or would do in this situation. I adore feedback and comments, so please share!

In fact, I love comments so much, I’m going to send a little something to the author of my favorite comment for the month of November, so post to your heart’s content.

Have you dealt with the homework dilemma? What are your thoughts on homework in kindergarten?

3 Responses to “Homework in kindergarten, revisited”

  1. Kim Kankiewicz says:

    Sarah,
    I think we’ve gone overboard on homework for young kids, too. My parents are lifelong teachers, so I tend to sympathize with teachers and know it can be frustrating when parents undermine educators instead of partnering with them. But assigning a lot of homework in kindergarten seems more likely to frustrate supportive parents (case in point: you!) than to win over the uninvolved. Anyway, for your particular situation, could you determine an amount of time that would be reasonable for your family (half an hour?) and set a timer when Logan starts his homework for the day? When the timer’s done, he’s done. I was a kid like Logan who could easily devote an hour to a coloring page. (For me that was a form of play, by the way, until I started worrying about grades.) I know I would have benefited from some help setting internal limits and learning to do good work without going all out on every single assignment. If you talk to Logan’s teacher in advance, and frame the discussion in terms of what you’ve observed in Logan and his work habits, she’ll know you’re supporting her and will also be better able to support Logan. Maybe during that conversation you can agree on a reasonable amount of homework time, and you’ll then feel permitted to have Logan stop working when he’s reached that time.

  2. 3carnations says:

    My son gets one assignment per week, and they’re always fun. Last week’s assignment involved reading 8 pairs of words and determining which rhymed, then coming up with a rhyming word for four other words.

  3. Kim, I LOVE this idea and I’m going to implement it immediately.

    I do want to support the teacher, of course, so this suggestion is perfect. Thanks so much!

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