Thursday, September 15, 2011

Homework

This has been a hard week . I think the novelty of kindergarten is wearing thin for all of us. Anna was coming home exhausted and cranky, and I have been exhausted and cranky too due to many things happening at work. I guess I am not taking too well to both my colleagues and my daughter not listening to me at the same time :)

So here comes my first rant about school – the amount of homework my daughter brought home this week. It comes home on Monday afternoon since she is in the afterschool on Monday and due back on Friday morning. I don’t mind reading homework (even though injunctions to read an assigned book for at least 4 times are a bit insulting), but 10 pages of math? In kindergarten? Seriously?

To my daughter’s credit, she attacked her homework with great enthusiasm and completed it within 20 minutes. However, her father who reviewed her work, was less than thrilled to discover how many mistakes she did in something that we know she understands perfectly well. I believe the mistakes are due to the repetitive nature of tasks – a true “drill to kill” exercise even though some pages were supposedly “enrichment” pages. I think she would have done better if she got only enrichment part without “practice” part. I guess this is something to be discussed during our parent-teacher meet up in November.

Do your kindergarteners get homework? How much? What do you think of homework in kindergarten? Any ideas on how to get a 5 year old to slow down and actually pay attention?

14 comments:

MaryAnne said...

I have a school rant of my own this week, but thankfully homework isn't it. I don't think kindergartners should have required homework. I'm fine with extra material (Emma has gotten a little bit of that), but homework at age 5 is 90% dependent on parental effort, and that isn't fair to children whose parents aren't engaged.

I hope Anna's future assignments are less drill to kill and more enriching!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

If it makes you feel any better, I actually entertained the idea of shipping C off to Kindergarten, this week, so I could work with the rest of the children without the constant whining in the background.

Kelly said...

Little J went to a Montessori kindergarten and there wasn't any homework. I don't think they have any in our public schools either. Little J went through a bit of adjustment when he started kindergarten too and it settles out eventually. I think that they have to "hold it together" for such a long day and so much time away from family that gets to them in the beginning.
Little Wonders' Days

Debbie said...

I know all the Kindergartners here bring home homework, to what extent I don't know. I personally can't understand a Kindergartner having homework except reading. I know Selena wouldn't handle all that. Sorry you've had a tough week.

Kim said...

The kindergartners here have homework too, and I just heard that first graders get an hour a night. I don't understand how it could be necessary, and it worries me that the kids will burn out on school way before they hit high school when serious homework started way back in my day... The repetition would have driven Crumpet nuts too. I hope you can have a talk with the teacher about it in November, but I think it's generally accepted these days.
I think Anna will settle into the routine in a few weeks though, and be cheerier for you. It's a tough adjustment. And I hope your colleagues start listening to you. Have a better week next week!

Ticia said...

Back when I was teaching I seriously wanted to not assign any homework besides reading, but all of the other teachers said we "had to do it," and the parents expected it. As to amounts here. I know most of the kids in our area aren't able to play for at least an hour after school due to homework.

A friend of mine up in Oklahoma said her daughter in Kindergarten had to write 2 sentences every night and read, and there was something else. I was agog at the thought of requiring that much for someone that young. RIDICULOUS!

Mom and Kiddo said...

Our public school has no homework in Kindergarten. Well, there is always the suggestion of reading 10 minutes a day, but as Kiddo already reads for at least an hour, no problem! In first grade there is no homework for the first two months, then after that there is optional weekly homework, but knowing Kiddo he will want to do it.

Christy said...

We have very little homework in K. Usually it is a fun project like decorating a pumpkin to bring in or making a collage. They do have reading as the year goes on, but any written homework is assigned on Monday and due the following Monday - perfect because we have the weekend to finish it if need be. Anna has more homework than C ever had in first grade! 10 pages of math???!!!

Autumn said...

It's still amazing to me to hear that kindergarteners have homework, even math drills! I think kindergarten should be a place of creativity and wonder. A place to learn new games and play with others. Not a place to start drills and "homework". It's no wonder that kids are getting burned out at school at a young age.

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Poor Anna - she is capable of so much and such a SMART girl; I don't like hearing that she is having to do drills... and ugh, all that homework!! I agree it is too much for a 5 year old. What is the purpose, really? It's a long day at school, then coming home to do more is just wrong imo. Home should be the place she can forget about schoolwork at this age. Hope it gets better, Natalie, and I hope things run more smoothly for you at work this coming week too!

Julie said...

Wow! That's a lot in my opinion. In K, C got a monthly homework sheet that listed about 20 items. At the beginning of the year, he had to do 10 of the items within the month. By the end of the year it was 15, I think. That's it. In 1st grade, he generally had about 8 pages (4 pages front and back) of math to do each week in addition to a reading fluency sheet and nightly spelling homework (write all the words in the notebook). That's it. In 2nd grade, so far, he's only had one sheet of math each night OR one "word work" assignment. That's it. Through all of that, he's supposed to read 15 min each night. In K, it was okay if parents read to them for the 15 min. I think what Anna is getting is way too much for K, honestly.

Lovingmama said...

As a kindergarten teacher in the public school system for 5 years I did not assign my kids worksheets, but provided them with a list of suggested activities to do with their kids (play board games, draw...) AND read to or with their children for a minimum of 15 minutes a day. I got a lot of flac from my administration and parents, but I held my ground. As a now parent of a new kindergartner, I was also surprised at the amount each week (very similar to yours) Too much busy work in my opinion. But most often it is a school wide policy and teachers must follow what their boss tells them. As for tips for reading the assigned reading 4 times... I always told parents this. 1. Read it first to a parent. 2. Read it next to yourself in the mirror. Then for #3 and 4 choose a teddy bear, doll or stuffed animal to read it to =) Most K students LOVED this and it helped them develop the fluency which is why teachers ask them to read it 4 times. My daughter is having a rough time with the transition too, so we have had some major meltdowns due to being tired. Hope this helps!

Steph said...

Honestly, it angers me that Kindergartners have homework at all. At this age, they're still doing so much learning through play -- why intrude on the hours when they're at home? It sounds like your daughter tackled it with great tenacity though. :)

AshHadAns said...

Wow! My little girl never had homework in K last year. She would occasionally have to do little art projects, like decorating a holiday sheet, but never any real work. I don't believe they should have any homework at that age. School is still a new experience to them and they should take the year to slowly integrate them to get used to it. Now that my oldest is in first grade she has homework M-W. On Monday she reads a short story twice, on Tuesday she reads a different one twice and on Wednesday she reads it three times. She has a math worksheet M-W. And every week they have a spelling and a sight word test. It takes us about ten minutes a night to get it all done and she is already dragging her feet through it even though it's easy to her.
She keeps asking if I can homeschool her so she won't have homework!