I knew before Kindergarten even started that my son, Carson, would be given nightly homework assignments. My neighbor, an old hat at this schooling business, had told me over the summer when I asked her what to expect out of Kindergarten.
“Don’t worry about it, though! It’s easy. Just busy work,” she told me as I eyed her warily.
I didn’t say this, but I thought sarcastically to myself, “Oh well, then! Just busy work! By all means! Great idea!”
I don’t know how I feel about homework, the overall general term, that is. I know that I had homework in high school, where I practiced math calculations and edited writing assignments. I read literature and studied the history of wars from Europe and Asia to the United States. There were only seven hours in the school day, so it wasn’t possible to get everything completed in that time. It’s seems reasonable that I was assigned homework. At the time I know I usually felt overwhelmed by the work and resented having to do it, but now as a wise OLD woman I can see that I learned a lot by doing my homework.
Last night Carson sat at the dining room table as I made dinner, frustrated and crying over his homework. Really, it wasn’t something to cry about if you ask me. All that he was supposed to do was draw and label three pictures that began with the /k/ sound.
“I can’t do it!” he wailed.
Well, he could. I’m confident that he could do it quite easily and that the real issues were that he had worked hard at school all day and didn’t feel like doing more work AND that it seemed kind of pointless given that it really was so easy.
I do know how I feel about homework, the Kindergarten variety, that is. I do not like it one tiny bit. Kindergarten homework? Isn’t that, like, and oxymoron or something?
I’m well aware of the demands placed on teachers these days to get their students to achieve at the prescribed levels. I also realize that the Kindergarten of today is much like the second grade of yesteryear. I just don’t think that assigning homework in Kindergarten really accomplishes anything in terms of better test scores or smarter kids. Kindergarten is already a long day for these little kids without having to come home and do more paper and pencil work.
For students like my son, who are doing very well academically in Kindergarten, these little assignments truly are just busy work. And for students who are struggling and for whom these homework assignments are, I assume, meant to be extra help, I seriously doubt that extra help is what they are. In fact, I suspect that these homework assignments are actually just extra stress for those kids who are struggling academically.
Having an education background, I’ve wracked my brain trying to see Kindergarten homework from the perspective of a teacher. When I worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist, I did send home short practice assignments. I did this because my kids needed to practice the carryover of their speech sounds from the therapy room to home. In this sense, I suppose I can see how drawing and labeling three pictures that begin with the /k/ sound as homework could help with carryover of learning. The difference, though, is that speech therapy is something that a child works on for maybe an hour a week, while learning to read is (HOPEFULLY) a huge part of academic portion of a Kindergartener’s day.
Being the supportive, rule-following parent that I am, tonight when my son wails from the kitchen table about the injustice of drawing and labeling pictures, I’ll simply smile and encourage him to do his best work. I’ll keep my opinions about Kindergarten homework to myself.
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