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All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

kids in kindergartenHomework for kids in kindergarten is not cool, in my books.

Fellow Kid Scooper Christine Coppa writes about a meltdown she had this week after she forgot her kid’s homework for kindergarten. Yes, 4 days in to school and her 5 year old was getting homework and she stressed over not handing it in on time.

While the homework situation itself is a little out of line with my thinking, it’s Christine’s approval of the workload that has me wondering even louder. She is more than happy to help her kid do worksheets at home after his 11 hour day at his “competitive school”, and actually thinks other parents should sit down to them too.

This is the opposite of redshirting kindergarten kids. Instead of making things easier for kids by holding them back, Tiger Moms push them to the highest levels with heavy workloads.

After the jump, flip through the key points in All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. Take stock of how these skills apply to your adult life, and if your kid is learning them. They really are all that’s important, not nightly homework worksheets.

I will encourage my kids to succeed scholastically, enrolling them in french immersion is one way I’m challenging them, but 1 week in to kindergarten is not when the parenting push of extra nightly worksheets will begin.

Mommyfriend has a great discussion on the volume of homework kids get. Her Boy Wonder’s workload accelerated from one weekly worksheet in kindergarten to more than 2 hours of work by Grade 3. 2 hours in Grade 3? That was my senior high expectation!

One school in Maryland has a no homework policy. Well, sort of. 30 minutes of reading is a required activity every night. The school believes that while reading at home improves literacy and language, it also helps foster curiosity and an interest in learning.

What a great idea. Instead of getting so intense about our kids at school, we should dial it back and remember what kindergarten (and school, for that matter) is really about.


  • Share everything. 1 of 16
    Share everything.
    It's not yours, it's not mine, it's ours. We take turns, we appreciate the needs of others.
  • Play fair. 2 of 16
    Play fair.
    Rules exist for a reason, so we all know where we stand. From board games to driving, playing by the rules sets a foundation for life.
  • Don’t hit people. 3 of 16
    Don't hit people.
    When you're upset, and angry - talk it out. Hitting someone just makes things worse.
  • Put things back where you found them. 4 of 16
    Put things back where you found them.
    An organized life makes it easier to find things and move forward. Chaos is, well, chaotic.
  • Clean up your own mess. 5 of 16
    Clean up your own mess.
    Learning responsibility for one's self is valuable. Take initiative to solve problems on your own first.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours. 6 of 16
    Don't take things that aren't yours.
    See #1 on sharing. Sharing is a valuable lesson in empathy, taking is just selfishness.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. 7 of 16
    Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
    Empathy is an important theme throughout these lessons. Recognizing the feelings of others, and when they're compromised is a valuable tool of understanding.
  • Wash your hands before you eat. 8 of 16
    Wash your hands before you eat.
    Common sense? It starts in kindergarten.
  • Flush. 9 of 16
    Flush.
    A lesson that seems to have skipped users of public toilets.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. 10 of 16
    Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
    There's a reason we call it 'comfort food.' Certain things just ooze coziness, and security.
  • Live a balanced life. 11 of 16
    Live a balanced life.
    This is the one I think the Tiger Moms are missing. Just as we strive for work/life balance as adults, it's important for kids to have school/life balance. Taking some time to draw, play, sing, and dance is a good thing.
  • Take a nap every afternoon. 12 of 16
    Take a nap every afternoon.
    Oh, how I wish siestas were a part of our cultural fabric.
  • Watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. 13 of 16
    Watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
    Teamwork, and again another example of empathy. Life is better when we watch out for each other.
  • Be aware of wonder. 14 of 16
    Be aware of wonder.
    It starts with the little seeds we wrapped in wet paper towel that magically became beans. Never be afraid to ask "Why?"
  • Everything dies. And so do we. 15 of 16
    Everything dies. And so do we.
    Okay, I admit that when I killed my kid's fish hours after bringing him home, I just replaced it without telling them. I delayed this lesson. That said, appreciating that life is a gift, and it is short, is something we all need to pause and reflect on.
  • Look 16 of 16
    Look
    Back in the day, "look" was one of the first words kindergarteners learned from Dick and Jane. Today, it's a valuable lesson for all of us to get our heads out of our (home)work, and to take time to look around and soak it all in.

All images via iStockPhoto

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Read more at DadCAMP or The Blog According to Buzz.

Get more DadCAMP on Kid Scoop:

I Am NOT Redshirting My Kid. Why Are You?
Questions For Parents Who Homeschool. Starting With “WHY?”
Vintage School Library Posters Inspire Kids To Read
Why Do Schools Split Up Besties?

via All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum

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