Can we talk about homework? — The Bump
Pre-School

Can we talk about homework?

So, DD started VPK (4-year-old preschool) this year. She gets a folder every week with "homework" in it. It didn't bother me much at first, but when I pulled out her folder last Thursday, there were 6 worksheets in it, and a few of them were double-sided.

Am I way off, or does this seem excessive for a 4-year-old? I imagine the idea was that she would do one worksheet per night or something for the week, and it probably wasn't meant to be every night. But still. Homework every night? She's 4.

I didn't know if the intention of these worksheets is just to give parents a tool to use if they choose to reinforce what the kids are learning in school. So I decided we would do three of them, and I sent the rest back. But then my daughter told me today that her teacher said she needs to do all of her homework. I am going to talk to her teacher, of course, I just haven't had a chance yet, and I thought I would find out if this is normal or if I'm the one who's being ridiculous.

I guess my feeling is that I don't want to burn her out on worksheets and homework before she even starts real school. I'm OK with one, maybe 2, worksheets a week, but more just seems silly. Besides that, I just don't think she needs them. She does all the stuff the worksheets want her to do all on her own -- but in a contextualized way, like writing "grocery lists" and whatnot.

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Re: Can we talk about homework?

  • Ugh, homework.  DD's homework is usually a letter collage that entails me going through multiple magazines for the letter of the week pictures and then discussing them.  It's really more work for me and I work f/t w/ limited time in the evenings so it's a bit of a PITA.  

    I understand why there is a need for homework and encourage learning, however, there are days I think it can wait until grade school.  Six worksheets seems a bit excessive but I guess the LO's aren't complaining yet.  Just us adults.... 

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  • My kindergartener doesn't get homework yet (we will start getting some once a week soon) so that really sounds excessive for preschool. Even once we start getting homework it will only be a little. Our school (a top rated NJ public school) feels that homework is a good tool in very limited amounts and not busy work, so they give a max of once a week in K, 10 mins per day in 1st grade, 20 mins a day in second and some amount of increase each year after that. In addition students are required to read (with parents younger, on their own later) for a minimum of 20 minutes per night, but we've done that since DD1 was a few months old, so I don't consider it homework.

    I don't believe in homework prior to K and chose preschools that agreed with that. IMO preschool is about getting used to a classroom setting, learning to navigate social circumstances with less adult direction, and starting on academics in a very casual  manner. Doing worksheets in preschool doesn't agree with my knowledge of how children that age learn, so I would not be happy if my kid was required to do a bunch on our home time.

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  • Oh gawd, I feel so much better. After she told me today what her teacher said, I knew I was going to have to have a talk, but I was really worried that my instincts were too out there or something.

    And I totally agree about worksheets not being the best way to learn. They seem so forced, like we just didn't know what else to do. The stupidest part about them is how we already do these things without even trying. DD likes to write, she just does. She only knows a handful of words, but she likes to ask me how to spell words and then she writes them. Usually she's making a list, but sometimes she likes to make cards and that kind of thing. That seems like better practice at writing her letters than writing a row of the letter "c," in my opinion. She likes to do it on her own, and I don't want to ruin that.

    I hope they don't push back when I talk to them. It's the same daycare center she's been going to since she was 10 weeks old, and I'm going to have a baby in a few months. She's going to have enough change in her life, and I really don't want to have to consider compounding that.

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  • IMO it is excessive.

    I think more than 10 minutes per night is way to much to ask and personally, I would prefer no homework before kids are 8-10 years old.

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  • DD is in a 5 year old preschool class.  They have homework twice a week.  Plus once a month they get the mystery box, which is bring something to share but they (well me) has to write 3 clues to give the class so they can guess the item.  Then the following day after you had the mystery box you are the weatherman, which means bringing home a clipboard and filling out the forecast for the following day. 

    The week of her birthday (2 weeks ago), she was the star student, so I had to send in pictures, magazine pictures, descriptive words to put up on a bulletin board for her.  Plus mystery box, plus weatherman, plus 2 days of homework.  It was the most exhausting week. 

    I'm ok with the letter of the week.  She is good enough with writing and her letters that she figures out that homework on her own, I just tell her how to spell the word.  The rest of it is basically me doing things for her to take to school. 

    It's seriously intense.  We've already had one morning this year where I didn't realize she had homework until after she went to bed.  So I had to wake her up at 5:15 instead of our usual 5:30 to get it done.  Like that's just not ok. 

    The teacher will let you know if things are missing.  I found a worksheet yesterday that I think she was supposed to do this week, I balled it up and threw it in the trash.  My child will survive. 

  • HW at our pre-school is optional. It's usually about 4 or 5 worksheets due on Friday morning, if we do it (and they aren't anything time intensive, pre-writing, putting an x on the shape etc). Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. A lot depends on how much time we have during the evening (I have an almost 8 month old as well and things are busy at our house most evenings). For our pre-school it is to get into the habit of doing homework for the child and to reinforce what they are doing in class. Not every kid does it obviously and even we only do it occassionally.

    I think requiring homework is a bit much. I also think expecting a child to sit for more than 5 to 10 minutes at home is ridiculous.

    I have no idea what the "homework" level will be like once she gets into her kindergarten readiness (KR) room but I hope it won't be much more than what's already being given. 

    Lastly, I don't think homework is necessary in pre-school HOWEVER what I do think is necessary is that the teachers work on getting them into the same type of schedule used in kindergarten (i.e. getting rid of the naps which they have YET to do). 

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  • I would not be ok with any homework at this age.
  • honestly, I just wouldn't do it. There's no need to homework at this age.
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  • Wow, that's way too much homework for preschool.  Really, preschoolers shouldn't even have homework.  DD did have homework once a week in preschool, which did annoy me at first.  When I asked the teacher about it, she said that it was something they could do if they wanted to or not if they didn't.  I got the impression that it was something that parents had wanted and not the teachers.  DD loved it and was so excited when she got homework and it only took 5 - 10 minutes a week. 
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  • That seems ridiculous. I would not want my child doing homework. The time in their life to just play is so short.




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  • 6 worksheets -- yes, that sounds like a lot. 

    DS' Pre-K teacher gives a home art assignment once a week and will start ramping up to a few more times a week before the end of the school year in preparation for Kindergarten.

    I am divided on the "homework" issue.  At my DS' Pre-K teacher's advice, I put a small desk in his room.  Each night while I'm preparing dinner, I put a single activity on his desk for him to complete -- tonight it is to color in Mickey Mouse.  Last night it was cutting out some shapes and pasting them in open spaces (I got an activity book at the mall).  We're talking about 10 minutes... 15 tops... just what I need to heat up and put out dinner.  It's not taking him away from play time but it is reducing TV time by a lot b/c we talk about the activity once he's done (he's happy to tell us over and over how he did it.)

    I've noticed he is starting to focus more, sit still for a longer period of time each night and take pride in the work - we make a big show of putting a sticker on the page when he's done.

    So - if "homework" makes your DD happy that she's accomplished something, then maybe it's not such a bad thing.  BUT, if it's a chore to her now then that's a bad precedent b/c there is a lot of homework in the future.


     

     

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  • No 4 year old should have homework!  I still don't think they should have homework in Kindergarten but that's another issue.  

    I'd be fine with the teacher sending worksheets home to do if your child want to do them, but requiring them to be turned in is ridiculous!  

    When DD#2 was in Kindergarten she flat out refused to do the homework some nights.  We never pushed her and just never turned it in.  The teacher mentioned it once and then never again.  It has not held her back in the least.   

  • Seems a little excessive to me as well. My twin girls are also in VPK this year over here in Pinellas County. They go to a church preschool VPK program. We are only given homework on Friday and it is only 1 worksheet with the letter of the week on it for them to practice writing at home over the weekend. If they do the homework and turn it in on Monday they get to pick something from the treasure box the teacher has in class. She told us at the VPK orientation that it is important to have the kids work on writing their letters at home even if they don't want to, to build up the muscles in their hands so they get better at writing their letters. They do a lot of letter writing and sounds learning during school through crafts, activities, songs and play. So I don't see why they need to be pushing worksheets at home on you. 6 worksheets a week is excessive. Now at the beginning of the month we are given a calendar with extra homework for the kids to do, but these are things like, walk to your mailbox and learn the numbers for your address, find 3 things in your pantry that start with the letter of the week. These kinds of activities to reinforce what they are learning at school through fun family activities, not worksheets.
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  • That seems like a lot to me for preschool. I would not be okay with that. DS had optional homework of a letter collage last year. DD has optional homework also and it is simply taking a picture of something that starts with the letter of the week. Worksheets in preschool are not the best option IMO anyway.

    DS is in K this year and does not have homework at all. His teacher just encourages parents to read with the kids every night. 

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  • Regenab, you should come check out our local board. We have Tampa, Sarasota, and Pinellas moms (and nonmoms). http://pandce.****/index.cgi?board=wcflorida

    I have a parent-teacher conference tomorrow so I'll have a good chance to talk to her teacher about these worksheets, and I'm going to tell her that we're just not going to do them. We practice the activities in a more meaningful way, and that's enough for me. My husband agrees, and even that cat puked on the homework folder, so it's unanimous. Stick out tongue 

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  • I think homework in PreK is a waste of time.  My older DD is in kindergarten this year and the only homework so far is a short reading book that we get on Friday and she needs to read it to 3 people over the weekend.  It takes about 5-10 mins max each time she reads it and often way less than that.  I have a friend whose DD goes to a PreK in NY adn she has homework every night and her DD cries about it.  Kids that age should be playing - they learn so much by playing.  Read to and with your child and talk to them but homework sheets are not OK in my book.  My kids have workbooks and such (most are more puzzles and games than anything but some have simple learning to write things) but I would never force them to do them.  Most we got from my sister who watched my kids from time and time and since she has older kids, she got them as my kids always wanted work to do while hers were doing their homework.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
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