Yay for Homework!
Not everyone agrees that homework is unnecessary for young children. As children, we have all probably managed to complete our kindergarten homework, as our parents before us did. We spent a few minutes each day after school coloring mimeographed sheets or matching upper and lowercase letters. I am betting that none of us are permanently scarred by these short homework assignments, and many of us probably just barely remember completing them. As parents, we often compare our own school experiences with our children's current schoolwork. We may believe that if it was good for us, it will be good for our children, as well. We have come to expect homework, and may wonder about the academic appropriateness of the teacher or the school if our child comes home with no homework.
As a former educator, I believe that everything, in moderation, has its place. This includes homework. While hours of homework is extremely inappropriate for the kindergarten age, five minutes of homework is just about right. A quick worksheet, or a review of something already discussed or approached in class is not too much to ask of kindergarten aged children. Also, it is important to keep in mind that homework may not always be about practicing a particular kindergarten skill such as reading, counting or writing. Homework can also be used as a way to instill a sense of responsibility in young children. As children grow, homework is good time management practice, a skill that many high schoolers, college students and adults still struggle with. Homework can also be an excellent lesson in helping children show pride in their work, as it takes time and effort to complete a homework assignment and return it to school in good condition.
Is homework right for Kindergarteners? I believe it is. But, as with all things, moderation is the key. Kindergarteners shouldn't spend more than five to ten minutes a day on homework and the assignments should reflect and reiterate the lessons that are taught in the classroom.