The Homework Hassle

I don’t mean to date myself here, but I truly don’t remember homework in Kindergarten.


I remember some cool projects.  I remember those little picture books that I made by the dozen each day.  I remember dressing up and playing pretend.  I remember playing outside.  A lot.  I remember the music room.  I remember writing my name.


And I remember the naps.  Yes, in my Kindergarten class, there were rugs for napping and we all took a break for a little bit.


Imagine that?  A morning of fun filled activities, some learning, a lot of outside play, and…a nap?


Those were the days.


Kindergarten is a much different learning experience today.  Yes, it varies depending on the school.  But the push for accelerated learning has taken some of the fun, and a lot of the unstructured and outside playtime, out of Kindergarten.


My daughter comes home with a homework packet each Monday.  The goal is to complete one assignment per day and turn it in on Friday.  Sure, the assignments are fairly quick.  And yes, we scored a teacher who is super mellow on the homework front and asks for a picture of a “family activity” for one assignment each week.


But my daughter is in school for 4 hours and 20 minutes a day, five days a week.  She’s working on fine motor skills.  She’s practicing numbers and learning some math.  She’s learning sight words and working on reading.


She’s doing a lot of hard work each day.  She’s exhausted when she comes home.  She needs time to just relax and listen to stories before we head out for some afternoon playtime.


But her relaxation time is cut short by the need to complete the assignment for the day.


I get it.  A little practice at home reinforces what was learned during the day.  It makes sense.  But…doesn’t listening to the latest adventures of Cam Jansen while picking out sight words on the page reinforce her learning?  Isn’t a trip to the library considered an educational experience?  Can we count cars and sort fallen leaves to address math skills?  Or maybe even bake some pumpkin muffins instead?

Please stop by Mommy Moment this week to join the discussion about homework.

About Katie

Katie Hurley is a Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist and Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She works in private practice in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, writes for PBS Parents, Washington Post Parents, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World" (Tarcher/Penguin, 2015) and "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" (Penguin Random House, 2018)