- While educational guidelines often don’t mention homework for kindergartners, many of the nation's youngest students still get these assignments, which can include phonics and spelling questions, according to Education Week.
- Some schools make homework mandatory for kindergartners, while others cite research showing that homework doesn’t necessarily make students better learners as well as concerns that homework can make students not like school even at a young age.
- Other parents disagree, however, and say homework assigned to their children are tasks they’d do anyway, from reading books to practicing tying their shoes.
Questions over the amount of time and the type academic work children should spend doing at home brings answers as varied as the work itself. Should students have homework? That’s likely a given. Flipped classrooms, for example, rely on students being exposed to new material at home. The age a child should be before they start handling tasks, however, is not clear.
While the golden rule of homework has long been to assign 10 minutes of work at night per grade level, that doesn’t provide much guidance for kindergarten teachers. In some cases, even children in pre-K are taking standardized tests, and the push to perform on these exams increases the likelihood that students will be asked to do practice work at home.
A report from the U.S. Department of Education, “Helping Your Students With Homework: A Guide For Teachers,” states that kindergarten is actually not too early for children to have homework assignments. But the work that’s assigned needs “…to be simple,” wrote the authors. “For example, very young students might be asked to bring a book for an adult to read to them — or for the child to read to an adult if he or she can do so,” said the report. “The adult might be asked to initial a bookmark indicating that the book [h]as been read.”
Encouraging children to read is not the same as asking them to complete rows of figures, or even having them write their letters multiple times. In fact, spending time with books, is a practice that is hopefully embedded in children even before they step foot in a school. Rather than viewing reading, for example, as homework, parents and educators could view this time as helping students find their first footing as engaged learners.