Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kindergarten Homework

Not long ago, I saw an acquaintance grading a stack of homework. She's a kindergarten teacher in our local school district. Kindergarten is not only full-time (no part-time option), but they give the children a little bit of homework to do every night. Doesn't this just seem weird to you? These are children who can't even do their own hair, but they're "doing school" nearly as much as your average middle schooler used to. I was very sympathetic to the experience of the author of this NY Times (hat tip to Joanne Jacobs) article on kindergarten and play:
About a year ago, I made the circuit of kindergartens in my town. At each stop, after the pitch by the principal and the obligatory exhibit of art projects only a mother (the student’s own) could love, I asked the same question: “What is your policy on homework?”

And always, whether from the apple-cheeked teacher in the public school or the earnest administrator of the “child centered” private one, I was met with an eager nod. Oh, yes, each would explain: kindergartners are assigned homework every day.

Bzzzzzzt. Wrong answer.

"Wrong answer" for me, too. If the local schools won't respect my child's tender years, she'll stay under my primary tutelage instead. Can you imagine how burned out you would be at the prospect of 13 years of compulsory schooling with homework every night? Especially if you were five years old?

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