November 16, 2009

Homework for Preschoolers

People look at me like I'm nuts when I mention that my daughters have homework assignments in preschool. The comment I hear the most is "Wow. They're really starting them early these days." Some weeks I think the homework is a pain, but all in all, I see the benefits.
My theory is that the homework is really for the parents. The assignment is sent home on Thursday (the last school day of the week) and due on Monday. Most assignments take 15 minutes or less (yes, per child, so there are definitely times I spend an hour helping all four girls with their homework. Still, I'll be wishing for these days when they tackle trig and calculus in high school). The homework reinforces what they've learned in school and really gives me insight into who is progressing and who needs a little nudging.
For instance, at our last parent-teacher conference the teacher and I discussed Tortilla's counting skills. She was struggling with certain numbers. Yet when I sat down to help her with her homework yesterday she correctly counted each farm animal on her worksheet. It was exciting to see how much better she's doing.
Having parents sit down with their children once a week to see what they're doing in school isn't a bad thing. Homework, even at the preschool level, really forces you to have an active role in your child's education. For now, my daughters enjoy doing homework and actually argue over who is going to do their homework first. (Right now I work with them one on one. It's less chaotic that way). By sending home assignments that need parental supervision, my daughters see that Hubby and I value their education and want them to succeed. (Again, when they're in high school and this non-math whiz has to muddle through trig with them, remind me that I once said homework is a good thing!)


maryanne said...

I think homework is a great way to get parents involved with what is going on at school - but it's a problem for those children whose parents will not make the time to sit and help them...

Marilynne said...

You are so right. It also gives you 1 on 1 time with your girls - even if just for a few minutes they're just themselves with their mommy.

Quadmama said...

Maryanne, you hit the nail on the head. I think this is a way to try to encourage (force?) some parents to get involved who might not otherwise take interest in their child's education.

Sadia said...

That's a great perspective on homework. I always loved homework as a kid. :)

Melody and Jessie's school does something different that serves a similar purpose. They send home a note, every day, highlighting what they did at school that day. Half the sheet is about what the entire class did and what the focus was for the day, and the other half is specifically about what the individual child enjoyed the most, how much they ate, how long they napped, and their level of happiness or grumpiness during the day. I use the note to help me ask the right questions to elicit commute conversation.

Melody and Jessica love school, so they make a point of teaching me whatever they've been talking about at school too.

Of course, as you and Maryanne point out, it's hard for teachers to get parents involved in their child's education if they simply don't want to be.

Quadmama said...

I like the note your school sends home, Sadia. Sometimes I really have to pry to figure out what my girls did at school, but usually if it was something really fun they can't stop talking about it!

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