Homework in kindergarten? Sending home some worksheets ends up being more work for you, the teacher, causes stress and struggles for the families, and isn’t effective for the students. So what can we do instead?
Homework in kindergarten? Research shows it’s not effective
Research shows that the cons outweigh any benefits homework might provide. Especially, if the teacher feels they have to provide homework every day, then the purpose of the homework might be just to have something as opposed to being of value to the students. It ends up being busy work that families struggle and fight with their students to complete. And what do teachers do with the homework? Most often, with this kind of busy work, teachers throw it away, because they can’t know for sure how much the child actually did independently versus how much the parents helped or even did the homework for the child. Standard homework just isn’t worth all the negatives.
But parents like homework…
Parents often complain when teachers and districts eliminate homework. When you hear what their complaints are though, you hear that they want extra practice for their child because they want them to succeed, and they want to know what their child is learning in school. Alternatives to homework can still address these concerns that parents have while making learning fun and engaging for both students and their families.
Homework in kindergarten? What about Homework Bingo!
Homework in kindergarten? Instead of sending home paper worksheets that are mindless, I like to use Homework Bingo to show families how much learning is already happening in their everyday life. Each board has simple tasks that connects to the learning happening in the classroom and can easily be done within the family’s busy life. It doesn’t require a lot of time or a lot of materials. Additionally, if the family doesn’t have time that day, then they don’t have to do it.
The goal would be to try and get bingo, but if the family wanted more ideas for learning at home then they could keep going. Families are very busy and so the homework shouldn’t take too long if the child needs adult help to complete it. I know from my experience that families really appreciated getting the Homework Bingo and seeing how easy it is to connect our learning in school to learning at home.
What’s better than homework in kindergarten? Book Buddies! Every weekend I send home Book Buddies with my students. Students don’t get one every weekend, so it is a special thing when they get their turn. The Book Buddy bags each center around a theme and have a few books inside along with related activities. These activities always connect to the learning we are doing in the classroom and families and students love doing them together. I’ve heard from families that they love getting these bags and knowing that, if they have the time that weekend, they can enjoy completing them together as a family. It’s a great way to see the learning that we are doing in school and see how easy it can be to connect fun, engaging activities to some great read-alouds. Plus, when families read together, it fosters a great love of reading!
Home Intervention Bags
Some students do require more practice to learn certain skills, but do they need homework in kindergarten? When a student is struggling to learn a school within my small groups and the school day, I send them home with a home intervention bag. The bag includes directions on how to play the simple and engaging games that help the student practice the skill they need help with. I only send home a few activities at a time, focusing on the most pressing and foundational skills. When families can give 10-15 minutes a day to these activities, I can always tell when I see them in my small groups. When the games are simple, fun, and quick, it’s more likely for the student to want to do it and it’s easier for the families to fit them into their busy schedules.
Kindergarten Home Support Bags
Homework in kindergarten? Homework on its own just doesn’t offer enough benefits to outweigh all the negatives. Instead, teachers and families can use Homework Bingo, book buddy bags, and home intervention bags, to help students enjoy some routine practice of important academic skills.