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Homework in preschool?

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Do preschoolers and homework mix?

Did you know that homework can be, and often is, sent home for preschoolers? Do you think this is reasonable, or are you wondering whether this is even a good idea? You’re not alone, in either case.
Preschooler drawing | Sheknows.com

You knew your child would eventually bring homework home, but you never expected it to happen when she started preschool. However, parents report that homework in preschool is definitely happening. Is this completely nuts, or does it set a child up with a solid foundation as she goes through the rest of her school years?

Setting a foundation

Many parents we talked with felt that, within reason, homework at the preschool age helps set an important foundation. The type of homework sent home at this age varies from school to school, but most don’t make it overwhelming for the child and her parents. Often the tasks are simple, such as tracing a letter or practicing writing their name. “I think it’s totally reasonable,” shares Charlene, mother of two. “It starts the homework habit early and gets the parents involved. Also, it helps the parents to know what they are learning during the day so they can reinforce it at home.”

“Eddie gets little homework assignments and I think it's fun and involves us at home in his projects at school,” explains Katie, mom of two. “Usually it involves him cutting pictures out of a magazine for their color books or bringing in something, like leaves. I think it sets them up to know that someone from home can help them with their work.”

Different types of homework

Other moms feel that regular, daily “busy work” homework is unnecessary for this age — but little projects every now and then are not only a good idea, but they can be lots of fun, too. “Lenore’s 4K class had 'homework' once,” says Rachael from Wisconsin. “They were sent home with a blank star, and told to ask their parents to help them make it represent them so they could share it the next day. That kind of stuff gets parents involved, which I like. If she was sent home with pages of actual work I'd be a little upset — it’s not necessary.”

And Jana, mom of one, thought the idea was, as she put it, stupid. “I think that's unfair to the parents and disrespectful of everything else that is going on in people's lives,” she says.

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Being involved in your child’s education starts from the day they are born, and it doesn’t stop when they go to school. Parent involvement is critical when it comes to your child’s success, and although preschool can seem like glorified day care, it really isn’t. Your kiddo is learning important social skills, classroom structure and how to be a good student — in addition to beginner academics. Having — and continuing to have — an interest in her schooling is a good habit for parents to get into. This also helps you be prepared to support your child throughout her education.

That being said, the parents we spoke to were about half and half on the necessity of homework for children this small. Being involved doesn’t have to mean helping your child with homework every day, especially for a 4-year-old who just wants to come home and play with blocks. How do you feel?

More about preschool

What is a project-based preschool?
Signs your child is (or isn't) ready for preschool
What is a Waldorf preschool?

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