KISS Homework Overload Bye-bye?
Our kids are overloaded at the elementary school levels with homework. KISS it bye-bye [Keep It Short and Significant]
Homework in Kindergarten? Get Real!
- As an Early Childhood educator, one of the most important things parents can do with their children at this age is read aloud to them. If your child can read simple text in a book then let them read to you while you listen. Discuss the story and vocabulary with them.
- As importantly, talk with your child. It is so easy this day in age with all the electronic devices to tell them, “I’m busy, go watch TV or do computer games!” But, while you are busy fixing dinner or doing the laundry is the perfect time to “listen to them and have a conversation with them!” “Learning increases when students have the opportunity to talk about it in their own words: to make it their own.” [U.S. Department of Education, 1986]
- Learning should be fun with your kindergartner at the end of their school day. “Games use the most basic level of active processing…creativity.” [Caine & Caine, 1997] Make up your own learning games to teach the letter sounds using items in your own home. “The effectiveness of a game is enhanced when students actually help to design or construct it.” [Wolfe, 2001] Put household items in alphabetic order or simply write the letters of the alphabet on post-it notes and have them stick the correct letter on the item that begins with that letter.
- Physical activity is well researched as an essential tool to learning success. I am not talking about organized sports. Play not only exercises the body, but also the brain for language development, hand-eye coordination, bilateral capabilities of the brain, and spatial relationship development’ which are key skills underlying reading success. Play develops directionality which is very important in reading, writing, and spelling success. Have your child clap their hands as they say the alphabet letters or letters in their names. Movement helps memory development. Interaction with other kids at play develops social skills, oral comprehension, and tolerance. “Human play fulfills the body’s need to express emotions, to bond with others socially, and to explore new learning with challenge, feedback, and success.” [Byers, 1998] Research shows that “students learn 90% of what they say or discuss as they participate in activity.” [Marcia Tate, ‘Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites”, 2003] Have your child ‘act out’ vocabulary words or stories.
- And, don’t forget math. Kindergarteners are expected to recite numbers from 0 to 100 by end of the school year. I’m sure there are many ways to incorporate number counting using household items.
- Laugh with your child. “Laughter and humor maintain students’ attention, reduce mental and physical tension, relieve stress, and make the day better.” [Burgess, 2000] “Laughter has the ability to lower brain and body stress resulting in a better learner.” [Jensen, 1995] Who doesn’t enjoy a good joke? Kids love to share jokes with you.
Research supports that homework should not exceed 10 minutes starting in 1st Grade not Kindergarten! There should be no homework in Kindergarten and I agree. The current studies go on to reveal that homework should only increase by 10 minutes per grade level from Grade 1 through Grade 6. Now if only your child’s teacher sees it the same way! After all “Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites,” [Marcia L. Tate, 2003]