Homework in Kindergarten?!

Homework in kindergartenHomework in kindergarten?!  Every night?  I mean, really, it’s kindergarten!  Should BK really have to sit in class all day and then do homework when he gets home?  There is just something wrong with the way kindergarten is taught today.

BK already dislikes school.  When asked, he will say that it’s just too much learning!  My little guy is a very conscientious, diligent student, but spending most of the day stuck at a desk is just not what BK wants to do.  Shoot!  I can’t even get him to sit at dinner time!  He spends most of dinner standing next to his chair.

I don’t know how anyone else feels, but it truly seems as though the schools have sucked all of the joy out of attending class.  There is, as BK says, “too much learning.”  Just walk into a kindergarten classroom today, and you will see what I mean.

When I attended kindergarten 25 years ago, there were play areas.  Now, when I look at BK’s classroom, I cannot identify any play areas.  Yet, children at that age learn best through play!  In fact, there is hard evidence that children learn best through play and not in an academic setting.

Yet, BK was expected to enter kindergarten knowing his alphabet, how to write, recognize letters, days of the week, months, and how to count to 100.  I learned those things in kindergarten!  Actually, truth be told, I learned them in first grade.  Some of us are slower than others.

When I attending kindergarten, we learned 1 letter each week.  It was fun!  BK finishes up the unit on the alphabet this week.  They started school 1 month ago.

I worry that we are either going to burn out our children or turn them into little robots who struggle with how to think for themselves.  I could already see some of that as I went through school.  So many of my peers were unable to truly think for themselves.  Sure, we could spit back facts and data, but many didn’t truly understand what it was that was being taught.

I don’t know what to do.  Do we refuse to do the homework?  Then, BK won’t get a sticker, and stickers are important to 5 year olds.  Do we do the homework, but only under protest?  That seems dangerous.  Right now, we simply sit down and do the homework each evening.  BK generally has a positive attitude about it, and we provide him with lots of praise.  We do not mention our annoyance with the fact that the homework even exists, because I don’t want to create a bad attitude in BK.

It is my very strongly held opinion that homework in kindergarten is wrong.  In fact, the entire emphasis upon academics in kindergarten is wrong.  Children at this age learn through play.  They learn through socializing.  They weren’t made to sit still for hours.

BK and Kindergarten

BK has completed his first full week of kindergarten.  Honestly, it’s been challenging for all of us.  This kid does not like change, and he wants us all to know it.

The first day of kindergarten started off pretty well.  First, the kids actually get to take a little bit longer to get ready in the morning as BK gets on the bus about 30 minutes later than I used to drop them off at daycare.  I found myself able to get a lot more done in the mornings, and the kids are much more awake.

kindergartenWe must have all been a little bit excited and anxious for kindergarten!  I had BK and MK ready for school and outside waiting for the bus a good 20 minutes before it was due.  I wanted to be sure we got plenty of good pictures, and I knew that the bus would probably be running a little early on that first day.  It worked out fine!  I was able to get several good pictures of both of the kids, we listened to Pandora radio on my phone, and we just enjoyed the nice weather.

When the bus pulled up, BK was ready!  He had his book bag on, gave MK and I a hug, and he resolutely climbed the stairs.  In our house, he’s such a big boy, but he looked so tiny climbing on to that bus!  It made MK and I both a little sad to watch him go.kindergarten

Nevertheless, MK and I climbed into my car to continue our day.  She teared up a little bit when I took her into daycare without BK, and we talked about how it was okay to miss BK, but she was a big girl now.  She could do this on her own.  She gave a little sniff, a nod of her head, and then a tiny smile.  She liked being called a big girl!

I was anxious to get home at the end of the day to see my new kindergartener.  He, it turns out, was equally anxious to get home.  He was not too happy.  First, he didn’t have enough time to eat all of his lunch at school.  He had eaten hot lunch that day, but he informed me that he would only do cold lunch now.  Then, he told me that I forgot to pack an afternoon snack for him.  I didn’t even know I was supposed to do that!  The night before, at kindergarten orientation, we were given a huge stack of papers and few instructions.  On the last page of those papers, I found where it said we should pack a healthy snack.  Oops.

BK’s next complaint was about his lack of friends.  I knew that part would be hard for him, but I reminded him that school has just started.  He will make friends.  BK also complained about the bus.  He told me, “I thought it would be fun.  It’s not.”  I’m not sure what he imagined, but I guess reality didn’t align with his imagination.  Honestly, it was a little bit heart breaking.kindergarten

Since that first day, we’ve successfully packed lunch and a snack every day.  BK has also made two friends in his class, found several people that he knows on the bus, and found a couple of kids he knows from daycare in other kindergarten classes.  He’s still asking if he can go to daycare instead of kindergarten every day.

Poor BK is just not good at change.

Mommy Confession #7: Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration?!!  What?!  I cannot have a child old enough for kindergarten registration.  Oh, wait…

I printed off BK’s kindergarten registration a couple of days ago.  It hit me hard, and I did not anticipate that!  I thought that I would be excited to sign BK up for kindergarten!  After all, it means one less child in daycare (and we all know that no matter how wonderful BK’s daycare is, daycare is expensive!); I was wrong!

Printing off BK’s kindergarten registration made me realize how quickly time is flying.  He’s growing up, and it makes me sad.  Soon, he won’t want to snuggle on the couch with me.  He won’t randomly grab a strip of my hair and smell it jus

t so that he can feel close to his mom.  I fear that he’ll out grow me.  That’s probably crazy, but to me it seems like a very real possibility.

Kindergarten Registration

BK and Mr. Keller practicing their letters

BK hangs out with his dad.  They do chores together, fix things, chop firewood, and more. He’s Mr. Keller’s shadow–his mini me.  BK really only belongs to me when he’s tired, sick, or crossing the road (you know, when he has to hold my hand).  I guess I fear that every year he’s going to need me less and less.  All of his adventures with his daddy just make BK more independent.  That’s a great thing, I know, but right now… I’m just sad.

BK, on the other hand, is sooo excited for kindergarten!  His daycare teachers have done an excellent job preparing him, and he’s ready.  He cannot wait to go to the “big school” and ride the bus (jury’s still out on that one, but he’s sure hoping!).  It’s going to be my job between now and the first day of kindergarten to really maintain that excitement for him.  We’ll start driving past the school regularly and talking about how awesome it will be for him.  We’ll also start involving him in extracurricular activities like soccer and tee ball so that he can make more friends ahead of time (which means that I need to start stalking the  park district’s website for sign ups!).

Developmentally, I think BK is ready for kindergarten!  He knows his ABCs, colors, can count quite high, and he can write his own name.  We do need to work on some of the fundamentals like zipping our own coat and tying our shoes.  We’ll start prioritizing those things ASAP; partly because he needs to know those things ahead of kindergarten and partly because I need him to learn those things!  Maybe we can teach MK to zip her coat and tie shoes at the same time!

Registering BK for kindergarten isn’t about me.  It’s about him, of course!  I’ll put my sadness aside (and the realization that I’m getting OLD!), and we’ll help BK continue to maintain his excitement.  We’ll focus on teaching him the things he needs to learn ahead of kindergarten, and we’ll continue to keep him well-socialized.

BK is going to be an awesome little kindergartener.  I just hope those bigger kids leave him alone (I’m 99% percent sure that they will), and I hope that he makes lots of wonderful little friends.  Like every mom, I have high hopes for BK’s future.