Studies Show Homework Isn't Beneficial in Elementary School, so Why Does It Exist?

It's time for parents to help change homework policies for young kids.

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As a rule-follower and the kind of person who enjoys task completion so much that folding laundry can feel therapeutic, I didn’t anticipate having a problem with homework. That also had something to do with my kid, who regularly requested “homewurt” starting at age 3. An accomplished mimic, she’d pull a chair up alongside a table of middle-schoolers at the public library, set out a sheet of paper, and begin chewing the end of a pencil, proudly declaring, “I do my homewurt!”

But the real thing quickly disappointed us both. She found first grade’s nightly math worksheets excruciating, both uninteresting and difficult. I found pulling her away from pretend games for something that left her in tears excruciating, both undermining and cruel.

Our story is complex but not uncommon. Cathy Vatterott, a professor of education at the University of Missouri, St. Louis who’s better known as the “ Homework Lady ” says, “Parent activism about homework has really increased over the last 5 to 7 years.” Acton, Massachusetts librarian Amy Reimann says her daughter's district recently overhauled its policy. Now, no school issues homework before third grade , and it's not expected nightly until seventh. In 2017, Marion County, Florida eliminated all elementary homework aside from 20 minutes of reading (or being read to) at night. The result? After moving to a school with a no-homework policy in Berkeley, California, parent Allison Busch Zulawski said: “Our kids are happier, I’m happier, and there are no academic downsides.” If you're looking to make a similar change at your school, check out the stats you'll need to bolster your argument below, followed by some strategies you can use with your school's administration.

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Is homework even beneficial to students? Arm yourself with the stats before you storm the school.

If you want to go in with the most effective arguments for changing your school's homework policy, you'll have to, um, do your homework (or use this cheat sheet).

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Giving up homework in the younger grades has no academic impact.

There's a bit of disagreement among scholars over the academic value of homework. Duke professor Harris Cooper, Ph.D., who has studied the issue, says that the best studies show "consistent small positive effects." But others have questioned whether any impact of doing homework on tests scores and/or grades has been proven. And most academics seem to agree that what little bump homework gives doesn't start until middle school or later. What does all this mean? In his book The Homework Myth , writer and researcher Alfie Kohn concludes, “There is no evidence of any academic benefit from homework in elementary school."

There is clear evidence on a related point though: Reading self-selected material boosts literacy. That’s why many elementary schools are moving toward homework policies that require reading, or being read to, rather than problems or exercises. (Once kids get to middle and high school, the homework debate generally shifts to “how much” and “what kind” rather than “whether.”)

Many agree with educators like Linda Long, a fourth-grade teacher at a different San Francisco school, who sees the value in “just the act of taking a piece of paper home and bringing it back” for building organizational skills and responsibility. But Good Housekeeping was able to find no research demonstrating that this is the case at the elementary level prior to grade five. And research showing that doing homework increases conscientiousness in grades 5 through 8 appears to be thin. What’s more, the many children who don’t complete homework fastidiously have the opposite lesson reinforced: that duties can be ignored or completed hastily.

Homework is more harmful than helpful to families.

Long sees another upside of elementary homework, saying, “It helps families be aware of what their children are learning in the classroom.” Professor Cooper adds, "Homework can give parents an opportunity to express positive attitudes toward achievement."

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But there are lots of ways for parents to do these things, from quarterly teacher updates like the ones Fairmount Elementary School instituted when eliminating homework, to parents sifting through the completed classwork that comes home in backpacks. And asking parents to police homework can damage family relationships by creating power struggles and resentment. In a September 2019 poll of approximately 800 parents conducted by the tech company Narbis, 65% reported that the stress of homework had negatively affected their family dynamic. Academic studies show that this family stress increases as homework load increases.

Homework can also have a negative impact on children’s attitudes toward school. Take the story of Sarah Bloomquist Greathouse of Felton, California. “My fourth-grader has always had such a hard time with liking school,” she says. “This year is the first year we have no worksheets or other busywork. This is the first year my son has actually enjoyed going to school.” As Vicki Abeles puts it in Beyond Measure , “Homework overload steals from young minds the desire to learn.”

Homework eats up time that could be spent doing something more beneficial.

For some students, time spent doing homework displaces after-school activities — like imaginative play, outdoor time, sibling bonding, physical activity, socializing, and reading purely for pleasure — that are shown to be neurologically and developmentally beneficial.

For others, homework provides important scaffolding for free time. (Long says, “I’m more inclined to give homework to my kids who I know just go home and are playing Fortnite for five hours.”) Some argue a no-homework policy leaves a void that only wealthier families can afford to fill with enrichment. That’s why a lot of parents are throwing their weight behind optional policies that provide homework but let families determine whether doing it will improve their child’s life.

Another important displacement concern is sleep. “If parents and teachers are worried about academics and behavior in school then they don’t need homework, they need sleep,” says Heather Shumaker of Traverse City, Michigan, author of It’s OK to Go Up The Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids , which covers banning homework in elementary school. "The more sleep kids get, the better their memory, the better their learning, the better their focus, the better they’ll do on all the tests, being able to control their impulses, and so on.”

What do you do if you don't agree with the amount of homework your kids get at school?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be as annoying as me to change your situation. There are multiple ways to push back against homework, each suited to a different personality type. That said, we can all learn a little something from every take.

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Introvert Parent

You'd like your child to have less homework, but you don't want to make a huge thing of it.

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Rallier Parent

You've read the research, and you're ready to gather others and take the whole system down.

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Conflict-Avoidant Parent

You're bad at confrontation, but you want your student's homework stress to be known.

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Hands-off Parent

You don't think it's good for anyone when your kids' assignments become your homework.

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Some parents focus on winning an exception to the rule rather than challenging it. Teresa Douglas’s daughter read voraciously — until, that is, she was required to log her minutes in a daily time log. The Vancouver, British Columbia mom wrote the teacher a note explaining the situation, declaring her intent to excuse her daughter from doing homework, and offering to provide relevant research. “I received zero pushback,” she says. Pretty much the same thing happened for a Sacramento, California parent (who didn’t wish to be named due to her role in that state’s government). She told her sons’ teachers they would not be doing any homework, aside from reading, unless the teacher could provide research proving it beneficial. That was the end of that.

Straight-up refusal to comply is the same approach I’ve taken when asked to sign off on my kids’ work while my advocacy efforts were ongoing. I thought my signature would imply my child couldn’t be trusted, and I knew it would put us on course for the type of shared academic responsibility, and ultimately dependence, decried in How to Raise an Adult , a book by former Stanford University Dean of Freshmen Julie Lythcott-Haims. So every year, I emailed my kids’ teachers, explaining my reasoning and offering alternatives, like having my children put their own initials in that spot. Some teachers weren't pleased, and I have to admit my kids initially felt mortified, but I held firm and everyone wound up happy with the arrangement.

Critical, independent thinking is also what Kang Su Gatlin, a Seattle, Washington dad, is after. He gives his son the option to do school-assigned homework or exercises chosen by his parents. When the fifth-grader picks the school’s problems, he’s allowed to skip the ones drilling concepts he’s already mastered. “At least in the jobs I’ve had,” says Gatlin, who currently works for Microsoft, “it’s not just how you do your job, but also knowing what work isn't worth doing.”

Some worry that going this route will upset their child's teacher, and it's possible. But when Long was asked what she’d do if a parent presented her with research-backed arguments that disagree with her homework philosophy, she replied, “I would read it, and it would probably change my opinion. And I would also be flexible with the individual family.”

For the Rallier Parent: Gather Reinforcements and Tell Your PTA Why Students Should Have No Homework

Many parents don’t stop with their own child. When the first edition of Vatterott’s book Rethinking Homework was published in 2009, she says, it was a relatively fringe thing, but now, “We’re talking about a real movement.”

Shumaker, the Michigan author and one of the most prominent figures in the movement, knows initiating this kind of conversation with a teacher can be terrifying, so she recommends having company: “Maybe you want to bring in another parent in the class who feels similarly or who is even just willing to sit next to you,” she says. Or broach the subject in a group setting. Shumaker tells a story that reminds me of every back-to-school night I’ve ever attended: “One of the parents raised a hand and said, ‘My child is having such a hard time with math. She spends hours on it every night, and she can’t get through all the problems.’ There was this huge sigh of relief from all the other parents in the room, because they’d had the same problem.”

So, talk to other parents. Bring the issue to the PTA. For petitions, surveys, and templates you can use when writing to a teacher, reaching out to other parents, and commenting at PTA and school board meetings, see The Case Against Homework by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish. It’s packed with step-by-step advocacy advice, including ideas for a variety of non-traditional homework policies (e.g., “No-Homework Wednesdays”).

For the Conflict-Avoidant Parent: Sometimes It Just Takes One Homework Question

If all this sounds like a bit much, Vatterott recommends an approach based on inquiry and information-sharing.

Begin by asking whether there's a fixed policy, either in the classroom or at the school. “You can’t believe how many schools have a policy that the teachers don't follow,” Vatterott notes. Often it’s one based on guidelines endorsed by the National Education Association: about 10 minutes per night in the first grade, and 10 more minutes added on for each successive grade (e.g., 20 minutes for second grade, 50 for fifth). “Sometimes all that’s needed is to say, ‘Can we make the homework requirement weekly rather than daily?’” she says.

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Experts also recommend starting with what psychologists call “I statements,” because teachers aren’t mind-readers. Put a note on each assignment saying, “My child spent 40 minutes on this.” Since research shows teachers often underestimate the amount of time homework takes by about 50% , Vatterott reports, passing along this info can be enough to make assignments less onerous. Other simple statements of fact include:

  • “Luna isn’t getting enough downtime in the afternoon."
  • “Cynthia told me today, ‘I hate homework and I hate school.’”
  • “Dante is losing sleep to finish his work.”

Try to find some way, Vatterott says, to not feel embarrassed or guilty about telling the teacher, even in a roundabout way, “This is too much.”

For the Hands-off Parent: Just Take Yourself Out of the Equation

Not everyone agrees on the level of parental involvement required in homework assignments. Reading all that research also taught me that intrinsic motivation is the more effective , longer-lasting kind. So during the years when I tried to get the school-wide policy changed, I also told my kids that homework is between them and their teacher. If they decided to do it, great; if they chose not to, the consequences were up to them to negotiate.

Third-grade mom Anna Gracia did the same thing, and her oldest, a third-grader, opted to take a pass on homework. When the teacher explained that the class had a star chart for homework with Gracia’s kid listed in last place, she asked whether her daughter seemed to mind. Her daughter didn't. Gracia asked if her daughter was behind in a particular subject or needed to practice certain skills. "No, but homework helps kids learn responsibility," the teacher replied. “How does it teach my kid that, if I’m the one who has to remind her to do it?” she asked. In the end, Gracia stayed out of it: “I said the teacher could take it up directly with my daughter, but I would not be having any conversations about homework at home unless she could point to a demonstrable need for her to do it.”

I’m happy to report my now fifth-grader takes complete ownership over her nightly "homewurt." And after the most recent round of parent-teacher conferences, neither her teacher nor Gracia’s daughter’s had any complaints.

Do the Research

Rethinking Homework

ASCD Rethinking Homework

The Case Against Homework

Harmony The Case Against Homework

The Homework Myth

Da Capo Press The Homework Myth

It's OK to Go Up the Slide

TarcherPerigee It's OK to Go Up the Slide

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do kindergarten have homework

Kindergarten Homework: Is It Appropriate?

  • April 11, 2015

Homework has become somewhat of a hot topic lately. I’ve read articles about schools adopting no-homework policies. I’ve seen research on the ineffectiveness of homework. I’ve found infographics on the absence of homework in other successful nations.

All of this has made me question whether or not my students should have homework. I’m a reading specialist, so I don’t assign homework in my current position. But as a Kindergarten teacher, I did give out a very brief weekly homework packet. Was it a waste of my time? Did I damage my students’ learning or home lives? Should Kindergarteners have homework at all?


I believe that Kindergarteners  can benefit from a very small, purposeful amount of simple homework. No, I don’t mean 5 meaningless worksheets a night. No, I don’t mean elaborate projects that their parents end up doing. But I do feel that a very small amount of Kindergarten homework can be valuable, particularly when the homework is reading . And here’s why:

  • Homework is an opportunity for parents to show kids that they value education.  When a parent (or other family member) sits down with a child to work on homework, that adult figure is telling the child, “Hey, this is important. This is something I value.”
  • Homework can give parents an idea of what students are working on in class.  Kindergarten was a long time ago for many parents! Kindergarten expectations have also changed greatly over the years. By assigning meaningful homework that is relevant to what is going on in class, we can give parents a window into their children’s daily lives and learning.
  • Homework can provide students with additional practice and repetition.  I don’t know about you, but my Kinders sure need a lot of repetition to master concepts! Having my students spend 5-10 minutes practicing something outside of school is an opportunity to get in some of that extra practice.
  • Homework can send kids the message that learning needn’t be restricted to school.  When you assign kids meaningful homework that encourages them to interact with their families and home environment, this sends the message that learning happens  everywhere – not just at school. Here’s an example of a simple homework task that sends this message:  “Find 4 things in your house that start with the letter g. Draw them on this paper.”

What Appropriate Kindergarten Homework Looks Like

Okay, so what kind of homework is appropriate for Kindergarten? Here are some suggestions for designing positive homework experiences:

  • Emphasize reading.  It’s so valuable for kids to spend time reading with their parents. Maybe for homework you request that parents read with their children for 10 minutes a night – and that’s it!
  • Give assignments that are SUPER brief!  Kindergarteners’ attention spans are short. So their homework should be short, too! If I send home a task, I try for something that can be completed in about 5-10 minutes. If you do send home a small weekly homework packet, make sure to educate parents about the importance of doing some each night (rather than all of it on Thursday night!). Check in periodically with students and parents to make sure that the homework isn’t taking too long. (And don’t feel like you “have to” give homework every day…many kids have a long day at school already.)
  • Provide tasks that are meaningful.  An assignment like “Find 4 things in your house that start with the letter g. Draw them on this paper” is more fun and engaging than a worksheet on the letter g! When possible, involve family members in completing the homework. Games and scavenger hunts can get everyone in the family involved!
  • Assign tasks at the right difficulty level. Why assign homework at all if it’s way too easy or way too hard? It may take a little time, but giving students slightly different homework can help maximize its effectiveness.
  • Create a “homework bag” to provide necessary materials. If you think that students may not have pencils or crayons at home, why not send a few home with the homework? Also, reading with an adult makes for a wonderful homework assignment, but make sure to send home books. Many families do not have access to books in the home.

Challenges of Assigning Kindergarten Homework

In theory, the suggestions above can be relatively easy to implement. But it’s never quite that easy, is it? Here are some of the challenges that I (and my colleagues) have encountered when assigning homework to our students:

  • Not all students have parent or family support to complete homework. I believe strongly in educating parents during Open House and other school events about the importance of devoting home time to learning. However, some parents are still not able to help students with homework for a variety of reasons (language barrier, time, education, etc.).
  • Finding or creating differentiated homework assignments is very time consuming.   I always have a huge range of abilities in my classroom, and I want to provide homework assignments at my students’ individual levels. I don’t want students to become frustrated by the homework, or completely bored by it. But differentiating homework takes a TON of time!
  • Keeping up with missing assignments can be challenging.  Kids don’t always turn in their homework. I can’t tell you how many times I inquired about a missing homework assignment, only to find out that it had been in the child’s backpack for a week! Kids also don’t always do their homework. Trying to track down missing assignments can take up a lot of time.


In spite of these challenges, I still believe that a small amount of homework or time spent reading with parents can be very valuable for Kindergarteners. Because I know firsthand how time-consuming it can be to find the right homework for students, I’ve created a Leveled Literacy Homework series that you can use with your Kindergarten (or 1st grade) students.

The idea behind the series is to give you materials that are engaging and meaningful (like family games), can be used to differentiate your homework assignments, and are ideal for students who either do or do not have family help with completing their homework.

All activities (except for simple worksheets) come with parent instructions in English and Spanish. They also have links to optional videos that parents can choose to watch to learn how to read with their child or play the literacy games together. To learn more about the series, click on the image below.

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What do you like to use for homework in your Kindergarten classroom?

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Good information

…i love the information😘😘

Can you specify the age of the child i can apply these techniques upon??

Hi Diana, this article is mostly about 5-6 year old children.

[…] specialist (and former kindergarten teacher) Alison at Learning at the Primary Pond advocates for a small amount of meaningful homework in elementary school, even for kindergarteners, […]

Being the mum of a kindergartener, single mother infact, that works full time shift work and 2 hrs away from any family or friends, I genuinely disagree with homework at this age. I have enough to juggle let alone adding an hour into an already stretched out day, where my son has been at school and then oosh all day, to argue about him not wanting to do homework and IF he sits long enough to attempt the homework.. it strains our relationship. There is no one else around to help with homework, there is always copious amounts of homework …  Read more »

All great points you bring up – thanks for sharing!

We’ll Said. I found the reasoning above to be so thin and void of true reasons for having a 5-year old do homework. They’ll have so many more years to learn homework and the value of education. We send our kids to school for 8 hours a day, I’m sure they’ll understand someday that we as parents value education. I don’t need to do a silly exercise with them to get that point across.

do kindergarten have homework

I’m Alison, a literacy specialist. I love getting kids excited about reading and writing – and sharing teaching ideas with other teachers!

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do kindergarten have homework

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do kindergarten have homework

Should Kids Get Homework?

Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.

Mother helping son with homework at home

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Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful.

How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.

Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.

But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.

Value of Homework

Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."

Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.

"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."

Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.

"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."

Negative Homework Assignments

Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.

But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.

Homework that's just busy work.

Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.

"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.

Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.

With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.

Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.

" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .

Homework that's overly time-consuming.

The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.

But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.

Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.

"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."

Private vs. Public Schools

Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.

Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.

"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."

How to Address Homework Overload

First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.

"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."

But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.

"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."

Study Tips for High School Students

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It’s Only Kindergarten. Do We *Really* Need Homework?

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It was pretty darn adorable the first time my Kindergartner showed me her homework. She was happy to sit down like a big kid to complete the ten-minute assignment in her designated black-and-white composition book. And I was thrilled to see her excited about school.

Not so fast.

Since that blissful start, it has taken anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes of refocusing, nagging and pleading to complete homework assignments. If she just sat down and did the darn thing, it would be over in two seconds flat. But it takes time to find the right pencil, sharpen it to precisely the right length, steal an LOL doll from her sister, find a pair of socks that are “less itchy,” use the potty, set up her stuffies so they can do their own homework, beg to play Uno, go to the potty again, ask Alexa to play the “strong girl” song from Encanto , find a safe hiding spot for the stolen LOL doll, lose the pencil in the process and find a new pencil that is sharpened to precisely the right length.

By this point, I am slouched over the kitchen table with my head in my hands wondering how on earth I can get her to finish this one measly assignment without vomiting mom rage all over the place.

You see…I was a model student. I loved school. I loved homework. I loved making my parents and teachers proud. I loved getting As and stars and check-pluses. But I also remember receiving my first homework assignment–in third grade . Yep, my daughter is now getting homework literal years before our generation did.

Back in the early 1900s , homework prioritized memorization and facts . Toward the middle of the century, progressive educators began to value learning experiences, eliminating homework at the elementary level. The pendulum began to swing back to homework drills in the mid-1980s though, as schools started implementing high-stakes testing and Common Core standards.

Today, the general rule is 10 minutes of homework per grade level. So first graders would have 10 minutes of homework, second graders would have 20 minutes, and so on. But kindergarten is often left out of the discussion altogether, with some educators advocating for full-on reading drills and others maintaining it’s simply too early to demand that of children. So, do I need to force my daughter to do work that seems so hard for her (and for me)? 

“A lot of kids don't do parts of their homework because it feels hard for them and they don't know how to express that. They want to look smart in front of their parents, to show off a little and be the experts in something,” said Talia Kovacs , a literacy specialist, former classroom teacher and founder of the Resilient Reader program. Additionally, Kovacs maintains that many parents are stressed about their kids doing their best and kids are stressed about impressing their parents, “and this cycle loops and loops until just picking up your kid from school can leave you with a sense of dread for what's coming.” 

In other words, why am I torturing myself? And perhaps more to the point, is kindergarten homework even necessary?

Monica Burns , an educational technology and curriculum consultant, said instead of answering yes or no to that question, we should instead ask why homework might be assigned. Has the school run out of time to cover the curriculum? Do students need more time to practice a new skill? Are teachers trying to find out if students have mastered a concept?

Compounding the problem is the fact that the choice of whether to assign homework is rarely given to teachers. It is often a district-wide mandate. Because teachers are already overworked and stressed—especially these days—each and every night of homework might not have been thoughtfully assigned. Kovacs said that as a teacher, she would sometimes assign extremely purposeful homework…but if she was pressed for time, she might make a copy of whatever came next in her planning book. “The trouble with this,” Kovacs said, “is that parents aren’t always told which parts of the homework are super important for their kids’ growth and which are just to fill a need.” In short, homework at the younger elementary level is helpful in some cases but tedious in others. 

Her advice? If you’re not sure which assignments are the important ones…ask!

Burns urges teachers to be transparent with parents about the “why” behind homework assignments. And Kovacs said that it might be a good idea to chat with the teacher about which elements of homework are the most impactful so you can focus on those first. For instance, maybe your child really needs to spend more time on writing, but doesn’t need to do every damn math game that’s send home. That’s good intel.

There are a number of strategies for making homework time less onerous, as well. Burns suggested having a dedicated space for homework with pencils, paper and homework supplies within easy reach, or using an app like to play music to signal homework time and improve focus. Susan G. Groner, founder of The Parenting Mentor and author of Parenting with Sanity & Joy , advises parents not to hover while their kids are doing homework. “It’s ‘best practice’ to get your kids into the routine of doing their own work. Your presence communicates that the work has to be done ‘right,’ which isn’t the point of homework,” she said. “The bonus is that while your kids are working, it’s a little break for you.”

Groener and Kovacs even stress that homework at this age *gasp* doesn’t have to be perfect and *double gasp* doesn’t even have to be complete. Groener said that homework often “helps the teacher discern what they need to work on for each individual student, or for the whole class.” If the assignment turns into an endless slog, Kovacs recommends ending the homework session with something your child does well and then letting the teacher know that the rest of the assignment was too hard. 

The experts also reminded me that play has just as many educational opportunities—if not more—than homework. Sometimes just playing in the park may be more valuable than writing each sight word three times in a row. In other words, at this age, it’s probably OK to make your own decisions about which afterschool activities are best for your family, and simply communicate them to your teacher.

Bottom line: You know your kid best. As Kovacs maintains, “Learning to learn takes many forms. And to build resilience, your child needs to feel a sense of love, trust and optimism at home. If homework isn't helping you build that, it isn't helping your child.”

50 Kindergarten Books to Help Foster a Love of Reading

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Kindergarten Teacher Blog

Tips for Using Homework In Kindergarten

October 15, 2023 misskindergarten Leave a Comment

How do you set up homework in kindergarten that is appropriate, fun, and meaningful? This seems to be the million dollar question among many kindergarten teachers. It is hard to know what is too much or too little all while making sure it’s engaging and developmentally appropriate! Keep reading for some food for thought as you make the homework decision for your own classroom.

Homework in Kindergarten

Should There Be Homework In Kindergarten?

When you first started out as a new kindergarten teacher , you likely noticed that there are two camps when it comes to homework in kindergarten: Those who like it and those who don’t! However, some districts require either daily or weekly homework, so you might need to regularly send work home no matter what camp you’re in.

I am a true believer in kids learning through play, and sometimes I think giving them the opportunity to play after school is MUCH more important than sitting down to do homework.

However, if you are required to send something home with your kinders or you DO like the idea of homework in kindergarten, let’s look at the positives!

Benefits Of Homework In Kindergarten

I used to dread assigning homework to young students and struggled with how to make it work. I learned over the years that there are some amazing benefits to having homework in kindergarten.

Grow in Responsibility

Sending work home for your students to work on after school can help teach them responsibility.

Homework isn’t all about academics, it’s also about helping students become responsible, lifelong learners. Teaching your students how to “be in charge” of something and take pride in it is an important life skill. They begin to learn that it feels good to do a good job and get work done on time!

I like to talk with my students about what it means to be responsible when doing homework. It means that you:

  • Put your name on your paper first
  • Complete all of the work on the page
  • Keep the paper looking neat
  • Check your work
  • Turn it into the appropriate place on time

Two completed pages of kindergarten homework where marker was used to complete the work.

Practice Problem Solving

Homework allows students to practice being problem-solvers at home as they work independently and blast through challenges.

We all know those students that come running to us at the sight or sound of any problem. As teachers, it is our instinct to help them, but allowing them to be challenged is a GOOD THING! Homework in kindergarten encourages your students to problem solve, whether they are at school or at home.

Since this is a skill your students are still developing, it’s helpful to prepare students for being more independent problem-solvers when they are working on their homework at home. This will help keep your students (and their families!) from becoming frustrated with the homework process. One way to do this is to model different problem-solving strategies during your daily routine. Some ideas are:

  • Reading or listening to the directions again
  • Looking at similar problems
  • Using anchor charts or posters around the room
  • Using manipulatives
  • Drawing a picture

Build Routines

Homework can provide a foundation for structure and routine as they progress through school.

By starting homework early on in their school years, you are helping to set up your students for success in the future. Having homework in kindergarten allows them to start learning and using those problem-solving strategies right away.

It is important to know your students, their abilities, and their families when assigning homework in kindergarten. You don’t want your students and their families to develop negative feelings toward having a routine of skill practice at home. You can avoid this by sending home developmentally appropriate homework that doesn’t place an undue burden on families.

3 “Musts” for Kindergarten Homework

Now that we know the benefits of homework in kindergarten, I am going to share my three musts for making homework actually WORK in kindergarten.

Homework Must Be Easy to Prep

This first must is all about you, teacher friend! No kindergarten teacher has time to prep, print, laminate, and hole punch homework! Just the thought of it makes me cringe. Keep homework prep simple! My Kindergarten Homework Weekly Bundle is designed to be low-prep and easy to manage. In fact, you can print off an entire week of homework on one page, front and back. Check it out  here  to get your homework for the entire year covered.

Homework pages printed two to a page

Homework Must Be Engaging

Homework tends to have a bad reputation for being boring and hard. It doesn’t have to be, though! Homework that is fun for your students will engage them in the learning, thus becoming more purposeful for them and you. It will also make it more likely that they will keep up the routine of grabbing their homework from their backpacks when they get home.

You can make homework more engaging for students by using kid-friendly printables with space to color. Students also love being allowed to use different writing tools on homework. (This is helpful for families who might have pens more readily available than pencils.) You can also incorporate a little bit of seasonal fun to your homework by using themed printables.

Three completed pages of seasonal homework

Homework Must Be Aligned to Standards

If you give your students random homework assignments, it just feels like busywork. Make sure that it is aligned to the standards and skills you are teaching. My weekly homework covers reading and math standards and follows a common sequence for spiral review. It is also editable to meet students’ needs every year. You’ll be able to ensure that you’re sending home developmentally appropriate homework that students can complete mostly independently.

Printable Kindergarten Homework Bundle

You can check out my year-long homework bundle that includes 32 weeks of weekly homework practice. These printables come in two size options, so you can decide how you’d like to assemble the homework. The activities in this bundle could also be repurposed for other parts of your daily routine.

Homework pages bound into a booklet

For example, you could bind the printables into a packet that’s perfect to use for morning work, fast finishers , centers, and more! Click below if you’d like to take a closer look at this resource in my shop.

do kindergarten have homework

Kindergarten Weekly Homework

Save these tips for kindergarten homework.

Be sure to save these tips and resources for kindergarten homework! Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly find this post when you’re ready to set up a homework routine in your kindergarten classroom.

Tips for Using Homework in Kindergarten

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Hello, I’m Hadar

Welcome to Miss Kindergarten. I’m so happy you’re here!

If you are looking for hands-on, engaging kindergarten activities, you came to the right place! I’m here to save you time by sharing tried and true kindergarten resources, and hopefully spark some ideas for your own kindergarten lesson plans!

Whether you need ideas to teach reading, sight words, math, or even some fun crafts, I have you covered. My ultimate goal is to help passionate educators and parents to young kids gain their valuable time back!

If you want to stay connected with Miss Kindergarten, please follow me on social media and be sure to sign up for the newsletter below.

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do kindergarten have homework

do kindergarten have homework

How To Create Kindergarten Homework That Parents And Kids Will Love

Kindergarten homework is not developmentally appropriate.  There I said it.  Five-year-olds are not meant to sit down to do paper and pencil tasks about reading and writing.  Somewhere along the way, someone who was most definitely not a kindergarten teacher decided that five and six-year-olds MUST read by the end of kindergarten. 

do kindergarten have homework

This created unrealistic expectations of teachers to somehow overcome brain science and teach students how to read.  Teachers began assigning sight word homework in addition to leveled readers and math worksheets.  Suddenly, kindergarten kids have as much homework as older elementary students.  Yet, there are no studies to support the notion that homework in kindergarten helps kids to achieve more. 

Some teachers have stopped assigning homework altogether but others are required to assign kindergarten homework.  Read on to find developmentally appropriate ways to assign kindergarten homework that parents will love.


Teachers Under Pressure

The pressure put on teachers to have all kindergarten students meet the same high academic standards at the same time is completely unrealistic.  Then that pressure was transferred to teachers who decided that in order to achieve this goal, they needed to share the responsibility with parents.  Then parents decided that they need  kindergarten homework to help them to achieve this goal.

This notion isn't all bad.   Sharing learning responsibilities with families is a productive way to help students achieve and giving parents activities and skills to practice at home is certainly helpful.   The problem is that we've lost sight of what we know is natural child development.   

So what can teachers do to help their young students to practice skills at home but still allow them to be kids?  We can start by giving students a variety of homework options rather than requirements.  In distance learning or remote learning situations, teachers are under even more pressure!  Check out this page for some distance learning types for Kindergarten teachers. 

Keep Homework Fun!


Kids work hard all day (or for half the day) at school.  They don't need to go home to sit with worksheets and pencils to continue to practice sight words (which the latest brain research doesn't support anyway, but that's a blog post for another day). 

In school, we know that all kids have different learning styles so we need to remember this when assigning homework.   Sending the same worksheet with each student is not differentiating.  You can differentiate homework by giving students options and allowing families to choose the activities that are the best fit for their students.

Keep “assignments” fun and engaging with a variety of ways to practice important foundational skills.  Think about how you design engaging centers and apply that to homework.  Practice writing letters and numbers in sand, finger paint or shaving cream!  Create math problems with toys or breakfast cereal.  Play games with dice to develop number sense and social skills like taking turns.  There are so many fun possibilities!

Give Families Homework Options!


Think about your academic goals for the week or the month.  Then create a list of 15 – 20 choices full of skills you want your students to practice.  This can be a list, a chart, or even a calendar!  You can send this list home to give families options and give kids some choice in their assignments. 

You can choose to include only academic tasks but I like to include some more developmentally appropriate skills that are often overlooked.  Skills like memorizing phone numbers and addresses are important things kids do not often do anymore.  You can add life skills like practice playing games (winning and losing with grace), tying shoes, helping to fold laundry and more.


I try to limit paper-pencil options.  However, when I do include them, I try to keep them open-ended.  For example, instead of practicing writing letters with a pencil, encourage students to write letters in sand or pudding.  If you want kids to practice writing, give them fun writing prompts or open-ended options.  For math practice, instead of doing a page of addition problems, have students tell and solve their own addition story problems using their favorite toys.  There are a lot of easy, no extra materials needed ways to practice these skills that won't stress kindergarten kids or parents.

Need to know more about assigning Kindergarten Homework?

How Do You Find the Time to Revamp Homework?

Time is one of the biggest challenges any teacher faces.  Finding time to rework your kindergarten homework assignments is difficult.  I can help!  Sign up for my e-mail list here and I will send you a completely free, editable homework menu to try in your classroom!  If you don't have time to create your own, I have monthly homework menus in my TPT store.  You can check them out here. 

do kindergarten have homework

I am hopeful that the pendulum is swinging back to more developmentally appropriate practices in kindergarten.  I'm happy to see that many districts across the country are returning to play-based learning in kindergarten.  This gives me hope!  In the meantime, let's try some new homework options for our youngest students.  What other suggestions do you have for homework in kindergarten?  I'd love to hear them!

One Comment

Your first statement in the last paragraph says it all! I have been making some noise about developmentally appropriate practices for years. We are beginning our school year with testing, testing, testing! I will be teaching students face to face and online at the same time. I have no idea where to start so I decided to do some research and found your site. I'm liking what I'm seeing so far. Please keep up the good work!!

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Is Homework Good for Kids? Here’s What the Research Says

A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The research

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

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Kindergarten Homework: Too Much Too Early?


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Kindergarten has taken some getting used to for Walker Sheppard, who didn’t attend preschool or day care. Besides all the new rules to remember, there’s a new nightly routine: homework.

“We spend anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour on it,” said Michael Sheppard, Walker’s dad.

When the 5-year-old comes home every day, Sheppard said, his son is tired and not ready to sit down and figure out his assignments.

“He doesn’t like it,” said Sheppard, who lives in Pulaski, Va. “The first week he went to school he asked us why he was having to do schoolwork at home.”

That’s a question a lot of parents are asking, especially when it comes to the youngest pupils. Studies by researchers including Harris Cooper, a Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor who wrote The Battle Over Homework , have consistently shown that homework has minimal academic benefits for children in the early-elementary years.

Instead, both the National Education Association and the National PTA endorse Cooper’s so-called 10-minute rule, which calls for roughly 10 minutes of homework a night per grade level beginning in 1st grade. So children in 2nd grade would have 20 minutes, those in 3rd grade would have 30 minutes, and so on. In high school, students may exceed that recommendation depending on the difficulty of the courses they choose.

Split Opinions

Those guidelines don’t even mention kindergarten. But that’s not stopping educators in many places from assigning homework.

Delilah Orti said that every Monday her daughter, Mia, a kindergartner last year in the Miami-Dade Public Schools system in Florida, received a homework packet with about 25 worksheets that were due at the end of that week.

Orti said the packet included work on phonics, spelling, reading comprehension, and social studies. She describes her daughter as a quick learner who was already reading in kindergarten but still needed her help with word problems and science worksheets.

“She could read the words, but she had no idea what they meant,” said Orti.

Orti said Mia spent 30 minutes reading every night and an hour on the packet.

“I felt that it was inappropriate for that age,” said Orti. “What she was getting for homework was more busywork. I don’t think she was getting anything out of it and I think it was way too much.”

But such concerns aren’t shared by administrators or parents at Arlington Traditional School, a countywide elementary school in Arlington, Va., with a waiting list of parents eager for their children to attend.

Kindergartners there are expected to do 30 minutes of homework a night, Monday through Thursday.

Every student at the school is expected to spend 15 minutes reading a night. For kindergartners who can’t read yet, that means their parents are expected to read to them. The other 15 minutes is spent doing things like dictating a story to their parents using words that start with a sound they’ve been learning in class or exercises that involve circling that letter.

“We feel that this is a connection that we want with parents,” said Holly Hawthorne, the school’s principal. “We want them to know what their children are learning at school, we want them to know how they’re doing in school, if the work is too hard, if it’s too easy, we want them to be able to support what the kids are learning at school at home as well.”

Eliminating Packets

Still, some kindergarten teachers remain firm in their opposition to mandatory homework.

Barbara Knapp used to assign her kindergarten pupils at Bradley Elementary School in Corralitos, Calif., weekly homework packets. But that all changed 10 years ago during the Great Recession.

“Teachers were only given two reams of paper a month at my school, so we were forced to cut back,” said Knapp.

She and some of her colleagues at the school located about 90 miles south of San Francisco decided a good way to do that would be to eliminate those homework packets. During that time, she said, she started to research homework and found the case against it for young elementary pupils very compelling.

“The research showed that there was no correlation between school success and the traditional paper-pencil homework in kindergarten,” said Knapp, who has 19 years of classroom-teaching experience.

When she was assigning homework, Knapp said parents sometimes complained that it was frustrating for their children. Other times, it was obvious the parents had done the work rather than the child.

Now, Knapp only assigns nightly reading of her pupils’ choice, a move that she credits with making them better readers. She adds that she hasn’t seen any deterioration in other skills since she eliminated traditional homework, and she’s been able to spend more time on lesson preparation rather than grading homework.

“It’s been great not having to focus on homework,” said Knapp. “Putting together the packet, running them all off, grading them all, it was a huge amount of time that was being taken instead of us planning really wonderful, rich, in-class lessons. Homework took away a lot of planning time for just a bunch of busywork.”

Risk of ‘Busywork’ vs. Parental Bonding

Cathy Vatterott is no fan of busywork at any grade level and doesn’t think homework should be part of kindergarten. She’s a professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the author of Rethinking Homework . “There’s enough of an adjustment for young children in kindergarten without throwing in homework,” said Vatterott.

And she worries that adjusting to school routines combined with homework could turn off young students to learning.

“I want to make sure that they don’t hate school,” said Vatterott, who noted that young children learn best through play.

She also points to a 2016 University of Virginia study, “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?,” which found that kindergarten in 2010 was more like the 1st grade of the late 1990s. Vatterott says she’s concerned that children who aren’t developmentally ready for this work might “internalize that they’re not smart or that they’re not good at school.”

But keeping the bond strong between home and school is one of the reasons that Duke researcher Cooper doesn’t mind homework for pupils in kindergarten, with a few caveats.

“The assignments need to be short, simple, and lead to success,” said Cooper. “We don’t want young children to get frustrated with homework. We don’t want them to get bored, and we don’t want them to begin thinking that schoolwork is too difficult for them so that they begin to develop a self-image of not being a good student.”

Finding a Balance

Some kindergarten teachers are embracing short, unique assignments for their pupils that don’t involve worksheets.

Shannon Brescher Shea’s son’s kindergarten teacher provides a list of activities the children can do at home if they choose. The activities ask them, for instance, to draw a picture of what they did over the weekend or collect and count a handful of leaves by ones.

Shea says after visiting her son’s classroom in suburban Rockville, Md., and seeing how much work he does, she’s even more against the idea of mandatory homework for children in kindergarten.

“They are going through so much energy and so much focus at school already and exerting so much self-control that to then have these kids come home and do homework on top of that is a recipe for them not wanting to go to school and not enjoying learning,” said Shea.

Jennifer Craven’s daughter is also in kindergarten this year, and she said so far the young girl has been asked to “practice tying shoes, practice writing her name, and read two books each night.”

Craven, who lives in Meadville, Pa., a city about 90 miles from Pittsburgh, said her family would be doing these activities anyway, and for now, her daughter thinks homework is fun.

“I think this is very age appropriate and I don’t mind the use of the term ‘homework’ at this age, as they will realize what real homework is soon enough,” said Craven.

Michael Sheppard talked to his son’s teacher in Pulaski about the homework she assigns. He said the 30-year classroom veteran acted like it was out of her hands.

Sheppard, 42, who attended school in the same district as his son, Walker, said he didn’t have to deal with homework until well after kindergarten.

“Maybe there should be homework,” said Sheppard. “I just think it would be better starting at 3rd grade.”

A version of this article appeared in the November 28, 2018 edition of Education Week as Kindergarten Homework Debate: Too Much Too Soon?

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Do our kids have too much homework?

by: Marian Wilde | Updated: January 31, 2024

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Are kids getting too much homework?

Many students and their parents are frazzled by the amount of homework being piled on in the schools. Yet many researchers say that American students have just the right amount of homework.

“Kids today are overwhelmed!” a parent recently wrote in an email to “My first-grade son was required to research a significant person from history and write a paper of at least two pages about the person, with a bibliography. How can he be expected to do that by himself? He just started to learn to read and write a couple of months ago. Schools are pushing too hard and expecting too much from kids.”

Diane Garfield, a fifth grade teacher in San Francisco, concurs. “I believe that we’re stressing children out,” she says.

But hold on, it’s not just the kids who are stressed out . “Teachers nowadays assign these almost college-level projects with requirements that make my mouth fall open with disbelief,” says another frustrated parent. “It’s not just the kids who suffer!”

“How many people take home an average of two hours or more of work that must be completed for the next day?” asks Tonya Noonan Herring, a New Mexico mother of three, an attorney and a former high school English teacher. “Most of us, even attorneys, do not do this. Bottom line: students have too much homework and most of it is not productive or necessary.”

Research about homework

How do educational researchers weigh in on the issue? According to Brian Gill, a senior social scientist at the Rand Corporation, there is no evidence that kids are doing more homework than they did before.

“If you look at high school kids in the late ’90s, they’re not doing substantially more homework than kids did in the ’80s, ’70s, ’60s or the ’40s,” he says. “In fact, the trends through most of this time period are pretty flat. And most high school students in this country don’t do a lot of homework. The median appears to be about four hours a week.”

Education researchers like Gill base their conclusions, in part, on data gathered by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests.

“It doesn’t suggest that most kids are doing a tremendous amount,” says Gill. “That’s not to say there aren’t any kids with too much homework. There surely are some. There’s enormous variation across communities. But it’s not a crisis in that it’s a very small proportion of kids who are spending an enormous amount of time on homework.”

Etta Kralovec, author of The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning , disagrees, saying NAEP data is not a reliable source of information. “Students take the NAEP test and one of the questions they have to fill out is, ‘How much homework did you do last night’ Anybody who knows schools knows that teachers by and large do not give homework the night before a national assessment. It just doesn’t happen. Teachers are very clear with kids that they need to get a good night’s sleep and they need to eat well to prepare for a test.

“So asking a kid how much homework they did the night before a national test and claiming that that data tells us anything about the general run of the mill experience of kids and homework over the school year is, I think, really dishonest.”

Further muddying the waters is an AP/AOL poll that suggests that most Americans feel that their children are getting the right amount of homework. It found that 57% of parents felt that their child was assigned about the right amount of homework, 23% thought there was too little and 19% thought there was too much.

One indisputable fact

One homework fact that educators do agree upon is that the young child today is doing more homework than ever before.

“Parents are correct in saying that they didn’t get homework in the early grades and that their kids do,” says Harris Cooper, professor of psychology and director of the education program at Duke University.

Gill quantifies the change this way: “There has been some increase in homework for the kids in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. But it’s been an increase from zero to 20 minutes a day. So that is something that’s fairly new in the last quarter century.”

The history of homework

In his research, Gill found that homework has always been controversial. “Around the turn of the 20th century, the Ladies’ Home Journal carried on a crusade against homework. They thought that kids were better off spending their time outside playing and looking at clouds. The most spectacular success this movement had was in the state of California, where in 1901 the legislature passed a law abolishing homework in grades K-8. That lasted about 15 years and then was quietly repealed. Then there was a lot of activism against homework again in the 1930s.”

The proponents of homework have remained consistent in their reasons for why homework is a beneficial practice, says Gill. “One, it extends the work in the classroom with additional time on task. Second, it develops habits of independent study. Third, it’s a form of communication between the school and the parents. It gives parents an idea of what their kids are doing in school.”

The anti-homework crowd has also been consistent in their reasons for wanting to abolish or reduce homework.

“The first one is children’s health,” says Gill. “A hundred years ago, you had medical doctors testifying that heavy loads of books were causing children’s spines to be bent.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. There were also concerns about excessive amounts of stress .

“Although they didn’t use the term ‘stress,'” says Gill. “They worried about ‘nervous breakdowns.'”

“In the 1930s, there were lots of graduate students in education schools around the country who were doing experiments that claimed to show that homework had no academic value — that kids who got homework didn’t learn any more than kids who didn’t,” Gill continues. Also, a lot of the opposition to homework, in the first half of the 20th century, was motivated by a notion that it was a leftover from a 19th-century model of schooling, which was based on recitation, memorization and drill. Progressive educators were trying to replace that with something more creative, something more interesting to kids.”

The more-is-better movement

Garfield, the San Francisco fifth-grade teacher, says that when she started teaching 30 years ago, she didn’t give any homework. “Then parents started asking for it,” she says. “I got In junior high and high school there’s so much homework, they need to get prepared.” So I bought that one. I said, ‘OK, they need to be prepared.’ But they don’t need two hours.”

Cooper sees the trend toward more homework as symptomatic of high-achieving parents who want the best for their children. “Part of it, I think, is pressure from the parents with regard to their desire to have their kids be competitive for the best universities in the country. The communities in which homework is being piled on are generally affluent communities.”

The less-is-better campaign

Alfie Kohn, a widely-admired progressive writer on education and parenting, published a sharp rebuttal to the more-homework-is-better argument in his 2006 book The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing . Kohn criticized the pro-homework studies that Cooper referenced as “inconclusive… they only show an association, not a causal relationship” and he titled his first chapter “Missing Out on Their Childhoods.”

Vera Goodman’s 2020 book, Simply Too Much Homework: What Can We Do? , repeats Kohn’s scrutiny and urges parents to appeal to school and government leaders to revise homework policies. Goodman believes today’s homework load stresses out teachers, parents, and students, deprives children of unstructured time for play, hobbies, and individual pursuits, and inhibits the joy of learning.

Homework guidelines

What’s a parent to do, you ask? Fortunately, there are some sanity-saving homework guidelines.

Cooper points to “The 10-Minute Rule” formulated by the National PTA and the National Education Association, which suggests that kids should be doing about 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level. In other words, 10 minutes for first-graders, 20 for second-graders and so on.

Too much homework vs. the optimal amount

Cooper has found that the correlation between homework and achievement is generally supportive of these guidelines. “We found that for kids in elementary school there was hardly any relationship between how much homework young children did and how well they were doing in school, but in middle school the relationship is positive and increases until the kids were doing between an hour to two hours a night, which is right where the 10-minute rule says it’s going to be optimal.

“After that it didn’t go up anymore. Kids that reported doing more than two hours of homework a night in middle school weren’t doing any better in school than kids who were doing between an hour to two hours.”

Garfield has a very clear homework policy that she distributes to her parents at the beginning of each school year. “I give one subject a night. It’s what we were studying in class or preparation for the next day. It should be done within half an hour at most. I believe that children have many outside activities now and they also need to live fully as children. To have them work for six hours a day at school and then go home and work for hours at night does not seem right. It doesn’t allow them to have a childhood.”

International comparisons

How do American kids fare when compared to students in other countries? Professors Gerald LeTendre and David Baker of Pennsylvania State University conclude in their 2005 book, National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling, that American middle schoolers do more homework than their peers in Japan, Korea, or Taiwan, but less than their peers in Singapore and Hong Kong.

One of the surprising findings of their research was that more homework does not correlate with higher test scores. LeTendre notes: “That really flummoxes people because they say, ‘Doesn’t doing more homework mean getting better scores?’ The answer quite simply is no.”

Homework is a complicated thing

To be effective, homework must be used in a certain way, he says. “Let me give you an example. Most homework in the fourth grade in the U.S. is worksheets. Fill them out, turn them in, maybe the teacher will check them, maybe not. That is a very ineffective use of homework. An effective use of homework would be the teacher sitting down and thinking ‘Elizabeth has trouble with number placement, so I’m going to give her seven problems on number placement.’ Then the next day the teacher sits down with Elizabeth and she says, ‘Was this hard for you? Where did you have difficulty?’ Then she gives Elizabeth either more or less material. As you can imagine, that kind of homework rarely happens.”

Shotgun homework

“What typically happens is people give what we call ‘shotgun homework’: blanket drills, questions and problems from the book. On a national level that’s associated with less well-functioning school systems,” he says. “In a sense, you could sort of think of it as a sign of weaker teachers or less well-prepared teachers. Over time, we see that in elementary and middle schools more and more homework is being given, and that countries around the world are doing this in an attempt to increase their test scores, and that is basically a failing strategy.”

Quality not quantity?

“ The Case for (Quality) Homework: Why It Improves Learning, and How Parents Can Help ,” a 2019 paper written by Boston University psychologist Janine Bempechat, asks for homework that specifically helps children “confront ever-more-complex tasks” that enable them to gain resilience and embrace challenges.

Similar research from University of Ovideo in Spain titled “ Homework: Facts and Fiction 2021 ” says evidence shows that how homework is applied is more important than how much is required, and it asserts that a moderate amount of homework yields the most academic achievement. The most important aspect of quality homework assignment? The effort required and the emotions prompted by the task.

Robyn Jackson, author of How to Plan Rigorous Instruction and other media about rigor says the key to quality homework is not the time spent, but the rigor — or mental challenge — involved. ( Read more about how to evaluate your child’s homework for rigor here .)

Nightly reading as a homework replacement

Across the country, many elementary schools have replaced homework with a nightly reading requirement. There are many benefits to children reading every night , either out loud with a parent or independently: it increases their vocabulary, imagination, concentration, memory, empathy, academic ability, knowledge of different cultures and perspectives. Plus, it reduces stress, helps kids sleep, and bonds children to their cuddling parents or guardians. Twenty to 30 minutes of reading each day is generally recommended.

But, is this always possible, or even ideal?

No, it’s not.

Alfie Kohn criticizes this added assignment in his blog post, “ How To Create Nonreaders .” He cites an example from a parent (Julie King) who reports, “Our children are now expected to read 20 minutes a night, and record such on their homework sheet. What parents are discovering (surprise) is that those kids who used to sit down and read for pleasure — the kids who would get lost in a book and have to be told to put it down to eat/play/whatever — are now setting the timer… and stopping when the timer dings. … Reading has become a chore, like brushing your teeth.”

The take-away from Kohn? Don’t undermine reading for pleasure by turning it into another task burdening your child’s tired brain.

Additional resources

Books Simply Too Much Homework: What Can We do? by Vera Goodman, Trafford Publishing, 2020

The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Children and What Parents Can Do About It by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish, Crown Publishers, 2007

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn, Hatchett Books, 2006 The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning by Etta Kralovec and John Buell, Beacon Press, 2001.

The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents by Harris M. Cooper, Corwin Press, 2001.

Seven Steps to Homework Success: A Family Guide to Solving Common Homework Problems by Sydney Zentall and Sam Goldstein, Specialty Press, 1998.

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do kindergarten have homework

Homework in kindergarten? What’s best for students?

Kindergarten cafe.

You can't teach the child without teaching the WHOLE child! Welcome to Kindergarten Cafe, LLC - your home for teaching ideas, activities, and strategies to support you in teaching the whole child! I am Zeba McGibbon and I love creating resources for teachers and sharing my teaching experience with others. Kindergarten Cafe is aimed for kindergarten, but teachers of Preschool-Second grade can find resources here for their students! I love to connect with other teachers so please reach out and say hello!

8 Easy Impulse Control Activities for Kids

Sub tub for a smooth and easy absence, ideas for classroom jobs and why they are important, 5 steps to making an interactive seesaw activity, quick and easy movement breaks for distance learning.

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

homework in kindergarten?

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 for kindergarten

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.

Book Buddies

homework for kindergarten

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

homework for kindergarten

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

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.

do kindergarten have homework

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Easy lesson engagement strategies ~ episode 34, stress-free end-of-the-year tips ~ ep. 32, loving teaching while using new curriculum ~ ep. 29, post-winter break expectations reset – episode 14, getting ready for recess in the snow, empowering educators with effective student progress tracking.

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  • Do Kindergarteners Have Homework?

do kindergarteners have homework

When it comes to the topic of homework for kindergarteners, opinions are divided. Some parents and educators believe that homework at such a young age can be beneficial, while others argue that it may be unnecessary or even detrimental to a child’s development. So, do kindergarteners have homework? Let’s explore this question together.

The Debate Over Kindergarten Homework

The case for kindergarten homework.

Proponents of kindergarten homework argue that it helps instill good study habits and prepares children for the academic challenges ahead. They believe that assigning simple tasks, such as reading, writing, or practicing basic math skills, can reinforce classroom learning and foster independence. Additionally, homework can serve as a way for parents to stay involved in their child’s education and monitor their progress.

The Case Against Kindergarten Homework

On the other hand, opponents of kindergarten homework contend that young children need time to play, explore, and engage in hands-on learning experiences. They argue that homework may add unnecessary stress to a child’s life and detract from valuable family time. Instead, they advocate for activities that promote social-emotional development, creativity, and physical activity outside of school hours.

Understanding the Purpose of Kindergarten

To answer the question of whether kindergarteners should have homework, it’s essential to understand the purpose of kindergarten itself. Kindergarten is a crucial stage in a child’s development, where they learn through play, social interaction, and hands-on activities. The focus is on building social-emotional skills , language development, and early literacy and numeracy skills.

The Role of Homework in Kindergarten

Homework as reinforcement.

For some educators, homework in kindergarten serves as a way to reinforce what children have learned in class. Simple activities like reading a short book with parents, practicing counting, or drawing pictures can help reinforce key concepts. These activities can be tailored to each child’s interests and abilities, making learning enjoyable and engaging.

Homework as Family Engagement

Homework can also be an opportunity for family engagement. When parents participate in their child’s learning by assisting with homework activities, it strengthens the bond between parent and child and reinforces the importance of education. Additionally, involving parents in their child’s education can lead to better communication between home and school, creating a supportive learning environment for the child.

Homework as Stress

However, it’s essential to recognize that homework in kindergarten should be developmentally appropriate and not cause undue stress for young children. Assignments should be brief, hands-on, and enjoyable, with a focus on fostering curiosity and a love of learning. Teachers should be mindful of each child’s individual needs and abilities, providing support and encouragement as needed.

Alternatives to Traditional Homework

While some schools may choose to assign traditional homework in kindergarten, others may opt for alternative approaches to support children’s learning outside of school hours. These alternatives may include:

  • Play-Based Learning Activities: Encouraging children to engage in open-ended play activities that promote creativity, problem-solving, and imagination.
  • Outdoor Exploration: Encouraging families to spend time outdoors exploring nature, observing the environment, and engaging in physical activity.
  • Family Reading Time: Encouraging families to read together and discuss books, fostering a love of reading and language development.
  • Art and Creative Projects: Encouraging children to engage in art and creative projects at home, allowing them to express themselves and develop fine motor skills.

The Little Dreamers Nursery Approach

At The Little Dreamers Nursery in Dubai, we understand the importance of balancing academics skills with the developmental needs of young children. While we do not assign traditional homework in kindergarten, we believe in providing families with resources and suggestions for activities they can do together at home to support their child’s learning journey. Our approach focuses on creating a nurturing and supportive environment where children can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Best Nursery in Dubai

So, do kindergarteners have homework? The answer may vary depending on who you ask and the educational philosophy of the school. At The Little Dreamers Nursery , we prioritize creating a holistic learning experience that nurtures each child’s unique talents and abilities. Whether it’s through structured activities in the classroom or playful learning experiences at home, we believe in providing children with the tools they need to succeed in school and beyond.

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Parent: No, my kindergartner won’t be doing that homework assignment

do kindergarten have homework

Kindergarten, as anyone paying attention knows, is not what it used to be. I’ve published a number of posts about just how academic it has become, with kids asked to sit in their seats and do academic work often with little or no recess or physical education, and with works loads that used to be in later grades. That includes daily homework, which researchers say has no value in elementary school (other than to read). In this post, a parent explains why she doesn’t want her kindergartner doing it. She is Cara Paiuk, a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in The Washington Post , the New York Times , and other publications. She is also an entrepreneur, photographer, and the mother of “a gaggle of ragamuffin redheads.” You can follow her on Twitter @carapaiuk. This appeared on Role Reboot , and I am publishing it with Paiuk’s permission.

 [ Kindergarten the new first grade? It’s actually worse th an that. ]

By Cara Paiuk

I embrace the role I have to play in my children’s education through reading, playing, and modeling good behavior. But I also embrace my role in setting boundaries for our children, our family, and myself.

I received an email recently from my son’s kindergarten teacher regarding a new bi-monthly project that was presented as “an additional opportunity for your child to have ‘homework’ and the responsibilities that come along with it.” It sounds like a great project, yet I want to cry.

I am already overwhelmed enough as it is, and so is he.

Some nights I think his brain is at maximum capacity (I know mine is), and he dozes off by 6 p.m . Other nights, he arrives home overtired and irritable, and I inevitably have to send him to his room for a timeout. It breaks my heart when I walk in 10 minutes later and see him passed out with all his clothes on, knowing that he went to bed upset (and without brushing his teeth!).

And yet other nights he is a ball of lightning wildly unleashing the emotions and physicality pent up at school. Throw in his easily excitable 2 ½-year-old twin sisters, and you can’t even imagine the evening chaos in our house. When our son gets home, my husband and I are still nursing our wounds from our busy work day while our twin girls have just woken up from their nap and are themselves either miserably cranky or overflowing with energy. Either way, these two toddlers have an inexhaustible need for attention and stimulation, and whenever I am not feeding them a snack then I find myself cleaning one up. Whatever fragile balance we may have achieved is shattered when our son comes in from school like a cue ball.

The results are lively to say the least, and often quite lovely. When I see everyone play nicely and care for one another I feel like I must be doing something right. I treasure those rare moments of tranquility. But more often than not we face fights, tantrums, whining, messes, potty talk, insolence, jealousy, and ingratitude. We are challenged to get everyone to sit down at the table at the same time to eat the same thing, to put on PJs without drama, to go to bed on time, and anything else that requires unanimous collaboration from three free-spirited and stubborn children. So, basically everything.

We struggle to meet our children’s basic needs, much less partake in “enriching” activities. As things stand now I don’t get enough quality one-on-one time with my son, in part because he sleeps more than his sisters. Even as I try to cuddle him as he falls asleep I oftentimes hear the girls wail for snuggles in the other room. It tears me apart, but I can only do so much with this impossible juggling act.

I just can’t imagine prioritizing homework with my 5-year-old son when I feel it’s more important we spend time together as a family, nurture our children, or let the kids play together.

I am not an early childhood education expert, but it seems to me that social skills and emotional intelligence are the most critical things to teach. I see my children absorb valuable lessons from interacting that they would never learn from me alone: sharing, conflict resolution, leadership (our son teaches his sisters yoga), teamwork, praising others, and more. As a parent of multiple children, sibling bonding is one of my highest priorities. At the very least, higher than kindergarten homework.

Let’s face it, at my son’s age, homework is not really for the children, it is for the parents. Been there, done that, got the diploma.

I would rather my kids bring homework home when they are mature enough to (mostly) do it themselves. I am more than happy to help my children with their homework, help being the operative word. If there is a point to homework in elementary school, it should be to help kids with discipline, not to learn new concepts or otherwise require parental supervision or intervention. After a full day of school for the kids and work for the parents, homework seems like an unnecessary and avoidable source of friction.

I politely declined the homework project, and thankfully my son’s kindergarten teacher graciously accepted that. I embrace the role I have to play in my children’s education through reading, playing, and modeling good behavior. But I also embrace my role in setting boundaries for our children, our family, and myself.

I can’t imagine I am the only parent who feels burdened by a young child’s homework. I truly wonder how other parents with more complicated situations (e.g. single parents, families with many kids, special needs children) manage.

So I say: Let the teachers teach at school and the parents parent at home. The home is for family time or down time or play time or even meltdown time. But it should not be homework time. Not yet.

[ A very scary headline about kindergartners ]

do kindergarten have homework

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How to Help Kindergarteners Do Homework Without Tears

Inside: New students have a hard time working on homework. Kindergarteners especially have no desire to sit still and often refuse to do their homework. But there are tips and tricks to help new Kindergarteners do homework without complaining or without tears.

Kindergarteners often struggle with sitting still to do homework. These homework help tips will encourage our youngest students to finish their homework.

Congrats! You’ve survived the huge parenting milestone of sending your child off to Kindergarten!

But now there’s a new challenge for parents: homework.

Some Kindergarteners come home with no homework ever, some start it a month or two into school, and some schools start to send home homework Day 1.

There’s a huge debate over the purpose and benefits of homework in general and many, many parents are frustrated homework starts in Kindergarten.

Related: Here’s What You Need to Know About Homework and Why Teachers Assign It 

do kindergarten have homework

But if homework is being assigned to our youngest learners-and it is being assigned in the majority of our schools- we need ideas to help our Kindergarteners do homework without complaints and without tears. 

Because while a few kiddos might be excited to do homework because it makes them feel like a big kid, many kids balk at the idea of sitting down to do more work after their hours at school.

Our Kindergarten kids may fight us every step of the way to complete their homework, mostly because they’re absolutely exhausted . They are mentally and physically drained.

These new students have been told what to do all day.

do kindergarten have homework

They have probably had to sit still on a tiny rung spot with their legs folded under them way longer than they’ve ever had to.

They have to actually work. And think. And answer tough questions.

They have to memorize a long list of Kindergarten sight words. 

And now we expect them to do more work at home? More thinking? More sitting?

Of course they’re going to complain or flat out refuse or revert to tears and a tantrum.

But there are ways to help ease them into this new transition of coming home from school and helping kindergarteners do homework.

How to help kindergartners do homework with these 10 tips without tears and complaints #homeworkhelp #homeworktips #homework #kindergartentips #kindergartnertips #kinderhomework

General Homework Tips To Help All Students:

Before we get into Kindergarten specific tips, there are several things you can do to help set your student up for homework success for years to come .

The first and most important is to create an afternoon schedule and routine and be consistent with it.

My kids know they come home, hang up their backpacks and empty them, wash their hands, get a snack, and start their homework.

Because if it’s something that happens every day, my kids know what to expect. They know it’s coming.

You will set yourself up for a lifetime of homework ease if you instill in them now the expectation that homework is done right after school.

If you’re unsure how to set up an afterschool routine, use this one.

My kids love to check things off their Afterschool Checklist almost as much as I love crossing things off my to-do list because they are in control of how fast they move through the list.

The faster they get their checklist done, the sooner they can go play.

For more general tips and tricks for homework solutions, like setting up a homework station and a homework supply box, click here .

How to help kindergartners do homework with these 10 tips without tears and complaints #homeworkhelp #homeworktips #homework #kindergartentips #kindergartnertips #kinderhomework

Encourage Your Kindergarteners to Do Homework Without Complaining:

If you set the expectation that homework is something we do and we do it without complaining , it will benefit everyone in the family.

For you, you don’t have to hear the whining and can get through the afternoon without pulling your hair out or needing a cocktail by 4pm.

For them, they get a treat. Try punching a hole in a sheet of paper every time they finish their work without complaining.

When they get five, they get a special “date” with mom or dad or get to go somewhere they love.

Every month, you can increase the number of holes they need to earn the date.

Whatever it takes to discourage the complaints.

Homework Strategies to Help Kindergarteners Do Homework:

For our Kindergarteners, we need to help them actually finish their homework.

This is new, so there are going to be some growing pains.

Keep in mind, not all tricks will work for all kids. You need to choose what you think would motivate your child the most.

And if that doesn’t work, try another trick.

1. Physically Be Nearby

We can’t expect these five-year-olds to sit and work independently in September .

We need to build up to it.

For the first week, sit next to them as they finish their work. Then the next week, sit across from while they work. During the third week, don’t sit with them, but stay in the same room. You can then graduate to being in and out of the room as needed.

If they balk at you moving further away, take a step closer to them until they feel more confident.

The end goal is for them to not need you to be monitoring their every move.

2. Visually Reduce the Amount of Homework

If a whole math sheet overwhelms them, cover some of it up with another paper.

You can cover up half of the paper or you can cover it all and just show one line at a time.

As they finish their work, slide the paper down until they get to the bottom of the sheet.

3. Reduce the Amount of Time They Have to Work

It can be intimidating to sit down and finish all their work at once .

Set a timer and have them work for five minutes. Then take a “brain break” for five minutes. Repeat the pattern until the work is finished.

For the next week, extend the work timer to six minutes, but keep the brain break time the same.

Some brain break ideas: listening to music, dancing, coloring, building Legos, exercising, jumping, or these really cool brain breaks on youtube.

4. Let Kindergarteners Do Homework and Move Around While They Work

Who says kids have to sit still to do their work?

Let them stand to finish their work.

Let them do their work on a bosu ball or on an indoor trampoline with a clipboard.

Standing, jumping, bouncing, stretching, spinning…whatever their little bodies need.

If they can’t do these things while they actually work, encourage them to be active before and after homework time.

How to help kindergartners do their homework with these 10 tips without tears and complaints #homeworkhelp #homeworktips #homework #kindergartentips #kindergartnertips #kinderhomework

5. Let Kindergarteners Do Homework Outdoors

Who says homework has to be done inside? They’ve been stuck inside all day.

Let them finish their work while breathing in the fresh air.

Fresh air and oxygen will wake them up, refresh them, and get their brain moving.

Try working at a picnic table or on your back patio or balcony.

6. Use Their Whole Body to Finish Their Work

Since many kids learn best when they’re moving, encourage them to use their bodies to learn.

Let them stomp their math answers using this fun activity from the SuperKids Activity Guide . 3 + 4 = Stomp the 7! Then they can write it on their paper.

How to help kindergarteners do their homework with these 10 tips without tears and complaints #homeworkhelp #homeworktips #homework #kindergartentips #kindergartnertips #kinderhomework

Use chalk to practice their letters and sounds.

If you write letters on the ground, have them run to the “C” or run to the letter that makes the /b/ sound.

When they’re starting to read, have them spell words by running to each letter.

Use chalk to practice their numbers and addition and subtraction. Write the numbers on the ground and have them run to the 4. Or have them run to the answers of  “1 + 1” or “6-2!”

7. Give Them Counters to Finish Their Math

When it’s time to start adding and subtracting, let them use real tangible things that they can move to add or subtract.

They can add and subtract with coins, Cheerios, crackers, or even their favorite toys.

1 Shopkin + 3 Shopkins = 4 Shopkins

8. Give Them Colorful Markers

Grey pencils can be so boring.

Let them use markers–or better yet, smelly markers –to trace their letters, write their name, or write their spelling words.

Rainbow colors make monotonous work more enjoyable and your kids will be used to “Rainbow Writing” from school. 

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9. Offer them a Healthy Snack While Kindergarteners do Homework:

My kids live for snacks, so they love to eat snacks while they do their work.

They do a problem and then take a bite.

Offer them “brain food” during this time to boost their minds and memories: berries (especially blueberries), bananas, trail mix, sunbutter and jelly, and avocado (try guacamole and chips).

How to help kindergartners do their homework with these 10 tips without tears and complaints #homeworkhelp #homeworktips #homework #kindergartentips #kindergartnertips #kinderhomework

10. Use Rewards (for a short period of time)

Offer up rewards for when they finish a row of their work…stickers, stars, or even a treat.

Put their favorite food at the end of a row of problems. ..  I’ve used Goldfish Crackers, fruit snacks, and even jelly beans.

When they finish the row, let them eat the treat.

The following week, only put the treat on every other line of work.

Eventually, just put a treat at the end of the page.

The goal is to wean them off of needing or expecting the treat.

How to help kindergarteners do homework with these 10 tips without tears and complaints #homeworkhelp #homeworktips #homework #kindergartentips #kindergartnertips #kinderhomework

With these 10 tips, kindergartner homework will get done sooner without complaints, and without tears.

And your afternoon will go much smoother.

Does your Kindergartner struggle with sitting still long enough to complete their homework? These tips and tricks will help them finish their homework.

Need more Back to School Help and Ideas? We’ve got you covered:

do kindergarten have homework

Reader Interactions

Shelby @Fitasamamabear says

September 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm

There’s homework in kindergarten now?? Actually?! Oi

Nicole Black says

September 15, 2017 at 12:33 pm

In some classes, yes! A lot of Kindergartners don’t start right away though….

Erin Burton says

September 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm

I like that so many of your strategies involve moving. You are correct! Children have already had to sit still for hours at school, listening, following orders, and mentally concentrating (sometimes on things they care nothing about). They need time to get up and move! I am actually an ex-public educator who now homeschools my children. My children will often pace while reading, and sometimes we take it a bit further and study while we take a walk outside. My children are able to concentrate much longer when they move. We probably have an hour’s worth of sit-down time each day. The rest is spent moving, exploring, and playing. Children (well… and adults) are not built to sit for hours without moving. Nice post! 🙂

September 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Yes!! A lot of kids have to move to do everything. I force them to sit while they’re eating (I’ve given the Heimlich one too many times) but other than that, who cares if they’re standing or jumping while they spell or read or practice math facts??? Not only will they focus more for some kids, it will actually help them retain the info!!

Flossie McCowald | SuperMomHacks says

September 28, 2017 at 1:18 pm

OK, let me just get out of the way that having homework in K is SICK SICK SICK. (I’m a mama of a 3rd grader and a K student.) But – having said that – your tips are SO great and SO spot-on. Our third grader has ALWAYS struggled with homework; some of these are tricks we have tried with her in the past, some we still use with her now, and some I WISH I’d thought of when she was in K suffering through (what to her was) busywork! Thanks for the great post! 🙂

September 28, 2017 at 1:21 pm

I know a lot of people get angered by this post because of it’s premise. I’m not trying to take a stand in favor of Kinder homework. But if it’s getting assigned–and it is getting assigned– I wanted my readers to have some tips to help them get through it. And you’re right, these tips will apply for anyone trying to do homework… Glad you liked the tips!

Becca @ The Married Cat Lady says

September 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm

I don’t have kids yet, but I definitely want to remember some of these great tips for when I do someday!

Żarty O żydach says

January 29, 2022 at 4:33 am

Definitely, what a great blog and illuminating posts, I will bookmark your site.Best Regards!

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do kindergarten have homework

Is There A "Right Way" To Help My Kid With Their Homework?

Most kids need to learn to do homework in the same way they learn to swim or, even better, do their own laundry.

How much should we help our kids with their homework? I barely remember getting any help from my own parents as a kid. Maybe they were busy, or maybe I rarely asked for help. And my son doesn’t, either. But we find ourselves micromanaging him to make sure he takes his time and does a good job. And I worry that it may actually be to his detriment. Is this diluting his sense of independence and accountability? Will it make him over-reliant on us? And will it skew his teacher’s view of how well he’s doing when he’s allowed to work independently?

Before I had kids, I did my final internship as a school psychologist in an outrageously wealthy school district. The parenting was beyond intensive, I felt. The kids, spoiled and neutered of their own confidence or competence for getting by without parental intrusion. Mothers in $200 yoga pants showed up at all hours in the school offices to micromanage (or sometimes, just because they were bored). One day on my commute, I heard the psychologist Madeline Levine being interviewed on the radio. Levine’s work (her books include The Price of Privilege : How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids ) focuses on children and teens in communities like this one, who, she believes, are so over-protected that they launch into the world not knowing how to recover from minor setbacks or, say, do their own laundry. A mother called in to ask Levine a question: If she noticed that her third-grader left her completed homework at home, should she bring it to school for her so her child didn’t get a poor grade, or let them learn from their mistake by dealing with the natural consequences?

As you can imagine, Levine gently chastised the version of this mother who would take time out of her own day to haul a forgotten homework assignment into the school office on behalf of her poor child — and I chastised along with her. Now, 10 years and two kids later, I know better. Though Levine’s work is richer than this one anecdote, this mother’s question (and yours) aren’t as simple as experts want us to believe.

Homework stress is born of a culture that takes parental oversight as a given. It takes work to buck these trends.

This conundrum gets at one of the central themes of our current parenting culture: oversight and the conditions that encourage it. We want our kids to roam the streets in packs like we used to, to have unsupervised play dates, to learn how to make a simple quesadilla. We want them, most importantly, to feel confident and capable. But the structures of our modern society, and the habits we’ve picked up watching the parents around us, virtually and IRL, complicate the free-choice scenario that psychologists like Levine lay out. There don’t seem to be any other kids out there to roam with, we feel that other parents expect us to monitor their children, we don’t hear about parents letting their kids work the burners anymore. As we’re all probably tired of hearing, on average, parents today spend much more time with their children than our parents did with us. The kind of independence your parents gave you with homework was probably equal parts ambient cultural-parenting expectations, and logistics. When a child falls in the forest, and their parents are constantly checking on them because that’s what parents do these days, will they learn to pick themselves back up?

Culture influences the logistics of our parenting lives. If your children go to a school where most of the students come from households where parents work multiple jobs, or where families are transient, it’s unlikely that homework will be designed for much parental intervention; it just wouldn’t be fair or appropriate. For this reason, many schools leave big, labor-intensive projects to be done during the school day, and assign homework as remedial practice, something they might encourage, but would never expect parents to oversee. Other schools, because of the level of financial and educational resources available to their families, assume an enormous amount of parental involvement in homework, and plan accordingly. Parents of even young children may find themselves staring down a 10-part assignment, complete with researching and gathering specimens and writing, tasks that even the most precocious elementary-schooler would not be able to do on their own.

What parents need to do to support their children with homework isn’t some objective parenting rule: it’s impacted by the assumptions, often unspoken, of the spaces we live in. You can be the parent who pushes back against this — and I encourage you to try it — but it’s not just an individual problem. Homework stress is born of a culture that takes parental oversight as a given. It takes work to buck these trends. Some explicit boundaries — that your partner, if you have one, should also agree to — might be necessary. We help for 10 minutes a night and after that we write a note that this is really too much to be expecting from home. Or we get really clear on what our kid can do on their own and what they need us for, and ask them to come and get us for our parts.

If your kiddo is really struggling with the content of the homework — remembering how to subtract with borrowing, for example — I would certainly do some re-teaching if needed (and if you also happen to remember how to do that). But I would want their teacher to be very clear on what they can do on their own and what they need a lot of hand-holding on. If you write the essay for them, or re-teach the whole math lesson several times, the person who needs to keep track of what they’ve learned and how well will be getting false information. Some families make a plan with the teacher that they will circle problems that were done with parent help to communicate just that.

Homework is, mostly, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many researchers, totally pointless, so your kid doing a half-assed job on it might mean less than you think it does.

All of that aside, there’s the issue of what to do when your values of independence and autonomy seem to be conflicting with your values of hard work and thoughtful effort. Maybe the homework is reasonable and your kid can generally manage it, but it’s meaningful to you to have them give a bit more. Just like my child’s pediatrician counseled early on not to get too hung up on what he was eating every day, but to think about diet as a longer-term project, I would encourage you to zoom up to the bigger picture of your child’s work ethic. Often we parents forget that our kids are spending hours upon hours each day, out of our sight, tirelessly completing tasks assigned to them by adults, often with little satisfaction. If your kid is doing this, but slacking a bit on the homework, that’s quite different from a kid who is constantly turning in careless work. Homework is, mostly, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many researchers, totally pointless, so your kid doing a half-assed job on it might mean less than you think it does.

If you want to be involved in a healthy way, the best time you can spend with your child and homework is on building what we psych nerds call executive functioning skills . These are the softer skills behind the content learning that goes in to every completed worksheet or term paper — how to set-up spaces for doing work that promote your sustained focus, how to break down long-term assignments into smaller parts so you don’t get slammed the night before something is due, how to slow down when the task requires more care and check your work when you’re done. Some unicorn kids just get all of this intuitively, and hats off to them. But most kids, especially but not only the neurodivergent ones, need to learn to do homework in the same way they learn to swim or, even better, do their own laundry.

Honing executive function is great because it will help them in endless situations, and, ideally, it shifts the onus from you to them. If your kid has a multi-step project like a book report, for example, you can sit them down as soon as it’s assigned, draw a little calendar of the days until it’s due, and help them do some “ backwards planning ” by asking, “What will this look like when it’s done? What steps will go into making it that way? What materials will you need? How long do you think each step will take and what day will you do them on?" Or, maybe you work with them to develop a homework checklist that lives in their designated homework space, and reminds them to check their own work.

The first time (or two), you may have to sit and model these things completely, but the idea is that you gradually release the responsibility to your kid. The hope is that at some point you can just say, “Did you make your calendar with all the parts?” and they will know what you mean. This stuff not only teaches them skills they can use their whole life, but also, by design, it gets you out of the picture.

Because, as you have predicted, they will one day be an independent and accountable adult, treating their own stains and knowing somewhere in the back of their 5G-implanted minds that you did the best you could.

The Good Enough Parent is an advice column for parents who are sick of parenting advice. Let Sarah answer your questions about the messy realities of parenting! Send her your questions via this anonymous form or by emailing her at [email protected].

do kindergarten have homework


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    Too much homework may diminish its effectiveness. While research on the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework is limited, there are indications that for high school students, 1½ to 2½ hours per night is optimum. Middle school students appear to benefit from smaller amounts (less than 1 hour per night).

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  17. Do Kindergarteners Have Homework?

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  20. How to Help Kindergarteners Do Homework Without Tears

    2. Visually Reduce the Amount of Homework. If a whole math sheet overwhelms them, cover some of it up with another paper. You can cover up half of the paper or you can cover it all and just show one line at a time. As they finish their work, slide the paper down until they get to the bottom of the sheet. 3.

  21. Is There A "Right Way" To Help My Kid With Their Homework?

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  22. Is homework normal for kindergarten? : r/kindergarten

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  23. Kindergarten homework he'll : r/Parenting

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