school

"My four-year-old gets homework and I'm okay with that."

Normally, I am captaining and steering the ‘parents have a voice’ bandwagon but this week I jumped off before the next stop.

This week in the news, there was outrage.

Headlines like:

“Four-year-olds getting homework.”

“Kids as young as four FORCED to do homework.”

“Preschool pushing homework on toddlers.”

OUTRAGE.

Cranky parents, cranky parents everywhere.

Normally, I am the parent that captains and steers the ‘parents have a voice’ bandwagon.

Except this time I jumped off the wagon before we hit the next stop at ‘parents have officially gone insane' town.

Why, you ask?

BECAUSE PARENTS HAVE OFFICIALLY GONE INSANE. That’s why.

So to the parents going insane over four-year-olds getting homework let me explain a couple of things:

Both my boys have been given homework from preschool.

My son's preschool is not forcing him to be the next Albert Einstein (although, if they were, I really don’t see the problem with it…).

The homework is a sheet from an age appropriate work book, it is not an essay question from the Year 12 exams 18-year-olds are currently sitting.

No, parents, preschools aren’t making our four-year-olds read Shakespeare (but, again, I don’t have a problem if they were. Becoming familiar with his language has to be better than using terms like YOLO and ‘devo’.). They are simply reinforcing positive learning in an at-home environment.

Homework for four-year-olds creates three things:

  1. Independence
  2. A sense of accomplishment
  3. More work for parents

Ahh, there it is. Point three. Parents do not like this.

Now I’m a parent. I’m in a household where both parents work, I have two kids that do a minimum of two extra circular activities each. Don’t think I don’t get it. Because I GET IT. I do. But I think it's important we find time to spend with our children. And how is helping our four-year-olds with their learning a bad thing?

“Let the kids be kids.” I hear you crying.

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Helping your child through a one or two page work sheet on shapes and letter recognition that may take 15 or 20 minutes is not enough of a reason to claim parents aren’t letting their kids be kids.

It’s one sheet.

And, after asking around, most schools only make the children hand in the sheet once a week.

One sheet, once a week, that maybe takes 20 minutes. That's it.

What about the sense of accomplishment?  My son loves the stickers he gets on his work for completing his homework. And a big red tick. I

Now, if your child is going to school the following year, don’t you think maybe a simple (because it is simple) worksheet is actual more beneficial than it is damaging. They aren’t getting made to read To Kill a Mockingbird; they are learning to write their name and circle the big tree over the small tree. It's not rocket science.

They aren't trying to make four-year-olds the next Albert Einstein.

Much of what I read was parents, and some academics, claiming this puts too much pressure on the children.

Maybe the preschool I chose is just awesome or maybe other people have really bad lines of communication but most people I spoke to explained that any homework their preschool child brought home was not marked or graded (bar stickers and ticks to say it was done) nor was it chased up if it wasn't handed in.

After all, the preschool teachers see these children and parents EVERYDAY. They know sometimes it won’t get done. They know you might be too busy or you might have sport on, or a birthday party. They get that life happens.

I have never felt the ‘pressure’ for my four-year-old to do homework, and from the scribble on his pages, as far as I can tell, neither has he. We get it every week, yes, but if it doesn’t get it done then so be it. The world hasn’t ended.

There’s only so much Disney channel one parent can take. I am all for the homework for four-year-olds.

Does your preschooler get homework? Do you think it puts too much pressure on the kids?

Like this? Try these:

These kids homework answers are all wrong, with a touch of genius.

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