It was about a month ago when I dropped my oldest off for her first day of kindergarten.
Having been home with her and her 3-year-old brother for what felt like forever, I had quite a different reaction to dropping her off than most of the other moms there. They had watery eyes and sniffled into wadded-up tissues.
Meanwhile, I poured champagne into Dixie cups for everyone in the pickup zone.
Kidding. I would never have done something like that, mostly because I was too busy running to my car, blasting my music, and peeling out of there.
What I’m getting at is we’re all big fans of kindergarten in this house. My daughter loves it because she has people to talk to all day long, and I love it because she finally has other people to talk to all day long.
But as great as kindergarten is, the amount of homework she has seems like a bit much. I’m not trying to be one of those parents who bitches about everything, but hear me out.
When I was in kindergarten, it was only part-time. We went for 3 hours a day, which was 15 hours weekly.
My daughter is in kindergarten for 6 1/2 hours a day, which adds up to 32 1/2 hours weekly. But when you add in homework, my daughter is spending almost 40 hours a week on schoolwork, which is basically a full-time job.
You’re probably skeptical that my kindergartener has about 8 hours a week of homework. I don’t blame you. Let’s break it down:
The packet consists of worksheets that must be completed throughout the week. The worksheets mostly consist of writing practice, drawing, and counting exercises. By the time we get her to sit down, focus, and actually finish them, they easily take about 30 minutes each day, or 2 1/2 hours a week.
To be clear, I’m pro-reading. We’re pro-literacy in general. And we usually read a book before bed anyway. But her teacher’s guidelines suggest we read for 20 minutes every day. And when you have a talkative 5-year-old, that makes it take closer to 30. Another 2 1/2 hours. And I have to remember to “log it” (I hate reading logs).
We also have a set of 72 flashcards that they ask us to review with our daughter twice a week. They consist of numbers as well as uppercase and lowercase letters. It usually takes us about an hour to get through them, or until someone starts crying (usually me). That’s another 2 hours a week.
For those keeping track, that’s SEVEN hours of homework to add to the 32 1/2 hours she’s already in the classroom every week. Doesn’t that seem excessive?
After all, SHE’S ONLY 5. She should have plenty of time to play with her brother and just enjoy being a kid. She has all day at school to work on projects. Can’t we let them focus on schoolwork while they’re there and let her growing brain get a little bit of a rest when she’s at home?
You might think that I’m too lazy to do homework with her, and that’s not entirely untrue. I mentioned I have a 3-year-old too, right? And I work full-time. So yeah, I’m too tired to walk my kid through 7 hours of homework a week. And she’s pretty damn tired too.
Besides, have you ever actually tried to go through SEVENTY-TWO flashcards with a kid who has the attention span of a goldfish? It’s torture — for everyone involved.
I don’t object to a reasonable amount of homework, but too much homework is a burden to kids as well as parents. I don’t want my 5-year-old daughter to become burned-out on schoolwork, and I don’t want her to have to deal with me when I’m burned-out on her schoolwork.
She loves learning, and she absolutely loves school. I would just prefer there be a little more balance and a little more time to rest and play in the evenings.
After all, you only get one chance to enjoy your childhood.