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  • Homework

    September 13, 2009

    Every Monday, Sean brings home a folder from school with his adorable little homework assignments for the week.  Each day he has some small task to do which takes him no more than 10 minutes.  I supervise his work, nudge him if he stalls out and then initial it when he has completed the work satisfactorily.

    Now I know that some of you are heaving big sighs and thinking, “Homework? In kindergarten? Already?”

    I actually think it’s a great idea.  Each little assignment is a great exercise in following directions, counting, writing or problem solving and it gives us an opportunity to work on something together and to talk about what went on at school that day.  But more importantly, I think it is good practice for the years ahead.  Hopefully it will become engrained in his thinking that homework is just what you do after school, right after Meerkat Manor.

    Anyway, the assignment for Thursday was to make tally marks.  He was supposed to go around the house counting televisions, computers and telephones and use tally marks to total his findings.  I explained to him that he would put a line for each item he found up to four and then if he found a fifth item, he would put that line across the four previous lines to make a group of five.  After that he would start a new group if he found more than five of any one item.

    He argued that point saying that he was supposed to make five lines and then put the sixth line across.

    “Well, okay,” I said, “but that’s not how we did it when I was growing up.”

    “Well you know mom,” he said, “Things aren’t the same as they used to be.”

    Oh great. So it’s come to this and he’s not even six.

    “Like we don’t draw water from a well anymore either!” he said to validate his point.  “We get it from a bottle!”

    We are currently reading the 7th book in the Little House series.  Perhaps I should explain to him that Laura Ingalls Wilder was not actually a peer of mine.

    31 Comments »

    1. HarryJacksMom says:

      LOL! I totally agree with you on the homework issue – mine had it last year in preschool (1 short assignment each week), but their school doesn’t have homework in K….I really miss the routine and the discipline of it. So far, I’ve been trying to get them to go thru their backpacks…it’s not the same. Can I steal Sean’s homework assignments?? 😉 Happy week!

      September 13th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    2. Heidi says:

      Kindergarten homework is a great idea. Along with all the things you wrote, it helps them learn time management; and at this age gives them a sense of accomplisment.
      High school biology and algebra two, on the other hand, were surely invented to test mom and dad’s memories…not to mention our patience.

      Laura Ingalls Wilder? My son once asked me if I had ever met Benjamin Franklin.

      September 13th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    3. Amber @ Classic Housewife says:

      Oh, HE’S FUNNY. You’ve got a little stand up comedian in the making. =P

      September 13th, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    4. Amy Sue Nathan says:

      Darling!

      My kids are constantly amazed at the lack of technology I grew up with. Last week I told them I never touched a computer until AFTER college.

      Mouths agape, they were more in awe of my technical skills than before. Or so I tell myself.

      September 13th, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    5. happy geek says:

      Sean and my boys need to get together and form a “it’s tough being smarter than your mother” club.

      On a side note, I must confess I will be back to check out the comments on the whole kindergarden homework thing. Cheaper than a movie and I am sure they will be much more entertaining.

      September 13th, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    6. Roxanne says:

      It will be quite a revelation when he takes his “goups of 6” tally marks to school and finds out that his teacher does things “the old-fashioned” way. 🙂

      September 13th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    7. Nikki says:

      I was never bothered by the homework my daughter brought home in kindergarten – cutting out a picture from a magazine that started with the letter of the week, sorting, counting, practicing letters, etc. I agree that it gave her a sense of accomplishment and confidence in her ability to manage the assignment by herself.

      My son has not had ‘homework’ so far, but he is looking forward to it. We have made his chores more of a big deal and it’s important for him to go through his backpack every afternoon and tell me about the work in his ‘home folder.’

      September 13th, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    8. Gretchen says:

      AAHH! I remember when my son and I read the first Little House Book, and there was Ma churning her butter, and Pa carving up a bear and making use of every portion, and here were Laura and Mary playing ball with a bear bladder, or some such thing. My son turned to me totally deadpan and asked “Why don’t they just go to the grocery store?”

      September 13th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    9. Julia says:

      Thanks for the chuckle – your boy is so funny!

      September 13th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    10. Stacey says:

      I think that mother’s should be allowed a tutor for each child–
      Them kids are so smart! LOL
      Last year my son,when he was a kinder, didn’t have a consistant day for homework to come home — or even be turned in !
      This year his teacher is very detailed and organized… ah I love the structure of homework every day! Yahooo!

      September 13th, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    11. momof8 says:

      Love it. My 7 year old told someone that I am 89.

      * * * *
      Okay, that made me laugh out loud….

      September 13th, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    12. k&c's mom says:

      THANK YOU for supporting homework as assigned. As a first grade teacher who is required by the district to have scheduled homework, I have to tell you the resistance I get is from the parents. And what does that teach the children when parents tell them homework is not important? (And I must be old fashioned, too, because I believe in the five tally system! But you have to admire his spunk!)

      September 13th, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    13. france59 says:

      I’m absolutely in love with Sean’s sense of humor…and his candor. He’s adorable!

      September 13th, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    14. Steffj89 says:

      While i agree it teaches them all of the things you mentioned I am one of the parents who gets annoyed by it. I wish they realized that we have more than one child and that yes they are only sending home two lil flyers to be read but my other children need attention too. And I particularly dont like him being graded on whether my signature is on the darn thing…i hardly think my signature is worth 30% of his grade.
      Steff

      September 14th, 2009 at 12:04 am

    15. Karen {simply a musing blog} says:

      Don’t you remember being a kid and starting every conversation with your mom and dad by saying, “Back in the olden days…”? (Please note that I used this line with EVERYONE who was at least 10 years older than me, because I honestly thought that anyone who was above the age of 16 was ancient).

      September 14th, 2009 at 12:31 am

    16. Lucy says:

      When my kids were little, they didn’t have homework that early. More like about the 4th grade. When they started giving it out so early, I was totally against it. I’ve changed that thinking as time has gone by. These little kids ae so much smarter with each generation. They handle it well. And as you say, it starts a good practice in doing it.

      September 14th, 2009 at 7:48 am

    17. Sarah at themommylogues says:

      I honestly remember thinking it went Sean’s way too. It made so much sense to me, when I wasn’t trying to add the groups together.

      I’m really pleased with my first grader’s homework too. Very short, but good to get in a routine. And they are things we do together, like naming words that start with certain letters. That was actually kind of a fun dinner-time game for us one evening. We’re given a week’s worth of activities each week, but only need to do it 3 days a week. So if we have a busier night planned we can do it a different night.

      September 14th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    18. Jenny 867-5309 says:

      Ouch! Maybe you guys should do a road trip up here to check out the Ingalls place. Not sure if that would help or hinder! 😉

      September 14th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    19. Diana C says:

      LOL -hysterical! Just wait until he’s a teenager – the THINK UP things like that to say!

      September 14th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    20. Christine says:

      That is just so precious! We started kindergarten last week and she just enjoys it so much! She’s so eager every morning when it’s time to head out the door! She didn’t have homework the first day and was so disappointed…in chapel that morning the pastor asked who was ready for homework that night and she raised her hand. She was ready to make homework for herself that night b/c she said she’d wanted some earlier in the morning!

      Lvoed the Little House books as a kid. And while recently potty training her sister, I was asked where did we go potty when I was growing up. Apparently not only are computer and cell phones things I didn’t have growin gup, but toilets too! I quickly changed their minds on that!

      September 14th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    21. jean says:

      ha. just wait. they don’t use typewriters, they have gone directly to computers. they don’t roll in the tv they use the computer, a vcr? what is that? and just wait till he starts with math. they’ve messed with that too. somethings never change, recess and lunch are the best parts of the school day.

      September 14th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    22. Elizabeth says:

      We love listening to the Little House books in the car and it makes me marvel at all those women accomplished during the day while worrying about wildfires, diptheria and the like. And I struggle to put dry cereal on the table and get four children dressed:)

      * * *
      Oh I know! We just finished up “The Long Winter” and the never-ending string of freezing cold weather and scarcity of food the Ingalls faced made an impact on all three of of us. Having read it, it was much easier to be grateful for something as simple as going to the pantry and finding a box of cereal (and a plentitude of other edibles) waiting for me.

      September 14th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    23. edj says:

      The explanation will do no good. They are convinced that we grew up in pioneer times. At least not midieval! 🙂

      September 14th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    24. Elicia says:

      laughing out loud.

      September 14th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    25. Jenny-Jenny says:

      I just died the first time one of my kids asked me what it was like to live in the “olden days”.

      September 15th, 2009 at 12:06 am

    26. Brigitte says:

      At least I can “impress” mine with stories of my visits to my grandmother’s house, where the rooms had just curtains instead of doors (even the toilet), and the only running water was a cold tap in the kitchen.
      A bath was in a steel tub on the kitchen floor, with water heated on the oil stove.
      So primitive! 😉

      September 15th, 2009 at 8:01 am

    27. Stephanie says:

      You may be an Antique Mommy, but you’re not THAT antique! (It had to be said.)

      Count me with those who hate primary-grade homework, though. Kindergarten homework was OK, but now the homework (“just half an hour’s worth,” says the teacher) includes (among other things) 2 pages of drill-and-kill math and workbooks that ask kids to write three-sentence essays in spaces that will only fit three sentences if your idea of a sentence is, “The dog ran.” The “half-hour” takes nearly two because my kids are bored out of their skulls and will do anything but. I’m getting to the point of denying them library privileges until they do their homework faster. So we won’t be reading “Little House on the Prairie” any time soon.

      September 15th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    28. Rebecca in Colorado says:

      “We get it from a bottle!” Your boy skipped right past the whole era of running water from a tap, for which I am eternally grateful.

      According to my children, I grew up in the Dark Ages due to the fact that we could not record TV programs and watch them later.

      On the other hand, they were just in awe of me because I was dancing (and singing along!) to Van Halen.

      Please do a follow up and let us know how many tally marks Sean now thinks he is supposed to make before making the slanted mark.

      September 15th, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    29. DaniGirl says:

      So the new new math is six strokes to a tally group? Dang these kids and their newfangled technology!

      September 15th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    30. tom says:

      Thanks for inducing a coughing spasm here! “We don’t draw water up from a well.” Sheesh! Does he think you still beat clothes with a rock down at the stream? He is hilarious!

      I do hope to hear how his base-six counting scheme works out for him.

      September 16th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    31. Janette says:

      This cracks me up. It reminds me of a time not so long ago when I was talking to the kids about something that people did “back in the old days”. My oldest daughter, who was probably eight at the time piped up and said, “Oh, you mean like back in the eighties?”.
      HAHAHA

      September 16th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

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