I am sure you will have many concerned teachers and parents writing about “Playtime Is Over” [Current Events, May/June]. They will probably state, “It wasn’t like this in my day.” As a 22-year-old teacher-in-training, I can confidently state that it wasn’t like that in my day, either.
Children at the kindergarten level are being transitioned into the permanent school system. An introduction with copious amounts of homework can affect a child for life, making his or her attitude toward school negative, equating it with a chore. Even noted homework supporter and author Harris Cooper said that “the reviews [of homework research] often directly contradict each other.” There is not enough evidence linking homework to increased academic achievement.
The fact that regular homework is becoming a requirement around the country for5- and 6-year-olds is something that cannot be overlooked. It becomes a crisis situation after considering that parents have scarcer amounts of time with their children due to more single-parent households and more working parents. According to Public Agenda, almost50 percent of parents have serious arguments with their kids about homework. Should the drama start in kindergarten?
If literacy is the primary issue, then reading with parents is a good start, and it has been proved so by multiple studies and common sense. Coupled with decreased assignments, providing an incentive-based program, with students reading with their parents on weekends, is a sure-fire way to have students develop without the unnecessary pressure being placed on them now. Otherwise, by the time those students get to my classroom, their minds may be as closed as the last book they were forced to read.
A version of this article appeared in the October 02, 2004 edition of Teacher as Work-at-Home Kids