Homework in kindergarten! As strongly as I feel that we are already overworking our kindergarteners, I have parents asking me every year for what they can do at home. For a few years, I tried just telling parents that they shouldn’t worry about homework this year – the amount their kids would receive in older grades would be enough for a lifetime! But inevitably parents would beg for homework, and I would put together makeshift math packets or sight word worksheets. This was time consuming and inconsistent, since I didn’t have a time to put together a new packet every week, and the stress it caused for me was not worth the gains the kids made (or more likely didn’t make).
But this year I finally found a solution that works – the Homework Checklist! I learned about the Homework Checklist from the phenomenal book Cultivating Joy and Wonder. The teacher-authors of this book use the checklist to disguise playing outside as “homework,” an idea that was right up my alley. Here’s how it works:
- Every Friday I send home the checklist. I ask that families choose five items to complete with their child, and bring it back by the following Friday.
- The first four items on the list are always the same. In my opinion, these are the five most important things that developing kindergarteners should be doing on a weekly (if not daily) basis:
- Read a book to yourself.
- Read a book with someone.
- Exercise or play outside for 30 minutes.
- Help someone in your family cook a meal.
- The rest of the items on the list change each week according to what we have been studying. I use this for all kinds of ideas, including but not limited to:
- doing a shape hunt around the house during our shape unit
- writing “how to” books with a family member during our How To Writer’s Workshop unit
- assigning a sight word scavenger hunt in magazines at home
- walking around the yard looking for signs of spring
- practicing counting to 100 independently
I am so excited to have found a way to incorporate homework that is kid-friendly and developmentally appropriate. I make sure to let parents know that they are not required to do any of the items, and can in fact add their own ideas. I like to think that this encourages families to spend time working on fun and engaging tasks together with their kindergarten child, rather than just helping them complete worksheets in the traditional homework format.
If you’d like a copy of the checklist, I just posted an editable version on my Teachers Pay Teachers store! You can also click on the image above. I hope