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jca's avatar

Why do young children get homework projects when for such young children, the projects are actually the responsibility of the parents?

Asked by jca (28104 points ) September 24th, 2012

For very young school children, say ages kindergarten and first grade, when the teacher gives a homework project, the project is pretty much the responsibility of the parent. It is the parent that will remember to do the project, and it is the parent that will do at least 90% of it. So do teachers realize that (I am guessing they would)? If so, why do they give homework projects to very young children?

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11 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know if this is why, but it will get the parents into the habit of working with their children. The more closely parents work with children on schoolwork, the more success the kids will have academically. So it works. Just not sure if they think of that when they assign the homework.

ETpro's avatar

I’m sure @wundayatta is correct. It gets parents involved in their young child’s education and provides the parents to assist in the teaching process. It also begins to show the child how later to take over homework assignments on their own.

JLeslie's avatar

Because someone decided parents should be very involved with their children’s school work and that getting in the habit of homework at a young age is important for the future. I think it is ridiculous to make a k-2 grader do homework every night. Parents don’t need that headache in my opinion. Children who have parents who are ESL or iliterate are at a horrible disadvantage.

There are several studies that show homework at very young ages demonstrates no correlation to success in high school or the workplace.

Some teachers have told me the parents demand the work, because the parents believe it is important.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie Are there any studies that show how education can be improved, or are they all directed on showing how it can’t be improved?

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro i was just watching Chelsea Clinton talk about Charter schools in one of the New England states that has had great success with raising the reading levels of elementary age students. They basically let the kids choose what they want to read. Anything from comic books to chapter books. The teacher reads with each child one on one at least once a week. It made me think of my dad who finally taught himself to read in 3rd grade reading comic books, he hated school when he was little. Makes sense since he couldn’t read. I hated reading an assigned book I had no interest in and having to write a report. To this day I dislike reading books.

One of the goals with charter schools was to be able to test different methods and then share with other schools what has worked. Hell, we can argue that just with schools in general across the US, since they are basically run on the local level. The sharing of best practices has not been great, but it is getting better.

Here is a link about homework if you are interested. It mentions briefly what I said about homework for young children not really having any significant impact. If you google something like does homework help you’ll get some more opinions and studies.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t think a child’s teacher has any right to dictate how a parent must spend his or her evening after a full enough workday and the fulfillment of normal family responsibilities.

zenvelo's avatar

I remember working with my ex on my son’s “Saturn” project in third grade. Instructions were at an 8th grade level, way beyond my son’s ability. He was frustrated, his mom was screaming, and I was learning more crap about Saturn than I would ever use again.

The teacher tried to tell us that it gave the kids a sense of real accomplishment. I disagreed, saying it didn’t because they did not do most of the work.

My kids were much more proud of stuff they did in class, even if they received a lot of help from teacher’s aides.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba Well said.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The point is that you spend time with your children on these projects even if you mostly make them yourself.

Jeruba's avatar

I felt that they took away from the time I spent with my children in ways that were enjoyable and meaningful to both of us. We read stories, we baked, we made things, we colored and painted, we did experiments, we built with blocks, we looked things up whenever questions arose…things that were much more fun and worthwhile than what came home in assignments. I really resented having my time appropriated in that way.

The teacher was welcome to assign things to her students, but I was not her student, and it was none of her business to assign things to me—or to get in the middle of my relationship with my child.

Once I told my son’s first-grade teacher that I couldn’t see any point in assigning homework to kids before third grade and maybe not even before sixth. She said she completely agreed with me but she was required to do it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If the parent turns it into a learning session for their kid…directing and suggesting, then that’s quality time. It’s also teaching the kids your values of what constitutes a “good job.” If the parent totally takes it over while the kid goes out to play, that’s a parenting fail.

When my daughter was in 4th grade I helped her with a finger print exhibit she was presenting at a school fair. They had awards for different categories. We both worked our butts off, but she did the majority of the work….all the printing and explanation, etc. We were very proud of ourselves.

However, she didn’t place in the finger print exhibit. The ones that did were obviously done almost solely by the parents. THAT pissed me off.

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