How do you set up homework in kindergarten that is appropriate, fun, and meaningful? This seems to be the million dollar question among many kindergarten teachers. It is hard to know what is too much or too little all while making sure it’s engaging and developmentally appropriate! Keep reading for some food for thought as you make the homework decision for your own classroom.
Should There Be Homework In Kindergarten?
When you first started out as a new kindergarten teacher, you likely noticed that there are two camps when it comes to homework in kindergarten: Those who like it and those who don’t! However, some districts require either daily or weekly homework, so you might need to regularly send work home no matter what camp you’re in.
I am a true believer in kids learning through play, and sometimes I think giving them the opportunity to play after school is MUCH more important than sitting down to do homework.
However, if you are required to send something home with your kinders or you DO like the idea of homework in kindergarten, let’s look at the positives!
Benefits Of Homework In Kindergarten
I used to dread assigning homework to young students and struggled with how to make it work. I learned over the years that there are some amazing benefits to having homework in kindergarten.
Grow in Responsibility
Sending work home for your students to work on after school can help teach them responsibility.
Homework isn’t all about academics, it’s also about helping students become responsible, lifelong learners. Teaching your students how to “be in charge” of something and take pride in it is an important life skill. They begin to learn that it feels good to do a good job and get work done on time!
I like to talk with my students about what it means to be responsible when doing homework. It means that you:
- Put your name on your paper first
- Complete all of the work on the page
- Keep the paper looking neat
- Check your work
- Turn it into the appropriate place on time
Practice Problem Solving
Homework allows students to practice being problem-solvers at home as they work independently and blast through challenges.
We all know those students that come running to us at the sight or sound of any problem. As teachers, it is our instinct to help them, but allowing them to be challenged is a GOOD THING! Homework in kindergarten encourages your students to problem solve, whether they are at school or at home.
Since this is a skill your students are still developing, it’s helpful to prepare students for being more independent problem-solvers when they are working on their homework at home. This will help keep your students (and their families!) from becoming frustrated with the homework process. One way to do this is to model different problem-solving strategies during your daily routine. Some ideas are:
- Reading or listening to the directions again
- Looking at similar problems
- Using anchor charts or posters around the room
- Using manipulatives
- Drawing a picture
Homework can provide a foundation for structure and routine as they progress through school.
By starting homework early on in their school years, you are helping to set up your students for success in the future. Having homework in kindergarten allows them to start learning and using those problem-solving strategies right away.
It is important to know your students, their abilities, and their families when assigning homework in kindergarten. You don’t want your students and their families to develop negative feelings toward having a routine of skill practice at home. You can avoid this by sending home developmentally appropriate homework that doesn’t place an undue burden on families.
3 “Musts” for Kindergarten Homework
Now that we know the benefits of homework in kindergarten, I am going to share my three musts for making homework actually WORK in kindergarten.
Homework Must Be Easy to Prep
This first must is all about you, teacher friend! No kindergarten teacher has time to prep, print, laminate, and hole punch homework! Just the thought of it makes me cringe. Keep homework prep simple! My Kindergarten Homework Weekly Bundle is designed to be low-prep and easy to manage. In fact, you can print off an entire week of homework on one page, front and back. Check it out here to get your homework for the entire year covered.
Homework Must Be Engaging
Homework tends to have a bad reputation for being boring and hard. It doesn’t have to be, though! Homework that is fun for your students will engage them in the learning, thus becoming more purposeful for them and you. It will also make it more likely that they will keep up the routine of grabbing their homework from their backpacks when they get home.
You can make homework more engaging for students by using kid-friendly printables with space to color. Students also love being allowed to use different writing tools on homework. (This is helpful for families who might have pens more readily available than pencils.) You can also incorporate a little bit of seasonal fun to your homework by using themed printables.
Homework Must Be Aligned to Standards
If you give your students random homework assignments, it just feels like busywork. Make sure that it is aligned to the standards and skills you are teaching. My weekly homework covers reading and math standards and follows a common sequence for spiral review. It is also editable to meet students’ needs every year. You’ll be able to ensure that you’re sending home developmentally appropriate homework that students can complete mostly independently.
Printable Kindergarten Homework Bundle
You can check out my year-long homework bundle that includes 32 weeks of weekly homework practice. These printables come in two size options, so you can decide how you’d like to assemble the homework. The activities in this bundle could also be repurposed for other parts of your daily routine.
For example, you could bind the printables into a packet that’s perfect to use for morning work, fast finishers, centers, and more! Click below if you’d like to take a closer look at this resource in my shop.
Save These Tips for Kindergarten Homework
Be sure to save these tips and resources for kindergarten homework! Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly find this post when you’re ready to set up a homework routine in your kindergarten classroom.