Should Kids Have Homework In Early Grades?

At the start of the school year, I saw a lot of talk about whether kids should have homework.  Increasingly, it seems that many educators feel that homework is no longer needed.  Some schools have backed off from assigning homework entirely.  Our two younger kids (2nd grade and kindergarten) are both in the same elementary school, but there is not a set policy.  We currently have one kid that has regular homework and one that does not.  After a few months, I have my opinion on the question of should kids have homework?

The Case For Homework

Many people will argue that homework is a good thing.  There are many different arguments in favor of regular homework, even in early grades.

  • Homework establishes a pattern at a young age.  Patterns are important.
  • Assigning homework keeps kids minds working after school.
  • Working on homework gives parents more opportunities to be involved
  • Homework gives parents more insight as to what their kids are learning.

The Case Against Homework

Many now argue that kids should not receive regular homework.  This seems to be a growing trend using many different thoughts.

  • Younger kids are increasingly busy with activities and don’t have time for homework.
  • Kids minds need a break from learning and more time for fun.
  • Homework could make tired kids even more tired, which then impacts their classroom learning time negatively.

Our Mixed Homework Situation

Our kids school doesn’t have a set policy for homework.  Each teacher is allowed to do what they please.  We actually have a mixed approach this year.  Our son’s 2nd grade teacher does not regularly send homework.  He only has assigned homework to review for upcoming tests.   However, our kindergarten age daughter does have homework.  She receives a packet at the beginning of each month with about 20 worksheets.  Each worksheet takes about 10 minutes to complete.  In order to keep on top of things, we try to have her do one worksheet per month.

The mixed approach has honestly not been easy in our house.  Since our daughter has regular work where our son does not, it creates drama.  When our daughter has homework and our son does not, she doesn’t want to do it. We’ve tried getting some workbooks and worksheets to have him do, but he knows it’s not required by school.  Also, we often don’t know the day to day stuff they’re doing, so we sometimes find stuff that is too easy or too hard.

Image from Morguefile courtesy of arker

I know that many schools have school wide policies, which would probably make things easier for us.  That way it would be both kids either expecting to do homework or not having it on their list of things to do.  This mixed approach is not ideal.

Our Thoughts: Should Kids Have Homework

Having seen both sides of the coin, and at the same time nonetheless, my wife and I agree.  Our thoughts:

  • Homework is a good idea for our kids.
  • A small amount of homework is ideal for younger kids.
  • Homework sent home monthly or weekly is a better approach than having nightly assignments.
  • A school wide (or district wide) policy would be beneficial.

We’ve seen different approaches and we like a little bit of both.  Of course it isn’t up to us, but if it were, we would have our kids do assigned homework.

Readers, what do you think about homework?  Do your kids get homework assigned regularly?  Should kids should get assigned homework at a young age to prepare for what comes later?  Please let me know your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

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11 thoughts on “Should Kids Have Homework In Early Grades?

  1. Fascinating! I can totally see the challenges of having one kid with little to no homework and another with regular assignments. I agree with you that there are benefits to having a school policy. I mean I’m sure the teachers love to have full freedom on giving out homework or not, but that’s too tough on parents if there are extremes from one teacher to the next. Especially within the same grade level – if I had a child with teacher A who gave tons of homework and my child’s friend had teacher B who gave zero homework I’d be so irritated.

    • It definitely provides some challenges. But I think all of the teachers that teach a particular grade work off the same lesson planning and I’m pretty sure that goes down to the homework that’s assigned as well. What’s a gray area for us is that our son is in 2nd grade but he’s in a split 2nd/3rd grade classroom, so the ‘no homework’ thing could actually be a 3rd grade thing now that I think about it. I’ll have to check on that!

  2. This is a big one that I really don’t care one way or the other.

    But when we were in an upper middle class blue state last year they solved this problem of being unable to make everyone happy by making homework assignments optional if the parent signed the top.

  3. Ours is too young to have homework yet but I think a little bit when they’re around kindergarten to 3rd grade is a good thing, and consistency within school districts is even more important. Recalling that age, I loved homework when I was young – I was really into learning and doing worksheets. As I got older, I hated doing projects that cost money, though, because I either felt like I couldn’t do a good job or we’d spend too much money (we did).
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  4. Maybe a cool social studies project about today’s kid friendly current events would excite your son. That way he could learn something cool about the world around him that he enjoys while your daughter does homework. It can sort of be like an at home extra credit type project. It doesn’t have to be elaborate…maybe cut and paste some magazine pictures and write one or two sentences about what he learns from each study.
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    • Cool idea. He actually found a math workbook from school where they didn’t have to complete every single page (it was a lot of repetitive stuff I guess) and he’s going to work on that from time to time.

  5. I have mixed thoughts on homework, though overall I think a little bit every week is a good thing, especially for kids that need that extra review. I work with students that have learning disabilities, and as long as the parents assist with the homework, I feel it is a good review for the students. As for busy schedules, I get that these days kids are overbooked with activities. However, is that really the best thing for them? Kids need some downtime to just play and be kids. This is what is missing from a child’s life these days.

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