Friday, December 17, 2010

To Do or Not To Do Kindergarten Work

Here's my question.  When is it appropriate to do your child's homework?

My son is in kindergarten and I make him do all his own stuff.  Then I volunteer at the school and I see the other kids' projects and over half of them are clearly not done by the child.  And the mothers openly admit that they did the whole thing.  One mother said something like "he did help me a little with it."

To me that seems nuts but maybe it's OK or even better to help them along.  I just don't know.

Part of me is just lazy but the bigger part doesn't want to do the special projects for my 5 year old because I think it's seriously ridiculous.  My mother didn't help me with anything.  I'm not kidding.  I can't remember her helping with any school project.  She admits it today.  She barely even went to the school.  We went to school and came home and the only things she looked at were our report cards.  She did tell me that with my youngest brother she got more involved because he needed more help but with me there was nothing really to do.  I did it all myself.

I was standing in the classroom today looking at these projects that were clearly done by an adult and I wondered how these moms could think that is a good thing to do.  How are they helping their children get ahead in kindergarten by making the best "stuffed bear?"

It's not a big deal now but what am I going to do when they're graded on their projects?  Am I going to settle for my son getting a C or B on a project that he did totally himself when his peers are getting an A on something that was a parent-child collaboration (probably more parent than child)?

I'm not sure if I can stand aside and not help in that situation.


  1. Oh just wait. It gets worse (and more obvious) as they get older.

    I am not a fan of helping. The most I've done is stand over him and crack the whip (so to speak). And I haven't had to do that in a few years now (he's in 8th grade).

    I think let them figure it out on their own; once you start it will be hard hard hard to stop.

  2. I think you're doing everything right.

    I actually do have to help Oliver with his homework and sometimes even do things for him - but not to help him get better grades (not that he is graded on anything yet). The goal is for him to be involved with his home projects and learning from them, so my assistance is fine for now. Of course, this has all been discussed with his teacher, and as a special needs kid, he needs some supports that others don't.

    But getting back to the point I wanted to make, I think you are right about the parents doing their children a disservice by providing so much assistance that their work looks like it was done by a grownup. And I would suspect that the teachers can see this from a mile away. I can't imagine that they would give your son lower grades for obviously doing his own work at an appropiate age level.

    This was a good reminder to me that as Oliver progesses, I need to to step back and encourage him to do his own work.