Saturday, January 19, 2008

Homework for Parents

When Adam first started Preschool when he was three, he came home with an "assignment" to create a house with pictures of his family with his own picture on top. Obviously at age 3, this is not something that a preschooler can do, but rather a parent assignment. Oh great, I thought, now it begins, homework for parents starting at age 3! At this point, I was rather uncrafty (hadn't even learned to knit yet) and definitely not a scrapbooker. This sheet of paper was huge and even if I printed out fairly large pictures, I would have to decorate the rest somehow. And of course I waited until the very last day to complete it. Here was his very first house:
Adam's house 2003

The next year, when the "assignment" came up again, I was prepared for it and actually let him help me with the stickers. Plus now he had a baby sister in the pictures.
Adam's house 2004

At the end of the year, he brought his houses home and always took them out to look at. I began to soften my stance on this parent homework as it was obviously very special to him. I was actually disappointed when they didn't continue the tradition for his private kindergarten class in the same school. By the time Dova started school as a toddler, I was an old pro at it. Here are her last three years of houses on a smaller footprint:
Dova's house 2005
Dova's family house
Dova house composite

Her first two houses came back all mangled and faded and I actually reprinted the pictures, recreated the montages and laminated them. I've gone from dreading the assignment to doing it twice! The kids in preschool room really enjoy looking at each other's houses. Here is a shot of the wall at school:
Row of family houses

Now, even though I became a proponent of this particular school assignment, I do not believe in doing real homework for the kids. I believe in checking homework and being available if they need help. But doing homework for them will only jeopardize their education and development. Critical thinking and problem solving can only be learned by doing it. Hopefully the good habits we are trying to instill now will carry through their life. And maybe they won't be slackers like their mom wink.

1 comment :

Bigqueue said...

First of all, I don't think you are a slacker in the least.....but I'm not sure what you mean by dong a kids homework.

I never did the homework for my girls, but I would often look over their shoulders as they did and watch....and when I'd see them solving a problem in a way I had never seem, I would ask them to tell me about their approach and then I'd probably show them how I would have solved it. (usually coming up with the same answer... :-)

My thought was that they might see that there are often times several ways to solve a problem, and that even I might not have thought of the particular approach they had been taught.

At times it probably confused them and they just went back to what they were taught, and at times it gave them a better appreciation for what they were actually doing / solving. (sort of giving them a 3d perspective if you will.....if that makes sense)

Anyways.....just my $0.02 and worth every penny I charged for it. :-)