Danielle, "Redwood's" response is right on target. Hopefully, you've been able to work through your concerns with your child's teacher. In addition, set aside a few minutes each evening to read to your child. It will broaden his interest in learning and help to build a trusting relationship with yourself.
I'm not sure what's "normal" but I have heard a rule of thumb that 10 minutes per night per grade is a good guideline (so 10 minutes per night in K, 20 in first grade, 30 in second grade, etc).
I think in Kindergarten, the goal should be just to help your child understand that learning happens at home too (instead of just thinking learning lives in a box called "school"). It's also great to start to develop good homework habits and routines while the homework is still "fun stuff" instead of trying to get your kid excited about homework when it's harder work as grades advance.
I think if you or your child is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of homework, it's important to talk to the teacher about it. He or she may be willing to work out a customized plan or alternate homework assignments for your child.
Not sure about what you mean in terms of quite a bit of homework but my twins that are in K have about 30 minutes of homework a night. In fact one has a gazillion sight words, not even 6 months into the year has to memorize 0-31 and has about 15 books to read every night on top of a weekly homework packet.
Our school sends home 12 pages of homework per week for Kindergarten. The principal believes in only having purposeful homework, but the amount is ridiculous. 10 to 15 minutes should be max for a kindergartener, but we struggle with the writing and abstract thinking. The "Reading Log" which you would think would mean time spent reading to and having your kindergarten read to you, involves dictating your child's answer to
"What does the book make you think of and why? (Personal connection) Example: It makes me think about how I should always do my best and to never give up because the little girl in the book never gave up."
Seriously!?!? Not age appropriate at all. Especially when the books sent home are "Farm Animals" with 10 pages of "The horse is brown. The fields are green." Questions like, what was your favorite part, who was the main character, what happened to them, etc. are much more appropriate for the developmental level of 5-6 yr old but don't necessarily apply to the basic books they are learning to read independently.
Okay rant over. I started timing how long it takes us to complete each page of homework. It was taking 3.5-5 hours per week to finish the packets. It was so frustrating and even our teacher agreed that it was too much homework, but that's what is given to all 5 kindergarten classes so it couldn't be changed this year. I'm talking with the principal, but for the sanity of my family and trying to make homework a positive and not frustrating experience, I set a timer and stop at 30 min. Occasionally we'll do 45 min, but only if he's interested. Unfortunately, it means doing homework on weekends and losing out on real world educational opportunities.
The arms race in homework and teaching to the test is getting totally out of control. I'm not sure what will stop the escalation, but it's crazy what kids are being taught (and expected to learn) years before when we were taught them.
My child is in the 5th grade. At her school during the three months leading up to state testing she is required to attend school from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. She usually gets home around 6 p.m. and the homework that is assigned is long and can take until midnight to complete. I truly believe that the testing a lot of school districts are engaging in is ridiculous. She has also been told that she will be attending tutorials on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and she also gets homework every weekend and homework packages on the holidays.
As I sit here typing this, she has 10 pages of math, one page of science and a chapter of social studies. For the social studies she has to read it, answer questions, draw pictures and write a summary. When I've asked my daughter if her teacher has checked her homework, she has said the teacher doesn't check homework. Why assign it, if it's not going to be checked? How long will it be before generations of our children burn out before they reach high school?
It would be difficult enough if I were just a parent with nothing else to do, but I work part time and go to school full time. My husband works full time and will be starting school part time very soon. It's time for teachers to stop teaching to the tests and just teach. If the curriculum is proper then there would be no need for excessive homework and hours that rival an adult's work hours. I believe in less homework and more time to enjoy childhood. They'll be adults soon enough.
I have taught for years and was known for not giving homework. My process was to give homework on items that required repetition. Specific formulas might need three-five problems for practice. Our class rule was "if you do the work in class, I won't assign homework." If not it has to be ready by Friday of each week.
I personally think it is ridiculous to receive homework in Kindergarten. If they are doing enough in school which in 6 hours every single day, why should they be reading, writing and calculating at home too? I rather my son takes dance classes or learn musical instruments or take cooking class etc. I am beyond frustrated about how much homework we have to do every single day including weekends. What are they doing in school? Isn't 6 hours enough to learn ABC's and adding/subtracting? If they were teaching properly in school, I seriously don't think homework should be necessary especially in Kindergarten... We can't keep up with reading 10 books a day, doing math book, doing reading comprehension every single day! I had a parent/teacher meeting today at school and received a report card... for my 5 year old boy... lol I was educated in Poland and Japan, and their education level is sky high compared to US. I didn't even go to kindergarten half a year, I speak 3 languages, read and write Japanese, Polish and English. I NEVER had homework until I was in 3rd or 4th grade and went to one of the top universities in Japan... It's not about how early you start, it really is about the quality and age appropriateness. If the teachers are doing their job well in school, I should not have to teach my son from scratch... I look at my son's grades and think that is the class teacher's grades. Sorry, rant over.