Q: My 5-year-old daughter has a lot of homework in kindergarten — as much as two hours occasionally. The work is on stuff that I am still trying to teach her how to do, so she isn't frustrated with learning. We have noticed a decline in her work attitude when it comes to school during the past couple months. I truly believe it is because the children are forced to do and learn so much that the pressure gets to them when they don't understand it the first time. How can I improve her attitude toward learning?
— Attitude Problem
A: No wonder your daughter is not enthused about doing her schoolwork. Two hours is way too much time to devote to schoolwork. You simply can't spend this much time in one session trying to get your child to do or understand her homework. At the kindergarten level, 15 minutes is the appropriate amount of time for homework, if any is assigned.
You have waited a long time to deal with this situation. Set up a meeting with your daughter's teacher right away so that you can find out how you and the teacher can help your child master the kindergarten work. Be sure to discuss your daughter's skill level with the teacher. The child may simply not be ready to handle the work that she is being asked to do. This could be a result of the trend of pushing first-grade content into kindergarten.
In the meantime, put some joy back into learning for your child. When doing work with her, focus on areas where she will have some success to rebuild her confidence in her ability to learn. And try to use games, songs and computer activities much of the time when working with her. Because her kindergarten sounds very academic, you may need to spend time reviewing the work she has done this year during the summer to prepare her for next year.
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