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My 3-Year-Old Has Homework, and I'm Totally OK With It

Photograph by Twenty20

I can’t even with homework. Here I am, 31 years old, and I still get hives when I think about homework. I haaaaated it as a kid.

I mean, I’m smart, but I’ve always been one of those poeple who has to study like CRAZY only to get a B or C on a test. It doesn’t come easily, and I have very few positive memories from the academic side of school. I graduated from college and bid adieu to tests, exams and assignments. After marrying a dude who always excelled in school and having his babes, I knew I'd be facing homework again sooner rather than later.

I never expected it to happen at 3 years old, though. How? And why?

We enrolled our daughter in a preschool that, on paper, looked spectacular. She loves her teachers and friends. A few months after she started, she came home with a red folder. A folder for homework.

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I had such an attitude about it, too.

“She’s a kid.”

“What the heck? Homework for what?”

“Nope. We’re not doing it. I don’t want to see it. We’re not doing it.”

How irritating, right? A year ago, this kid could barely put a sentence together and now, in PREschool, they’re recommending she do homework? I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. It’s hard enough getting a kid on a schedule, and now I’ve got to incorporate homework into our nightly routine? I wasn’t ready for this, and I just knew my daughter wouldn’t be ready for it, either.

But I was wrong.

After taking myself out of the equation, I sat down with my daughter one evening, and we peeled open her homework folder. We found a few simple worksheets inside. Here I was thinking my poor child was having to do chemistry and learn Shakespeare quotes. But nope, she was receiving “homework” that she already understood.

Even at 3, she needs to know that life is hard, man.

We sat down and spent a good 10 minutes going through the worksheets, and my girl enjoyed it. I actually had a good time connecting with her and getting an idea of what she was learning in school. She was in good spirits every time we’d sit down. Honestly, if she doesn’t have a problem with it, why should I?

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Sure, she’s my oldest child, so I haven’t gotten into the thick of things regarding homework—real, high-stakes homework—just yet. But what we have now gives us the chance to help our daughter figure out her strengths and weaknesses. When she’s ready to give up, we like to gently nudge her so she'll realize what she CAN do. She’s learning how to write her name, but this absolutely corresponds to real-life stuff. Even at 3, she needs to know that life is hard, man. And it’s not always fun. Completing a challenging worksheet (with Mommy or Daddy nearby so that she knows she’s not alone) gives her the kind of confidence I’m thinking she’ll need as she grows up.

So homework for a 3-year old? So far, I’m OK with it. Parents of older kids, feel free to scare me with what the future holds.

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