"Homework" Type Work (Workbooks, Etc) with 5 Year Old

Updated on March 12, 2013
S.K. asks from Plano, TX
14 answers

Background: My husband grew up in Latvia; we have a big wonderful group of Russian/Eastern European friends. We all have kids now and of course, as they get older, we discuss more and more what they are doing.

Many of our friends send their kids to a local Russian-language daycare/preschool where the emphasis is on "academics" in the traditional sense, so worksheets and homework and not as focused on play and exploration.

My husband and I are having this friendly argument about our older son who is just 5 and will enter Kindergarten in the fall. He is learning phonetic reading, knows capital and lower case letters, is learning to write, etc. He goes to a preschool where I feel there is a healthy balance of "academics" and play, exploration, expression, and emphasis on social skill development.

My husband hears our friends talk about their 3-4 year olds who bring worksheets home and are learning to write 3-digit numbers and he says to me, why doesn't our school do that?? I try to make the argument that its not age appropriate, but at the same time I do see the kids picking up that stuff and its hard not to think, is our son getting enough rigor?

So I figured I'd put this out there - do you do workbooks/worksheets with your child about this age? If so, how does it generally go? Is your child receptive? Which materials do you favor?

Thanks in advance!

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answers from Chicago on

Worksheets are terrible, all the research shows. Kids under 7 or 8 should be playing, and learning through living.

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answers from Los Angeles on

No. Preschoolers do not need to do worksheets or focus so heavily on academics. Your son is right on target for a child who will enter kindergarten in the fall. If he can recognize the letters and know their sounds, he's set. My son is in kindergarten this year and that is a main focus. The math is very basic - no numbers bigger than 10 and certainly not 3 digits.

Let your child enjoy the last few months of preschool and don't stress. He's doing great.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest that your son is ready for Kindergarten. It's possible that kindergarten will be boring for those other kids. No need to educate him beyond the basics. As others have said, he will learn alot from play. Google activities for preschoolers for ideas in structuring his play to focus on specifics such as gravity etc. as listed by Gramma G. if you want to focus more.

If you can get hold of a Montessori or Waldorf school program you'll get some ideas. Their focus in on learning thru play. One of my friends daughter went to a Waldorf school her entire elementary years. She's now studying in Europe, working on getting her M.D. (medical doctor) degree. She's been thru pre-med and some years of medical school already.

For my grandchildren, the school does a lot of worksheets for homework and both kids, now 9 and 12, have been bored with them since first grade. No sense in getting your son exposed to them early. I suggest he may get bored with them quickly, too, if not now but in Kindergarten.

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answers from Atlanta on

I couldn't agree with Dana K any more - it's about play for your son now. There is a lot of research to back this up. Playing, singing songs, reciting verses etc. actually lighten the brain, makes the nuros connect. Early academics actually make people dumbed down to put it bluntly. Do some research.

You may want to check into Waldorf and Montessori educational systems as well as Democratic schools.

Sending the best to you

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Nope - no worksheets at all. DS (now 7) went to a Montessori kindergarten and they did NOT do worksheets. Also no homework. I think you are absolutely correct in your feeling that play is hugely important. Learning needs to be fun. The goal is not to learn 3 digit numbers. The goal is to produce life long learners.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

No, I don't nor do I know anyone who does. Not to say it's wrong, but why not let kids be kids. They will do the same curriculum in kindergarten and by the time they enter 1st grade they will all pretty much be at the same level academically so why push them so early.

Google children learn as they play and show it to hubby. Kids that are playing are learning all sorts of stuff about gravity, density, shapes, textures, cause and effect....play is an important learning time for kids.

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answers from Beaumont on

My kids didn't go to preschool. To make sure they didn't miss out on the "academic" portion we did do a worksheet a day. Got them at Barnes and Noble. They came in a workbook and we just tore out whatever we wanted to do that day. Sometimes it was "science", sometimes writing. Always different. I'm sure you can find what you're looking for there.

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answers from Washington DC on

no 5 year old will wither away from having to do some worksheets from time to time. as long as there's plenty of play in his life, he'll be fine.
but don't compare your kid to his european 5 year old friends. kids who are super-advanced at 5 often burn out by 15.
i prefer the stricter academic schedule that still prevails in europe over the desperately flailing touchy-feely omg now-let's-test-compulsively dance we're doing here. unfortunately there's no easy answer, because no one system works for all children.
it sounds as if your son is doing terrific. i honestly see no benefit to a 3 year old working on 3 digit numbers unless that 3 year old is naturally fascinated with numbers and off and running with it on his own.

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answers from Miami on

What would your husband say if you explained to him that in the longrun, those children aren't any higher level as a group than the kids who don't learn to write 3-digit numbers when they are 3?

I'm sorry, but just because your friends do it doesn't mean monkey see, monkey do. Instead, work with your child on things like building trains, building with legos, putting together puzzles and working on your son's spatial sense. Some children have a "knack" for this and end up being engineers and architects. Some people don't have a knack for it and need to have someone work with them to develop it. You can't do it using worksheet and homework. You need manipulatives. Also, writing numbers doesn't teach you how to THINK about math. Unless your husband wants all of your son's math understanding to just be rote, he needs to learn conceptually. You do that with real life examples and things he can touch and see and GROUP. Grouping 10's is important. He can cook with you and learn how recipes use math, and learn the science of what happens when you cook foods. He can do water play and learn about concepts like gravity, ice, water and steam.

Playing IS learning. What your friend's kids will do is burn out from being expected to sit still at a desk and just memorize. Your husband needs to figure this out. Help him to do that.


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answers from Seattle on

I've always done workbooks and worksheets with my children. I try to make time for workbooks. In spite of my children going to a public school I make sure I supplement their education because it is not the school's job solely to teach them. My daughter is very receptive whereas my son is not however that can be due to their personalities as well as my daughter being 'typical' and my son is autistic.

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answers from Jacksonville on

My kids are beyond that point these days (6th and 9th graders).
But when they were 5, they were very different. My son was not a worksheet kinda kid. I taught him to read and write, before he was 5, and he used it to read books sometimes (but mostly to read signage as we drove down the road, lol) and to write notes to his favorite baby sitter two houses down from us. Which was fine.
My daughter, when she was 5, was doing summer bridge books for fun on her own and was constantly asking me for more to do. She just loved it. She is still like that. And son is still like what he was like, too. A lot of it depends upon their personality. If your child enjoys it, then it can't hurt to do some every now and again. But if he doesn't (or you just don't want to do it) then he isn't falling behind for the lack of doing it. He sounds normal to me and perfectly in line with where he should be.

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answers from Washington DC on

When my dd was in preschool, we did workbooks together in the afternoon (she went to preschool 1/2 day 3 days/week. We would spend hours together doing the work books and went through a bunch of them. She loved the time sitting with me and I loved the time with her. As far as I can tell, it did help. She was an excellent reader in kindergarten. Now she's older (9) and a very good student.



answers from San Francisco on

I've always done workbooks with the kids at age 4 - 5. They really enjoy it. It's not "work" to them yet; it's still fun.

The kids are writing three digit numbers, big deal. So they can write a one and then a five next to it and then a seven next to that. BUT they have NO IDEA what that is, what it means, what it represents. So, they aren't as advanced as your friends would have you think.

If hubby is worried, have him sit down and teach your child how to write numbers. I bet your child will catch on quickly as this is something he/she gets to do with dad. That's the incentive - one-on-one quality time with dad. But tell dad not to expect kiddo to understand that those are numbers and to truly grasp the idea of numbers/math.



answers from Las Vegas on


My son was in preschool until about 4 3/4 yrs, which is when he began Kinder. At that age, he didn't study that many digits , However, that doesn't mean we didn't at home. I have always taken the approach that IF a kid is receptive to learning what some might considered advanced, then why not give it a try. Therefore, I think both you and your husband are correct in this matter.
this goes for other topics such as reading (my reads at a very advanced level) but that is in part because we have always read to him and then given him more and more advanced book. His passion for reading has also made him a very good writer. Now at 11, he is definitely an advanced student.
I would talk to your child's teacher and find out if they can offer assignments that are more challenging.. Also, try and see what you can do at home to help advance your child. I think any help a kid can get on the home front is a good thing... I share in your concerns and know that I too want to make sure my child is getting the best education possible..

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