Homework battles with DS1 (year 2) - help before we kill each other

(30 Posts)
wifenumber4 Mon 13-May-13 22:15:01

Someone please help.

I can't seem to get out of this horribly negative cycle with DS's homework.

He has to do one task a week but it's always a battle. It's not that he can't do it - but he knows that I want him to so digs his heels in. I then get frustrated and rise to it because I KNOW he's just doing it on purpose.

It ends up hanging over us all week. I try to get him to do it during the week but he keeps putting it off (knowing it doesn't have to be handed in until Monday). Then Sunday is ruined trying to persuade him to do it. Some of the tasks are quite involved - making things etc.

It's entirely my attitude that is making it worse but I don't know how to stop it sad. I know it's not a big deal at this age but it drives me insane. All of my other friends have children who are really enthusiastic.

I'm sure at the back of my mind I'm convinced he'll fail his A levels wink

I make sure that DD knows that there is a reward involved (I know, bribery rather than intrinsic rewards blush). That means that she has a choice - homework+reward=one step towards a toy she wants or no homework+no reward. I am not directly involved; she is negotiating with herself ie Do I want to earn the toy more than I want to wind up Mummy?

wifenumber4 Mon 13-May-13 22:42:33

I'm tempted - but I've resisted it so far as I'll be bankrupt!

pinkje Mon 13-May-13 22:44:13

a small packet of sweets might help - see if they can last the length of the task.

wifenumber4 Mon 13-May-13 22:46:32

That's a thought.

What do you think about timing. Set an evening of the week or leave it to the weekend?

There's a part of me that wants to leave it until 6pm on a Sunday and give him 30 mins!

What are the tasks? Is there a way of making them more interesting/tap into his hobbies.

Ie if he's into dinosaurs & needs to do a maths puzzle, make it dino's instead of plain numbers. Have a chat with his form teacher & see what you can come up woth together, it's not worth having a battle & putting him off homework for life!

BackforGood Mon 13-May-13 22:51:45

Just tell him if he doesn't do it, then you will write a note in his book that he refused to. Wanting to wind Mum up is very different from wanting to get told off by his teacher. Don't engage with him, other than to remind him it's there, and that you will help if he needs it.

PeasandCucumbers Mon 13-May-13 22:52:04

What happens if it is not done? Assuming there would be consequences I would offer assistance at a set time for a specific period of time and let them deal with the consequences if they choose not to. The actual details of when etc can be set through a chat so you are not just dictating it. Talk to the teacher about what you are doing and why and try not to stress if homework is not done a couple of times! Your comment about A levels made me smile because that is exactly what I am like but surely at this age learning about consequences, independence and taking responsibilty for our own actions are also important lessons!!!

Dilidali Mon 13-May-13 22:56:40

Can you ask the teacher to keep him in the classroom, doing his homework, at playtime?

I tell you what I do: I give a warning: in 5 min you're doing yoir homework.
Two more mins till you need to start, get your homework at the table and turn the telly off/ put back toys etc.
Sometimes I use a timer: you got 10 mins to write the sentences.
Mine has a visual memory, so rather than firing: how do you spell X? I ask her to use the fridge magnets while I cook. Timetables are a tedious write the 3 timetables 3 times, write the one with 9 9 times etc.
when we got the attitude and we started the screaming I asked her teacher to keep her behind and not let her play. One week later she was begging to do homework as soon as she got in.

Also, the dining room table in the livingroom was a bad idea in our case, she does better at the desk in her room. Hope this helps.

wifenumber4 Mon 13-May-13 22:56:58

There are no consequences from school for not doing it. They are fairly laid back. They get a certificate at the end of term but that's about it. There is no weekly reward.

The only tactic that has worked is to threaten to write a note in explaining exactly why it hasn't been done.

Do they ever suddenly start doing it willingly?

wifenumber4 Mon 13-May-13 23:04:17

All the tasks are quite fun, but he's just bloody obstinate.

He'd do all sorts of things willingly but as soon as it is homework he point blank refuses.

Stopping playtime doesn't work - he just gets even more stubborn. It's like a game of chicken.

steppemum Mon 13-May-13 23:08:46

we have had years of homework battles. This year I decided that I couldn't bear it any longer. Ds's homework is set on fri for mon hand in, which is awful so we have to do it on sat morning (fri night being worse night of the week to try and do homework)

so the new regime is:

homework has to be done on x day at x time.
all you need (sharp pencil, rubber, ruler, coloured pens etc) is in x place.
homework is your job. You go and do it BUT until it is done there is no computer, television, dsi, playdates, trips out etc.

So our homework day is sat morning. They watch tv before breakfast, after breakfast they have to go off and do homework. ds has to do his in his room, dds do theirs at the table, I potter round, out of sight doing something completely different. They are allowed to come and ask for help, if they ask I will sit with them and do it. Once done they show me so I can check.
There is nothing fun until homework has been done. dd1 has ballet, so her's has to be done before ballet. ds has missed out on going to friends, and computer time. Now he chooses to do it early and enjoy his day

It has really taken the nagging off, and seems to be working. Year 2 may be a bit young for this, depends on your ds

tribpot Mon 13-May-13 23:09:01

I only give ds a choice about when he does the homework. He then plays up throughout which is highly annoying but he does at least (generally) get it done. The threat of having to tell his teacher it hasn't been done is much more effective than anything his bloody old parents might have to say about it.

I wouldn't battle it out all week. Just too depressing for you both. Maybe do a chart of the slots available in the week for homework and then mark them off when they're gone?

Dilidali Mon 13-May-13 23:10:38

Hmmm..... Nah, it doesn't work like that. No means no, what I say goes or I'll count to three..

How lucky you are, Dilidali!

mrscog Tue 14-May-13 06:40:27

Sigh - when will schools learn Yr 2 is just too young for homework other than reading and maybe spellings? No advice I'm afraid as I just wouldn't enforce it at this age.

Dilidali Tue 14-May-13 06:54:29

I don't think I am lucky, why do you say that? I was off to a bad start because I let her do whatever, I still believe 4-5 yo is way too early for school, homework and responsabilities, I thought I was being realistic and let her 'get away' with whatever relating to school. I always said 6-7 is the cut off point when 'but my tummy hurts' doesn't do it anymore. So I had to go in all guns blazing, tried to talk to her, involve her in the homework decision making, but it was a bit like talking to the walls, so we informed her that mummy and daddy decided she is to do her homework at x time, at the table etc, laid down the ground rules and that's it, really. I must have blocked the struggle we had to get to that point, all I could see is: that's it, you g lady, you're doing it end of!
The count to three is amazing! I look really scary when I do it, but I am yet to get to three. What's even more amazing is that it works on a child that has the answer to everything, I taught her to defend her point of view so she will give back as good as she gets. Like your son, taking away stuff is useless, also because I almost never do it, don't really believe it it. I don't really want to punish her, I just want her to do her homework. I looked into why is she struggling with 5 min self discipline and worked on that.

exoticfruits Tue 14-May-13 07:09:42

It is certainly getting him a lot of attention and winding mum up!
I just used to say 'OK- don't do it and I'll just write in homework book Josh hasn't done it, he couldn't be bothered'- they then got on and did it BUT you do need to know that the teacher will be strict and he will get into trouble.

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Tue 14-May-13 07:15:15

Same problem here with DS in YR2, loads of homework - takes about an hour and a half. We sit down on a Sunday and do it, with a packet of sweets to have as he reaches different stages. He's too young to go and do it on his own.

If we have a busy weekend, I warn him in advance that we will be doing it across a couple of week day evenings.

Good luck, it is hard, but much easier than a year or so ago.

wifenumber4 Tue 14-May-13 07:41:24

Thank you all. Those are really good suggestions.

The school tries really hard to get the balance right but can't win.

The homework is not compulsory, and they don't enforce it every week, as people have busy periods.

However, it means there are no real consequences for it not being done, making it hard to enforce.

DS has twigged this.

I'm going to set a specific time for him to do it I think, and make it more of a routine. Maybe Saturday morning would be good.

lljkk Tue 14-May-13 07:51:46

I gave up in y1-2. Other than reading practice and mental maths which he loved doing, especially at bedtime.
All of y3 our routine was to allocate as long as it took (up to 2 hours often) on a Saturday morning; we were locked in a room until it was done and DS tantrumed and wailed hysterically for an hour+ before taking 10-20 minutes to whiz thru the lot. He had to do the homework to get screen time (same rule for other DC).
Summer vacation between y3-4 I had him writing almost every day to get screen time (his worst hang up about writing).
He's yr4 now and does HW semi-independently, since October or so.

I wish merely threatening to write a note would work, must be lovely to have children who care about pleasing adults.

lljkk Tue 14-May-13 10:31:46

Come to think of it, DS is only doing half of his homework this term. His class has been set a rivers project; we talked a lot about it but after sitting down for 2 minutes trying to get started, DS blew a gasket & I haven't had any luck getting him to consider it since. It will only get done if I offer big bribes or do it myself, am not willing to do either.

MRSJWRTWR Tue 14-May-13 11:02:08

As well as reading and spellings DS2 has an English and Maths homework to complete each week. This is given out on a Tuesday to be handed back the following Monday. With an after school club and Beavers during the week, we have tended to leave it until the weekend - usually Sunday morning when his older brother (14yrs) has to do his as well.

Sometimes I have used sweets ie. one midget gem per question answered. Last week I wrote the last 4 answers - but he worked them out. We get it done. Now and again I have said fine I will write a note to Mrs X that you didnt want to do it, but I have never had to carry this out. Out of the blue last week he told me that he wants to do one of the homeworks during the week on a no activity day, so that he only has one bit to do at the weekend.

To be honest after all the tantrums and tears we had when DS1 started secondary school and began to have homework every night after having nothing a primary school, I do tend to think it is not a bad routine to get into. Although perhaps 6/7 is a little young.

Periwinkle007 Tue 14-May-13 11:06:35

I am trying to start a bit of a 'you do your homework on a friday evening or saturday morning - you choose which - but until it is done you can't go to the park on sat afternoon' type approach.

she actually likes the homework she gets, she would just prefer to be doing something else and because her sibling doesn't get any yet she feels she is missing something.

everlong Tue 14-May-13 11:14:47

Ds is year2 and has homework every night. In year1 he did fight against it in the beginning but I bought a homework sweet tin.

It worked. Now in year2 he comes in and does it without being asked.

I do think bribery works.

SanityClause Tue 14-May-13 11:16:40

In answer to your question yesterday at 22:56, yes, sometimes they do start to do it willingly.

It used to be a struggle to get DS to do his homework in infants.

Now he's in year 4 at a different school, he has homework everyday, and he just gets on and does it everyday, pretty much as soon as he gets home.

He also gets a homework booklet during the holidays, which works out at maybe two sheets of work everyday (perhaps a maths sheet, and a punctuation sheet, or whatever) and he has usually done whatever he needs to do that day by about 10:00 am (he is an early riser).

They do have a merit/demerit system at the school, though, so maybe that helps.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 14-May-13 11:19:25

I had this...I had a word with her teacher about it and together we came up with a plan. I told DD I would remind her a couple of times in the week but it was her responsibility and if she never had it done by Friday then that was her look out. The teacher then had her do it at playtime.

She completes it immediately now. grin

Bramshott Tue 14-May-13 11:23:22

Saturday morning straight after breakfast is homework time here too (DDs in Y1 & Y5). They sit down and do it, but I don't get involved with how well it's done - that's up to them.

wifenumber4 Tue 14-May-13 14:23:32

Homework sweet tin grin

I might actually try that. I think part of the problem is DS2 is a distraction. He's only 3 so obviously has no homework.

Something that you can ONLY get for homework would be better than taking something away for not doing it.

Maybe DS2 could do a sticker book or something.

lljkk Tue 14-May-13 14:37:42

that's why we had to do Saturday morning, so that DH could mind all other DC while I waited for DS to stop being a twit & just get on with it.

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