6yo DD silliness and tantrums over school work

(21 Posts)
vladthedisorganised Thu 05-May-16 14:00:10

DD appears to be doing OK at school but homework is becoming a real problem. She's never been overly keen on it anyway.

However, I'm at my wits end with getting her to do the homework in the first place. I've tried using timers which worked for a bit and then didn't; I've tried moving the reading part to the beginning of the day which, again, worked for a bit and then didn't; same story with reward charts. In return, I've had delaying tactics, tears, screaming meltdown tantrums (when the 'no screens until homework is finished' rule is enforced), threats to rip up the homework, and our 'five minutes of reading' turning into pretending to be a cat and refusing to read or speak in anything but miaows until we had to leave the house (therefore no reading).

Once she actually does the reading or the homework, she does pretty well, but the combination of screaming tantrums and out and out silliness is driving me mad. DH thinks we shouldn't be turning homework into a traumatic thing and feels we should just leave it if it's upsetting her; I don't want her to get the message that acting up gets her whatever she wants.

Is this normal for 6? and if so, how long do I have to put up with the screaming tantrums?

Grizzer Thu 05-May-16 20:03:51

I have a 6 year old dd & am also a teacher. If dd fusses about homework I just tell her she can choose not to do it but she has to explain to her teacher that she hasn't done it & why. She usually gets on with it then.
At work, I tell parents it's not their battle & if it is difficult to get a child to do homework then don't. Again, let them come in & tell me they haven't done it & let me deal with it.
To be honest, I think homework for 6 year olds is awful. I work full time & the last thing I want to be doing is spending the precious weekends arguing about homework.

Ferguson Thu 05-May-16 20:06:20

I am inclined to agree with DH. 'Reading' or any other school work should NOT become a battleground. That doesn't do anyone any good; if she wants to do the work, let her, but don't 'fight' over it.

If teacher is not happy with her, DD will soon find out at school, which may be more effective than you nagging her.

She is only six, and probably has another 18 or 20 years of education to go, so just try and be patient.

Ninjagogo Thu 05-May-16 20:09:25

What Grizzer said! My 6 year old DD has just come through this stage, she now does some homework. I find giving her snack, and keeping her uniform on until it's done helps. I never had homework until secondary school and am astonished that my babies have homework tbh. And SAT's, but that's a whole other thread.....grin

Balletgirlmum Thu 05-May-16 20:13:33

I agree with your dh.

I would limit the amount of screen time but don't link it with homework.

Encourage her to

Balletgirlmum Thu 05-May-16 20:14:01

Encourage her to read with you each night but 6 year olds shouldn't be doing homework.

vladthedisorganised Mon 09-May-16 11:22:24

Thanks for all the responses. I agree that 6 year olds shouldn't have homework to do - however, I'm torn between disagreeing with it on principle and wanting to support her teachers. I have a feeling we get more homework because they're trying to keep the 'fun' stuff into the school day - it's a hard balance.

I'm trying to 'gently encourage' reading rather than forcing it ('I'd really love it if you read to me - it doesn't have to be a school book') but she's adamant that she hates reading and won't unless I insist, which seems counter-productive all round.

I might try writing more honestly in her reading record - "I asked MiniVlad to read with me tonight, we had a lot of tears and she refused" so they're at least aware of how much of a battle it is. And in the meantime, I'm trying to avoid the subject with other parents whose 6yos apparently sit down like angels every Saturday morning off their own bat so they can get their homework out of the way before the weekend starts in earnest. Sigh...

RiverTam Mon 09-May-16 11:28:34

I would just communicate any issues to her teacher in her homework/reading journal and leave it at that.

DD's school have introduced 'dip and do' homework whereby a half-term's homework is set at the beginning of each half term, 8 tasks in all, 3 have to be done (reading/writing/numeracy), the rest do or don't do, and you have 6 weeks to do it in. I think if you're going to set homework (which I don't agree with) this is a sensible way to do it.

riceuten Mon 09-May-16 11:44:02

Encourage her to read with you each night but 6 year olds shouldn't be doing homework.

Amen, although unfortunately, that's what "good" schools will be telling your child to do.

Grizzer Mon 09-May-16 15:11:47

I hope you don't mind me saying but I would advise not writing anything too critical (ie tears & tantrums) in dd's reading record where it is there for the rest of the year for her to see. On the days when she does read to you she will still have a negative comment to see every time she opens her reading record.
Are you able to email or pop in & see the teacher instead?
Have you tried reading a page each of her reading book so she feels less pressure to read for you? how often are you trying to get her to read? If I'm honest, my dd reads her book on a Thursday night, just before having to take it back on a Friday. I read to her every night which I think is much better for them at this age.
Ignore those other parents - they are lying grin.

Believeitornot Mon 09-May-16 18:11:08

Your dh is right. Don't make an issue of it. Explain to your dd that she can hand it in undone.

My ds is 6 and doesn't like homework. I have more success by giving him warning well in advance we are doing it. We also do it in chunks, not in one go. I also let him negotiate when we do it (well only a little bit!)

Believeitornot Mon 09-May-16 18:13:30

Also DS was a reluctant reader until we a) changed schools and b) he ended up with an encouraging teacher who actually stretched ds a little and told us how well he was doing. This made a huge difference. Obviously quite a dramatic thing to do!

What is the teacher like? Ds's precious teacher had labelled him as difficult in the early days - but after some discussions it transpires that the teacher, in her own words, was not experienced with year 1s in a mainstream school hmm

Believeitornot Mon 09-May-16 18:14:23

(we didn't move schools because of homework issues it was because we moved house!)

SaintEyning Mon 09-May-16 18:25:59

DS is in Y1 and has had reading homework every day since November of Reception, plus now we have spellings every night (since November of this year). I work FT and we live 30 mins from school. He has several options: do his reading in the car on the way from/to school and do his spellings when we get in or as I am making breakfast. Alternatively he can read when we get in or at bedtime but he must then do spellings at breakfast. Generally he opts for the latter. He knows I will follow through with consequences for not keeping his side of the bargain (no tv in the morning when I am getting ready / no playtime when we get in etc) so unless he is mega tired (in which case I just do spellings in the morning and stick a post it to explain in the reading record), both get done.

I'm absolutely dreading more homework next year but I guess he will be able to stay up later as he gets older so there won't be the same rush when we get in at 6.

SaintEyning Mon 09-May-16 18:28:01

(Half term and holiday homework gets done on the Sunday before we go back to school, I really object to holiday homework!)

RiverTam Mon 09-May-16 18:34:14

I think I would refuse that amount of homework, Saint, that's a ludicrous amount for a 6yo!

Believeitornot Mon 09-May-16 20:30:35

Is this a private school Saint 😱

Ds is in year 1 and gets phonics homework once a week and reading three times a week. That's it!

dodobookends Mon 09-May-16 20:50:41

It's such a shame when the decide they don't like reading isn't it?

We went through similar, and for several weeks at bedtime I sat down on the floor, surrounded myself with dd's cuddly toys and read the story to them (in a silly voice). It worked, and dd suddenly decided that she would read the story to her toys every night instead.

It brought back the fun, and dd stopped thinking about reading as a homework chore, and started enjoying stories again.

LifeIsChaos Mon 09-May-16 20:54:55

This is why I love my ds school, if they read twice a week they get a sticker, if they read three times they get to choose a prize out of the teachers treasure chest. The child who reads the most gets an extra star for good work and therefore moves up to earn an award.

They get a homework sheet every half term to do over that half term and handed in last day.

vladthedisorganised Wed 11-May-16 10:02:42

Back to the drawing board: DD flew through her Maths homework without an issue, then took one look at her comprehension homework and had another screaming meltdown. She managed to read the first sentence without any problems, and point-blank refused to read any more, just screamed and sobbed. When I encourage her to try some more, she won't. She can - and did - read all the questions in her Maths homework by herself, so I don't think it's a processing issue.

I do take the point about the reading record - hadn't thought about it as I'm so used to her refusing to look at the written word!

I can't take much more of this. If she really couldn't read I'd understand her frustration a bit more, but since she can read other things it doesn't seem to be something she can't do. It does seem crazily melodramatic for a straightforward 'don't want to' though. I think I might see the teacher in the hope we can come up with some joint strategies - 'no screens' isn't working on its own, 'fun games' to do with reading are refused (with more screaming), books and comics get a 'you read it to me' and flat-out refusal if I suggest paired reading, and phonics-related computer games get a 'I won't do it, it's boring'. sad

Mishaps Wed 11-May-16 10:12:46

Write to the teacher and say that you do no not plan for your DD to do homework, on the principle that this is family time. Say that you will read to her (so she learns that reading is fun) and take every opportunity for "household maths" - e.g. measuring ingredients for a cake, counting the number of pans in your cupboards etc. Many of us have done just this and the school have just had to take it on the chin - they cannot force the issue. When and if your DD says that the others have homework and she wants to do it too, then that is fine. Children are only children for a short time and it is a precious time - they have a natural curiosity and a desire to learn, and this can be killed by battles over homework.

If she is able to read anyway, then leave her to read what she likes - what is the point of this battle if she can read anyway? - it's nuts! She finds the school reading boring so it has no purpose and is a negative influence. Good family time is far far more important. Just say NO to homework. I promise you it will not be to her detriment - I speak from personal experience.

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