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Arghhhh!!! Homework! Arghhh!!!!!

(39 Posts)
dabdab Tue 26-Mar-13 22:24:44

How do you inspire/help/guide/force a child to overcome a procrastination habit? Just had my 12 yr old Dc begin homework that was due tomorrow at 7:40 'It will just take 20 minutes'. Finished at 9:40. She was brain dead and tired out and has done shoddy work, I am very cross!
If you have a child that struggles with this, how do you deal with it?

yotty Mon 01-Apr-13 12:09:46

I feel for you, this is really hard to manage. My DS, only year 4 can be exactly like your DD. I thought having a break first was good idea initially, especially after coming home at 5pm. But I found winding him back up again really hard work particularly if the TV gets switched on. So now we do homework straight away. He even has a drink/snack whilst he is doing the homework, just walks through the door and sits at kitchen table whilst I prepare supper. The first week was a nightmare but it is a breeze now.
My friend has teenagers, they all still do homework at the kitchen table and only have a computer in the room adjacent to the kitchen, so the kids know mum is close by and use the computer appropriately.
Another friend helped organise her DS at the beginning of the term. Generally, if the homework was set to be given in in say a week, generally this happened every week, so a pattern evolved. So she sat down with her DS and worked out a homework timetable for the whole week. She even accommodated for after school activities by suggesting he only do one subject on the day of his activities but 3 on the days he didn't.
Personally, I think they need a set time frame for getting the work done, so they dont procrastinate. Tell her she is doing homework from say 5-6pm then it's relaxing time. At 6pm put the books away and write in her planner that she failed to finish the work in the required time due to her procrastinating. She will then have to deal with the consequences if the work is not finished.

tiredaftertwo Mon 01-Apr-13 17:50:46

You are very welcome dabdab smile

I echo yotty - there will be rows and then it will be much easier. And you can plan family life because you know when hw is (i agree abt the 5-6 slot as well, assuming that gives her a bit of a gap between getting in and starting but not so much she has unwound by then)

Personally, I would not start from the assumption that you do hw the night before it is due - depending how the school sets it that could mean 6 in a night and gives no time if she has forgotten something or the printer runs out of ink or something. Could you ask the school what the hw timetable is, and for any useful info (sorry, schools seem to vary so much it is hard to be specific). Or as suggested work one out with her.

I think I would then try saying - as yotty suggested - you do an hour (or whatever will keep her on top), no screen till it is done. And make very clear tat hiding hw will be met with very severe sanctions, and also that you have/could be in touch with school. And I completely agree about doing it at the kitchen table till she is older - that will help with the computer thing. Does a lot of the hw have to be done on the computer or is it what she prefers? My dc have found they are often quicker not using the computer.

Her independence will stand her in good stead, this is just a little tweak so she can be really independent from now on.

dabdab Mon 01-Apr-13 22:30:16

Thanks for the clear suggestions - now have to (ulp!) implement!

ThreeBeeOneGee Tue 02-Apr-13 18:30:40

I try to set up expectations in Y4/Y5 that they'll do the homework the day it's given, unless there's a pressing reason not to (lots of stuff after school that day, for example) in which case they can delay it by a day or two but no more.

I would expect them to settle down and start the homework within less than half an hour of arriving home. Certainly no TV or computer games until it's done.

This sounds really strict but the older two (Y8 and Y6) now just get on with it out of habit, without any prompting from me. Without me mentioning it, DS2 had finished all his holiday homework (about two hours of it) on the afternoon they broke up for the holidays.

It has taken longer for DS1 to develop a similar level of self-motivation towards revision,perhaps because the consequence of neglecting to do it is more long-term. He is starting to self-motivate a bit more now he's in Y8.

ThreeBeeOneGee Tue 02-Apr-13 18:38:36

The thing DS1 struggles with is starting off a big project or essay, the sort of thing where a couple of thousand words is required. He knows how to do the research and I have taught him how to break the task down and plan it, but that first paragraph is always the hardest!

dabdab Tue 02-Apr-13 23:48:18

That is helpful, ThreeBeeOneGee, it gives me hope that doing some 'training' will pay off in time, and that although it won't change DD's nature, it might help her get into a good habit.

MTSgroupie Wed 03-Apr-13 00:43:38

Whenever the subject of home is discussed there is no shortage of people telling me that homework at primary school and for the first few years at secondary school is pointless.

Well, doing regular homework since Year 1 may not have made my DCs any cleverer but it has got them into the study habit.

Speaking generally many parents have a 'children should be children' attitude with regards to studying and homework during the early years but come Year 9 or so expect them to adapt to studying for GCSEs just like that.

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 03-Apr-13 07:58:17

As a general guideline, in primary school I would multiply the year number by five and then expect them to do that number of minutes in total of a combination of homework / times tables / spellings / reading aloud each day. So five minutes a day in Y1 building up to thirty minutes in Y6.

Secondary school is a bit more variable. DS1 seemed to have loads of homework in Y7 and hardly any in Y8.

tiredaftertwo Wed 03-Apr-13 19:23:03

MTS, you are so right. Lots of parents seem to think that, they may be right for all I know, but I cannot see why teachers spend hours setting and marking homework and setting tests and exams for internal consumption (another common feeling seems to be that only public exams matter) in that case.

So much is habit and routine - and starting with good habits early also helps the dc find the way they best like to work and revise - there is fun and satisfaction to be had.

ThreeBeeOneGee Could I borrow your ds2 please, to come and set a good example with holiday hw smile?

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 03-Apr-13 20:45:38

grin He's no paragon, believe me! He has Asperger's and takes instructions very literally, so when I suggested that he do homework the day it's set, he decided to follow that to the letter. I think we might need to work on his flexibility before he starts secondary school in September.

tiredaftertwo Wed 03-Apr-13 23:05:39


Startail Thu 04-Apr-13 18:09:06

I'm not sure how closely attitude to HW and attitude to wanting to do well at school are linked.

I suspect far far more loosely than the home learning policy would like.

If you do well in setting tests, prepare for CAs and do well in exams a huge amount of interminable history projects, writing up science beautifully and completing geog, PHSE or REsheets doesn't matter one jot.

Practicing maths, learning MFL vocab and reading you set books yes, but an awful lot of HW is noise set because parents and HTs think it builds character and a good work ethic.

I'm not convinced, I think valuing education and knowing when effort is required is far more complicated than do pg.4 for Friday.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 04-Apr-13 18:14:47


Very interesting. I wonder if you are right. I succeeded through what i now think was a lot of girl swottedness, perfectionism and general fear of failure. Over- work really.

DS1 has a differrent attitude, and whilst I am trying to pass on some of my wisdom, I do sometimes wonder ifnhis pragmatic approach is actually not that bad. ........

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 04-Apr-13 18:15:56

Also, to add, that where it counts, in terms of a questioning mind, willingness to think, and inquisitiveness, it is all there.

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