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Homework is a constant fight.

(107 Posts)
DooinMeCleanin Sun 11-Sep-11 22:09:17

Is this usual?

It takes over an hour to get dd1 to practise her spellings and times tables each night. She must be constantly supervised or she won't do it. She spends twice as much energy crying, howling and arguing as she does doing her actual work.

This week she has been making a fact sheet on Meerkats all week. It has taken her a full week, to draw one picture and write approximately 6/7 lines.

She was happy to sit and watch Meerkat Manor for hours on end, but we had to fight her to get her on the computer to research properly. We had to fight her to get her to write proper notes. She happily drew the picture in the end, but had to keep being reminded she was doing homework as she kept getting distracted by everything.

She is 8. Surely she should not be breaking down into hysterics when she is asked to copy down a spelling she has gotten wrong?

sleepwouldbenice Sun 11-Sep-11 22:32:19

On the distraction.....

My daughter (also 8) is like this, constantly distracted by everything and nothing, although apparently she is getting a bit better in class..... I watched her do nothing for 20 mins this summer whilst "writing a postcard" but when I sat beside her it then took about 3 minutes!

I use a mix of threats and bribes to keep her moving when she is actually doing something, has some impact but not a complete turnaround on her behaviour. eg when you are finished we can do X but you wont get long at it if you've spent ages doing homework etc

On the howling etc....

We also have the arguing, howling and tears if she thinks she cant do something (she usually can) or gets something wrong. I guess its better to have that attitude than not caring but still.

I used to get annoyed about this but have found that the best approach is (a) to sit there in complete silence with no reaction until she calms down then calmly say you can do it and guide her if necessary or break it down a little etc (b) also give her the option to not do it and we can tell the teacher that you could not do it if you want. I think her reaction is due to genuinely getting upset that she feels she cant do something and confidence, and she does want to please so (b) usually prompts her to try again. It used to happen every night with reading in year 1...... after the first few sentences everything was fine

If she genuinely could not do then of course we would leave it and let the teacher know but I have learnt to tell when this is the case and the mix of the above usually defuses the hysterics alot quicker (although does not prevent it happening)

Euphemia Sun 11-Sep-11 22:41:13

We used to go through this with DD at that age; she's now 9 and much better.

No TV was allowed until homework was done. No treats of any kind.

We'd try to get a chunk done before dinner, and a chunk after. Reading was, and still is, the trickiest part so we did it in small doses, or did paired reading.

Homework is so time-consuming, I do wonder what its value is. And I say that as a mother and a teacher! grin

cat64 Sun 11-Sep-11 23:54:21

Message withdrawn

firstgreatholswiththree Mon 12-Sep-11 00:47:45

Feeling better knowing we aren't alone. Just discussed this with hubby tonight. First attempt at holiday homework was a joke. My DH asked me why it always had to end in tears??? He decided he'd try and had the same outcome grin if not worse. He did really well to hold boundary and I now feel supported . It was basically = well we're not doing anything else until it gets done. 2nd attempt we had same amount of writing in half the time and 3rd attempt we had twice the amount of writing in the same time. Tonight I even found DD "editing" some of her own homework alone and then she was helping her brother off her own back. I nearly fainted I kid you not!

For us it is about boundaries especially around stuff she just doesn't like (especially writing) doing or lacks confidence. Not easy when you've got 2 other little ones but the longer it takes the less time she has doing things she wants to be doing. I don't think she thought we'd both stand our ground instead of letting her create a fuss and then us accept some poopy effort.

MeMySonAndI Mon 12-Sep-11 01:02:18

MAke a game out of it, that helps. And do the homework before she is too tired (and grumpy) for DS that is half an hour after arriving from school, before school and in the case of reading... in bed.

Having a routine is the best way to avoid confrontation. With DS, having different times for the homework in the week led to lots of protests, since we do it at the same time every day things just flow.

Mashabell Mon 12-Sep-11 10:33:36

I have great doubts about the value of homework for primary children, other than reading practice.

Perhaps u could try explaining how learning spellings makes writing easier, because it stops u having to stop and think about how to spell words?

Perhaps u could also explain that she makes spelling mistakes not because she is stupid but because many spellings are illogical and simply have to be memorised (dutiful - beautiful; much - touch; stung -^tongue^). Writing them out a few times makes it easier to imprint them in our brains.

Re tables, u could remind her that they can be worked out each time, with beads or tooth picks. Learning the tables saves time and makes doing maths easier and much faster.

Could u also try reasoning with her, that if she gets on and does the HW quickly and gets it out of the way, u won't have to be nagging her and she will have more time for things she likes doing?

juuule Mon 12-Sep-11 10:36:51

I would give it half an hour. If it wasn't done by then and it looked as though things weren't going to improve, I would leave it.

I'm not a great fan of homework at primary and don't think it helps children to learn to enjoy learning if it's a fight all the time.

DooinMeCleanin Mon 12-Sep-11 10:42:29

Oh she doesn't need to learn to spell because she will never have to spell again once she leaves school hmm.

She is going to phone Social Services or Childline or possibly both about how cruel I am grin

I make her do it straight from school and she is not allowed to play out until it's done. I don't pay attention to the crying and holwing other than to explain, calmly, that the less time she spends wailing and flinging the quicker she will be done.

I have tried explaning that writing things down i.e. the spellings, helps them stick in her memory, but apparently I am wrong. You only need to read your spellings to learn them and you only need to read them once hmm

Last year she rarely brought home any homework. This years teacher makes sure she has it in her bag before she leaves the class. I'm hoping she will get used to having to do it soon.

I will try explaining that she is not stupid (which she is not, she is far too smart for her own good most of the time) and that spelling can be hard for everyone sometimes. The thing is she likes doing well at school and winning awards, she just wants to do well without having to put the hard work in.

snazaroo Mon 12-Sep-11 10:47:38

We do:
homework to be started as soon as you get in (with a drink and biscuit provided grin)
no telly until homework done
an hour MAX for homework and if not done by then a note to the teacher that it was too long/difficult/she worked for a hour

It is amazing how the words 'don't worry, I'll just put a note for Mrs X that you couldn't manage it' seem to galvanise the most reluctant children...

mummytime Mon 12-Sep-11 10:57:34

Why is she making such a fuss? Does she have a problems at school? Is she tired? Does she have any time to relax? What would she be doing if not homework? Does she need to eat?
I would limit screen time, but also talk to her about when is the best time to do homework, would mornings be better?

ragged Mon 12-Sep-11 11:01:50

Oh heavens, I am going to joint the club of homework enforcers & am not looking forward to it; DS lacks confidence at certain things and actually refused to do the schoolwork last week (for 4 hours), so I know he must do more at home to become confident and stay confident and not be a total pain during school hours.

But I am not looking forward to it! sad Have taken a hands-off approach to homework for years.

exoticfruits Mon 12-Sep-11 11:11:44

I wouldn't get drawn in. I just used to say 'OK-but you explain to Mrs x why it isn't done'. They then used to do it and you don't get the endless pointless arguments.

DooinMeCleanin Mon 12-Sep-11 11:14:48

I have no idea why she makes such a fuss. She is given a snack to eat while she does her work - usually a sandwich and a drink, so she is not hungry. We do it straight after school so it's not late on a night, she shouldn't be tired.

It would be impossible to do it on a morning. Mornings are too hetic, with getting everyone (children and pets) ready, fed, watered and toiletted on time.

She has time to relax and play after homework, but not much time before it's dinner time, this is only because she makes such a fuss what should take 15 minutes takes an hour and 15 minutes.

Once it is done she is really pleased with herself. She came out of school buzzing about having gotten all spellings right and getting her name put in the speller of the week prize jar, on Friday. She was also so keen to show she was working on her Meerkat work (even though she fought me every step of the way on it), she actually handed in her rough notes to be marked.

exoticfruits Mon 12-Sep-11 11:36:57

Mine made a fuss because they were boys who didn't like writing. They knew they were going to do it but if they were unhappy about it they were going to make sure that I was too! They were quite capable therefore I opted out-they were not the type of DCs who wanted to be in trouble at school.

snazaroo Mon 12-Sep-11 11:37:47

agree strongly with exoticfruits

exoticfruits Mon 12-Sep-11 11:42:21

It helps if you know the teacher won't let them get away with it.
I never had to go beyond 'you tell Mrs x why it isn't done' but my next step would have been 'do you really want to do it at playtime when the rest have gone out to play?'

exoticfruits Mon 12-Sep-11 11:43:41

Really it is your DCs problem-it isn't yours- so don't make it your problem-that is what your DC is trying to do-offload it!

DooinMeCleanin Mon 12-Sep-11 11:48:42

I might make an appointment to have a word with her teacher about it and see if he will back us up by telling her she will have to do it at playtimes if she can't do it at home.

She is a sneaky little mite, we had no idea she was getting homework last year, she left it all at school. We only found out when we went to parent's evening and they mentioned that she rarely handed it in on time unless it was something she was really interested in.

This teacher seems quite savvy to her ways and ensures he watches her put it in bag before she leaves the class. He also gave me a note in her homework book (she never gave me a homework book last year, she hid it at school) telling me that she would be given spellings and times tables to practise every Monday and a small assignment to be completed and handed in by the following Monday.

mercibucket Mon 12-Sep-11 11:50:43

Exoticfruit is right! Her homework her problem. You can always practise spellings on school run or in car but try taking a step back and see what happens

mercibucket Mon 12-Sep-11 11:50:43

Exoticfruit is right! Her homework her problem. You can always practise spellings on school run or in car but try taking a step back and see what happens

Mashabell Mon 12-Sep-11 11:55:44

What about letting her chill out for a bit when she first comes home and asking her to do the homework later? - I always did that with my two.

Or even not mentioning homework at all for a few days and see how she reacts?

Mashabell Mon 12-Sep-11 11:57:03

PS Children can be very tired when they first come home.

exoticfruits Mon 12-Sep-11 11:59:42

The chances of mine doing it when they first got home was nil!

DeepLeafEverything Mon 12-Sep-11 12:00:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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