How to get my 1st grader to do her homework

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by allhaileris, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    I see all these battles you all have with your older kids. We're having the same battle with my 6 year old. Right now the only way I can get her to do any work is to sit right next to her and prompt her for each question, and then maybe, like 20% of the time she'll do some work. She is not a hyperactive kid, but when it's homework time she can not sit still. I'm usually not super bothered by it as long as she's doing something. When she's fidgeting around and not doing anything at all, then I get upset and don't want to help her at all. I do try to change the subject and move onto another paper but she stays unfocused.

    I want husband to get her to do it before I come home from work, but that *never* happens. I can usually only allot about 30 to her homework time each night, after dinner. Her teacher says the kids shouldn't do more than about 15 min max per night, but I can't even get her to spend a few minutes in a row really doing anything. She spends extra time with one of her aides on homework between husband dropping me off for work and when her school starts.

    Do I "detach" (as I've seen so often here) from helping her and let her fail? Do I make her sit there for 30 min each night and let her work on it on her own? Or have husband make her do this when she comes home from school? Or do I keep doing what I'm doing, sit with her each night, prompt her for each question until she gets something done?

    I know there is something that I'm not doing but should (or adversely shouldn't be doing). I can not get her to do her homework and I'm tired of pushing her so hard when she just fights back. And of course this is after I've worked all day myself. husband hates to help her for the same reasons I'm complaining, but as he's given up, I can't. It's beyond frustrating to have to bug him to help her (which is it's own other issue).

    So, how do you get a kid like ours to do homework in their early school years?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    1st grade??I think that means sitting down and working thru it with them- even making a game out of an assignment or the concept to be learned. No detachment at 1st grade hw, in my humble opinion.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't detach at that age either. She is so little. My opinion is that if she is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), she probably has a lot of trouble working independently. My son needed somebody beside him and in his IEP he had an aid. She helped him tremendously early on. In middle school she was there for moral support. THese kids have very high anxiety and my son would freak if he didn't understand something and then he couldn't focus or do his work at all. She would help ground him so he could finish. She told me later on that he really didn't need her anymore. She had done a good job of teaching him to take notes and take tests and when to ask for help, but in his younger years he needed to learn how to be independent. He was different from other kids and couldn't have learned in the same way. If it helps, he is 15 now without an aide and mainstreamed, but he got a lot of early help in school. I am sure that's why he is doing so well now. I don't remember if you live in the US or not. If you do, I strongly recommend an IEP. Although you may think your child is just being lazy or annoying there is a chance that she just can't do the homework. Another issue is that my son would get overstimulated at school and need "down" time at home so we opted for "no homework" in his IEP. He had a few study halls and did the work the other kids did at home in his study halls with his aides. That helped home battles and gave him time to wind down as he couldn't do that as well as "typical" kids. With him it was not defiance (although at first we thought it was). It was his need to cool down after school which for him was a very long and stressful day. Hope this helps a little ;)
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi Sandy--

    I agree that 1st grade is too young to just let her fail--a six-year-old that is not able to control themselves enough to do a worksheet is a different issue than an older child lying about getting assignments in the first place.

    Many times, though, the homework battle just isn't worth it since homework assignments are not usually used to calculate a grade-point average at the first grade level but are most often practice for concepts taught in class that day.

    If you are unable to work through or make a game out of this review--I would just jot a note to the teacher on anything that did not get done that evening. Then, the teacher can see that you are an involved parent that is trying to do the reivew with the child--but for some reason it is not working.

    Is your child doing well in class? Is her figdety behavior disrupting her ability to learn? Does she have (or need) some kind of assistance to do the in-class work?
  5. jal

    jal Member

    I can only tell you what is working for us. I laid down this rule when difficult child started coming home with homework from his new school. Come home, have a snack and homework is done immediately. No tv, no video games and no horsing around until it's done. It has worked like a charm for him because when he gets home he wants that tv or video game. He has always been a tough nut to crack, but not allowing him something until it's done has been a motivator.

    Same in the am, we were having trouble with him getting ready for school on his own. We laid down the rule that breakfast first, get dressed, teeth brushed and then he could watch a program before it was time to go. This has been very positive and has helped him to focus a lot more on what he needs to do before get can do what he wants to do.
  6. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    No don't detach. That's reserved for the more serious issues. You might want to investigate to see if there is something keeping her from succeeding at the homework. You could request that the school perform testing to insure that there is not a learning disability. You could have her eyes checked, and her attention evaluated. Talk with her teacher. Is she successfully doing the work at school? If so it could be she is tired or restless. Maybe a nap or an exercise period might help.

    Sometimes trying a different environment helps. Instead of the table in the kitchen try the coffee table in the living room in front of the TV. (No really some kids need background noise) If it works keep it, if not back to what worked best. You could try a reward system. Get enough homework points and we go to the movies. Sometimes kids like to use homework time to extract attention from their parents. (Which is not really a bad thing) My son just needs me there. When his attention strays off, all I do is quietly tap his book with the eraser of a pencil. Yes it does require my time which is frustrating, but I believe it is time well spent. Maybe husband can help with the meal and housework if he can't help with the homework. Your attention could be the reward. (Get your homework done and you can help me make dinner!, (only works with the very young))

    My youngest had a deal of troubles with motivation. It kept going down hill. But, over the Christmas holiday his teacher assigned an incredibly demanding poetry project. He had to write over 36 different poems in 12 different formats! He had to find or draw illustrations, include a table of contents and get people to evaluate it! husband worked a little with him each day, but he did the work himself. When he handed in the project it was clear that he had done a very good job. He was very proud of himself. The success of this one project helped him develop excitement and confidence. So for this month he has done much better. Thus if you can point out success, it helps build confidence.

    Good Luck!
  7. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    Okay, I know I wouldn't "detach", but I'm frustrated and tired of trying to help and getting nothing back.

    During her IEP last month they qualified her with a non-specific auditory learning disability. She went in for an evaluation a couple weeks ago and we're waiting for the results. Most of the homework she brings home is math, and I'm pretty sure most of it is unfinished school work, not real homework.

    Marf suggested the coffee table. You know, I AM one of those people who work better with a distraction. I work better at my job when I can put on music. I often had the TV on during homework time. It helped my subcouncious from thinking of other things and helped me concentrate. E is NOT like that (I think). Last night I left the TV on with a Pretenders concert. I could tell it was more of a distraction and husband turned it off.

    I do like the homework points idea. I've been working through what would work for a sticker chart for her and adding homework is a good one. And a reward of TV time after homework probably will work as well. I'll have to work through that with husband because he'll need to get her to do it before I come home for that to work (it would be great if TV time were right when I got home so I could get my little rest between work and dinner and then spend "quality" time after dinner).

    Her teacher knows homework is an issue and is allowing it to be brought home on the weekend for me to help her with then (when I have more time to devote to her, not that homework is assigned on the weekend). And her aides help her with some of it. She just does not want to do it.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I used the quality time as a reward because I never had much time in the evenings, being a single working Mom. So, while I cooked dinner, difficult child was to tak a shot at getting all his hw done. I checked it after dinner. If it was done, then we had until 7:00 (or whatever) to have quality time. If not, then I went through hw with him. I never made that punishment, unless he just had not made any effert at all, because I didn't want him to feel bad if he just didn't get it. I figured the punishment was us not getting to relax and do something enjoyable together. And whatever he did and got right- I bragged and bragged about how smart he was. That went a long way. Then, the smarter he felt, the more he wanted to prove he was smart by getting so much done quickly. It worked until 4th or 5th grade. LOL!
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Our kids use up a lot of energy through out the day being "on," -- trying to control their behavior, participate, learn, work. By the time they get home, they are mentally exhausted.

    I had this same problem with-my son -- still do but to a lesser extent.

    The constant homework battle is not a good thing for the home environment.

    I finally asked his teacher, "How long should the homework take to complete?" In first and 2nd gradew I believe it was 5 or 10 minutes. Ok -- we spent 5 or 10 minutes trying to get it done. If it didn't get done, it had to be done at school.
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    If this "homework" is actually classwork, I suggest getting it written into her IEP that undone classwork needs to stay at school and get done. It is a school problem, not a home problem, and should stay at school.
  11. Do what you can/afford (e.g., tutors); but don't let it impact the home environment. We forced difficult child for many years - end result was many tears and too many heart aches. It wasn't worth it. difficult child is a different story now; he's in a Special Education private school - no homework. But for easy child, we are in public schools; but we cut at the first sign of real tears until he is ready to do more. Even if it means almost no homework that week. They finally got the hint a few weeks ago that we don't do homework on weekends.

    easy child has learning disabilities; but school district won't pay for it. Rather than forcing easy child through extensive tutoring to pass the standardized testing next month; we'll focus on regular homework (which he does just fine for the most part). Teacher was told last week that they were expecting things easy child can't do. If he can't do what he needs; this will help provide him with the necessary resources. Our school district is unlikely to hold him back unless he fails elsewhere too. The focus here is on test scores.

    Document anything you have from docs as well as the child's response in an objective way to present to the school district. This will help them to make appropriate assessments; and put you in a more objective spot when you meet with them. It was 5th grade before we could get an IEP for difficult child; but we were fighting for it beginning in K; and they should be paying for private school.

    If the school listens to some degree; but are bogged down in other stuff while you work on an IEP or other; talk with the adminstrators and explain your daughter and how she learns. It's not always the local school's fault; they have to work within the system; especially for younger kids from what we saw. This worked for K and 1st grade for difficult child to a large degree because difficult child was placed in classes that had teachers with Special Education training. Unfortunately, we then moved out of state beginning in 2nd grade and had real issues.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh the homework battles. Does he get hw nightly in first grade? I can totally relate to the hw battles. When my difficult child was that age he used to get violent over hw. We refused to deal with that and had them put in his IEP that hw was not required. It just wasn't worth it.

    He is in 6th grade now and still not doing a lot of hw. They don't seem to give him appropriate work for him, it is way above his head. When he wants to do his hw we still have to sit with him for every minute of it.

    Hugs as I completely understand hw and difficult children (and I'm a teacher who gives hw but if it's a difficult child the expectations change to their capabilities).