A.C. asks from Avondale, CO on April 15, 2008
Help with Homework and Getting Work Done in School
I have a first grader who is outgoing, sweet and kind. Our problem is not getting his seat work done in class because he is too busy talking to his friends and them talking to him. When he doesn't get his work done at school he has to bring it home and finish it. This is on top of the nightly homework.
This is what I have tried to get homework done. When he gets home I have let him play first then go sit down and do all his homework. Then we have tried the work for 10 mins. play for 10 mins. This works OK but there are nights I just need to get the homework done because we need to be somewhere. I have done the thing where as soon as he gets home he does homwork, this does NOT work. On a good day his regular homework is done within 45 mins.- math, spelling, and reading with his journal). But on not so good days (like when he has to bring his seat work home)it can take us up to 3 hours to get it done. (Let's just say when it takes this long, non of us have had a positive experience) I am a firm believer in doing what is sent home but am at my limit of it taking the entire eveing to finish it. I don't feel what the teacher is sending home is too much. I feel I'm just lacking in motivating my child to get it done in a timly manner. Any tips on how to make homework more of a positive experience. And how to get him to do his seat work at school
So What Happened?™
Thank you for all your ideas and support. I now realize I'm not the only parent with homework issues.
M.N. answers from Denver on April 16, 2008
My sister has been going through this with her child, and when it comes to not doing homework and seat work she went to the teacher and told her to keep her child from playtimes to get his work done. My niece now does her seat work at school, and her homework done as soon as she can.
L.S. answers from Denver on April 16, 2008
I was having the same issue with my kindergartener too. He was very capable of doing his math work in school, but chose to chat with this friends rather than do his work. It got sent home in addition to his regular dose of math homework with a note from the teacher.
To fix this, I made a chart listing the school dates for the remaining dates of school this year. Every time he finishes his school work in school and completes his homework in a timely manner, he gets a star on his chart. At the end of the school year, assuming he continues to get stars, he gets a reward. He really loves seeing those stars add up.
As far as when to get the homework done, I have nothing. We've always done it immediately after his "after school" snack and he can't leave the kitchen table until it's done.
Good luck A.!
S.W. answers from Denver on April 15, 2008
My oldest daughter had the same issue and it was horrible. I decided to go the Love and Logic way of things. We provide her the time and place to do her homework. It was and continues to be up to her to get it done. If she didn't get it done, she had to face the consequences at school. She learned over time that she didn't like being afraid to go to school due to her homework not being done, so there is little trouble anymore (she is now in 4th grade). We don't have to bribe, beg, yell...none of it. I did let the teacher know my method as to avoid the teacher thinking there was no parental support. The teacher (and her other teachers since) have all agreed and supported this approach.
D.K. answers from Denver on April 16, 2008
I think I have a child that is your son's twin!!!
I just went through this with my first grade daughter. She is smart and can really focus, if she wants to. That said she was coming home with incomplete work at the end of the week. I talked with the school counselor and her teacher and they formed a game plan of smiley face sheet that gets marked off each day for doing all her work, not talking, paying attention and focusing. At the end of the week she has to bring the sheet home to me and then when she turns it back into the counselor she gets a treat (like a sucker, cool marker).
At first I kind of was against it as I didn't think that was fair to all the kids that worked hard for the right reasons. However after talking to the counselor I saw her vision. It was after a week or so my daughter saw how far she had come, what she was able to accomplish and was so proud!!!! There were no more excuses about not finishing her work during class, no more excuses about anything because she found out she could do it.
She and I had a long talk on how hard it is for the teacher to talk and teach if she is talking or bothering other kids during classtime. I told her if she tried to work hard, then I would always be proud of her, it wasn't so much not finishing her work, IT WAS WHY SHE WASN'T FINISHING!! So now we are doing great. No more homework sent home on the weekends due to non completeion, she has really stepped up and feels good about herself. They stopped giving the treats but still give out the smileys so she can see her progress.
You need to talk to the teacher, even the school counselor and nip the behavior issues in class in the bud. I wouldn't focus on the amount of work that has to be done at home, however figure out how to stop him not getting it done in class. If the other kids are capable he needs to be too of find some way to help him. The three of you have his best interest and all bring something different to the table to help him. Email or visit his teacher ASAP.
1 mom found this helpful
A.G. answers from Norfolk on April 15, 2008
I would talk to the teacher to work together on this. I know that teachers are very busy trying to work with all the kids, many of my close friends are teachers, but at the same time when your son is at school it is the teachers responsibility to keep your son on task.
Talk with his teacher about methods that both of you can employ to help your son focus. Maybe you could talk to him about the importance of focusing on his school work during those times at school that they are doing paper work and that he has plenty of time to play and talk with his friends at other times during the day. Emphasizing that if he focuses on his work when it SHOULD be done then he will have more time to play and do fun things at home. You could even have a natural reward system in place, whenever he gets his seat work done at school then he gets to spend that time or at least ten minutes of it doing what he wants, like ten extra minutes on his video game. Letting him play for 10 minutes when he gets home before starting on his homework is also really helpful because everyone, esp. kids, need a little time to wind down after a long day at work, and school is a child's work.
I also have to commend you for working so hard at this, I talked to my friends who teach that age group, I have two for 1st graders, and they both were saying that they wish that more of their parents would be so hands on and diligent. I really hope that this helps you, I may not be there yet but I hear the frustration from my friends on both sides and I know that it isn't easy.
1 mom found this helpful
S.L. answers from Great Falls on April 16, 2008
Please remember that your son is only in first grade!!! As a former teacher, I have to say that 45 minutes of homework for a seven year old is too much. He has spent the day being told to sit and do his work, which can be overwhelming for some kids. My first grader has a very hard time sitting still, and often doesn't get her seat work done. Her teacher has her stay in at recess if she gets too far behind. The teacher also has them make it up at their desks during free time if they need to. Often, first grade is their first all day experience at school, and they can be overwhelmed with all that is expected of them. The first thing I would do is talk to his teacher. If he/she is not helpful, go to the principal---three hours for homework is ridiculous!!! I understand that by three hours you probably mean that he stays at the table for awhile, then goes and plays, comes back to the table to do more, etc. Still, too much time for homework.
If you have a reasonable amount of homework (10-20 minutes), I'd give him a sticker chart and a prize box. This works for us--she gets so many stars, she gets to go to the prize box at the end of the week.
M.B. answers from Grand Junction on April 16, 2008
Homework can be so stressful. I have three children in school and it is a full-time job just making sure the homework gets done. Have you tried rewarding your son for getting his work done at school. You could set up a sticker chart and decide on how many stickers he needs to earn to get a particular prize. Let him help with the decision and have him give you some ideas for prizes that he would like. This may eliminate the day work from school and only leave you with the traditional homework. You may want to talk to him and see if he is having problems at school. Is there a possible learning disability that is keeping him from progressing. It may just be a social issue but have a heart to heart and see if that is the only problem. Then work as a team to solve it. Earning the prize may turn it into a game that he might like. Good luck!
D.P. answers from Pueblo on April 16, 2008
It sounds like you are in a frustrating situation but that you are trying your hardest. Keep it up!!! As a teacher there were many times when kids had the same issue but parents were not as supportive as you which made it impossible. I also had very supportive parents who made huge progress with their kids. Some of their ideas included a rewards system. For example, every day he/she came home with no seatwork they got a sticker. If by Friday they had 4 stickers they could choose where the family had dinner. . . or go out for ice cream with one parents and no siblings. . . or have a friend over. Anyways, whatever motivates your child. For a week with zero stickers there was a priviledge that the child lost. I am a firm believer in positive motivation. Just keep up the pursuit of what's right for your child. It sounds like you are actively pursuing what works and that is the best way! Good luck
J.N. answers from Salt Lake City on April 16, 2008
It is sounding like your son has difficulty staying focused on his homework at home, as well as at school. Are there other distractions at home? (You mention talking to friends at school as a distraction). If so, make a place for him to do his homework where there aren't any -- away from t.v. and siblings playing. And when he is doing the work, does he seem to 'get it' or could difficulty with the concept be whats slowing him down?
If he seems to be distracted anyway, you may want to look into that issue more. It may be that he talks to friends at school because he has a hard time staying focused, rather than the other way around. You may want to talk to his teacher and doctor to find strateies he can use to stay focued. If you figure this out, homework and seatwork at school should both go a lot faster and easier for both of you!
K.H. answers from Salt Lake City on April 16, 2008
In class, is your son helping others with their work? When I go to pick my daughter up from school, I have recently noticed that her work is not done either. One day, I "snuck" in and observed what she was doing. I found that she is spending time helping other kids get their work done that she doesn't get her own done. This results in having to bring her work home as well. She gets upset when she has extra work to do and I let her know that I was there and saw what was going on. I told her that if she got all of her school work done, she wouldn't have to do it at home.
She gets her homework packet on Monday and its due Thursday so there isn't much hurry to get it done and back the next day, however, I tell her that the sooner she gets it done, the more time she has for other things. Since her homework is usually 4 or 5 pages, I have her do 2 on Monday, 2 on Tuesday and then the last page on Wed. If your sons homework is along the same lines, depending on what your schedule is like, perhaps splitting it up might help.
N.W. answers from Salt Lake City on April 16, 2008
my second grader gets distracted easily. She has a desk in her room to do her homework on. I let her eat a snack and play after school. At exactly 5pm it's homework time. I never vary on the time. I try to give her a 15-30 minute warning so she knows homework time is coming soon.
She takes her homework up to her room and works on it until it's done. I also make sure she knows it's her job to make sure I sign off on her math and spelling. She has to bring me the pages and a pencil and show me exactly where to sign.
"I want all your homework done before Daddy gets home".
It takes even longer when I have to sit there and help her....and she this way she is taking responsibility for her own work. I tell her it's not my job to make sure she gets her homework done. If she makes it my job, she does a job for me - washing the table (which she hates) or putting away landry (which she also hates).
Also, she doesn't like being told she's wrong. So if she gets something wrong, I just circle the number that is wrong and give it back to her. "I circled the ones that need to be fixed." If she doesn't know how to do it, she asks for help. Usually she knows how to fix it already and we avoid a conflict by doing it this way.