25 answers

Homework Struggle

I have just recently started doing after school care for two siblings (4yr & 7yr). The 7yr old is in the second grade and I am having a hell of a time to get her to do her homework. I am getting paid to help her with her homework but she refuses to cooperate. I've tried everything but she is really smart and very manipulative and is used to getting her way. I know it's a power thing but how do I win her at her game. I've spoken to her parents and this seems to be a power struggle for them as well. I need the money but I am starting to make myself sick before I have to pick her up from school. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Okay so I've decided to incorporate a lot of the responses I got back. I've decided to give it a try with a little of everything. I think these kids deserve a chance and maybe with a little love, respect and logic it might work. :-) I truly feel in my heart that these kids are not getting their needs met and are holding it over their parents. Both parents love and care for their children but they, like so many others have gotten trapped with wanting to give them everything and both parents working to do it. I truly believe that less is more. When I grew up we didn't have much and I appreciate and value what my husband does financially for our family. It doesn't mean I go out and spend all his money it just means I take care of it better. I will try my best to help my family financially if I can, but not at their expense. If it gets to that point I can only wish these kids the best. :-)

Featured Answers

One trick that may help is to have HER teach YOU! This will give her a sense of control and also gauge how much she is comprehending. You can start off by saying "It's been a while since I was in school; and I don't quite understand what the teacher wants.....Can you help me?" One of the biggest pitfalls is that a child will sit there and say they don't get it, and then you show them, again and again, and before you know it, you have done their homework for them. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

Y.,
I know that homework time is really a sore subject with most. I believe you should try to come up with some kind of rewards chart, where she earns something after completing something. First make it small goals with weekly goals. The .99 Store and Dollar Tree have great little reward items. Find her "sweet spot" and see if you can manipulate some work out of her.
Hope that works. The only other suggestion is to talk with the parents about her not finishing homework and having a talk with her teacher to have disciplinary action at school. My daughter in 2nd grade had to go to a 5th grade room to complete unfinished homework, that only happened one time. That is another solution.
~~D.

More Answers

One trick that may help is to have HER teach YOU! This will give her a sense of control and also gauge how much she is comprehending. You can start off by saying "It's been a while since I was in school; and I don't quite understand what the teacher wants.....Can you help me?" One of the biggest pitfalls is that a child will sit there and say they don't get it, and then you show them, again and again, and before you know it, you have done their homework for them. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

Hi,
I had a slightly similar situation - here it is. My husband and I had custody of his very young son whose mother had run off. She floated in and out of the picture, but even in her absence it was very hard to exert my own authority with my 'son.' He had a mom, and I wasn't her. He had paternal grandparents who thought they were his parents and muddled the lines of authority, as well. In some ways I was the nanny in terms of how my authority worked. I think the tactics I used with success might work for you, as well.

Tag team the child. This does not imply aggression. It means identify your team and get them working on the same play. Your team consists of:

1) The child (who is benching herself, count her out for the moment).
2) The parents
3) The teacher
4) Yourself

You need all of these players to work in unison using the same game strategy to effect the same goal: Getting this child to work to potential.

Talk to the parents and get them to set up a meeting with the teacher. That's their job, not yours. Together, the four of you need to brainstorm a few strategies - to be tried one at a time. All of you need to be comfortable with the strategies agreed upon; all of you need to commit to unwavering CONSISTENCY and team support. You need to agree upon weekly or daily emails to each other, monitoring progress. Seriously, keep each other abreast of progress or the child will rediscover her leverage by playing one against another.

I guarantee that the little girl will quickly grasp the fact that she can no longer play the parts against the whole. She will come to understand through your loving but firm team actions that the jig is up. Time to get cracking. Play time, darling child, is for after the work is finished.

I found that if I steered clear of threatening tones or language, my son understood that 'all us grown ups' acting in concert for his betterment was a true expression of love. I made sure I mentioned it point-blank every now and then, too. "We do this because we love you."

I'd also suggest that you make it clear to the parents that making a team effort like this is the ONLY option. It is not possible (been there done that) for you to do this without their full, coordinated cooperation.

Look, this child has three environments in which she lives: school, your house, and her own home. All three environments need to be delivering the same message in the same language with consistency. Accomplish that, and you've got it - and the homework -nailed.

Best of luck. :-)

3 moms found this helpful

I kind of think it's rediculous for you to spend all your time and energy trying to get someone else's child to do her homework. I know you get paid to watch her, but come on. You are having to do all the dirty work! I think she needs to do her homework when she gets home with her parents so they can see how bad it is. You are going to get an ulcer over this, and it's not worth it.

2 moms found this helpful

You said she is smart-is the homework too easy?

I have been battling my son for 4 years with homework because it is too easy and extremely boring for him to do work similar to that he has already done at school and knew it before they did it there.
Talk to the teacher but don't be surprised if this doesn't work. His teachers have been no help and have told me-tough he has to do it anyway.
Taking away play time hasn't worked-he will sit there whining or crying for hours and still not get it done.

The things that have worked
1. Make it a challenge again-let her write it backwards, upside down, in colors, etc.
I even taught him the words in Spanish and let him write those. It worked for a while.

2. Have her stand up. Children who fidget while they work do better. Or do a page, run around the block...

3. Have a friend come over and do their HW together. If her friend is working she will too.

4. Have her sit with her HW and snack together. One bite, one question, etc.

Biggest help-keep your cool-I know it's hard.
Good Luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Y., I highly recommend H.E.L.P. (The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project) located here in Hollywood. It is a free program and they will truly show this 7 year old how to study successfully and how you as a tutor can help with that. I suggest scheduling a free tour to find out more.

Here's their data:

Hollywood Education Literacy Project International
6336 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood CA 90028
###-###-####
http://www.helplearn.org/index-flash.html

Life is magical when you know how to study!

With love,
L. (MAMA to 16 month old Dylan Orion.......29 September 2007) : )))

2 moms found this helpful

Wow, this is a tough situation. I would say to have confidence in yourself first. You are the adult and you are in charge. I believe in flexibility with children, but sometimes children will test their limits until they know that those limits are indeed clearly defined. Whatever routine you have set up; maybe snack first, then homework, then playtime, etc...stick to it. Write up that schedule - with no exact times on it, just what the activity is that will be done in chronological order; 1) snack 2) homework 3) play outside 4) inside play - video, etc...Explain to her in clear and in no uncertain terms that until the homework is done, there will be no other activities that will take place. Give her a warning 3-5 minutes before transitioning her from whatever activity comes before homework and when that time is up (maybe even set a timer)expect that she will do homework. No matter what she says, you need to keep telling her that "now is homework time and nothing else can be done until the homework is complete." You can acknowledge that she does not like it, she wishes she didn't have any, or whatever her reasons are for not wanting to do it, but keep coming back to "now is homework time..." No if's and's or but's...Once she knows you are serious, she will probably not be as maniuplative...though she will more than likely still try a little bit. Hey, can't blame a girl for trying :) Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I feel like a broken record. CONSEQUENCES CONSEQUENCES CONSEQUENCES!!! Talk to her parents and devise some thing that will UNREWARD her behavior. She is in control and knows it. This is not good for her or anyone else in the area.

1 mom found this helpful

Love and Logic is the key. If you are going to work with kids. Read the book. I just did a 6 week class and my homelife has changed. We are a happy family again. Basically you give her choices like snack first or homework first? Then be excited for her to make the good choices and really sad when she chooses to make bad ones. Until the homework is done all priveldges are frozen and make sure she knows that you WANT her to be able to play and have fun. You are on her side and WANT her to be happy/successful and are willing to help her do it, but rules are rules. DOn;t get angry, argue or engage. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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