1St Grader Struggling with Homework

Updated on May 22, 2009
J.H. asks from Overland Park, KS
15 answers

I have a first grader, soon to be second grader, who HATES to do her homework. Most of the time it is just studying spelling words and usually an extra sheet of math, reading, etc. It has been difficult all year and now I am really worried about next year when the homework amount will increase. Does anyone have any good suggestion to get her enthusiastic about doing it?

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J.R.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi J.,
As a former 2nd grade teacher, I would recommend that you talk to her teacher about this ASAP. First of all, does she have difficulty with the actual assignment? Could it be that it might be too hard (or too easy)? The general rule in education is that homework amount goes in increments of 10 minutes. 10 minutes in 1st, 20 minutes in 2nd, 30 minutes for 3rd..
Maybe there are ways you can make the homework "fun"--make a word search online of the spelling words so that she practices them as she is finding the words, for example..

Set the rules that she cant play, watch tv, do activities
until homework is complete.

Do you have a designated area for homework to be done? Maybe now will be a great time to get her her own desk/work space.

I hope these ideas help!
J.

3 moms found this helpful

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S.L.

answers from Kansas City on

As a home schooling parent and a parent that just went to my 3rd daughters highschool graduation, I can say this has always been hard. I've never found a reliable way to help or make them enthusiastic.

We homeschooled our children until they were around junior high and older. They all started at the same time which is why the different ages. Anyway, they did wonderful at the beginning of each year and by the end of the year it was hard, hard, and impossible!

The # one thing I recommend is not making it more of a battle than it needs to be. They need to learn that there will be consequences at home and at school and the consequences need to be carried out with a minimum of fanfare. I made my kids about 99% responsible for their own work with little prodding from me. If it wasn't done, grades were slipping, then they didn't get to do whatever it was they wanted and whatever was coming up. It could have been small like no friends over that weekend or big like missing a trip to 6 Flags that was planned. My kids never missed anything big. They knew we would follow through so they didn't make us have to.

My 8 year old has been saying she wants to be a doctor since she was 4 years old. She's almost 9 and I can't get her to understand why we push her in her homeschooling. I wish someone would help me find a way to show her how much work it would be to become a doctor and how much effort needs to be made to get that high of a test on her SAT's and whatever they call the premed exams. She sure doesn't get it. I'm not sure I get it either LOL!

Suzi

4 moms found this helpful
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C.C.

answers from St. Louis on

I don't think she'll ever be 'enthusiastic' about it because it is what it's named home WORK. :o) Here's what I did. After school every day, I'd give the kids a snack and then, it was homework time. They'd sit at the kitchen table and do their homework, while I fixed supper. If they struggled or needed help, I was right there to help them. It quickly became routine, and they didn't even think about playing first. I figured that if I let them play first, I'd never round them back up. I'd have to fight the whine and begging. So, they'd sit at the table for snack, and then do homework. They found (as I'd told them they would) that by doing it that way, it wasn't weighing on them. We did this even on Friday, because I remember saving my homework until Sunday night, and dreading it all weekend. I figured to not make my kids spoil their weekends with that dread. Now, my daughter is doing the same thing with her first grader. She, however, had to put off snack until after homework, because the homework wasn't getting finished... my grandaughter would be almost done and quit. So, now she gets her snack when homework is done. :o)

4 moms found this helpful

A.R.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi J.,

I believe that you are not alone, and I understand like many moms, how frustrating it is. I am not an expert, but some things have worked for me, and this is my experience that I hope it helps you a little bit.
I homeschool my older kid, and I have to tell you that I had the same issue with him when he attended to a public school, and now having him at home (it is getting much better, though!).
I am not sure that with you running a home day care the solution would be homeschooling your kids. It may possible to homeschool a few hours during weekends (HS is pretty flexible!). I don't know that depends on you. However, what works better with my kid is breaking the study hours in two, and let him have a little break outdoors or whatever he would like to do. We have a basic schedule with the basic subjects (math, reading, spelling,writing..etc) and I let my son to choose which one he likes to start with every day, and then we keep studying the rest of the subjects.
I remember that the quantity of homework my child had at school was not very much, basically one or two worksheets and 15 min of reading. So, if this is something like that, try to make a plan together with your daughter, agree the time is going to be homework time (the same time everyday) and choose a place where you can keep an eye on her until she is able to work on his own in another room or another desk (the same place everyday). I let my kid to work in the kitchen. So, let her choose both things and make her to promise since she chose something very important for herself that she would keep the commitment, do not get angry, just make this sound it is good for her and a serious thing. Whether she has 2 worksheets or just one, do not force her to do everything, just one sheet first, let her go to the bath or drink something and then the next. Keep this like a ROUTINE, it is going to take some time for her to get used to it, but unfortunately everything we need to teach our children in the right way, will take time.
There are children more challenging than others and every mom has to work on her children (each)in the way it works for her and her children. Don't worry about your kid's friends, just focus on yours and work a plan with yours. I am sure J. that is going to work but be patient and start something right now....small kids: small problems, and big kids" big problems, so start now!
God bless

Alejandra

4 moms found this helpful
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V.M.

answers from Kansas City on

maybe you should talk to her teacher about this. I have an 8th grader and 6th grader who have both gone through not wanting to do homework. It's very typical. A good routine should be established about when homework is to be done daily. My daughter likes to do hers right after school, and my son does his after dinner. A few years ago a teacher told me homework should only take 15-20 minutes per night beginning in 1st grade, adding 15 minutes each year. If it's taking longer than that, talk with the teacher. Each year homework may increase, but in my experience it sometimes depends on the teacher. Maybe there is too much given. Don't tell your daughter that, but just talk with the teacher. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful
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L.W.

answers from St. Louis on

My kindergartener had spelling words this year. Her teacher gave us a really neat web site to use it is www.spellingcity.com. You put in her words and save them then she can click on test me and take the spelling test, when she is all done then she can either retake the misspelled words, or retake the whole test. When she is all done taking the test she can print out a certificate that says she got _____ on her test. After my daughter would finish taking the test and got 100% then I would let her play one of the games that only used her spelling words. To them it does not seem like they are studying. Of course I would make this one of the last things that she had to do. I got so bad about her spelling that the only time she practiced at home was on Thurs. nights. She had 10 words on her list. Every since I started using the web site she got 100 on her tests. I just hope that she keeps it up because both her dad and I can not spell. Just a thought that this might help.
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful
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S.G.

answers from St. Louis on

I had trouble with my son and homework too. I tried to make a game out of it. I would put him on the bottom step and show him a flash card (could be her spelling words) and have him give me the answer. Everytime he got one correct he would move up a step. I would stay on the bottom and mke a big deal of how high he was!! First have her recognize the word witha flash card then ask her to spell it from memory..just do all sorts of silly things. When she gets to the top of the stairs....let her slide all the way down on her butt. You do it with her to show your happiness that she has done well. Do not make her have to get them all right the first time. Eventually she will ask YOU if she can do the spelling game!! On the Math sheets. Just do a few at a time. Don't try to get it all done at the same time Show her a recipe....let her know how important numbers are in DAILY life!!

Good luck

S. goebel
lake st louis

1 mom found this helpful
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R.M.

answers from Topeka on

If you find a way to get your children to be ENTHUSIASTIC about homework...write a book, and you can live off the royalties forever!!! lol
I would start out by having a set routine and a set PLACE for homework to be done. I like the suggestion of doing it around the dining room table while you are cooking dinner..that way you are there to keep her focused and to answer any questions she might have.
Give her a sense of "power" by letting her decide which subject she is going to do first...and let her ASK for help...don't hover...let her learn to figure things out on her own.
You might want to start a rewards chart and give her a sticker or star...for each subject that she finishes successfully. You could even include other things like finishing chores that she has been assigned or keeping her room clean, brushing her teeth, etc. Once a week, or once a month, reward her if she has earned the required number of stickers on the chart.
Remember...what you are trying to do is prepare her for life as an adult. I work with a lot of young teens and I am shocked at how many of them have poor work ethics, they don't CARE about the quality of work that they do...they only care about the paycheck. Some of these young people are otherwise very intelligent people...they just have never been taught that their work is a reflection of THEM and they need to take pride in their job...whether they are a sacking groceries at a store, mowing lawns, or babysitting..because someday they will be running corporations or doing heart surgery or programming computers!!! Ok...I am done with my rant...lol good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful
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K.P.

answers from Wichita on

You didn't say how your daughter has done in school this year, but most 6 year olds aim to please, so I'm guessing that first grade work is either too easy or too difficult for her. She could have a learning problem such as dyslexia, which only magnifies without some type of intervention as a child moves from grade to grade. I'm trained in a curriculum called Alphabetic Phonics that teaches children with dyslexia how to read and otherwise deal with written language. You definitely need to talk to her teacher.

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L.C.

answers from Kansas City on

Is she bored? Does she already know the work? When are you making her do the homework? As soon as she gets home from school? If she already knoews the work she may not understand why she has to do it again? My son didn't learn and understand that until he was grown. He has Asbergers. If you are sitting her down as soon as she comes hoome from school maybe she just needs a break. Give her time to play and unwind. Maybe after dinner would be a better time. These are just ideas off the top of my head. I hope they help.

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J.T.

answers from St. Louis on

Do you think she might need a tutor? You mentioned that it is always spelling & math.

..just a thought!

Good luck!
J.

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J.H.

answers from St. Louis on

The generally recommended amount of homework is 10 minutes per grade level. Homework in grade school is effective in teaching kids good independent study skills. However, some research shows that grade schoolers only achieve 6% gain in academics with homework. In high school, the research indicates that the more time on homework the higher the academic achievement.

There are many schools who don't adhere to these time per grade level concepts. I would read the research for yourself and talk to your child's teacher. For most children, it is easier to teach a child the concepts than to teach them to love to learn. If your child is spending hours on homework and not getting to do free time or get to bed on time than I would discuss these issues with the teacher.

I have heard of parents up late at night doing their kids kindergarten projects. It really shouldn't be the goal of homework for parents to complete the projects. A child who isn't getting enough free time or enough bed time also isn't a happy, healthy child.

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B.C.

answers from Joplin on

Don't leave homework to the last minute. come home, have a snack, talk about their day and dive in...keep it social like up at the kitchen table and stay available for help, questions etc. Lots of praise, try and make it fun, encourage getting it done quickly so that you can play a game together after, go for a walk, watch a cartoon...whatever motivates your child. If a sticker would motivate your little one, heck make a sticker chart. I think little ones have too much homework these days but starting good habits is the key. I wish I had better advice! Lots of luck = )
B.

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A.R.

answers from St. Louis on

LET THE HOMEWORK BE BETWEEN THE CHILD AND THE TEACHER. It is your child's homework not your parent work. Talk to the teacher and let her/him know that you are leaving it up to your child and teaching them responsibility. Let the teacher impose the consequence and sit back and let it work. Your child will be willing to do her homework so she doesn't miss recess or whatever the consequence/reward is for the complete homework. A 1st grader is more than enough responsible to complete some homework. I would check with the teacher to make sure she understands the work and knows how to complete it

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H.H.

answers from Kansas City on

I know most people don't agree with having their kids do homework right after school since they have been doing work at school all day but my kids learned from early on that if they did their homework right away then they would have more free time afterwards but they don't get to do anything fun until they get their homework and chores done. We have a very busy schedule with church and sports so they have learned to do as much of their homework at school as they can and do it pretty quick at home. My son is in high school and rarely has homework. He will take the work that he hasn't finished to the other classes and work on whatever needs to be finished in the classes that don't take the full classtime to do work.

Her homework shouldn't be more than 20 minutes a day in 2nd grade. If it is more than that then you need to ask the teacher why and usually the reason kids have more homework than 10 minutes per grade level is because they aren't doing their work at school when they are supposed to or they aren't understanding it and need some help but too shy to ask for help.

As for studying spelling words. I go over them with my 3rd grader the first day and if he knows them all we don't work on them anymore. If he misses a few then I will ask him those everyday that week until he gets them right. I don't have him study all of them if he knows them as he usually picks up things fast and once he learns something he remembers it.

Make sure she continues to read during the summer. This will help her keep up with spelling and retain what she learned this year. Sometimes teachers will send home a packet of worksheets too that they can work on over the summer. It would be good to have her work on at least one worksheet a day Mon-Fri and do some reading to help her retain what she learned through the school year.

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