2Nd Grade Homework Responsibility

Updated on February 24, 2014
L.O. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
32 answers

I have several friends with kids much older than mine.. they are still sitting with their jr high and high school age kids and helping with homework.. often screaming and yelling about homework..

I do not want to go down that path....

Right now my DD is in 2nd grade... she gets homework several days a week. I unpack her backpack.. see what homework there is.. put homework on the table and get her started doing it.. I do not sit with her the entire time.. only if it is a brand new topic and she really needs help. After she is done I do pack the homework..

How much responsibility should a second grader have with their homework.. should she unpack and complete it and pack it without any help? I like to unpack the backpacks every day to make sure there are no important notes from teacher or leftover food or wet soggy clothes left in the backpack overnight...

what do other moms do..

What can I do next?

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have children in kindergarten, 2nd grade and 3rd grade. My husband is the SAHP so he has them in a routine where when they get home from school they take out their lunchboxes and put them in the kitchen, put their shoes away, and take out their homework and readers themselves. They complete their homework themselves, and ask for help if they get stuck. I think sometimes it takes a few reminders, but the system seems to be working well.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My dd is 10 and is now doing it all on her own. I sometimes have to remind her, but she does the actual work by her self. It did take us a little while to get to this place of independence, but I think she didn't like my suggestions so it was easier to do it herself!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I think you're doing exactly the right amount for the age. It is what I did. My kids are in 6th & 8th grade now and we don't have any homework battles and they get excellent grades. They do the work without prompting and involvement now generally comes when they need me to buy supplies for a project.

I have friends who had taken either the hovering over-help approach or they wipe their hands of the whole process and won't so much as peek in a backpack. In both cases, the kids are a hot mess by middle school.

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answers from Honolulu on

This is ONLY 2nd grade.
They are not, wholly self-reliant or independent yet.
I ALWAYS check my kids' backpack.
I always, check their planner.
I always, check notes or fliers from school.
That is what a parent, does.
EVEN in middle school. But by this time MANY parents do not even know what their middle schooler is doing, because they falsely think that the kid/teen knows everything and should and does.
But they don't.

And... each kid is different.
You have a girl. In 2nd grade. You have a routine with her.
But, that is her. Not what every kid is like.
Or every parent.

I help my son by KNOWING what is going in in class/at school/what homework is etc. and I look in his bag etc.
He is in 2nd grade. Too.
But he is not your daughter and she is not him.
I always unpack my son's bag. Why? Because that is what I as a Mom does. I LOOK in his folder to see what his class life is and his homework, and to see what notes there are from the Teacher or school.
That to me is common sense.
It is expected, of a parent.
In fact, the grade level, sends "reminders" home to the parents, REMINDING them to LOOK at their kids' folders and homework. AND TO SIGN off on it. So they know what is going on. Why? Because, many parents don't know anything about what is going on at school in class and per homework. Teachers are astonished, at how hand's off, parents are, with their kids homework and school going's on.

Even if the 5th grade, parents need to know what their kid is doing in school. But sure by this grade, the kid can themselves do it.
BUT not all kids will..... do it.
That's the difference.
That is the difference.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Great observation about the other families, and correct decision about what not to do.

It sounds like you're doing fine. Keep it up.

p.s. Reading S.H.'s response: I think it's always wise to know what your kid is doing. If your child wants help, then some help is fine. It's good for kids to know that their parents are aware and care about their schoolwork. I wish my parents had been more involved in my schooling. But homework is never worth ruining family time over, with yelling and battles. The other problem is when parents become overly invested in the kid's homework, and either does too much of it for them or inadvertently sends the message to the kid that s/he isn't capable of doing it alone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Having been a 2nd grade teacher, I would say you are doing most of the work. All she is doing is the actual homework. Most of the responsibility is on the part of accountability - can they remember to do their homework on their own. She should be responsible for unpacking her backpack, getting her homework out and doing it, having assistance when needed and then packing it back up. Once she has unpacked her backpack you can then check for food or clothes left in there. She's almost a 3rd grader and what you are doing for her is actually a disservice. Unless she is on the immature side and needs constant reminders, I would say start giving her the power to be independent.

I teach 4th grade now and I have a few students that have no idea if their homework is in their folder b/c their parent packs their backpack. They give the excuse that is always the parent's fault if they don't have what they need. I always find that sad...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I think it depends on the child. My son is in 2nd grade and he is Mr. Responsible. He takes everything out of his backpack and remembers what days of the week his homework is due. He often reminds me to do my part of the homework for the week, such as signing his reading log and writing in the family journal. He also does the homework himself and then I check it later. Now, my 5th grader needs more hand holding and I help her by checking her planner and checking the teacher's website each day to keep track of what is due. I think you are doing fine and you can feel it out and give her more responsibility when she's ready. Each child is different and their organizational and homework skills can be dramatically different too.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

In second grade, I was still helping with homework. For my girls, by the middle of third grade, I started backing off significantly. By fourth grade, I no longer helped them unless they asked for help on something specific.

Except for our son - we used to help our son a lot because he's on the Autism Spectrum and has ADHD and most likely a math disability. Up until 7th grade, I was still pulling out his homework, setting it up, going over it with him, sitting with him in case he needed help, etc. My son's math teacher in 7th grade told us at back to school night "PLEASE do NOT help your children with their homework. If they come to school with it done perfectly because you helped them, *I* will assume they know the subject matter and will move on. Homework is a way for me to figure out who needs help and who doesn't, BEFORE they get tested on the info."

I really took that advice to heart. So I started saying "I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to help you with homework. Please try your best and if you have problems, email your teacher." Yes, our teachers encourage students to email them, to take responsibility for themselves if they have an issue and contact them directly. I love it.

So now the kids are in 6th, 7th and 10th grade. They walk in the door. I say "How was your day? Got a lot of homework today?" They say "fine...urgh…mumble…mumble…" (they are pre-teen/teens, I don't really expect sophisticated conversation). I say "Ok, then…" and that's it.

But in second grade, I was still helping them a lot. They're still learning *how* to do homework. It's not so much about the work itself, but more about setting up the routine, etc. Depending on the kid, they get the hang of it in 3rd grade sometime.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think your method sounds perfect. I'm printing it out to use in 2 years! You know what needs to be done, you will see if she does it or not. That should be incentive enough for her to complete everything. Even with my son in K, we try to give him a little room to do his writing, rather than standing over him scrutinizing each letter. Making mistakes in homework at this age has a lot fewer consequences than it will later on, but teaching them that they should have their hand held through their assignments could have serious consequences in the future!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have a 19 yr old in college and I can say that study habits that are instilled early on, in elementary are vital. These children NEED to know how to self motivate to get the work done by the time they are in middle school and up. There is nothing wrong with some help if needed.

I'm also a regular substitute teacher for 13 yrs in elementary school. I focus on grades 1-3. Every child in the school (grades K-5) gets an agenda/planner at the beginning of the year. With early grade levels, especially, we hope parents do look at the agenda for notes and sign it daily. When a child brings in a signed agenda.... they are rewarded with what we have which are (Bobcat Bucks) and they spend these bucks at the school for things like lunch with a friend, sit in teacher rolling chair for the day, stuffed animal to school, lunch with teacher, etc.

In second grade and up, the first thing expected is for children to come in and write down the hw, which is minimal in 2nd grade and let the teacher see if you have your agenda signed. Those who routinely do not have a signed agenda get to spend time in work completion instead of recess so they will remember to get a parent to sign the agenda.

This sets a habit of writing down assignments, getting important paperwork to parents and serves as a daily communicator with parents.

As a parent, yes, I did help my daughter get things unpacked in the afternoon to make sure there were no messes in the backpack. I never had to prod her very much to get started and complete hw.

By the time they are in 3rd grade and have larger projects due, we have a system where parts of a project are due on certain dates. This is so they learn to plan accordingly and are not working on 100% of a project the night before it is due.

It is sad to hear that so many parents are yelling and screaming about hw. I suppose in some cases the children and parents are confused with some of the assignments, study skills have not been learned and there could be a larger problem if the student is not comprehending what is taught in school. Think dyslexia.

I have always been one to help my daughter if she asked for help. If I could not help, we enlisted hubby or whomever we could to understand it.

It's funny.... she is in a Humanities class now and the teacher chose Horror as the topic and they have to watch all of these horrible horror movies. We are not horror movie fans.. she never has been. SO yes, I have been helping her in college Humanities because I am watching these crazy movies with her. She does all the paperwork and essays I just watch the movie with her so she is not home alone watching before she goes to bed! She is a great writer and so far that has kept her grade at 96!

It sounds like you are on a good track for teaching good study habits and skills.

Best wishes!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think what you are doing is fine.It sounds like she is capable of doing the work, feels competent, and I think it's great that you are helping her out in small ways. Some kids do miss things in their backpack. My son unloads his own, but our ritual is that he always hands me his folder. He's in first grade and the teacher is great at guiding them to put their papers in the folder before the end of class.

I sit with my son, or near him, for moral support and to help him when he's stuck. Instead of yelling, though, I do try to encourage him where he's doing well and to explain things to him when he's stuck.

ETA: I want to also add, for some kids, having a parent ''around" but not focused on the homework itself, unless asked, is ideal. I like to read a book or use my laptop nearby. Some kids are more mature about finding solutions to homework problems on their own-- they've had practice at it. mIne likes to double-check things with me after he's given it a try on his own. I might show my son a different way to think of a math problem in order to find the solution, or suggest to him "do you think using the counters (some glass stones) would help you figure that out?" and he'll go find whatever aid he is needing. He's in first grade and doing very well, is just tired of doing work by the end of the day, so this is what works for him. I've seen a huge improvement since the beginning of the school year. He also has a vision disability, so some of this stuff is more difficult for him than for kids without this issue. Things like movement and even the birds flying by outside are distractions. I think we all have to keep in mind that each of our kids has their own level of independence-- and then know where they need a little more support, too, so long as there is steady improvement.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have a 1st grader and a 4th grader. Our routine is that they both empty backpacks and start on their homework. Once complete they have me look it over or they ask for help if they don't know something. I don't sit with them but I am close by in case they need help. I also quiz them on spelling words. If they don't have homework my 4th grader can do some online homework on a program the school uses and my daughter has a bunch of word problems the teacher sent home for her to work on when she needs it. Also we read a lot and that's part of our nightime routine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have a good friend who still helps her high school sophomore with homework. She edits all her papers, helps her study for tests and her father, who is good at math, corrects her math homework with her. Her mom always brags about how she has straight As. How could she not?

I think what you're doing is great. Make sure she knows if she needs help you're right there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Most often we allow our second grader to do all of it on her own. We check off the assignments when she says she is finished. As well, we help her with studying for tests and following full instructions for book reports.

We don't put things away for her, we remind her if she wants her grade, it better make it in the backpack.

There is HW every night.

I do like to always have access to the backpack so that there are no secrets or it doesn't become something personal.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't think it's a matter of what any parent SHOULD be doing, but what works for your and your child.

DS is also in 2nd grade. I teach 8th grade, and with our school schedules, I don't pick him up from his after school program until after the homework time is over, so he gets it done there generally. I like that because it's taught him that it's HIS homework, not mine. The staff there don't go through each kids' bag and check to see what work they have... they just set aside the TIME for homework. All the kids take out their folders and do their work. When they say their finished, they show one of the staff members their completed work, pack up, and then go play.

I ask DS about his work when we get home. "What was the assignment? Did you get it all finished? Do you have any questions? Show it to me." That's it.

I was in 7th grade when I found out that other kids' parents helped them with their homework! I thought that was cheating. I told the teacher, who said that was fine and expected. I told my mom and she looked at me like I was crazy and asked if I had ever needed help. touché.

I do think a plan that weans them off of heavy parent involvement in the day to day work by middle school is a good idea (by teaching them to be responsible... not just letting them do it if they want to). But I don't think we should worry too much about making our 8 year olds more responsible for their school work :)


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I will always lean on the side of self sufficiency and responsibility. It can only do them good.

My older child has always been independent. Homework were always done way in advance, daily readings are always done and logged. Now she is in the 4th grade and has great time management skills and is doing very well in school.

My youngest did need a lot of "aggressive" encouragement. She is in 2nd grade and is autistic and also has ADHD. Still, every school day, I expect the homework to be done by 5pm. Sure there are times when, it was a bit more challenging (especially early on) and the homework doesn't get done till the next morning at breakfast. I just try again the next day. Now halfway through the year, I am able to hand her her homework and for the most part, she will sit and do them independently and I will help with her with what she needs help with.

I know some families like you know and I also know a family who have done things the way you have done it and the daughter is now in 6th grade. This kid has always been encouraged to do her homework on her own. Not only is she an honor student, she has also been making her own lunch since 4th grade and her own laundry since 5th.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

I have a daughter in first grade. I check her backpack when she gets home for notes, art projects, library books, accelerated reader books, etc. Once I see what is in there, I put the homework/AR books back in the backpack and my daughter puts it away in the hall closet. After she has some down time and a snack, I tell her it is time for homework. She gets her backpack, gets the homework out and does it. I check it over. Then she returns it to her backpack and puts the bag back in the closet. If she has questions about the assignment, she asks. Otherwise she completes the assignment by herself.

She isn't good with time yet so I imagine I will be reminding her that it is homework time for a few more years.

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answers from San Antonio on

My son is in third grade and has nightly homework. If he completes all of it he gets a point on his classroom behavior plan, if he does some of it he gets no point, and if he does none of it he gets a negative point.

We were spending two to three hours a night with crying and screaming and tantrums over getting his homework done. It was horrible and effecting mine and my son's relationship in a very negative way.

So we sat down and talked about it...I provide the time/space and supplies...he is responsible for doing the work. IF he wants me to check it, I will...if not then I don't.

He drives the homework bus...and each nine weeks he maybe doesn't do it three times give or take. That is between him and his goals in class to meet that allow him special privileges...because there are in class rewards for completed homework. Could he be making better grades on his spelling tests if we practiced with him each night...yes, but that is his responsibility.

I am thinking we may start some at home goals with rewards for better homework participation/grades...but I am trying to get him used to doing it on his own.

My first grade daughter LOVES to do homework...and she just does it all on her own...lol.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

My kids are responsible for completing their own homework and home reading. I am responsible for providing them time to do their homework, helping with homework if necessary, checking that homework has been completed and signing their agendas and home reading logs on a daily basis. My kids can usually complete their assignments independently, but there are plenty of kids who can't work independently. I know I work with kids every day at school who need me to keep them on task all day long.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think you've got it exactly right. she's still very young to be 100% responsible, so unpacking it and checking the backpacks is a good idea.
and letting her do her own homework, with help only when she asks for it, is ideal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

At that age, I ALWAYS unpacked my son's backpack... he would pull the homework out of his folder and then I would check over it.. 2nd grade is still very young,so I think you may want to continue to check..
In fact my son who is now 12, although he is the one getting things out of his pack, I still ask him tons of questions, such as.. what kind of homework do you have, anything for me to sign.. etc etc..
kids just have a lot going on and forget things... therefore, I think it's good to follow up with them...

good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't help with the homework unless he asks. I do, however, always check the backpack, folder, and assignment book to make sure he didn't miss anything.

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answers from Washington DC on

My 2nd grader needs a prod to finish snack and unpack her bag. However, once she has the homework in front of her, she works until it is done and then repacks it. If she needs help, she will stop work and ask. I'd rather that she skipped that particular item and continued with the rest, then asked for help. It really bothers her if I am not in the same room while she does homework (dining room table near the kitchen), but I can pay bills, prep dinner, or do my own homework (grading & lesson plans),rather than concentrating on what she does unless she gets stuck.
Your friends are fighting with their kids, not because they didn't have good homework routines as younger students, but because of that stage of development. Middle school and early high school students often are less independent (when it comes to getting started and following through) than their elementary school selves would be. The work is much harder, often more abstract, and typically requires more time. Their adolescent brains aren't wired to focus on one task for that long. The most common complaint I hear from parents of my students is that Johnny or Janet is a mess when it comes to homework time.

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answers from Fort Myers on

I have a first grader. We do things pretty much the same way Yarmatey does. I go through her planner daily because we have to sign it. I don't help with homework unless she asks but I do look over it when she is done.

We don't yell about homework or fight. It is a part of school and is not negotiable. It sounds like you are on the right track. Maybe give a little more responsibility with maintaining her own backpack.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Good for you. Your friends are not doing their kids any favors! Their kids cannot work independently, and everything is a big fight. The kids don't have to regulate themselves or have any accountability, because the parents are sitting there drilling them.

Parents confuse helping their kids with homework, and think that's preparing form for high school and college and life. It's not. Those "helicopter parents" wind up calling bosses asking for their kids' promotions and raises, or calling in when their adult child is ill. When we dropped our son off at college, the orientation staff were very clear that our job was done and we parents should not be calling professors, the health center, or the resident assistant!

So I think what you are doing is awesome! You show her how to get organized to work, you give her a place to work, and you make sure she is clear about her assignments. Then you leave her alone. If she gets her homework problems incorrect, or doesn't do one or two, she'll work it out with the teacher. That builds a sense of accomplishment and responsibility in kids. I'd say to keep going what you're doing!

Don't listen to any parents who tell you that you have to sit on your kid to make sure she gets into a good college or lots of AP classes! There's no point to stressing kids out about their futures, nor is there any value in doing the work for them. (A lot of teachers will even tell you that things like Project Fairs are just a competition to see whose parents work the hardest!)

I think giving your child a homework folder (if the teacher hasn't) and helping her pack it is okay. You can keep progressing, giving her a little more to do every few months. You can show her, then watch her, then trust her. Do the same with cleaning out the backpack - start with notices and food and clothing, then watch her start to to that (putting the lunch box on the counter and the containers in the dishwasher, the wet clothes in the dryer on on hooks, the notices hand permission slips in a stack for you, etc.). I would change just one thing every month or two, and keep building up.

I made sure my child learned to sort, wash and fold his laundry well before it was time for college. And he learned rudimentary cooking. I wasn't too successful with teaching him to iron, something we'll both regret! But the more your kid does, the stronger and more independent she will be. It's not about pushing her to get As now (which is what a lot of parents will tell you) - it's about a report card accurately reflecting her true abilities/progress.

Keep up the good work!

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answers from New York on

She needs to be doing more. Take out lunch bag, papers etc. do homework and then she should get it ready for next day. Not you.

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answers from Austin on

Sounds like if this is working for you guys then you are doing just fine.

Each child will need their parents guidance based on what that child can handle. My husband even in high school, would forget to take the homework, or worse forget to turn it in! Heck he can still leave his cell phone, pager or ipad at home at LEAST once a month..

When our child was in first grade we were told, there would be something to work on each evening Monday through Thursday for sure and sometimes projects that may need some weekend work. Reading was encourage for every night, even if it was not assigned. Usually they started reviews during class but did not finish so it came home as homework.

So all of us, the teacher, parents and children all knew it was no doubt, there was something to be done.

I instead I used to ask our daughter, do you want your snack now or later? That was our way of saying, you want to work on your homework now or later. I did not take the homework out and place it back in the back pack she did that too.
I would ask her, do you have your homework in your folder? She knew it needed to go back into the pack.

IF she forgot her homework at home. the first time I took it to her but after that I told her I was not going to do that anymore and I told her this in front of her teacher.

By 3rd grade, I NEVER again asked our child, "do you have homework?"

What did take some work was making sure that when she had projects, that she let me know in enough time, what supplies she wanted or needed. All it took to get her to learn this was the time she did not ask until it was a Sunday evening and I told her, sorry, too late for me to go and get those supplies, what can you use instead that we have here at home?

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answers from Los Angeles on

When SD was younger, I was the one to pick her up from school so I would help her unpack her backpack looking over what homework needed to get done.
Then I'd get her a snack while she sat down to start homework.
I was there if she needed help which she usually did.
I would be milling about the kitchen getting dinner started so it was easy
for me to assist her.
Then she'd get a break to play & move around after eating her snack &
doing some homework.
Then she'd come back to the table to finish.
More play until dinner time.
Again, it was good to see what notes were sent home plus I could see
what upcoming things needed to be done (special clothes for a field
trip, notes that needed signing by hubby, getting lunch bag cleared out
for the next day etc).
Years later she became self sufficient so I think it depends upon each
child & their development.
When they are young, it is always good to ensure they are not only
completing their homework but completing it correctly. You're getting
them on their best foot & setting them up for success in their following
school years!
Each child will develop at their own maturity level/rate. Guide & give it



answers from Cleveland on

my mil watches the kids after school for an hour before I get home. So they do their homework, right after school. I check over it and if work needs adult help like asking them spelling words to have them spell out loud or to ask them vocab or asking them state capitals ( 4th grade) we do that together then, I sign what I need to and they are incharge of packing stuff back up. I like that they work a the kitchen table not off in their rooms, and I like looking over things and helping them study. I don't think it's fair to expect them to just know how to study and how to budget time I look at that as my job to teach them so that by the time they are in middle and hs they are comfortable and confident in taking care of it themselves. just lke I expect them to know how to do luandy and dishes and cook simple meals. I just dont' expect them to know how to do it with out practice and support from me.

Luckily my kids are both bright and movtivated, so we don't have the screaming matches some kids do. I think personality play a big part too. and it's easy to say you want them to be self sufficient, but much much harder when everything is a struggle for them and they don't enjoy learning.

It sounds like what you are doing works very well for you and your kiddo.

I think around 4th at least in our state you start to see them needing study more, and needing an adult to quiz them. in second grade ti was a lot of copying spelling works, completelying easy additiona nd subtraction and maybe writing a paragraph or reading a passage and ansering questions. so much less adult help needed. I think they gradually and naturally start to be more private and take on more responsibility, if you have supported them and shown them how. Hope that makes sense.



answers from Washington DC on

I think it depends on the child. For my daughter, I could let her do her own homework and just help her when asked starting in second grade. Not so with my son. At 7 he still doesn't have the discipline or organizational skills to do it himself without a constant guide.



answers from Salinas on

At that age, I can see going through your child's backpack daily, but there is no reason she cannot pack it back up. It's about developing habits that will take her into middle and high school. She is plenty old enough to be responsible for making sure her homework, books, supplies etc. are where they need to be. My kids are in middle school so now I occasionally ask them, do you have anything for me to sign, anything sent home? About once every 2-3 weeks I go through their backpacks for smashed snacks or papers that may have made it under a book, but otherwise it's up to them to be sure I have signed anything with a due date or read any important information they have been given. My occasional "double-checks" will happen less frequently in high school, but they already are needed less and less and they have increased responsibility.



answers from Chicago on

My older kids are now in HS (9th). They have always been responsible for their own work. After school they would come home, have 30 minutes to relax and have a snack. Then it was homework time. Until 5th grade, I would check it, erase anything they did wrong on a worksheet and they had to do it again. Since then, unless they ask, they are on their own. When they were younger, I would go through their backpacks every Sat to make sure nothing was sent home for informational purposes.

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