Help with Daughter and Her Homework

Updated on January 27, 2008
D.D. asks from Oxford, MI
13 answers

My daughter is 11 years old and this is her first year of middle school. So far I have found that there is way too much pressure on these kids at such a young age. Since school started in September we have had homework every single night. Which is not the problem, the problem is the length of time it takes to do the homework. My daughter doesn't just take on the homework and try to do it herself and get it over with. She comes home and lolly gags around until I tell her she needs to get started on it so she's not up all night doing it. Her father and I have sat down with her and explained that she needs to come home, grab a snack and get started on her homework. It's a constant battle for her. She's disinterested in Social Studies and Science and needs lots of help with math. She cries and whines how she doesn't want to do the work and it's stupid and she doesn't understand why she needs to learn it. We go through this every night. She wants someone to sit with her and do the homework with her, even if it's just sitting at the table with her so she's not alone. I try to explain to her that I can help when needed but I can't just sit with her because she doesn't want to be alone. I just dont get it. We give her lots of attention. She acts so needy and it is driving me insane. I could really use some suggestions on how to get her interested in getting her homework done and not whining about it. When I talk to other parents of her friends and ask if their kids have a lot of homework, they say they have the homework but when they get home from school they do it and it's done before dinner. What's with that. Is my kid not getting stuff done that could be done in class and have less to worry about when she gets home. How do I change her point of view to make her care about her school work. It it wasn't for her Dad and I pushing her to get her work done she would have really poor grades. I am at a loss. Any suggestions would really be appreciated.

Thank you.

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K.A.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,
What I do with my oldest children (11 year old boy in Middle School, 9 year old girl in 4th Grade) is let them have a snack after school then work on homework. I tell them no t.v. until it is done. They don't give me a hard time because they know they are "unplugged" until their homwork is done. If you need to, go so far as taking the t.v. out of the house or whatever she is doing instead of her homework until she starts doing it. It sounds like she isn't taking you seriously. Once she knows you mean business, she'll do it. Explain to her that everyone has to do things they don't like to do in life, but thats just how it is. You can show her you understand but it still needs to be done and if it isn't then this is what will happen. Maybe a contract between the 3 of you would help to start. If she doesn't finish her homework by this time everyday on her own then there is no t.v. that night, cell phone, phone privilidges, video games, whatever she likes. You'll find the key! Good luck!!

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D.W.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,

With my kids I usually allow a little down time after school, maybe an hour, to talk on the phone watch tv, go outside, etc. So by 4:00 they know its time to get started. They usually only have homework if they didn't finish it at school. If she does not care about failing, you could offer incentives on her report card. Like getting so much for A's & B's or just taking her shopping for something, it does not have to be expensive, you set the limit. I know some people don't believe kids should be rewarded for good grades but it is just like getting a raise at work or a bonus for a job well done. If she always needs your help maybe she is not paying enough attention to her teacher, maybe she get her seat moved at school, you should talk to the teachers. Also maybe she could listen to music while doing her work if it is not too distracting. Good luck.

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M.S.

answers from Detroit on

I'm having a similar problem with my son. We have found that he isn't getting things done at school during the day. His problem is mostly the writing that is required. He hates to write and it takes him 10 times longer to do anything than his classmates. He is also having social issues. Is your daughter ok with friends at school? Or is she socializing too much. I would love to have someone to talk with about this as well feel free to email me personally at [email protected]____.com.

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M.S.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,

I also have an 11 year old. He is in 6th grade. I think the first thing I would do is see how long it actually takes your daughter to do the homework without breaks, etc. If it is more than 10 minutes per grade (i.e., 60 minutes for 6th grade), I would talk to the teachers and let them know what is going on. I also think making homework part of the schedule, for example come home from school, have a snack, and then sit at the table or desk, as long as it's the same place each day, and start the work. Sometimes making a checklist and checking off the items as they are done will help your daughter feel like she is accomplishing something. If your daughter wants you to sit down with her while she does her homework, could you find some work to do at the same time, such as pay bills, make a shopping list, etc., so you're both working? Hope this helps.

M.

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C.R.

answers from Detroit on

D.,

Both of my boys are now out of School. But I had the same problem with my youngest. We came up with a plan that seemed to work for us. I hate coming home from work and jumping into the home actitives without a breezer, so we had my son have 2 hours to do as he please than at a specific time (his was 6pm) he had to sit down and start working on his homework. He had no interest in school either and was very active in sports. If just comes easier for some kids for it not to be a struggle. He is really smart he just didn't have an interest. He is a 19 yr old with a job and his own car and an active member of society. I know this doesn't really help but I was hoping that sharing this with you would let you know that other parents have those children to. Don't loose your patience and try to breathe. I wish you all the best, C.

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C.S.

answers from Detroit on

I have one of those too D.. I give her about 45 mins to unwind maybe catch a show and then tell her lets go.
I shut the tv off and [email protected]

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L.M.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,
I think your daughter might be struggling with more than just homework. I'm guessing she's got that whole hormonal thing going on as well as being overwhelmed with middle school. I think I might sit with her some days and see if she is willing to talk to you about what is bothering her besides the homework. Maybe if she has the opportunity to talk about some things her reluctance to work will get less. I also think the helping her to organize would be good. Think of it in her terms she probably feels like the first day of kindergarten all over again. It's new and a lot of things might feel foreign, give her the opportunity to talk, you can give her feedback to help navigate the situation.
Hope that helps.
L.

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K.B.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,

I have a 12 year old seventh grade boy who is very easily distracted and has quite a bit of homework as well. We live on a small farm and there are chores and responsibilities at home too. A few things that have worked with him are:

Lists to check off that will keep him on track.( I actually do this with all three of my kids)

listening to music while doing his homework. He seems to be less distracted and gets it done more quickly if he listens to music (with headphones, please). He also knows that he cannot watch his favorite programs on TV if his homework and chores are not done. He has been on the honor roll for his entire life, so he knows that we won't let his grades fall either.

Maybe your daughter's teachers can shed some light or offer some solutions to help with the homework load, etc.. I am a secretary at a school, and our children are very different creatures at school than they are at home! The teachers may see or use strategies in the classroom that work for your daughter and can be used at home too.

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K.H.

answers from Detroit on

I am a teacher and a mother of an ADHD daughter who has a horrible time completing tasks (especially if she doesn't like to do it). We have been lucky so far she hasn't had much homework (she is in 4th grade). However, my suggestion would be: 1) break her homework down into 15 minute intervals. Set a timer for 15 minutes, if she concentrates and really gets her work done on her own,asking for help only if she really needs it, then she can have a 5 or 10 minute break. Or you can use that break time to do something together like play a card came, quick board game or whatever. If the 15 minutes wont work you could do a page then a break. Sometimes looking at the whole picture just makes kids shut down. If you break it into smaller easily attained goals they can deal with it better. You can have a chart for her to give positive reinforcement. You can make a mark or put on a sticker for every page or 15 minute interval that she concentrates and completes her work. Set a goal and once she reaches that goal have a reward for her. I like rewards to be spending time together or being able to do something special like having a friend spend the night or getting to choose the dinner menu for a week; not necessarily a material reward. The key is you have to set the goal when you begin and stick to it. If the goal is set for 10 pages then when 10 pages are up you've got to pay up on the reward. On the other hand you can't allow the special thing until those 10 pages are done or else it will be a constant fight because you gave in one time. 2) Set aside a specific time for homework. Give her about 30 min-1 hour to relax when she gets home then at your specified time it is homework time. I would get your 8 year old to buy into it too. That time can be set aside for that child to work on skills too. Addition, subtraction, multiplication facts are good to practice. If they dont have any homework just reading during that time would be benificial for her (the 8 yr old). That way the older girl doesn't feel like it is a punishment for her and your 8 year old gets into the habbit of setting time aside for homework and schooling. Let me know how things go and if you have any more questions. I can give you the "teacher" side of it. K. ([email protected]____.com)

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M.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

I don't have a junior high child yet...but maybe try setting a routine with a timer. When she gets home from school giver her 20 minutes to get a snack and do what she wants. When the timer dings have her sit at the table and do her homework. for 15 minutes...if she plays or whines add a minute to the timer. Maybe at first you could use this time to be getting dinner prepped or read a book or pay a bill so you're right there by her if she has questins. Once her homework is done she has the evening to play. Maybe she'll see the reward of working efficiently and getting it done ahead of time.

Also, when I got overwhelmed growing up, my mom would take all my work away from me and only give me one at a time. She would say...don't think about everything you have to do, just focus on 1 thing. If it still seems that she's struggling, ask for a conference with her teachers. Find out if she's having trouble completing work during class at school or if it's just an at home battle.

good Luck!

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S.C.

answers from Detroit on

Are you talking about your kid or mine??? lol I have the same problem with my 11 yr. old, too. I started an incentive chart for him. He gets 1/2 hour of down time when he gets home from school then needs to do one or two assignments (depending on how much work he brings home) before he gets another 15 minute break. Do an assignment get a break is our routine. If he completes all his assignments without assistance throughout the week then he gets to buy something at the store. If he's really on top of his work and gets it done without asking and without a break he gets to pick what we have for dinner and gets to pick what's watched on tv or what games get played. If he misses assignments or gets poor grades he gets privleges taken away (ie: game or computer time, after school activities) I get a weekly update from school to make sure he stays on top of things, too. Now that he knows the routine I don't have anymore problems. Another benifit he gets is one of his classes is a study skills class that helps him organize his time and finish work without having to bring it home. Maybe your daughter would benifit from such a class. I'd talk to her teachers and school counselor and get everyone on the same page. Maybe her cirriculum needs to be modified if she's having a ton of problems. Good luck - S.

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M.C.

answers from Detroit on

Don't worry D., you are not alone. My daughter behaved the exact same way in the sixth grade as did some of her friends. Many other parents I know went through this, so here's some help. Think of it like this, it takes two sides to battle. If she wants to fight, walk away. She's frustrated that she has no control over her schoolwork and is taking it out on you. If other kids in her class can do their homework and get good grades on their own, so can she. She needs to learn to take control of her schoolwork and you and your husband have to help her get to that point. Make an appointment with the school counselor and see what they suggest. This is a very common problem when kids start middle school--they get lost during the transition from elementary. The school counselor should be very helpful. Then you need to let her do more on her own, but offer some guidance. Lay down the rules and consequences for not doing homework/bad grades. If she refuses to do her homework or gets bad grades, privileges such as phone calls, tv, ipod, etc. need to be taken away, she may even need to be grounded if it gets bad. If she needs help with homework, suggest that she establish a buddy system with the kids in her classes. It's hard for us as parents to know what goes on in our childrens classroom since we are not there. Making these changes will be difficult at first. Change can be hard. She will rebel. You will get alot of screaming, whining, crying, and temper tantrums from her, no doubt, but you and your husband need to stick together and remain consistent, eventually she will get the message.

Good Luck.

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C.F.

answers from Detroit on

If this is her rebelling against you for telling her when she has to do her homework maybe you can try to give her some freedom from it for a while to see how she does. Not total freedom but maybe you can say I don't care when you do your homework just as long as it is done lets say an hour before she goes to bed. This way she thinks she is getting all the control. Maybe this way will also teach her time management techniques. If she slips up and is doing her work way after its her bedtime, don't change this idea, punish her another way, that way maybe the next time she will work out how much time she needs to finish it. This way she is taking all the responsibility for herself instead of you having to be responsible for her homework all the time.

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