Homework Fight

Updated on September 22, 2010
L.P. asks from Columbia, MO
16 answers

My daughter is in the 3rd grade. We have never had homework issues till this year. Her homework comes home on Friday and is due the next Thursday. It is usually 4 worksheets and then read 20 minutes each night. The worksheets are very easy and usually 2nd grade work. We fight every night. I have now gotten to the point that I will not fight with her. I tell her every night, that her homeowrk is due on Thursday. She might attempt a page but gets mad, even when I explain it and try to help, and throws the paper or pencil. Then walks away. I told her I would not lie for her and that if she is not done on Thursday morning, she would have to suffer he teacher's consequence. I think we will be suffering it this week. Am I doing the right thing by making her responsible for it? Should I be pushing more? What do you all think?

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So What Happened?

Well, I talked to here teacher last night. She did say she would have a strong consequence if the work was not turned in. Then I asked if she was wearing her glasses at school. The teacher asked "what glasses". She has not been wearing them and has lied to me about wearing them. We had a talk about how important it is to wear them and that lying got her grounded from the tv for a day. The teacher is going to talk to her today (my daughter thinks her teacher walks on water). This should help and she did buckle down and do it last night. She even read for 40 minutes and will do the same tonight so it can be turned in on time. I think I will survive this year! Thank you for all your advice. You all are greaat!!!

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answers from St. Louis on

I would first talk to her teacher and see if she is having trouble with the work at school. It sounds like she is frusterated because she is having trouble with the work and may need extra help. If she isn't having trouble witht he work and just doesn't want to do it set a time each night for homework. I find with my kids after dinner is best because it gives them some down time after school, some kids do better right afterschool because they are still in the school mindset. Decide how much she should get done each night (eg. one page) and she just works on it until she is done. I had the same problem with my oldest and found if I was consistant after a while he realized he was wasting time he could be playing by not just getting it done and he start just doing it without so much of a fight.


answers from Kansas City on

YES! You need to let her experience the consequences. However, you might see if you can find out WHY she doesn't want to do her homework, especially if it's never been an issue before.

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answers from Redding on

You are most certainly doing the right thing by making her responsible for her consequences.
Throwing a fit or walking away from her homework should not really be an option. I mean, she can do that if she chooses, but I wouldn't stop at the consequences coming from her teacher.
She gets her homework on Friday and with that attitude, it seems to me she should not have any activities planned at home until her homework is done. She's got all day Saturday and Sunday to do her homework if she doesn't like the "little bit each night:" routine.
Homework does not have to be a fight and it shouldn't be simply because you're not going to fight with her about it. Not doing HOMEwork has consequences at HOME.
It's best to let her know this now so you aren't still going through this in a couple or few years.

Just my opinion.

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answers from St. Louis on

Do you think she is just choosing not to do her work or is there something behind her frustration? How is her handwriting? I know alot of people don't agree with me, but I do not punish for school / schoolwork. I'm not letting it drive a wedge between me & my kids. I have one son that is dyslexic & the schools DO NOT diagnose that (especially in MO), & if I let the schools control get to me, my son wouldn't see the light of day. My kids know I have expectations (& they're reasonable) and seem to fare well by understanding that. If this has just came about this year, I would look further into it. Has she had her eyes checked? Have you tried going over the work verbally with her and see how that she does that way? How is her relationship with her teacher this year? Every teacher has a different teaching style. I know school has just started, but has the teacher said anything about her classwork? I would try to get to the bottom of her frustation, even when you try to help. If all else fails, (if your schedule allows), set aside 30 min a night for her homework & tell her it's her choice, she can do her homework - with your help if necessary, or she can do nothing. This way she has a schedule and knows what to expect each night. Good luck...there's nothing worse than school battles!

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answers from Indianapolis on

Maybe you need to check a couple of things. If these are "easy" then is there something else going on? Has she had her eyes checked, is she not understanding the material but is scared to say anything. There could be a number of reasons why all of a sudden it's a fight. Check with her teacher and see how she's been doing in class.

Then if everything else checks out then, yes she needs to be held accountable for her homework. With that said, you can't expect a 3rd grader to just do it because it's due on Thursday, every night make her do the 20 min reading and then see if you can space out the worksheets by making her do 10-15 min of work each night. Maybe looking at a whole page is overwhelming so break it into pieces and let her do a certain amount or time each night.

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answers from Jacksonville on

This is the 2nd post on this site in the past 24 hours that references teachers sending home a weeks worth of homework in advance. My kids' schools have NEVER done it that way. Sure, there might be a project that they get several nights or weeks to work on. But daily homework assignments are DAILY. Not sent in advance. Their minds can't really process planning out a whole week of work like that.

You should explain to her how to break it down into smaller "bites" by doing it with her. Go through it with her and divide it up into smaller daily size chunks. Then ask her if she wants to get it done right away, so she can enjoy the rest of her day, or if she would rather take a quick break (30 minutes outside?) before getting started on her work. (That gives her a little control, but doesn't let her procrastinate until bedtime). Then have her sit down at the table with few distractions and get that chunk for the day done.

As a side note, my son used to get very angry at homework time also. He has always struggled with his handwriting. Made his hand hurt, too. He would make mistakes and erase so hard he would rip holes in the page. It wasn't because he was a bad kid or he was fighting authority. He is a GOOD kid who loves to be beloved by his teachers. He wants to please. But anything that involved writing was like telling him to jump as high as the moon. He'd LOVE to... but he'd never make it no matter how hard he tried. He was constantly made to re-do writing work in kindergarten. He would try and try and the paper would still be messy, he'd still do problems out of order, etc.. and it would be SO frustrating for him. He would get angry. My helping didn't always help. He was (and is) a smart boy, but his work on paper didn't always cooperate with what he wanted to do. And it made him miserable. If your daughter is experiencing a similar frustration, I can tell you, that any kind of busy work is like pure TORTURE for her. If she is normally a disruptive, tantrum prone kid, then maybe it is an authority issue... but I'd be surprised if there isn't more to it than that. What is it that frustrates her to the point of throwing things?

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answers from Jacksonville on

Is she having trouble with the work ? If so, she is acting out because she feels inadequate or "not smart enough". Reassure her she is smart and all of us have problems with something at one time or another.

If she is an easy learner , then I'd give her options/consequences. No home work ,... then no tv, or friends, or outings ,... whatever works with her. Make sure she gets the connection about homework vs grades . I might even contact the teacher to find out what behavior is like in class.
Good luck and stick to your Guns ,(or she'll learn to play you every time .) C. S.

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answers from Austin on

Yes! We try to tell parents this all of the time. If you do not let them see that you are serious, they will continue to test you.

Make sure that the teacher knows to give your daughter the exact consequences as anyone else.. Then if your daughter does not get a good grade this week, sound like she will need to figure out how to make it better.. (maybe do the homework and turn it in late, whether she gets partial credit or not). Try to allow her to figure out how to solve this next time..

Also I hope she does not have any social activities she was planning this weekend, because if she really does not turn in that homework, I assume she will be grounded..

I know this is very hard. But in the long run, if you stay true to this, she will know that homework in non negotiable.. and nip this in the bud..

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answers from Wichita on

Jennifer C touched on something you might want to check into: dyslexia. Homework fights are very common when children are struggling to understand/do their homework. I'm trained in Alphabetic Phonics (curriculum used to teach dyslexic people to read) and the first student I tutored had knock-down, drag-out fights with her parents every night over homework. She was in 3rd grade. When a child is dyslexic, giving them an entire week of homework all at once is overwhelming. And you need to understand that most teachers don't have a clue about dyslexia. Many of these kids hit a wall around age 8, because the reading vocabulary has increased beyond their capacity to memorize words. I don't know what kind of resources you have available in MO, but in Wichita, there is a place called FUNdamental Learning Center, where they tutor students and train tutors in Alphabetic Phonics. Their phone number is 316-684-READ (7323). They might be able to direct you to some help in the state of MO. Good luck!

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answers from New York on

I think you are doing a great job although it probably doesn't feel like it when you end up frustrated every night. Letting her suffer the consequences of not having her work done is the best thing you can do.

Who picked the time to do homework? Is it the same time every night? Maybe you should work with your daughter and get her input on when she wants to set aside time every day to do her work. Before dinner? After? Right when she gets home? Giving her more say so moves the pressure off you to make her do something and onto her where it should be.

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answers from Kansas City on

you are doing the right thing. She knows it needs to be done, and if she doesnt do it she should suffer the consequences.



answers from St. Louis on

No, I think you need to push it. That is your job as her parent and she is only in 3rd grade. Is she having any issues w/ the homework such as reading issues or understanding? Sometimes when they don't understand instead of telling you they will act out. You might prod her and see if there is something else to the homework that is bugging her. I would make a set time each day - say when she comes home from school that she has to do her homework and she will not be allowed to do anything else until it is complete. They way you handle her homework now will probably determine how it will continue as she ages. Good luck.



answers from St. Louis on

Although creating routines, setting clear boundaries and expectations, and establishing the consequences of both reward and punishment are important - however much it is imperative that you allow a child to face the consequences set by the teacher and set an example of honesty - it is also important to try to understand why a child is responding so differently than before. Often, when children are fighting and responding emotionally, it is because they have some issue they feel is not being understood or because they need some type of help.

You might try asking questions that can help you understand what the issue is for her. There is a way to companion a child and help the child better understand their challenges and consider various options for solutions.

One thing to remember when asking questions is to avoid asking the 'why' questions. Even adults have a hard time answering those questions and, even if they can come up with an answer, it is usually not very helpful. It is better to ask 'what' and 'how' questions. For example: "What in the homework assignment feels challenging or uncomfortable?" "What do you think would be the best way to get the most out of your assignments to help you in school and allow our time at home to be happy?" "How can I support you to be more comfortable with your homework time and to complete the work early so that we can enjoy our time at home and avoid the tension created when you resist homework?" These are just a few suggestions and, of course, you need to put it in your own words and be sincere.

Although there is nothing wrong with you setting clear boundaries and stating that the homework must be finished by a certain time or that a certain amount of time should be spent each day and set the time for that to happen, it is also good to not be unnecessarily rigid. You could simply tell your daughter that it is your job as a mother to monitor the atmosphere in the home and that arguing about things is not useful or acceptable. You can then tell her that you intend to find a way to solve the problems and that you are happy to hear ideas about how it might be solved. Then you can tell her that you are establishing specific routines so that there will be nothing to argue about and that you will be listening and watching how it works out so that you can adjust the program as you learn what works and doesn't work. Then, repeat that you will be asking for input on the subject.

I learned so much about how to companion a child from the book I frequently recommend to parents, The Family Virtues Guide, by Linda K Popov. You can learn more at www.virtuesproject.com.

Blessings and good luck!



answers from Honolulu on

My daughter is in 3rd grade and is 7 years old.

For her class... homework is everyday. It is a big jump in complexity, compared to 2nd grade.

For her, everyday homework consists of a Math worksheet or 2, some kind of reading comprehension or spelling worksheet, making sentences using 10 words from their list, and doing 20 minutes of reading for their daily reading log and AR reading comprehension test, they take.
It takes... about 1 hour to complete, if my daughter works on it without distraction... and I sit there, while she is doing it. To egg her on and cue her and answer any questions she has.

We do homework daily, RIGHT after she comes home from school. Otherwise, it gets procrastinated and she gets too tired.
Also right after we come home from school, I let her unwind... and have a snack. She is tired after school... and a kid needs to, unwind, afterschool. Then, after about 1 hour, she HAS to do homework. That is a daily routine.
On weekends, she also gets homework. And she has to do it, in the morning, before she can do anything else.

If she does not cooperate... then, I tell her she goes to school with incomplete homework and she WILL have to tell the Teacher why, herself. But, my daughter will do her homework. Because, going to school with it incomplete, is not a repercussion she wants.

The homework my daughter gets, is not always easy. Even I as an adult, have to look it over several times, to see exactly what the homework is.... and how to do it.
So I always, assist my daughter with homework. Not doing it for her of course, but as a moral support and clarifying things, for her.

I also find, that by the time they get home from school, a kid sometimes forgets, 'how' to do the homework... even if they may have did a practice of it at school in class together. So... there is that factor too.
If my daughter struggles with something, I tell the Teacher... and often find, that other kids are perhaps having trouble with certain math equations too.. so then the Teacher gives extra work on it, for practice and comprehension of it.

This is how it is for my daughter, in her class and grade.
Her Teacher said, 3rd Grade work, IS a jump in complexity. And in expectations, for the child. They are now in secondary level school, not "primary" grade levels. 3rd grade is a transition to that.
And in 4th grade, there is a big jump, in work complexity as well. So, in 3rd Grade, they are prepping for that etc.

Try to have a daily routine about homework... the same time, the same thing everyday.
If your daughter does not comply, then send her to school without it being completed.
Don't let her have privileges.....
HELP her with time management...because kids this age cannot time manage by themselves.
See if she CAN do the work, or if it is too much and too confusing for her.
ASK her 'why' she cannot do the work... or 'why' it is such a challenge for her.
Is she tired? Hungry? kids can't function and do homework if tired of hungry.
Is she a 'perfectionist?' If so, then maybe she does not want to do it because she thinks it will not be 'perfect' enough? Some kids are like that.
How is she in class? Does she complete her in-class work??? TALK to the Teacher about it.

all the best,



answers from Washington DC on

OH the homework battles.
Is it on her level or too easy or too hard?
If it's way too easy she may just see it as stupid busy work and "why should I because I know how anyway." THEn she should suffer the consequences of staying in at recess and finishing it, or whatever the teacher has in mind.
If it's too hard address it with the teacher then the two of you come up with a plan.

I would pull the plug on all electronics until homework is finished, this includes the weekends. If she isnt' doing it now then there should be a punishment. I am assuming this is just work she can do but doesn't want to do. THen after a week of that tell her that IF she does her homework on time the she can have friends over or tv or whatever, but if it is not turned in then she loses privileges for another week.
TEll her what you expect, I want you to do one page a day and do your reading by 7pm every night.
In order to do that you will come home and have snack and down time until 4pm then work on homework unitl 5. Or whatever.
Get out the timer, give her 20 minutes for reading then 40 for homework.
While she does her homework do your bills, cook dinner, read the newspaper, anything in that room or near her so she is not banished to her room to daydream.
My daughter is 15 and still does her homework on the kithcen table at times just to be near us.


answers from St. Louis on

First of all, always have the SAME place and SAME time for her (she may want to choose)to do her HW. Let her have a snack before doing HW and have a casual chat with her about school or anything else she is interested in. It will probably take 20 minutes or so. Then, with all your patience, check HW together and break it in small parts to be done from the very same day until Tuesday (not Thursday). She will like to have everything done before the due date! Every day a little work the best! Does she likes music? if it is so, put some soft music while she is working.
Start doing this every Friday, do not let her to skip Friday , Sat and Sun without doing anything otherwise she won't be in the mood to do school work. The first few days work with her and guide her the way she would break HW in little parts, she will get used to it with the passing of days.
Also consider and observe if she dislikes handwriting or something else that may be a factor that contribute to her "tantrums" or fights.
It is a good idea to let her choose about time and place since is something she has "control", but at the same time it is you the one that HAS the total control of the situation. So think of this and any problem or issue she may be having to feel this way. However, this is the age of Homework fights and tantrums.Good Luck!

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