Homework Troubles

Updated on March 16, 2007
M.H. asks from Inglewood, CA
9 answers

All of a sudden my 7 year old has been having trouble doing her homework. Her grandpa picks her up from school and she use to have it done by the time I get home. Now when I am home, its not done and she says she doesn't understand it. Yet when I am next to her, she does it fine. I have talked to her teacher about this and she said recently she has been doing the same thing in class too. Her teacher doesn't understand b/c my daugter is one of the top kids in the class. I know it isn't an "I need attention" thing b/c my daughter and I spend alot of time together (too much I am told by others around me). Any ideas on what's going on? Has anyone else had this issue?

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi! I used to be a 2nd grade school teacher! Please feel free to personally email me for more help! Have you asked the teacher if she is having trouble seeing? It was my experience that this was the age in which thier eye sight begins to change, and this is the year in which most of the children get glasses for the first time...very traumatic! I have other questions for you so please contact me!

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answers from San Francisco on

Oh my gosh I thought it was just my son that is doing this. I have a 7yr old Boy,4yr old Girl,2yr old boy and I am a single mom too. I am about to loose my mind with this homework thing too with my 7yr old. I am in the same sitution almost to a T! I have done everything from taking everything away to asking his daycare to help, his dad has talked to him (didnt help cause hes barley in there lifes) and for some reason his daycare lady will sit with him and she says he does fine after she makes him read it....but he always says he cant....forgot....and cant do it!We dont get home till later and I am trying to make dinner take care of the baby and when I do get to getting around to help him he freaks out crying and says he just cant do it?? Please let me know what you figure out cause I need help bad too!



answers from Los Angeles on

Just because you think you spend a lot of time together doesn't mean she thinks so. Also, it may be a competition thing.

Our 9 YO has a problem like yours. He says his teacher hasn't explained the things that are in his homework and has daily meltdowns about it. When my husband sits with him, he is fine. But, my husband works from home and prepares dinner and doesn't have time to babysit him through the easy stuff. We feel homework is review work and he should be able to do it without a whole lot of help. What we do is, my husband picks him up at 3:30. D does his homework by himself for 90 minutes. After that 90 minutes he is allowed to ask for help on the things he was unable to figure out. The first couple weeks were hard, but now he has been finishing before 6. He is not out of danger for failing his grade, so we pointed out to him that he needs to be able to do this himself, that soon he will be in junior high and we will not be sitting with him to do homework.

Anyway, your 7 YO may suddenly feel like she is competing with her younger sibling. If you are sitting with her doing homework, you are not playing with her sibling, and it may be a sort of a power play. We decided not to do that with our 9 YO because he is an otherwise bright boy, but easily distracted and lazy.



answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear M.,

Of course, I don't know what is going on, but there are strong symptoms of lack of security and need for closeness. Where is Dad? Maybe she would like to see him? What about an afterschool day care. A small church one where she can be with peers. You are doing the right thing about sitting with her while she does her homework - it is a great communication time, and don't listen to people who tell you that you are spending too much time with her. I could say mean words about that, for sure.

A clue for the future: Do listen to people, but do not act on their advice until you are convinced that it is the right thing for your family. Ask around, just like you are doing now, and the solution will come to you. No one knows the family needs better than mom or dad.

Good Luck, and keep trying until you find the answer, maybe you could ask her what is bothering her? Keep listening to her and she will eventually tell you, you have to make her feel very secure with you and that you will not get very mad about it. again, Good Luck, C. N.



answers from Sacramento on

I would find out what is happening while she is in Grandpa's care? Maybe his attempts at helping her are to yell at her or maybe its something more serious. Children don't just do this overnight there is an underlining issue and I think it might have to do with Grandpa. Is she in the house with anyone else besides Grandpa?
W. H.



answers from Los Angeles on

Have you sat her down and asker her about it? It really does sound like she's learned that she can get one-on-one attention this way. The only other thing I can think of is that she feels insecure in her academic skills. Some of my students ask for help on things I know they can do because they don't think they're smart.

I would try talking to her first and see why she feels it's difficult. Ask her what she thinks she needs, and then why she thinks she needs it. Don't criticize, just listen and offer support. When working with her, praise her and tell her that she is smart, and perhaps she will regain her confidence.



answers from Los Angeles on


My daughter did the same to me at the same age. In my daughter's case it was for attention (even though we spent alot of time together, she was still needing more) This really opened both of us up as she is growing up, we talk more about real things that are happening and going on around us. It's as though she grew up over night and she didn't know how to express her feelings about. So her way was to act up with school work.

We eventually worked through the situation and my daughter and I have a most wonderful relationship.

I to have another daughter who is now 21 months old and my oldest who is now 8 is very helpful with her and we have given her some responsibilities with the little one. It makes her feel grown up and lets her know that we trust her.

Things happen for a reason, even when we think we are doing everything right and most likly we are doing the best we can, but kids yearn the attention and affection and to know how important they are in our lives and to know how proud we are of them.

I hope that this helps you.



answers from San Francisco on

I had a similar problem with my son when he was around the same age. My solution was to sit down with him for a bit (5 mins or so) going through the problems (this was mainly with math). I offered praise (that's great, you really have the hang of it - that type of thing) then told him to try the next few on his own. While he was doing that, I would be nearby but not sitting with him so he didn't feel like he was having to work alone. After a couple weeks of this, he seemed to regain his confidence and was back to doing homework by himself! Good lucK!



answers from Los Angeles on

I'm a 2nd grade teacher and many of my students won't do any work unless I am over their shoulder encouraging them and re-explaining the concepts. What I do with my students and what I suggest to you is help your daughter with one problem then tell her that you want her to do the next few on her own. After a few minutes, come back to check on her. Don't help her until she has at least attempted them. Kids figure out around this age that they can get teacher or mom to do all the work for them if they ask for help. This is especially true for the smart ones! Just like adults, kids are lazy by nature and need clear expectations and boundaries to get them to work. Good luck!

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