Third Grafe Homework

Updated on April 06, 2009
T.P. asks from Dighton, MA
16 answers

I have a question for moms of grade schoolers. Everyday after a long day of school I think the kids need a break, however in our house we have a hard time doing homework so after flipflopping and doing our homework directly upon coming home it has been somewhat better. But we still have an argument everyday - one that makes homework time double. Usually, if my daughter stops the attitude she gets the homework quickly, quietly and correctly. Suddenly we are in a phase of whining, "I need Help", "I can't do this", "my teacher is so mean" - all the usual critism. Any ideas how to make it more smoothly?

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answers from Springfield on

My son is only in 1st grade and I think that the schools give way too much homework. Its bad enough the cut recess down to barely anything. Kids are kids and they should be playing and having fun. We didn't get homework until 4th grade and even then it was hardly anything. It was only a few simple things and not every night either and I wasn't in 4th grade all that long ago. I can't believe what they expect from kids these days. I would make the rule that she gets 1 hr to 1 1/2 hrs of play before she does homework but when its time for homework its time for homework. I never let my son go longer then 30 minutes with his homework though. She's a little older so maybe 45 minutes if it takes longer then that then she's coming home with too much and I send a note in w/ my son's unfinished work unless he's arguing causing it to take that long then he will sit there until its done.

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answers from Boston on

My daughter is in second grade. I have had similar problems this past year. I would definitely email the teacher and ask her to call you. Then explain what is going on. Maybe the teacher could give a week off. I think the kids need it. I am not an educator- but I just hate this burden of homework myself. Every night having homework at this age seems inappropriate.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Burlington on

Find ways to make homework time a bit more fun. Put a few healthy snacks on the table and set up a reward system to encourage the results without the arguments. Stay at the table with her... maybe even get your 4 year old to sit nearby and color to help her transition to homework time in the future. If your 4 year old is running around doing something that your 8 year old wants to do, its going to make it that much harder for her to concentrate on her homework.

Set up a homework completion chart. Put each night of the week down and give out stars for the days that go well. Once she has so many stars pick out a special treat (or maybe even try a 2 tier treat system... if she gets a star on her chart give her a small treat like a hershey kiss right away and then if she fills an entire month long calendar with stars then she gets to go to a place like Chuck E. Cheese's or Kids Discovery Zone with a friend... OR let her buy a special craft project or learning toy where she also gets to have special time with you).

I also use a fuzzy jar system with my children (same concept as a chart but its a big jar and a fuzzy goes into it when they do what they are supposed to and when the jar is full of fuzzies its time for their treat).

Hope it goes well :)



answers from Boston on

I have a third grader and had to deal with this at the beginning of the year, but here's what we do... When we get home, she is to pull out the folder from school and get started on her homework. I encourage her to just get it done. I also ask her whether or not whining is helping her homework get done faster. When I hear "I need help" (usually an attempt at stalling) I ask her whether or she's read the instructions and if she has tried it on her own. If she has not done at least that much, then I won't help. Usually what happens is she gets it all done correctly - without help. (Of course if she is still asking for help after she's attempted it on her own, I WILL help her.) I also remind her that if she stops wasting time whining and focuses on just getting it done, she will have more time later to do what SHE wants to do. Establishing the routine of getting the homework done as soon as we get home has really helped. She also started to realize if she just focuses and gets it done instead of talking and whining it's a lot easier! This way, it's all done and she has time to play, watch a little TV or whatever and won't have to cut that time short because she has to go back and pull out her homework later.



answers from Boston on

This is my advice -- pick a time when you're not arguing about it, and say to your daughter -- ok, we've got a problem. Here's what it is, and explain your problem. She'll probably agree that it's a problem, because she probably isn't happy with the situation either. Then the two of you brainstorm about solutions -- write them all down, no matter how silly or unacceptable some of them are. Then read all the solutions out loud, crossing out those that just won't work at all (like "not doing my homework," which will almost definitely come up :-) and then you and she pick the 3 (or 2, or whatever -- depends on how many yo have) that you want to try, and maybe decide to try each of those 3 for a week each, and then pick the one that works best, or if none work, brainstorm some more. With this method, she really feels part of the decision making process, and owns the solutions, rather than having the rules handed down to them with no input. It works really well. I did this with my second grader a few weeks ago, and homework is going much smoother now.

Now, a couple of suggestions, pick a time to start homework after a break from school, (my son starts his homework at 4:30 after getting home at 3:50) or use a timer, 15 min for snack after school, 15 min of focused homework, 15 min break, 15 min of homework, until it is done. We'll probably switch to this once my son's homework takes him longer than 15 min or so. :-)

Good luck.



answers from Boston on

All the scheduling advice you've been given is great. However, consider too that 3rd grade is usually where learning problems like dyslexia and ADD are first found. My 3rd grader "hates" school and homework even more. After an assessment we found she does not have dyslexia but probably due to ADD (which shows as "dreaminess" in girls) she has missed certain lessons and now has gaps in her reading & writing. The school can assess dyslexia, the pediatrician needs to assess ADD (still on going for us - questionnaires for home and school need to be returned to the doctor for analysis and a consult). She now gets remediation in reading and spelling and was even found to have a speech issue with certain sounds causing her to spell them incorrectly as well. I hope that your 8 year old daughter just has the normal tiredness after a 6 hour day at school. Also talk to the teacher and see if they have advice - my 6th grader was doing all the math homework every night when the teacher explained that 30 minutes is all they need to do (the rest are just more of the same for practice).



answers from Boston on

hi T.,

They do need a brake after school, I let mine play for an hour or so. Then homework until it done. Make a time such as 4 O'Clock is homework time. And show her the clock and do the same thing every day. I give mine a snack while doing it. I always sit with him also and read the paper or something. Good luck!




answers from Boston on

First off, tell the teacher about your problem with a quick e-mail or call.... It is my belief that a lot of these kids are getting too much homework at an early age and it is making the process harder for all concerned. If enough parents say something, maybe things will change. That said, do not do the homework for your child. To answer a quick question is o.k., but I've seen parents literally sit down and give the answers to the kids. My kids have always come home, had a snack and a chat and then done their homework. Some days are easier than others, but that is the routine.... Third grade is too early to be stressed out about school, but I've seen kids even younger turn off. Talk to her teacher! Good luck!



answers from Hartford on


The most important advice I have for you is to communicate this concern with the teacher. I disagree with another response you've received to automatically blame the teacher. Your daughter may struggle in class as well, and your communication with her teacher should be invaluable. I have found that once there's an open-line and regular/weekly feedback, your daughter will feel a sense of 'a team' behind her.

She may also benefit from having a checklist at home to help her understand her responsibility/job as a student.

In conclusion, at times it's as simple as opening up the line of communication with the teacher. And/or establishing a visible routine to display in your home to help give your child the sense of consistency and support.

I hope that helped.



answers from Boston on

Hi Tracy.
I have a 3rd grader and a 6th grader and although both boys, I believe that we as parents should not make them do their homework immediately when they come home from school. As you said, they have just spent a really long day at school, so let them run around, play and unwind. I find that when doing that, they are much more responsive to sitting down and doing homework.



answers from Barnstable on

Sounds like your daughter really does need help. I also have a third grader and she went through this exact thing last year. Whiny, homework was too difficult etc. I really think it was a lack of instruction in the classroom and I felt like I was the teacher. So I gave her all the help she needed and this year she has a wonderful teacher and the whining and help has completely stopped. She has a snack and does her homework right away (sometimes it is A LOT, but it still goes smoothly). Whenever she has a substitute in class the whining starts up again and I know it's because the amount of instruction is different with the sub. Just hold on and hope for a strong teacher next year!

After reading some of the other responses I want to say I am not necessarily "blaming" the teacher. What I mean is that homework should be a reiteration of what was learned in class and shouldn't be new or unfamiliar material. Last year my daughter acted like she had never seen the material before when she came home with it and I had a talk with the teacher about who said she pays attention in class. This year it is exactly as it should be - my daughter explains it to me sometimes, but when they have a sub, she really is confused about the material. So I would look at whether or not she's paying attention during the instruction or if the instruction method is going over her head.



answers from Boston on

Hi T.,

I am also the mother of a third grader and a second grader and they both have homework each night.

Definately, a routine is essential. My girls get home around 3:30 PM. They ususally go right into the bathroom and wash their hands as I insist they "wash off school" as soon as the come home! They are usually starving so they have pretty hearty snack. Actually, if I could have dinner ready they would probably be ready to eat dinner.

I let them watch about 1/2 hour of t.v. to relax and then we go out for a walk or bike ride or play in the yard. Around 5 PM the girls sit at the kitchen table each in their own chair and we do homework together as I prepare dinner. That way I am close by for assistance. I have a box with crayons, pencils, erasers a ruler and a pencil sharpener nearby which I put on the table during homework so they don't have to get up to get anything. Occasionally, my younger daughter makes alot of noise, but ultimately they get down to it because they know the routine. The full homework from math to reading/writing to spelling words to ongoing book reports and/or flash cards takes about an hour.

After dinner the girls wash up and they can choose a book they want to read in bed and they will read from about 8PM to 9PM before falling asleep.

On Tuesday's things are a little more rushed as they have gymnastics after school so I have something already prepared for dinner. Except for the 1/2 hour of t.v. after school, my girls do not watch t.v. unless it is Friday or Saturday evening. Not morning t.v. at all. I really think t.v. eats up so much time. After declaring war on the television and winning we find we have so much more time.

The Routine is the key. And don't give in to the whining. When she realizes you are not going to compromise your daughter will adjust to the routine. Best Wishes.

J. L.



answers from Bangor on

Hi T.,

I have a daughter in kindergarden and a daycare with 2 other school age kids, homework almost every night. What I do is they get 1 to 11/2hrs of outside play time right after school. Gets out all that pent up energy. Then homework until done.
I almost never have any problem with this schedule, because they know thats the rule.
But I agree that after a long day at school they need a break before jumping into homework.
By the way, I can really tell when they don't get that time outside...running screaming and whinning in the house right though time to go home.




answers from Boston on

Hi T.-

I agree that kids need a break to unwind and play after coming home from school. If homework is becoming a battle, I would give your daughter something fun to look forward to (going to the park, going on a bike ride, watching a movie, taking a big bubble bath) AFTER the homework is done. The whole "when this is done then we do this" works really well with kids.

I also find that sitting at the table with your kids as they do their homework helps too. I usually fold laundry, read the mail, do some dinner prep etc. during homework time, but my presence at the table seems to help them stay focused.

Good luck
T. Y
SAHM of almost 4 - 8 yrs 7 yrs, 16months and now 10 weeks pregnant.



answers from Providence on

We have trouble with homework at our house too so heres what we do We get a fifteen minute "break" when we get home either watch tv or play a video game or when the weather is cooperating play outside. This way they feel they are getting a break and I get things set up for homework time. If the timer goes off and your not at the homework table then bed time is adjusted for punishment. My son is never late to the homework table. Hope it helps!

S. H.



answers from Portland on

I have a real problem with the amount of homework given to kids and the age they are given it.
At eight years old for goodness sake. about a break , half hour or forty minutes or so right after school? A snack..change clothes maybe?
Then , if you could sit down with her, or have her at kitchen table while you cook supper perhaps? Then you would be at hand to help her.
Undivided attention for homework would be fantastic, but probably not doable.
You could have a box maybe, or something, with homework aids . This would save the "I dont have scissors , markers, pens, papers, erasers, ect ect"
Kids are tired after a long day of school, then to sit there and do homework for several hours is a lot to expect of a child.
The break, and do homework at kitchen table ( or counter) worked for my seven kids quite well.
This tons of homework thing really annoys me. Not sure I see the necessity for it at all.
In any case
Best wishes and God bless
Grandmother Lowell
PS I do like some of Andrea's ideas quite well !!!

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