What Can I Do to Help My 12 Yr Old Not Take So Long to Do Homework

Updated on December 02, 2006
J.B. asks from Saint Louis, MO
10 answers

My daughter is 12yrs old and in the 7th grade.It takes her awhile to get her homework as well as in-school assignments complete.Like today for instance was traumatic,and is why I am putting in this request.She had a math worksheet that was slightly difficult for her but had been working on since she got home from school wich was about 4:30pm.When I asked her did she need help she refused and when I checked over the work there were alot of problems she had gotten right.At 10:40pm she was still up doing other assignments.All in total she had a math essay to write,and the 2worksheets that were still incomplete.What does this mean?

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So What Happened?

Hello to all and thank u so much for ur responses.My daughter is now 13 and in the 8th grade.She is doing so good in all of her subjects.Homework is not an issue 4 her anymore.After reading the responses and thinking to myself I decided to get her invovled in the after school tutoring program.This was a big help to her and she enjoyed it as well.When she does have homework it usually doesn't take her that long now(maybe 20mins to an hour depending on how much it is).She may even finish her homework at school b4 she gets home.She had told me also that the new atmosphere at her middle school and the classes and homework were getting the best of her because she wasn't use to it.With these things in mind I trust and believe that she will have a very successful year and when she seems to have trouble now we know how to address it.Thank u once again for all ur help.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I htink it would help her if she got a tutor. Most schools have some kind of peer tutoring group. Let her know how beneficial it would be if you or a tutor could help her. She'd spend less time doing work and more time playing. Maybe her teacher could be of some help also.

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answers from Tulsa on

Before jumping on paying a tutor, I'd try to rule out everything else first. Here are the questions that came to mind ... Have you spoken with her math teacher? Is she talking/not paying attention in class? Is it possible she misunderstood (or didn't pay attention to) when all of the assignments were due and has put too much on herself? Is she struggling with the actual concepts she's learning or does she just piddle when it comes to getting the work done? Is she struggling with something social at school? If she truly has a difficult time getting through math worksheets (which you would probably know by her age - if she's been in school, she's been doing worksheets for 7 years now), can you arrange for her to have a little extra time to turn them in?

The amount of work you described doesn't seem like "too much" to me, and I know my 5th grader gets the equivalent of that done daily in class. She's a good student on the report card, but has always had a bad tendency to talk to others in class - perhaps someone like my kid is sitting next to your daughter! We've had to explain to her that even though the talking isn't hurting her grades, it's hindering those around her who NEED to be paying attention.



answers from Kansas City on

I remember when I was in school, it took me forever to do assignments because I would always get distracted. I'd have to save most of my work for the day for at home, when I could be in my room when it was 100% quiet and nothing distracting me. I wasn't tested for anything, but think I could have had ADD. Does she have a lot of distractions at home? Radio, tv, stuff going on around her?



answers from St. Louis on

I have a 12 yr old son that has this exact same problem. It will also take him until 10pm some nights to get his homework done. It is ridiculous. I have tried many different things. He does take Concerta which helps at school but by the evening it has wore off. No problems at school at all. If you do come across any good advise please pass it along I would love to try anything!! Thanks, L.



answers from Tulsa on

She may be finding it hard to focus or she may be getting distracted. Honestly I don't think the schools are giving that much homework at that level but you never know what the school's goals are. You said it yourself she's challenged by the homework and the fact that she spent 6 hours working on it is amazing.

It may be time to invest in a tutor or a learning program that will help her absorb the information. The Boys and Girls Club of America offers those sorts of things for a pretty inexpensive price. There's also places like Sylvan Learning Center which could offer testing to see if she has any trouble comprehending things or just can't focus enough to do the work quickly and effectively.

Speak to the teacher about it and see if the school can offer some help. The teacher will know how long it should take an average child to complete the worksheet and you can guage your child's needs according to that.



answers from Kansas City on

I would highly recommend getting her some sylvan help... she might be missing a building block that is causing her to struggle through the homework. They are amazing!



answers from Tulsa on

I would be surprised if she does, but have you checked her for any learning disabilities like ADD/ ADHD, dislexia (sp?) . I doubt she has ADHD or she wouldn't be able to sit that long. My daughter would take hours to do her homework as well. It was so frustrating. In order to know how to help, you need to know why she needs the help. So talk to a specialist as well.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I know exactly what she is going through, I've been there!!! I feel for her so much and I'm sure I put my mom through the same thing you are going through right now. Have you had screaming and crying fits yet? If I were you, I would not have her evaluated unless you believe she is mentally unable to grasp certain concepts. If you do choose to have her evaluated find your own child psychologis to do the teasting, the school gets extra federal money for every child requiring special attention so their oppinion may be bias. The school system is required to pay for the testing wheather you use the school psychologist or you find your own. I say this because it is very, very likely any child psychologist will either tell you "LD" classes in the short term so she can get more one on one attention to better grasp the concepts or label her "learning disabled" in certain areas then request that you put her into LD classes in an attempt to help her catch up, raise grades, fill in learning gaps, and get more one on one attention. Sounds like what you both need, right? WRONG!!!

Here is how the public school "LD" system works; They test her IQ and what she has learned in school up to this point. They will pin-point any learning gaps and what grade level she is on in every subject. I'd be willing to bet since her IQ obviously isn't low enough to be mentaly handicaped they would base their request to give her "extra help" on filling in any gaps in her learning and giving her more time and extra one on one help in doing her work. All of this doesn't sound so bad, does it?

Here is the down side. Once a student is in the "LD" system and/or has an IEP (Independant Education Program), every year no matter the school she goes to they will hound you to put her in their "LD" program and you will feel you have to, that LD and IEP stuff will follow her for the rest of her school life. This is only a good thing if you believe in taking the easy way out at the expense of her self esteam and being prepared for college.

This is why; since the LD classes slow things down a bit (actually a lot because of the varing levels of students in the class, they won't even all be her age.) so topics can be covered more clearly (the student will fall further and further behind other students her age every year until she, would even tell you she couldn't make it in a mainstream math class. True, she will be making wonderful grades because she will likely be allowed to take tests no matter what class with her LD teacher where the test may be made easier by not requiring her to do all problems, no time limits, and maybe even made into multiple choice. All of these things mean the school district gets paid more from the government. However, this does not benefit her in actually learning the material and will make college extreamly difficult.

What I would do; get her a tutor, help her yourself if you are good at math, or send her somewhere like Sylvan Learning Center http://tutoring.sylvanlearning.com/. It is expensive but very worth it. My Sophamore year my mother gave me the choice to get Math tutoring at Sylvan Learning Center or a car for my 16th birthday. I was no different than any other teenager and I really really wanted that car...but I wanted to feel smart even more. I knew I was but nobody would believe me or so I felt. There was nothing I could do, I felt powerless, Its not like I knew how to teach myself the math I needed to know to be back on my grade level. So, I chose to go to Sylvan. At first I was afraid I'd be the oldest one there. That was far from the truth. Most of the students are young but people go there for help in h.s. and college too. The teachers each have their Masters in that subject! And, there are never more than 4 students per teacher at one time. Each session was one hour, just a few problems, lots of explination, demonstration, and NO HOMEWORK!!! After attending Sylvan Learning Center my Sophamore year for 6 months my math grade level went from 7th to 10th grade. If you can make any sacrfice to send her there it is worth it for both your sanity and her self esteam!!!!!!!!!!! I had always asked my elementry, middle school, and high school math teachers when I was going to use this. Teachers hate that question because they think the kids are asking what profession will require Algebra. When in fact, I believe most children are like I was just wanting to know when that formula would be used. It wasn't until attending Sylvan that anybody ever explained more than what steps were involved in solving the problem. Hummmm, go figure!

I have had too many bad experiences in school involving my "LD" label to mention but among them are not being allowed to take certain classes involving math such as sciences. I was even denied AP courses in Government and Psychology because I was an LD student and aparently the last thing I needed was more work. (once I got the nerve to fight the system on my own I was allowed to take both these AP courses and I earned the college credit to go with it!) LD students are allowed to graduate without having met state requirements for graduation. The same number of credits are required just not in the same level of courses. For example, I graduated with only one semester of Freshman Algebra (which I was only allowed to take my senior year, once I turned 18 and spent 3 hours during school demanding I be taken out of LD Math classes.) I was not ready for Algebra and I knew it but my goal in h.s. wasn't to just graduate (with lower LD standards) I wanted to graduate without LD classes and actually earn it. I wish my mother had stood up for me from the beginning but she just wanted to stop my crying, screaming, struggles to get my homework done. She should have held me back instead.

When I applied for college I wasn't accepted to some schools simply because I needed remedial math courses lower than they offered. I have since made it through college but had my mom backed me up a long time ago my life could have been much easier in school without LD courses. Teachers are taught to recognise when a child can't keep up and start taking steps to get the student extra help. I do not think these teachers really understand what that system does to a student long term, nor how it limits their education. Yes, the LD program fills in gaps but the grade level never catches up!

This is the first step I would take;

1. Have the teacher demonstrait for her or you in what case each of the math problems would actually be used. Sylvan demonstraited word problems for me so I learned when to use that formula not just memorizing the steps taken to solve it. If it is fractions, this can also be demonstraited, You'll be surprised that many public school teachers do not do that. I would insist on being there when the teacher demonstrates this to your child so you know they can actually do it.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Get a timer, set it for about 45 minutes ( each subject ) and when the timer goes off she done with that subject. Whaterver is not finished she takes it to school and it gets graded. A few bad grades should turn her around.



answers from Kansas City on

I think you might want to have your daughter evaluated, so someone can figure out exactly what is going on. No child should be a slave to homework 100% of their after-school time, and she probably needs someone to figure out what her obstacles are and help her overcome them. I know a woman who works professionally with children having school-work problems. Her name is Lori Willens, and her email address is [email protected]____.com, if you want to contact her. You can say S. P. gave you her name if you want to. You might also ask the school counselor whether they offer free testing services and educational counseling.

I'm sure you are feeling frustrated right along with your daughter. Good luck to you....


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