View Full Version : Homework woes........
September 28th, 2004, 05:06 PM
What to do, what to do,..... The nightly homework thing is becoming a battleground. I'm having a hard time dealing with it without 'going off'. My child is in 4th grade, and this is when things become much more academic. He doesn't get a packet like years past. It is now up to him to take responsibility for his assignments, and homework. He has to copy down on a list what is assigned and due for the next day. Herien lies the problem. He's distracted, and doesn't copy down what is assigned correctly. He apparently is busy chatting or not paying attention.
Once he gets home with the homework, it's a fight and battle to get him to sit down and do the homework. He wants to play ps2, or watch tv, or go outside with friends. Of course, I don't let him and an argument ensues. I'm so annoyed by his apathy. We've tried to discuss the importance of a good education, and it seems to fall on deaf ears. His desire is to be a pro skateboarder, to which i reply, "thats fine, but just have a back up plan which involves an education just in case you break a knee or something" When I say this, he feels I'm being unsupportive!
By the end of the week, his homework is incomplete, because he hasn't copied down the correct assingments.
Not to mention I feel like a total hypocrite, because I hated school, and I didn't do that well. I didn't even graduate, because I hated school so much, and I preffered working to school.
Ok, thanks for letting me rant, and if anyone has any opinions, feel free.
September 28th, 2004, 05:32 PM
wow...sounds like a regular everyday little boy to me! :smile: Maybe you could try getting him an assignment book, talk to his teacher, and ask her to put her signature below the assignments that he copies down so that she can help make sure that he is copying the right thing. And you shouldn't feel like a hypocrite at all. Everyone hated school...it sucks, but everyone has to go through it. You are not a bad parent just because you want him to have a good education, do his work, and become an intelligent and responsible young individual. My dad had horrible grades in school, and he hated it, but he had no problem pushing me to do better than he did, and in the end, I did do better than he did, not to make him feel stupid, but because I appreciated his interest in my success, as well as his understanding of the fact that school sucks, and then it's over.
About the apathy and the ps2 and the wanting to be a pro skater...the ps2 has gotta go. take it away, and he can't have it as an option when he gets home. The skater thing...Maybe you could reason with him...tell him that if he brings back five good grades on his homework (one for each day), he gets to go to a skatepark or something like that. And you could ask around and see if there are some skaters that do competitions and see if they would talk to him about the importance of school. You know how kids listen so well to everyone else but their parents.
Ok, I'm done with my opinions...just thought i'd give ya my two cents...or three cents...or four...however many all that accounted for. Good luck!! :thumbsup:
September 28th, 2004, 05:46 PM
Heh I was ready to be like "OMG Yes!" Sorry the grad school homework is slowly grinding me down. Not that it is any considalation, but I was just reminising about my relatively carefree elementary school days of homework. I really should get off the board and go finish the 5 problem homework set. At least this one isn't that bad. I have only spent about 10 hours on it so far.
On a more on topic note:
*Hugs* I know it stinks being the grown up, but you should know that you are doing the right things. I definately second hannahsinlove's idea about talking to some skaters. They may not seem like it to many people, but I have known a bunch of really smart and studious skaters. You might want to do it when not with your son though, just to play it safe. Good luck!
September 30th, 2004, 11:10 AM
Just a thought that I heard and kinda liked (very loosely quoting from Cynthia Tobias here):
What's the point? Is the point that you want him to do his homework, or is the point that he has to do it the minute he gets home from school? Would anybody burn if the kid got to go out and play (or stay in and play) for an hour, THEN did the homework? Is the point that he do the homework AT the kitchen table, or can he do it in his room laying on the floor with his feet up in the air? Is the point that he have total SILENCE while doing it, or can he have some music playing in the background? Some people function better on their own terms than on "the norm". Try to put a certain person in total quiet AT the kitchen table, and they'll be daydreaming and hating life the whole time. But if you put them IN their room, laying on the floor with books strewn about them and some music in the background, they get it done.
What Cynthia suggested was this: Give him some options like I mentioned above. Tell him that he can do that for two weeks and if (at the end of that two-week period) his productivity isn't BETTER, we go back to "the old school of thought" where he does it upon arriving home and does it where I deem it should be done. I'll betchya a buck that the first few days he's gonna slide WAY backwards and you'll think "What on EARTH have I done?" but then he'll realize that he's getting a sweet deal and pick up on things and begin working like he ought.
As for the Pro Skateboarder argument: Tony Hawk is no slouch; he's got a degree (at least a diploma from HighSchool) You have to be able to get a JOB so you can pay for those skateboards and pads and helmets, if nothing else. Whatever your hobbies/goals/aspirations, it's a sad fact of life that we must earn money to LIVE. Chances of him finding a "sugar-mommy" (like Sugar-Daddy) to support him in his fancies are prit-ty darn slim.
Hope this is of some help. Fourth graders aren't generally gonna give a rat's banana about "grown up things" like getting a good education and things that are more than 2 years in the future. If he sees you giving a little, meeting him halfway, he just may do a little better.
I have a tape here, somewhere, where Cynthia Tobias gave this talk, if you want me to dub off a copy for you. It's based on her book, "The Way they Learn" . She's pretty funny, and VERY easy to listen to, and I found myself really agreeing with SO much of what she says. She's a non-traditional-learner herself, so can identify with the kids who just aren't fitting in to the old-school mould. She talks of being in her husband's study, making notes for a book or something, she's laying on the floor with the lights down low, and he comes in and says 'How can you possibly work like this? Here!" and puts her and all her stuff at his big desk, turns the lights up high, and turns OFF her music....she got NOTHING done. The minute he finally left, down go the lights, UP goes the music, and she's back on the floor, getting a lot of work accomplished. So, I repeat her query: What is the point?
Good luck to you. Motherhood is no easy job. I commend you for caring enough to look for answers!
September 30th, 2004, 06:39 PM
Mel, I feel for you! I haven't read the other suggestions, which I'm sure are good. I just wanted to add something that I suggest to parents/students.
I put the assignments for the class/day on the board. The students are expected to copy them. If a student isn't doing well academically (or for various other reasons), then I will tell the parent I will initial the student's planner/agenda/notebook spiral after the child has copied the assignment. I look at what the child wrote to make sure they wrote what I wrote. If they didn't, I won't sign. The student is to bring a pen/pencil with him/her when they bring the planner. It is the child's job. I then recommend to the parent that they have a punishment or reward based on whether the child brings home the planner and necessary homework items. I then ask the parent to sign the planner. I can take away part (or all) of recess if the parent asked for consequences at school.
This doesn't work, however, if I'm the only one giving consequences. It is imperative that the parent verifies the homework assignments each night.
You might ask the teacher to use a highlighter or colored pencil to mark (or just circle) items that are due the next day (or later). Assignments that were turned in in class will not be marked. That way you look for only the circled items.
Also, while I am at it, your child is getting to about the age where *I* don't recommend that a parent check a child's homework for accuracy/correctness. You can ask your child these questions:
Is your homework complete? Did you follow the directions? Did you do what your teacher asked? Did you look for answers in the text (if necessary) or at your notes (if necessary) for help?
I have a lot of parents who say their kids argue because the way the parent is showing them to do the work is different from the way the teacher said to do it (then my line of thought is "then why is the kid asking for help?!"). Anyway, the child sat in class and heard (or should have) the discussions and directions. The parent didn't.
Anyway, I'm rambling and feeling a soapbox under my feet. So I'll hush now.
I do have one more thing to add, you might allow your son to earn ps2 time or play time if he brings home the signed planner, with all homework assignments and materials needed for it (and what he wrote in the planner is legible). He can earn extra time if he is cooperative and/or works hard. If he doesn't have "homework" one night, then have him read for a minimum of 15 minutes. It is important for children to learn to have study time each night, so middle school and high school aren't so traumatic with the homework.
I rambled more, didn't I? Sorry!
September 30th, 2004, 06:44 PM
You might want to read "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" by Grace Llewellyn. I'm reading it right now, and I love it. Read it for yourself first, and then for your son. He's not a teen yet, but I think the ideas still apply.
September 30th, 2004, 08:50 PM
Thank you all for the replys!
LJ, thanks for that insight, I read your response to hubby(before he went to work) and we both chatted about it and were basically asking ourself,"why do we insist that he does the homework after school" And we remembered that based on the previous years, we'd allow him to play first, and by the time it was time to come in, dinner was about to comence and then it was bed, and poof, no more time left.LOL.
I do believe that not being so rigid will work and we're going to try it. Although, I did cave today, and Now i have to wake him up early in the a.m. to have him do the homework(damn survivor! LOL)
Teacherbear, I totally like the planner idea, actually he has a paper which is in a semi graph form, which I must sign, yet, the teacher doesn't. It has his copied homework on it.Oh and I keep forgetting to ask, whether or not the teacher wants us to 'correct' the homework, or if we should just leave it, so she can see how he is progressing. (note to self, ask about this,lol) His teacher is 'new' to 4th grade, she's used to 6th graders, and I think she really has her hands full this year. In fact last year and this year, most of the teachers have 'issues' with the whole class being so chatty! It must be tough.
Thanks to everyone,:flower: I appreciate it, I do get stressed out, and I usually use this place to unload.(besides I was pms-ing)(oh, and he's an only, and it's obvious).
October 1st, 2004, 08:09 AM
These are all great ideas and I will definitely utilize some of them with MY 9 year old (and the 5 and 2 3/4, when it's their turn).
Something that worked for Ethan (ds, 9) was getting him to a camp run by the university. He went to basketball camp and the coach of the university team (and this is Indiana, basketball state - this guy is a celebrity here) talked about teamwork and studying and why it's important. And then we talked to him about studying if he wants to play basketball because he'll HAVE to do well enough in high school to get into college, and he'll HAVE to do well enough in college to continue to play and he'll have to do ALL THAT if he's interested in playing NBA basketball some day.
Of course, he's switched focus and now he wants to play golf (????) but the same sorts of things applied.
It really motivated my son. Of course, it only helped him clean his room for about 3 weeks, but hey, that's 3 weeks I didn't have before! :lol:
October 1st, 2004, 12:20 PM
I am going to back Teacherbear up on the planner idea. Our school system has done this since my son was in middle school. They even get a planner at the beginning of the year with all their school dates, rules, dress code, etc. They come from Franklin Covey and are made for kids.
My son LOVES his planner. He writes down his assignments in it, and we have gone over how to do it properly, with the assignment on the day he gets it and a note on the day before it is due, so he can keep track. I am SO glad that they schools are doing this and that teachers like Teacherbear take it seriously. It is SUCh a skill.
i also have to agree that when my son comes home, he has to have time to decompress. He plays on his computer for about a half hour and then he does home work before and after dinner. We watch all the CSIs together and that is IT for TV. No play station, no XBox. BUT he knows that when he comes home, he can do what he wants so that he can get some down time before he does homework. It's really important.
You take care. I can tell you, keeping rules are tough and you feel like a B---- mom, but the results are worth it, and he will thank you for it. I Promise! My son is a freshman in High School and also an only, and he is so ahead of the game.
The only other thing I can suggest is do you have a hobby, something that is more important to you than breathing? You write of his apathy...this is a trait for dealing with uncomfortable things. If he sees you so excited about something you can barely wait to get out of bed in the morning, he will practice what he sees. I know that sounds really Dr. Phil, but the BEST grades my son got were when I was completing my degree. He saw me doing the work, and he did his. He even ragged on me when I got a B on something :) Touchay.
((((wtchmel))) from one mom of a son to another.
October 1st, 2004, 04:15 PM
I wanted to add something about the planners.
If a student doesn't do their homework, I use a (self-inking) stamp from the accounting section of Office Depot that says "Past Due". I stamp the day the work was assigned. I tell the kids that when their parent sees it they will panic and think the student owes money. They are to reply to their parent (and I say dramatically), "Don't worry, it isn't money. It's just homework." :) To which a student ALWAYS yells out, "JUST?!?!?" I giggle and say, "Yeah. 'just'. So if you don't want to have that conversation with your parent, then do your homework."
At the beginning of every class I walk around class and look on the desks for their homework and a red pen/pencil. If they don't have the HW, then they have to have their planner open. It takes less than 2 minutes.
Anyway, I Looooooove my "Past Due" stamp. I've also purchased a "Received" stamp to stamp over the Past Due, if the parent wants verification of the work being turned in. I don't use it very often.
It is sad to say that I typically stamp the same students frequently. If a student has 2 stamps in one week they have to call home right then.
Anyway, I wanted to add that.
October 1st, 2004, 04:43 PM
Our students are required to have an "agenda book". The main purpose is to have a place to record assignments/homework. The first suggestion I give a parent is to required their student to get each box signed by the teacher every day (this is junior high). It is the student's responsibility to get it the teachers to intitial it. There should be a negative or positive consequence each night for getting it signed.
I also post my homework online everyday. There is a free and easy way for the teacher to do this...