What's missing for me is two things:
1. Connection time before homework
2. A clear assessment of whether she is actually understanding the work.
Originally Posted by lulahigley
. We try to be role models in that we get our responsibilities done before we sit down to watch tv. As soon as we get home from work, we do the dishes, make dinner, feed the pets, take out the trash, pay bills, etc. Just thinking that's the way real life works for successful people, it's not too much to expect the same from her. I agree with her wanting attention, she is very good at attention seeking behaviors. I guess I was just thinking that AFTER she got her homework done, we could hang out and play a game or something. When she wants to she can really focus and get it done.
Let me throw out a different point of view:
After school, she has to go spend 1.5 hours in aftercare, where she wants to spend time doing activities that are fun. She may actually NEED to spend this time doing activities after having been largely sedentary all day at school. She then comes home from school, and instead of being able to be part of the family, she gets sent up to her room to do her homework, while the parents focus on chores. To me, this might be giving her the impression that chores and bills are more important to you than she is. I'm sure that's not true, but that's what your actions are saying. (FWIW, my parents were sometimes like this and it always made me feel awful.)
I'd also question the premise that 'successful people' always get the chores, etc. out of the way before tending to relationships. In fact, I might even argue that if this is what's happening, those 'successful' people have lives that are out of balance. I am a WOH, I understand the myriad of things that need to be done to make the house run, and how little time there is after a long day's work. I also know that we pay bills, do the dishes, and a lot of other things after the kids are in bed.
An example: When I grew up, after family trips, my parents would always spend the first 3-5 hours after we got home cleaning up the tent trailer, unpacking, doing laundry, etc. etc. Unfortunately, both of them were exhausted and ill-tempered. I hated the days we came home from vacations for that very reason. Then I got married. My husband came home from vacation, deposited the suitcases in the hall, and did other things. I tried to keep up my parents' pattern and got cranky and angry. Then I realized that maybe there was method in my husband's approach. In the few days things would get unpacked. It was much less stressful. No, not nearly as efficient, but we weren't sniping at each other, and we actually enjoyed some of that time.
Another thought that I had is that maybe your expectations aren't high enough. What does she do to help (meaningfully) around the house? Our kids do some of the chores with us. So, on garbage night, we all do garbage together. On other nights, one child will vacuum the living room, while I help pick up stuff on the floor. Or one child will start a load of laundry while I clean the sink. We're all occupied at this time.) Right now, your relationship with your daughter needs some major tending before it slips away from you. So, one suggestion would be: Actively involve your daughter in making dinner. If she's not going to do her homework anyway during this time, it would be a great time to connect over cooking. She's old enough to cook. I started cooking full meals for the family at 10-11.
Then, after dinner, sit down with her and do the homework. Grab a magazine or a newspaper and sit next to her. Explain to her that you'll help with directions and strategies, but that you won't give her the answers. If she gets done in a reasonable amount of time, then do something together, even if it's just watch a TV show or take the dog for a walk.
Clearly isolating her and taking away rewards don't motivate her. You've also said that she's a great at 'attention seeking behavior'. Kids do that when they're feeling a lack of attention. ANY attention (even negative like she's getting now) is better than no attention (which is what she gets when she goes up to her room.) Her behavior says to me "I need attention before I can focus on homework". Taking away that attention hasn't worked. What about adding it in before?
I'd actually be quite honest with her: "Hon, what we're doing with homework isn't working, is it?" "no." "What do you think would help?" "I dunno". "Well, one thought would be that you could be with us while we make dinner and actually learn to cook, and then after dinner, I'll have some time to sit down with you while you do it. What do you think of that?"
My kids, can't do homework right away after school. They NEED decompression time. That's especially true for our son, who's a major introvert. He won't even go out and play with the neighborhood kids. He'll have a snack, play some Wii for 30-40 minutes, and then cheerfully do his homework. Because he gets it done, I don't see any reason to change that pattern. I guess my point is that you don't know what pattern will work for your daughter. If she's an introvert, she may need to chill after being with people. if she's more of an extrovert, she may need to connect with you first.
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom
Have you considered a private tutor for her? Someone experienced to sit next to her for a bit? She might benefit from some specialized academic attention and you all might benefit from having someone else handle the homework issues at least once or twice a week.
Rewards are good for kids who need to get over a personal hurdle but it only works in the short term. Appropriate consequences for a child suddenly making poor choices can get their attention and turn them around. However, if this is a long term problem, I'd be cautious.
I agree on both counts. If she's getting Ds and Fs, she may well missing some content knowledge (even if it was due to failure to do homework), and might really not be able to do the work. While the teachers may well have explained it fully, that doesn't guarantee she understood it, or that she was even paying attention when they gave the explanations. The book "The Myth of Laziness" might be worth reading - a lot of kids who have mild learning issues are dubbed lazy. As others have suggested, have her tested for learning disabilities might be worth while. You need to rule that out before you assume that she's lazy/unmotivated.
Originally Posted by lulahigley
We both work until 5, she gets off school at 3:15 and stays at the school for after school program. There is a study room there that the kids can use, and some of the teachers stay after on certain days to offer help. BUT she won't use those things. She does the other activities there. Even if I remind her in the morning, she always "forgets".
I agree with whatsnextmom: If you need her to do homework at the after school program, then it needs to be part of the program. No 6th grader is going to choose to do homework over having fun with other kids. Certainly no 6th grader is going to admit to others that she doesn't get it or isn't doing well. Our son was in an after school program (mainly for the fun stuff), but all students had to have one 'period' (40 min) of 'study hall'. Students who were having academic difficulties had one 'study hall' and one academic class and one fun class.
Finally, does she show any signs of depression?
Edited by LynnS6 - 10/6/11 at 7:51pm