or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › Homework, Grades, and Consequences
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Homework, Grades, and Consequences - Page 2

post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Ok... I'd be pissed!  Sorry I was all for trying to help her out.  But that is just ridiculous.  She has a place she can use with help there... and she won't use it?

 



I wouldn't jump to being "pissed" over this - if this girl has ADHD, that goes along with it. My son does, and trust me, that sounds exactly like something he would do over and over .. so many distractions and having to remember to get yourself to the help, it wouldn't happen.  Of course we are working on all of that, and he's 8 .. but I would NOT assume this little girl is just being lazy or not taking advantage of the help .. It appears to me she needs help organizing herself to GET the help. If that makes any sense. :)

 

OP, my son has Aspergers and ADHD .. he's brilliant but has such a hard time following directions and staying on task. He's medicated and it's been the very best thing we could have ever done for him - despite my anti-meds stance. Some children really do need it.  I've got to run out the door to school, but I want to chime in and say that I would not assume your DD is not trying hard enough .. and all the punishments in the world wont help her have better executive function .. it sounds to me that she needs some help. Help from you at home (one on one) and help at school.

post #22 of 30

I have a 5th grader with some serious quirks and some ADHD-like behaviors (although I think many of them are learned behaviors due to anxiety).

 

Here's how it goes at our house. She is a kid who needs a lot of downtime, but she does a lot better if she does her homework within 30 minutes of getting home. Otherwise she gets too into something else and it's hard to pull her away and she's resentful of stopping her fun activity. Homework right away is really better than after 30 minutes for her. 

 

She does it in the kitchen with me, or with her dad when he gets home. She definitely needs to feel connected to us. I tell her to get started and ask me if she has any questions. She always has questions. I do sit down with her and explain different strategies or explain what the word problem is asking, but I don't do the work for her. If she gets recalcitrant or down on herself ("I CA-A-A-A-A-N'T") I tell her that I am willing to help her as long as she has a "I-can-figure-this-out" attitude. I explain that I want to help her and I want her to understand, but I'm not willing to force her to understand. She has to approach it with a willing attitude. It's all that "you can lead a horse to water" bit. I can't make her drink the understanding homework water if she doesn't want to and I _really_ don't want to get pulled into a power struggle with her. What a waste of time!

 

If my dd asked me to look up a definition in the dictionary I would bring the dictionary to her or show her how she could look up the word on dictionary.com, but I wouldn't do it for her. I would listen to her read the definition to me, but I wouldn't look it up for her. 

 

I am not a fan of punishments and rewards. We don't really do those much and never have. I also hate them for myself. They make me feel manipulated even when it's a reward I set up for myself, like I can have a cookie after I vacuum or something. Doesn't work for me. You might be interested in some of Alfie Kohn's writings on that.

 

We do, however, prioritize our time. We need to get homework done first and then with the time that is left before supper or bedtime we can play on the computer, etc.

 

We are looking at some charter school options next year for middle school. I am concerned about whether traditional middle school would be a good fit for dd1. I think school is good for her, but I would consider pulling her out and homeschooling if she were miserable. I realize that's not an option for everyone. I really want her to feel good about herself and have some successes. I think a bad school experience can set the tone for some hard years and the teen years can be tricky for so many kids. I'd rather do whatever I can to help her navigate the turbulent teen waters as best we can. I want to be by her side and on her side and on her team. I don't want to have an adversarial relationship with her. 

 

hth

post #23 of 30

We have had similar struggles - though perhaps with less girly drama - with my 12-y-o step-son, who's in 7th grade this year.  Here are some thoughts that spring to mind, based on our experience:

 

1- His teachers told us several times that 6th grade is a hard year for most kids, because they're transitioning to harder work, more work, higher expectations of managing their own time and assignments...at the same time that there are huge social changes amongst their peers, they may be starting puberty, and perhaps they're at a new school.  (Here, elementary ends at 5th grade and 6th-8th are in a separate school.)  Indeed, our kid is doing better and working more independently this year.  Don't lose hope!

 

2- Make sure the expectations are appropriate.  Is she bored?  Or are her classes too hard for her?  

 

Conventional wisdom says, if a kid's smarter than average, they ought to get good grades easily.  But I am convinced what happened with my step-son is that he latched onto things pretty easily and came to feel that "hard worker" and "good student" were simply innate parts of his being - regardless whether he actually ever worked hard at anything.  After all, it didn't take him much effort to learn things and complete assignments that other kids struggled with, and - for a while - adults were always praising his work habits and diligence, even telling him he was a "genius"!  But starting in 2nd or 3rd grade, work loads became increasingly harder and getting your work done and getting decent grades became more a matter of your actual work habits and less a matter of innate intelligence.  Some kids no one had ever called "genius" had been forced to learn in kindergarten how to work to master new concepts, and how to apply themselves to complete tough assignments.  I think it was something of an ego-blow to DSS, to see these kids doing better than he did, in school.  He seemed to have no idea in the world how to approach things that weren't easy for him.  In fact, he seemed to feel it was unfair that anyone would expect that of him.  He was a "genius"!  He was "amazingly hard-working" and "responsible" and "paid such amazing attention to detail"!  (At least, that has been the constant message from his mother, who I'm sure means well.)  Well, how dare people fail to recognize and respect those things about him, and instead expect him to prove them!?  

 

By the same token, it was a big loss for him not to have a lot of free time while other kids were working.  He was accustomed to the idea that, if his teacher gave the class time to work on an assignment, he could spend a good deal of that time doodling, or reading something for pleasure, or surfing the web (if they were in the computer lab) - and that he could still get the work done; or that if he goofed off after school, he could breeze through all his homework in the last 1/2-hour before bed and do just fine.  When it became evident that that level of effort was no longer sufficient, he mourned that goof-off time, to which he felt very entitled.

 

For a while he did what it sounds like your daughter is doing...he put his considerable energy, effort and creativity into looking for ways AROUND working hard in school.  And, as you know, it was SO FRUSTRATING as a parent, to wish he'd just put the same effort into DOING his freaking assignments that he put into trying to GET AROUND doing them!

 

If it sounds like your daughter's issues are similar to my kid's, then I'd say you just have to keep banging your head against the wall and repeating that you expect her to do as well as she, personally, is able - and she's not.  Remind her of things she dreams of doing in the future and that ALL of them will involve hard work, dedication and time-management.  She will not suddenly develop that, in college.  Now is the time to learn the basic work habits and time-management skills she'll need, the rest of her life.  And you're not nagging to make her miserable, but because of how much you love her and want her to have the opportunities to do whatever her heart desires, when she's older.

 

Of course, if she has the opposite problem - if things are too hard - I think the path to fixing that might be more obvious.

 

3- I think you have to get more involved with kids' time-management in 6th grade than what seems logical.  My parents did not check my assignments every night when I was that age, nor did my husband's.  But having put 3 kids through 6th grade, now, I can assure you that is what teachers and administrators are expecting of you, even if they're too timid to say it.  If there's an online, or voicemail, "Homework Hotline", where you can double-check what her homework assignments are, check it every night.  At the very least, she should have an assignment notebook.  If they don't already, get her teachers to initial it every day, so you know that what she wrote down is accurate.  Make her show you each assignment after she completes it.  If she B.S.'d her way through it, make her do it over again.  At least once a week, go through her binder with her and help her weed out graded or outdated papers and put all the things that are in the wrong place, loose in her backpack, or tucked into her textbooks, where they belong.  If her locker's the problem, make a regular date to stand there with her, after school, while she cleans it out.  When she has long-term projects, sit down with her at the beginning and make her come up with a plan for what portion of the work she's going to do, each day, until it's due, so it doesn't get pushed to the last minute.  Then check what she has completed, every day.

 

All of what I just said is maddeningly time-consuming.  I have compared notes with other parents and many feel as I do:  it's unexpected, but kids almost seem to need more of your time during middle school than they did, during preschool.  I truly believe the investment of time is worth it.  I was so often frustrated and exhausted to the point of tears, when DSS was in 6th grade.  But it DID appear to make a difference.  He simply did not have the skills or the personal discipline to teach himself how to get organized and manage his time.  Teaching him has been worse than potty-training.  But he has learned and is more independent - and I wouldn't want to have left him to figure this out for himself, in adulthood, after spending high school and college limping along like he did, when left to his own devices.

 

If your daughter balks at all the oversight or whines that you "don't trust her", assure her you'll back off just as soon as she becomes more responsible.  When you visit her locker, or go through her binder, and they're usually pretty organized...when you double-check her assignments and consistently find that she's writing them all down in her agenda...when she goes a month or two with no missing assignments, you'll be happy to quit spending all your free time double-checking what she's doing.  (But still do it every once in a while, to head off relapses.)

 

But secretly, if you and your DH are both very busy and a lot of your time at home is spent catching up on adult things, all of her whining and trying to get you to do things for her may really be her need for more of your attention.  Sometimes I find DSS focuses more if someone is just sitting at the same table with him (even if you're doing something else).  Or, last year, if his essays or reports were crummy (way below his ability level), he could usually produce something much better if I sat down with him and offered to let him do dictation.  He puts his thoughts together by himself, but I type.  Basically, your daughter may whine if you clamp down on her homework, but secretly, she may want you to.  She may want guidance in developing her study skills, and she may just want your time.

 

4- I would draw the line at her putting off homework 'til recess.  Homework is homework.  Study hall, homeroom, finishing something on the bus or at recess should all be solutions of absolute last resort, for those rare days when you have so much homework, plus a doctor's appt., plus sports practice, that you can't possibly finish everything unless you stay up 'til midnight.  That should not be allowed to be the norm.

 

5- Keep looking for the consequence that will actually motivate her.  But be careful about letting it be weekend outings.  Social life is very distracting at this age.  She may actually be avoiding it, by telling people she can't join them on the weekends because she's grounded for grades.  Don't let her.  If her friendships are changing, she may need your support in being brave enough to get out there and change with them.  Make new friends.  Pursue new interests.  Feel good about herself even if some people don't seem to like her.  Don't hide at home.  If she feels secure about her friendships and the time she gets to spend with friends, she may have a better attitude about homework.  But withholding computer or TV time, use of her own cell phone, video games, etc. - do that as much as you want!  (Well, except there should be some things you do together as a family that don't get taken away.  Watching a favorite show together every week.  Going to the movies together.  She really needs that.)  Plus, 12-y-o's can be rather dramatic and self-pitying.  You don't want her to tell herself she's never going to be able to pull herself out of this hole of being grounded, so she may as well just accept never getting to go anywhere and comfort herself with the thought of how unfairly mistreated she is, instead of striving to do better.

 

6- Try giving rewards/consequences that are more immediate.  The end of the grading period may seem like a really long time, to a 12-year-old, while it seems like the blink of an eye, to us.  "I bought your favorite dessert.  We'll all have some together, but only if you finish your homework before dinner."  (Of course, 1st check what her homework is and make sure you're giving her a reasonable amount of time.  And if she does seem to be working pretty diligently, give her grace if she needs another 1/2-hr. after dinner.)  Or, "Start your homework as soon as you get home from school.  The more focused you are, the more free time you'll have at the end.  And I love you - I really want to see you give yourself some time to relax."

 

Good luck!

 


Edited by VocalMinority - 10/8/11 at 6:45am
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by lulahigley View Post

She has about an hour and a half after school to play before she needs to get started on her homework.


I just read this and want to reiterate that one successful motivator, for us, was telling DSS he had to start homework as soon as he got home, went to the bathroom and had a snack.  Believe me, DH and I are as opposed to this as anyone else, on a theoretical basis.  Kids should have time to ride bikes with their friends and just unwind, after school.  But he kept forcing us to choose, at bedtime:  Let him go without enough sleep before school the next day, so he could finish his homework (which might require another hour, at the snail's pace he was working); or send him to bed without completing it, knowing it would negatively affect his grades?  

 

Reluctantly, we made it his responsibility:  however much time you leave yourself, after your homework's done, is how much time you get to relax.  (Of course, it's critical that you check the homework, so it's not shoddily done, to get to the free time.)  For a long time, this didn't seem to be working.  He would stretch out homework from the minute he got home until the minute he went to bed, with a brief break for dinner.  Maddening!  But I think a lot of that was pouting.  "Poor me.  All I ever do is work.  No one ever lets me have fun.  Whatever.  Why should I even try to work faster?  It won't make any difference."  I know it sounds weird, but when people are young and immature, sometimes I think wallowing in the belief that they deserve pity and are powerless to improve their situation is actually more pleasurable, in a way, than buckling down and working hard at something they'd rather not do.  Plus, I suspect certain people in his life (who don't have to do homework with him) heaped a lot of sympathy on him.  Your daughter might have friends who hear an earful about what slavedrivers you guys are and how she never gets down-time.  That may be one of the ways she gets attention and identity in her social group.  It's immature and unattractive, but not uncommon for that age-group.

 

The key was, to make sure the kid really enjoys their free time, when they make some for themselves.  Be prepared for that unexpected day that she finishes everything and has an hour left before bed.  Do something fun as a family.  Or take her out for a milkshake.  Play a game.  At this point, DSS has finally figured out how much he enjoys that free time - and that he CAN have it. And now that he doesn't dawdle as much over homework, we're less strict about when he gets started.  But it was a long, tiring journey to get there!

 

post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by lulahigley View Post
LynnS6: We tried taking the pressure off homework before though, we would talk about our day, take the dog down to the mailboxes to check the mail, let her start her homework when she's ready and she would, all on her own, then 6 turns into 7 and into 8 and the next thing you know, it's 8:30 and the homework is still not done and it's time to get ready for bed. Now she is wanting help with her homework and is whining and giving up.

 

You missed a key part of my suggestion. I did not say 'let her decide when to do it', I said "build it into the after dinner routine". Sit down with her directly after dinner. Homework time isn't optional.  She's shown already that she's not great a time management. So, you have to help her build a schedule. Some kids are born with an internal time clock and will readily figure out what time to do things. Our son is like that. Our daughter needs much more support in time management. Like your daughter, she wants to put things off. So, I have to tell her when it's time. I also have to sit next to her to help  her break it down into manageable steps. Now, she's 7, and that's expected. But a lot of 12 year olds still need this kind of help, especially as homework gets more complex.

 

What kind of scaffolding are you giving her to help her set a schedule, and break down the tasks into manageable bits. Most kids aren't born knowing this innately? They don't know how to study or to break the problem down. They read it, get overwhelmed and freak out.  I'm a college professor, and still see this pattern. When students come to my office, we sit down and we tackle the problems bit by bit. It helps me see where they're making mistakes and it keeps them from getting overwhelmed. It also shows them a better way to approach the problems. And this is AFTER I've explained in detail in class and given detailed handouts. Why should you expect a 12 year old to be able to do this on her own without being taught?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lulahigley View Post
She has chores, Mondays she cleans her bathroom and Thursdays she cleans her room.

 

She cleans her stuff. What does she do to contribute to the family? Why isn't she helping you cook dinner and do the dishes? Why isn't she doing laundry? Feeding the cat? If you've got a cleaning person, there are still little things that need to be done (decluttering, laundry, cleaning out the fridge, cleaning the litter box). If you don't, then she should be pitching in with you to get all the big stuff done too: vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing floors, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn.

 

She's old enough to do all of that with your help to teach her. No, it's not as efficient as when you do it yourself. When my kids clean the sink, I have to be sure I'm the one to do it the next week to get all the spots. But I help them, I give them little tips, explain to them how to get at the gunk under the faucet handles, remind them of the parts they missed. They contribute to the family.

 

I may be way off base, but I really think that you need to (a) focus on connection and (b) get her evaluated for learning difficulties. I understand that you're frustrated. But in your frustration you're pushing your daughter further and further away. Before you decide that she won't do her homework, you first need to find out if she really can.

post #26 of 30

maybe not the best approach for everybody

but on some days, what works with some of my kids (not every kid, it depends)

is for me to sit down at the kitchen table whilst they do their homework (not me reading or doing anything else) SO that they get going & carry on with the task for ... at least 30 min to 45 min (or less if it takes less)

 

then homework time is up, even is homework is not finished, and meal prep is on etc ... extra chores can be given if effort at homework has not been sufficient

there have been days when we have put back dinner time by more than one hour just to make a point that no dinner will be served if a decent amount of effort has not been shown on homework ...

maybe too extreme for some .... if really depends on the child ...

 

but most of the time, we try to have homework completed as soon as possible after school, otherwise, it's so easy to find this or that that needs doing .... and homework never gets a chance ....

post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

You missed a key part of my suggestion. I did not say 'let her decide when to do it', I said "build it into the after dinner routine". Sit down with her directly after dinner. Homework time isn't optional.  She's shown already that she's not great a time management. So, you have to help her build a schedule.


..... Why isn't she helping you cook dinner and do the dishes? Why isn't she doing laundry? Feeding the cat?

......

 

I may be way off base, but I really think that you need to (a) focus on connection and (b) get her evaluated for learning difficulties. I understand that you're frustrated. But in your frustration you're pushing your daughter further and further away. Before you decide that she won't do her homework, you first need to find out if she really can.



This is an awesome post. I was baffled reading the thread about how she has to do it right after school or she never starts. For a long time, our homework time was right after dinner. It was a clear transition. TV was off, all the other kids were inside, every one had had down time.

 

Connecting while getting stuff done around the house kills like two birds with one stone. You really need to get this stuff, and eventually it will be easier with her help than without it (though not at first). Conversations with pre-teens/teens are often easier when the conversation is a side line of what is happening, not the focus. I really believe the more times when make a conversation possible with our teens without sitting them, looking them in the eye, and focusing a connection the better. Making these pleasant times by putting on some music and having a positive attitude yourself will help.

 

And part of the problem right now with your DD MAY be a work ethic -- the attitude you teach your about getting basic life stuff done *may* help her develop a better work ethic.

Part of the problem right now with your DD MAY be that she is trying to get attention and going for negative attention because she hasn't a clue how to go for positive attention. Happily doing real work together is neutral attention, and therefore wonderful.


And I've already said it like 3 times, but I think the kid needs an eval. Soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaFrench View Post
but on some days, what works with some of my kids (not every kid, it depends)

is for me to sit down at the kitchen table whilst they do their homework (not me reading or doing anything else) SO that they get going & carry on with the task for ... at least 30 min to 45 min (or less if it takes less)


 

We went through a phase where the kids really needed me to sit with them for moral support. They needed a little help getting organized, making sure they had every thing they needed. I gradually weaning them off it by reading at the same time. It didn't last forever. But if you kid is getting D & F, sitting at a table next to them  while they do math problems is a small investment to make.

post #28 of 30

I see 2 completely different issues here.

 

1) she is not getting her homework done.

 

2) she is a pre-teen.  

 

she is testing you over & over & over & winning.  She is the one in control right now.

 

Other than her grades, what are the consequences AT SCHOOL for not doing homework?  Does she have to stay in(if they get recess), is there homework club or a "detention", she does have to speak to the principal.  If there are consequences at school for not finishing homework I'd giver her time after supper to do her homework & if it is not done she deals with the school consequences.  Stop making it a battle.  You are just her mother, she can fight you but principals are scary people.lol  Nobody wants to have to go to the office for the principal to talk to you.

 

Perhaps the bar has been set too low for her with her grades.  If her struggling to do homework(or not dong it & getting bad grades as a result) is fairly new(in the last year) then perhaps require B's instead of C's.    Has her teacher sat down with her & explained(shown through the numbers) if she did the homework that her grades would be higher.  Are you positive that her marks have dropped that much because of not finishing homework?  Do the teachers think she is not getting the concepts(like your dd says) or is she pulling that only with you?

 

The teenaged attitude she has.  You are going to have to learn which battles are worth fighting or you're going to have a LONG 6 years ahead of you.   The best way to stop having battles with her is to just stop having them.  Decide which fights are worth it & which ones aren't. Which ones are about things that will matter in 5-10 years & which won't. Having the school hand out the consequences of homework takes a big battle away.    If she wants to fight the bedtime/shower thing perhaps the routine can be changed up a bit. Can she shower in the morning instead of at night.  Can her bedtime be extended to lights out 30minutes later?

 

 

 

Quote:
 I keep telling her I want 

 

This is the problem. She is 12.  She doesn't care what you want.  She is in a point in her life where she is vey self-centered & everything is about her & it will be for years to come.  She is at that point where she knows everything & you know nothing.  You may find going on an outing with her fun but she may not want to do that outing so it is no longer a reward for her so she is going to be difficult about it.  She may not want to go with you, she may want to go with Dad, grandparents, aunt/uncle or a group of friends instead.  What activities does she like to do. What would she see as a fun thing to do.  

 

Sit down with her while you are both in good calm moods & find out what outside things she'd like to do.  What would be fun for her.  What was fun a year ago may no longer be fun for her or fun in the same way.  Come up with a plan TOGETHER on how this activity can happen.  

 

Little things add up quickly.  If you see her behaving in a way you find acceptable then reward her in little ways.  Instead of having to be in bed by x time, let her stay up & watch tv with you for 30minutes or something like that.  But don't do it too often or it will become a need in her mind.

 

 

 

 

post #29 of 30
Thread Starter 

Getting her to help out around the house is impossbile, she loathes chores, I have enough trouble trying to get her to take care of her own spaces and belongings. I believe homework comes first.

We are taking her out of the after school program and putting in the homework club. I believe that will help her get some out of the way before she gets home and before she unwinds too much that we can't get her back on focus. As far as consequences at the school, this school is really good about that, but it doesn't seem to be enough and I am having a real hard time justifying allowing her to watch TV or have other privileges without putting in any homework. If we just let the school deal with it, she'd do whatever she wanted and not put any effort into homework. But I guess allowing her to get held back a grade would teach an important lesson, but I am afraid of what that would do to her self esteem and maybe backfire in that she would never turn herself around. As far as the shower bedtime thing, we tried letting her bathe in the morning, but she would just get her hair wet to look like she showered, and I would tell her to get back in there and shower and that would start an argument. I've told her that if she can't sleep, she must turn the ceiling fan light off, but she can have her reading light on, she doesn't have to lay down and close her eyes. The rule is that it's quiet time after 9 and she needs to leave my husband and I alone, we need an hour to ourselves. It's getting to the point now where she argues about everything, every little stupid thing we ask her to do. Brush teeth, get ready for bed, turn off the TV, do your homework, put your stuff away.... the first two times she ignores us and the third time, she starts yelling and then storms off to her room and slams the door. angry.gif

post #30 of 30


Welcome to 12. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lulahigley View Post

Getting her to help out around the house is impossbile, she loathes chores, I have enough trouble trying to get her to take care of her own spaces and belongings. I believe homework comes first.

We are taking her out of the after school program and putting in the homework club. I believe that will help her get some out of the way before she gets home and before she unwinds too much that we can't get her back on focus. As far as consequences at the school, this school is really good about that, but it doesn't seem to be enough and I am having a real hard time justifying allowing her to watch TV or have other privileges without putting in any homework. If we just let the school deal with it, she'd do whatever she wanted and not put any effort into homework. But I guess allowing her to get held back a grade would teach an important lesson, but I am afraid of what that would do to her self esteem and maybe backfire in that she would never turn herself around. As far as the shower bedtime thing, we tried letting her bathe in the morning, but she would just get her hair wet to look like she showered, and I would tell her to get back in there and shower and that would start an argument. I've told her that if she can't sleep, she must turn the ceiling fan light off, but she can have her reading light on, she doesn't have to lay down and close her eyes. The rule is that it's quiet time after 9 and she needs to leave my husband and I alone, we need an hour to ourselves. It's getting to the point now where she argues about everything, every little stupid thing we ask her to do. Brush teeth, get ready for bed, turn off the TV, do your homework, put your stuff away.... the first two times she ignores us and the third time, she starts yelling and then storms off to her room and slams the door. angry.gif



 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Preteens and Teens
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › Homework, Grades, and Consequences