How do you deal with homework refusal? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 09-11-2011, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son (7yo) sometimes is stubborn and won't do his homework.  What can I do?


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#2 of 29 Old 09-11-2011, 07:04 AM
 
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I refuse to fight about homework.  If you aren't going to do it, if you aren't going to do it complete and put effort into it, that's between you and your teacher.  I've sent my kid to school with unfinished work and he had to deal with the consequences.

 

 

BUT!!  Why won't he do it?  Too hard?  Doesn't understand? Too long after school? Too soon?  Snack?  I'd get to the bottom of his reasons for not wanting to do it first.

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#3 of 29 Old 09-11-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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I take the same approach.  I tell my dd that it is up to her whether she completes her homework, and it is also up to her to explain to the teacher why she didn't do it if she chooses not to.

 

I also find it helps her if we have a set routine with homework.  For us what works is after school she gets about 30mins to have a snack and relax and then it's homework time.  Same thing every day so she knows what to expect.  Having a filling snack is crucial too.  She is always ravenous and cranky by the time she gets home from school.  After her snack she's always more centered and amenable.


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#4 of 29 Old 09-11-2011, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We do snack and chill-out time, then homework too.  I sit with him at the kitchen table and read his homework out loud to him, since he is an auditory/ verbal learner.  Sometimes he wants to do it himself, which of course I let him.  Then sometimes he sits there and won't do anything.  He begs me to do it for him.  Which I won't. 


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#5 of 29 Old 09-11-2011, 06:30 PM
 
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Maybe this terrible, but we usually do homework around 5 while I'm starting to prep dinner and I give her a little bowl (think like sushi soy sauce dipping size) of some kind of treats.  M&M's or skittles.  It's a cheat, but it works here.

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#6 of 29 Old 09-11-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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Homework is between the child and the school. If my child refuses to do homework, they have to deal with the school consequences. The school consequences are that you have to stay in from recess to do your homework. For my kids, they'd rather get the homework over with than miss recess. I don't like the 'punishment' aspect of it, but it's one of the things about school that just is.

 

I agree that a routine helps. For dd we do home, snack, relax (i.e. TV), homework. For ds, he prefers home, snack, homework, then relax/go outside to play.

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#7 of 29 Old 09-11-2011, 08:52 PM
 
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I agree.  If they won't do it, they will have to deal with their teacher.  If they repeatedly won't do it they have to deal with the principal.  They have homework club Wednesdays after school that they can go to if they're a bus student(it's early dismissal every wednesday but the busses don't arrive until regular times due to the Catholic Division).  Town students can go to it too.  They can also stay in at recesses to get it done.

 

We live in a district where homework is uncommon, even for my dd in Grade 8.

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#8 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 06:58 AM
 
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I don't like the idea of making them go back to school with their homework not complete. Though homework is a school thing, I would prefer to teach my kids good habits. And so I'll sit with them. Though there are other things that need to be done I can't let them go without my help.

I sit with them, everything is off and I help one kid at a time. Since they're 6 and 8 I still put them on my lap and I hold them close. They fight the homework but they don't fight the cuddle time. I usually have a snack and we pop a grape into out mouths between questions or reading paragraphs.

My mom sent me to school with incomplete homework, I lost a month of recess in second grade over it. I was so behind that I had to stay in and finish it all. And as you know homework can pile up. For me, it was stuff I didn't understand but I got to the point that I stopped asking my mom and doing it at school was the norm. It shouldn't be the norm.

Hopefully you can find what works best without wanting to pull out your hair.
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#9 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 07:14 AM
 
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I agree with the others.  My ds is in grade 4 and last year in grade 3 was our first experience with somewhat regular homework (2-3x a week and it would take him about 10 minutes).  My ds can be very easily distracted.  His homework can take him an hour if he's out in the common area getting distracted by his siblings so last year we made sure to arrange his bedroom to include a desk so he can work uninterrupted.  It made a huge difference.  Also making sure he wasn't hungry helped.  Now that this year is just beginning I expect we will need to remind ds that homeowrk is his responsibility.  I will answer questions when asked, help him get organized if needed and still provide a bit of time management at this age but overall he needs to be in charge and get it done or he needs to explain to his teacher.  My dh volunteers with a woman who has given excuses in the past for leaving meetings early because she needs to go home and make sure her son does his homework because he won't do it if she's not right beside him helping him.  He's 17 (and there are no special circumstances)!!  That always sticks in my mind so I've made sure to set up the homework guidelines early.


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#10 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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I see what you're saying marmalade, however I don't think 7 year olds are great at time management yet. If I'm setting the schedule and making it easier now, I know I need to find a way to eventually back off. I'm hoping to ease out of the sit down with DD1 by the beginning of winter, I'll keep up with DD2 until she hits the 3rd grade and will try the same ease off approach. I don't want to make them dependent on me but I don't want to come across as not setting the bar for them either.
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#11 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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I'll work with dd and help with time management, but I won't fight with her about homework. If she gets in trouble at school, that's between her and her teacher. This is how kids learn to be responsible for their own obligations.
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#12 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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I feel your pain.  My 7-yo drags his feet over homework, and though he doesn't refuse to do it, he does kick up enough of a fuss that it's unpleasant for everyone.  I do think it's important to get to the root of the refusal --  why is he refusing?  Is the homework too hard?  Too easy?  Even if it's at the right level, is there some aspect of it that's problematic (i.e., lots of writing when handwriting is difficult for him)? Is he overwhelmed by the amount of work? Have you spoken to his teacher about this?  She may have some insight that would help you figure out how to deal with this.

 

I agree with the others that homework should be the child's responsibility, though I also don't like to send a kid back to school with uncompleted work.  I also don't want to take too much responsibility for doing the homework.  While I want to be there to support DS, I simply can't (and don't think I should) sit there for hours and do it with him.  When I did, he wasn't really doing the work but would just ask for the answers or say he didn't know when I knew he did.  It was really frustrating.  

 

So here are a few things that worked for us:  

• Have a regular time set aside each day (or a few times a week) for homework.  Saving it all for the weekends was disastrous!  But make sure to have some downtime when you come home from school.

• Sit with DS and go over the homework carefully, making sure that he understands it and knows what to do.  Maybe do the first part together.  But after that, he does the work on his own, asking me for help only if he really needs it.  We will check the work together afterwards to make sure he understood.

• Have 20-minute work sessions in which he really has to work intently, not just goof off.  I have DS predict how much work he thinks he can get done in 20 minutes -- and not slapdash, haphazard, but good work.  Then set the timer for 20 minutes.  When it goes off, go over homework with him.  If the work is completed, great!  If not, ask if he feels up to another session (shorter or the same amount of time) or if he needs a break to do something fun for a while.  If he completed the amount of work predicted, and did it well, he might get a little reward, but not always.  I only did that if he was really struggling or had worked particularly diligently. 

• Have a special treat or snack while he's doing the work.  I sometimes make DS a trail mix that he likes or give him a smoothie to drink while he works.

 

I don't know if these tips will help with your DS.  If he's flat-out refusing to do homework, you may need to speak to his teacher to come up with some strategies to encourage him to do his work or maybe find some consequences if he doesn't.  I found, though, that even when my DS was super-reluctant, he was willing to do a 20-minute session.  You can do anything for 20 minutes, right?  I would tell him how I sometimes clean in 20-minute sessions because that's not my favorite thing to do, then give myself a little treat after I've done my work.  That seemed to motivate him.

 

Good luck!

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#13 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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My kids started homework in 4th grade. If they choose not to do it they will have to deal with the teacher.If they continue to not do it they will no longer be allowed to attend that school. They are old enough to know what the teacher asks them to do-they do. Even when the kids were in public K-1,and 2 they knew they had to do the work or face the teacher. I am happy to help,but I will not do their homework for them or sit while they do everything.

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#14 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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I don't let mine start tv or computer before his homework is done. He can take a break as long as he needs to, go outside and play a while, eat a snack, play legos, but he really wants to have some computer time each day so he gets it over with right away.

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#15 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I'll work with dd and help with time management, but I won't fight with her about homework. If she gets in trouble at school, that's between her and her teacher. This is how kids learn to be responsible for their own obligations.


This is my approach/thinking exactly.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#16 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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my philosophy is the same at lynns.

 

this is what we did.

 

dd was 6. we'd already fought hw for a year. and then i was DONE. dd would get a packet and she'd keep it for the last minute so it was a lot. giving her space and doing it all at once was too overwhelming for her. so we would go to teh park, she'd do hw for 5 mins, play for 15 come back and do some more and that's how we managed.

 

by first grade i ended up going to the teacher. dd was bored and there was a lot of busy work. it helped that the teacher refused the amount of hw and gave her more challenging problems.

 

but she still hemmed and hawed. then i spoke to the teacher and shared with dd my philosophy. i dotn care about hw. i dont think she shd do it, but it was one of the agreements we made with the school that she'd do hw every single day. but if she was willing to put up with teh consequences from her teacher i didnt care if she did her hw. so she stopped (the teacher had been warned of our experiment). first day seh was soo excited. seh rushed thru her hw in ten minutes and then read a book teh rest of recess. the second day not so much enthusiasm. by friday seh was like 'ok mom just remind me if its 6 pm and i havent started on my hw, and sometimes i will  have to come to you for help".

 

she is now in 4th. hw has never been an issue with us ever again. i dont even tell her or remind her.

 

however know what your son is doing is v. v. normal. in 3rd grade dd's teacher sent out a letter saying if the kids refuse to do hw, the parents should not try or force them to do anything. just let the teacher know and she will take care of it. she was a GREAT teacher. the kids loved her and they would do anything she asked. she always found a way to make each child understand why she gives them hw.


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#17 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 11:08 AM
 
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ugh its not letting me edit.

 

para 4. refused should read reduced. the teacher reduced the amt of hw.


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#18 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 12:28 PM
 
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I'd find out WHY he doesn't want to do the homework, and work from that point backwards, to fix it. 

 

I just posted something about my DS, who is 6. He didn't want to do it because 1) he thought he didn't know how to read so ANY reading was too difficult. (He is also a perfectionist, so he wasn't going to want to read until he could read perfectly.) 2.) he thought the handwriting parts were boring (they are - who would want to write the letter b 20 times?) 3) he thought the math problems were boring (some of them were). 

 

To solve 1) I basically read his homework for him, and then had him re-read, so he was basically memorizing the words and reading them back, not reading by sounding out the letters. He is not a sound-it-out type of guy, so when I gave this up, he improved dramatically. This was MY problem, thinking of only one way to teach him to read, not his problem, kwim? Very luckily, the teacher does the same, she combines teaching methods so all kids get something out of it. Now suddenly, he reads a lot better. And I encourage him when he does. So now he knows he can read some, so he is more willing to do it. I still "cheat" with him, by reading the words he does not feel like, but then the next time we see the word, I say - it's the same as that one, see, and then he knows it. 

To solve 2 & 3) I broke up the boring homework with more fun homework. For example, sometimes he gets some "bring" math problems, but also some more fun connect the dots or other stuff. So I have him do just a page of the boring, then switch to the fun stuff, then do the rest of the homework 2 days later. Also I tell him I understand it is boring, but he does not have to be perfect and if he hurries up then he can be done quickly and have more time for XYZ. I wouldn't recommend this for all kids, but this works for my DS because he is a perfectionist. So if he gets a little sloppy, and in the process learns some time-management, that is an improvement. So if there is backwards numbers or whatever, I leave it alone. 

 

Slightly OT: I do not think all 6-7-8 yo should be expected to have excellent time management skills, so I do remind him, help him get set up, and help him with the actual assignment when he asks. 

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#19 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 02:29 PM
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Ok I'm going to be the oddball here.  But I come from a Waldorf background, and don't believe children should have homework until the later grades.  This year my 2nd grader has to go to a different school, and I have a kindergartner also. Before we left the waldorf school, I asked the principal about this issue coming up, and she told me that they aren't going to "fail" my children or hold them back (unless of course they need to be held back because they're just not ready for the next grade), and that if getting their report card bothered me, throw it away.  So, I told the teachers up front that I would not force homework, if they wanted to do it then great, but I wasn't going to turn it into a battle, and I gave them my reasons.  They both said ok.  The school year is young, but both teachers seemed fine with it and really didn't care. 

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#20 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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I agree with you about homework fwiw. It seems like unnecessary busywork to me. But my dd loves being in her school, and doing homework is part of the deal.
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#21 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymorning View Post

Ok I'm going to be the oddball here.  But I come from a Waldorf background, and don't believe children should have homework until the later grades.  This year my 2nd grader has to go to a different school, and I have a kindergartner also. Before we left the waldorf school, I asked the principal about this issue coming up, and she told me that they aren't going to "fail" my children or hold them back (unless of course they need to be held back because they're just not ready for the next grade), and that if getting their report card bothered me, throw it away.  So, I told the teachers up front that I would not force homework, if they wanted to do it then great, but I wasn't going to turn it into a battle, and I gave them my reasons.  They both said ok.  The school year is young, but both teachers seemed fine with it and really didn't care. 

i am not sure i understand. so now your kids are at a non waldorf school and they dont have to do hw? their teachers are ok with it? i have heard this from some moms online, but IRL i have never come across this in my city. in regular public schools. IRL the teachers work with the family/student and get reduced or more interesting or challenging/simpler work but nada? never so far.  

 

its interesting - the middle school teachers here tell me which school they can identify their kids come from based on how well they do in their class esp. with hw. those who have done hw in intermediate elementary - intensive hw that takes longer than 10 mins have no problems fitting into the middle school where the amount of hw in my city just goes up exponentially.

 

however at both our waldorfs - public and private - the amount of hw they get in upper grades (not sure when hw starts) the amount of hw and project work is way above and beyond regular public school and many drop out of the high school waldorf here because of the amount of 'work'. i had no idea of that aspect of waldorf until i met some of the students there.  

 

 


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#22 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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Agrees with others if my daughter doesn't want to do her homewrk then she deals with consequences with teacher. Hugs

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#23 of 29 Old 09-13-2011, 04:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

I see what you're saying marmalade, however I don't think 7 year olds are great at time management yet. If I'm setting the schedule and making it easier now, I know I need to find a way to eventually back off. I'm hoping to ease out of the sit down with DD1 by the beginning of winter, I'll keep up with DD2 until she hits the 3rd grade and will try the same ease off approach. I don't want to make them dependent on me but I don't want to come across as not setting the bar for them either.



I just wanted to clarify that in my response I did say that I did still help with time management smile.gif.  My ds's "homework" this weekend was to decorate his writing book cover.  He had all weekend but he still ended up doing it Sunday night.  Some days are better than others.

 


Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)

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#24 of 29 Old 09-13-2011, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son has been doing better lately.  He had to stay in from recess to finish his homework once, and that seems to be motivation enough. 

 

Just in the interest of discussion, I don't think it's acceptable to neglect to teach children work ethic and time management skills.  Tough love isn't always the answer (suffering consequences), when you can put in place the support of structure, homework help, and expectations. 


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#25 of 29 Old 09-13-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post
Just in the interest of discussion, I don't think it's acceptable to neglect to teach children work ethic and time management skills.  Tough love isn't always the answer (suffering consequences), when you can put in place the support of structure, homework help, and expectations. 


I absolutely agree with this.  I was one who said that if my dd chooses not to do her homework the it is up to her to explain why to the teacher (ie. deal with the consequences at school).  But I in no way meant that to imply that I'm not actively working to teach her time management skills and work ethic - I am!  For me though, I will encourage, suggest, help, set up a routine, etc, but I will not enter into a power struggle if she is *really* fighting me about doing homework.  At that point I will allow her to learn what the teacher's/school's consequence is for not doing her work.  IMO it is the school who assigns the work.  My job is to help her be in a space (mental and physical) where she is able to focus on the work, to make sure she has the time to do it built into her day, to help her where she needs help, offer organizational suggestions, etc.  But in the final analysis homework is between her and the school.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#26 of 29 Old 09-13-2011, 02:04 PM
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Meemee-

Yes, they are both at a nonwaldorf, public (but alternative) school.  They are only in Kindergarten and 2nd grade-maybe as they get older it will be different-but both teachers said ok, they respect that.  Maybe I got lucky?

 

And I want to clarify that I am not teaching my kids to be irresponsible or anything-and I do see the value in work outside of the classroom-but not at this young of an age.  There are a lot of other ways to teach kids responsibility and to value their work.

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#27 of 29 Old 09-13-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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I hate homework, it's boring busywork in my opinion. And for my son, he already knows the material so it's just a waste of all of our time. He's got a teacher this year that really likes to pile it on too. eyesroll.gif

 

That said, it's what is required of him, and I expect him to do it. If he does not get it done at home he'll have to stay in and complete it at recess the next day .. but I don't allow that to happen - we do the homework at home and send him to school prepared. I think that's an important work ethic lesson, yes, even at age 8, 3rd grade. I mean what kind of lesson is it teaching him that all the other kids in his class have to do something, but he doesn't because we don't agree with the theory of homework? That's not right, at all. If we can't play by the rules, we should send him where we can.

 

Last night he had a ton of homework. I was not happy about it, and neither was ds. But we sat down, had a nice snack and did as much as we could. When he started getting frustrated, we stopped and agreed to finish it early in the morning before school. NOT finishing is simply not an option in our house.

 

If he refused, we would not being doing any screen time, playing with friends, etc until our homework is done. But as things stand now, I find he does better doing his homework while I cook dinner, after having several hours to chill out, play with friends and just be away from any responsibilities.


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#28 of 29 Old 09-13-2011, 03:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post

I don't think it's acceptable to neglect to teach children work ethic and time management skills. 

 i dont teach dd this coz i have no idea how to 'teach' it. how do you teach work ethic? how do u teach time management without being a nag. for me time management is a natural consequence. she gets the structure in school. and at home she takes time over one thing then she doesnt have time to take care of something else.

 

i think for me the key has been dd realising that choice is always a positive and negative at the same time. so making a choice is not such a bad thing. i think starting at 5 has really helped her with that.

 

and therefore our first grade experiment helped her to not let hw drag her down. there are things we all have to do we dont like. you try to do as much as u can to the best of ur ability at that time - which could be dismal sometimes and outstanding at other times.

 

honestly i myself kinda dont believe in work ethic. i think it has been overplayed in this culture (again corporations and work force is the root of this issue - which i think is the root issue of most problems here) and been completely redefined. dd does not need to learn from me. she gets to see that from all around her. so i really i guess de 'ethicize work' for her. i dont expect her to do her best all the time. i keep telling her i hope she never chooses to work 8 hours a day ever in her life unless her work IS play. i am ok with her being a slacker when she needs to and i encourage her to be a slacker sometimes. i feel so many people dont take downtime. dd's dad is a type A personality always on the go go go without stopping to smell the roses. i remind dd she doesnt HAVE to be that way. she can be whoever SHE decides to be and i will support that. so slacker i dont mind as long as she is having FUN. i'd rather see her get a C in class and have fun, rather than get an A without any fun.


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#29 of 29 Old 09-14-2011, 05:57 AM
 
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It's setting a schedule and utilizing other sources.  DD1 Has a schedule, she gets home we talk and then I do homework with DD2 (usually reading).  Once that's accomplished DD1 who has been relaxing for about 20 minutes comes over and does her homework with me.  On days I'm at work, DH tells me that they come home and sit at the table with whatever he got them as snack and do their homework together.  DD1 Helps DD2 and they ask DH if they need him.  They do this on their own when I'm not there.  DH doesn't tell them they have to, however they've gotten into the routine and know once it's done they have the rest of the day to play.  The days they didnt get it out of the way, they're struggling to stay awake to get it done.  That's not a good choice and they realize it.  It takes me reminding them, but I'm not battling them.  They've learned that it's a better choice for all involved to do it this way.  My friends daughter is older and sometimes I pick her up from school and she's the same way.  She goes straight to the table and all four of us get it done together then do something fun. 

 

 

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