3 Ways to Get Kids to Do Homework

Sharing the blogging love today with a relativity new blogger, CeeLee. CeeLee writes for Swim In the Adult Pool and is trying her hand at guest posting. Show her the love too today.

I Hate Homework!

I Hate Homework!

Adult ADHD is always a challenge

My name is CeeLee. I have adult ADHD which can make life interesting at my house. I battle with circumstances and situations that a non-ADHD parent probably wouldn’t even consider as so much as a blip on the radar. I’m guilty of many things, but I doubt having a dull household will ever be on the list.

” Mom! I hate homework! “

The battle I have most week days, is to convince my son that homework is necessary and even vital, to his learning. My son heartily disagrees, preferring to glean his knowledge from bashing the goombas on Mario Bros. He’s 9. His logic is that if he “able to effectively problem solve the level he is at right now on his game, then that should count towards his education“. Did I mention that he is going to grow up to either be a defense attorney (he can argue anything into submission) or a used car salesman, what with his overflowing charm and the batting his mile long eye lashes that he sure didn’t inherit from me.

Getting them to do homework isn’t easy

These homework battles can range anywhere from an hour to 3, depending on the objections, stalling, pleading and/or begging. I eliminate the factors for procrastination.When we come through the door, he is allowed to run off his pent up energy for 20 minutes, while I mentally gather myself to stave off the possible battle to come. After he has run off some of the wiggles, next comes the snack. I make sure his brain is fed before we start, as his being hungry can be a distraction and is always used as an excuse.

3 ways to get it done now

1. Sound effects as a reward

I sit with him so that he doesn’t find other more fun things to do. For every answer that he gets right, he gets to play a sound effect from my cell. Remember, he is a boy and so I’m positive you can surmise the type of sound effects he might choose to play.

2. We do the homework in 30 minute time blocks.

He doesn’t have a large amount of homework to be done normally. I divide the work up in 30 minute increments and then a 10 minute break to get up and move around before we tackle the next task. Everyone needs a break and his focus is better for it.

3. Apply a bait and switch

For really bad days when he just doesn’t want to do it, offer a fate that’s worse than homework. For us, that would be for me to sing to him. I may be gifted in some areas of life, but American Idol I shall never be. Or suggest a room cleaning expedition, a trip to the grocery, anything that the kiddo hates worse than homework. After those suggestions, they may be only too happy to get the lesser of 2 evils done and thank you afterwards.

His Preferred Method Of Learning

His Preferred Method Of Learning

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  1. debbie mchardy says

    I, too, dealt with a son with ADHD and the perils of homework…that was some years ago, but the methods are still pretty soundproof! Prayer and lots of patience also help!!

  2. says

    Hi there Jillian!
    Homework battles are so much fun, aren’t they? ;)
    The highlight of my day for sure!

    Believe it or not, the sound effects seem far more effective
    than anything else I’ve found. LOL
    Thank you for commenting. :)

  3. says

    At the start of this piece, you made a comment about homework being “necessary.” This really depends on what you mean by the word necessary — necessary to learn or necessary to pass. The sad truth is that research gives very little support for the notion that homework helps in learning. The problem for most parents is that homework is factored in the grading system so heavily that it becomes necessary to do it to pass the course.

    If we think about it, we realize that homework is given an extremely high weight for the time it is supposed to take. The child can earn a zero for work not handed in, He may score 60 on a test he failed, yet the zero has a 2 1/2 times greater, negative effect on the grade than the failing test had. And the homework score may get factored in 20 or 25 percent even though it should, theoretically take less than 10 percent of the child’s total school/home educational day.

    When you talk about having your 9 year old child do 30 minute blocks of work, I would say that a 9 year old should not be doing more than 30 minutes work in total. So my recommendation to you is to limit yourself and your child to one such block. Bring the work session to a close, once the 30 minutes are over, and live with the results. Your child will probably do more in that time bound 30 minutes than he will do with the current arrangement.

    This obviously puts you in a position of having to deal with the school around the work that has not been done, but you are dealing with them now, while homework dominates your home.

    Good luck. For more on this model, check out http://www.thehomeworktrap.com.

    • says

      Hi Dr. Goldberg,

      You made some points to consider,
      I thank you for taking the time to do so. :)

      While I do agree that homework does have it’s drawbacks,
      I also see the value in creating a routine with a very basic structure
      that can help my son develop good habits he can use later on down the road.
      Note: Depending entirely on whether he chooses to use that foundation ;)

      He doesn’t normally have a large amount of work to do.
      At least half of those 30 minutes are taken up by his protests
      over completing approx 10 minutes of actual work.
      I know this because he’s demonstrated it many times over.

      That’s why I think outside the box in my strategies.

      • says

        I understand what you are saying. One of the major points in my model, which differs from what other homework critics are saying, is that homework, by its very nature usurps power from the parents. As you make clear, it is your opinion, as a parent, that, despite the time spent on protests, the overall impact is good for your child. I honor that and think you should have the power and authority to follow your beliefs. One basic truism about being a parent is that we all approach it from our own point of view and do the best we can. We love our children, and it is that love, not just the specific decisions we make, that proves central to them growing up and thriving.

        When I look at my experience with my children (I have three who are all grown up), I can say with certainty that my thinking evolved out of those experiences. Had I only had two children, I would have never directed my practice, as a psychologist, to the study of homework. I would have accepted the fundamental rightness of homework and set a tone in my home that one should respect authority and do what one was told (even if I sometimes doubted a particular assignment).

        With my third child, it was different. The homework battles were unrelenting and the source of the problem was a difference between his being an obviously bright child and his difficulties managing work at home. My wife and I joined the school in its efforts to get him to do his work. Over time, we began to see the situation in a different light, and realized that he needed homework relief, in the form of true by-the-clock time boundaries, if he were to succeed. The school was variable in its willingness to defer to our point of view. In every case, he excelled (not just grade wise but in true learning) when we had authority to make our own decisions at home, did very poorly when the school would not bend on what they insisted he do.

        It was because of this that I wrote The Homework Trap. It is really the book I wish I had to use as a basis for making my point. As much as I was respected for being “Dr. Goldberg,” as a parent, I was seen as an ordinary parent (which is the way it should be). It would have helped to have my own Dr. Goldberg, over my shoulder, supporting what I was saying.

        But in the end, the most harmful part was that the school could make homework decisions that superseded my authority as a parent.

        So when you say in your response that you feel what you are doing is good for your child, my response is “great, go for it.” In the end, I consider the most important change that needs to occur with homework policy is to vest, with parents, full authority over what happens in the home. If you find, as your child grows up, that your position is what he needs; you, as his parent, should have the full right to continue as you see fit. My concern is that you may hit a point where you see things in a different way. Perhaps, your child will incorporate the habits and skills you want him to develop and that is fine. Perhaps, he won’t. Then I ask, who will make the decision about what is required of him in your home: you or the school? In my mind, final decision-making should always be yours.


        • says

          Dr Goldberg

          I’ve been reading some of the blog posts
          on your site and have to thank you, as
          I’ve able to see a bit different viewpoint about homework
          and the battles that go along with it. :)

          I know that with my son, as with me,
          not to take something for granted.
          Just because something works today~
          doesn’t mean that it’ll work the same way tomorrow.

          As a parent I try to be flexible, but I’ll admit.
          I’m far from perfecting it. LOL
          I just try to do the best I can, with what I have,
          and to let the rest go.

          If there is an issue, it will present itself soon enough.
          I know I won’t do my son or myself,
          any good by worrying over it so much that it does,
          become a problem needing immediate attention. :)
          Thank you so much for the opportunity to read
          about other ways to approach the homework woes! :)