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Homework Blues

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

Or: Getting Our Daughter to do Her Homework Without Her Parents Having a Nervous Breakdown

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” is a common reaction when attempting to get our daughter to do her homework. You might think that's because we have a naughty child who doesn’t do as she’s told. Actually, she’s normally pretty good. Or maybe that she’s not very good at her homework, so we have to spend a lot of time helping her. Nope, we are the proud parents of a clever little girl. Is the school a pressure cooker where they hothouse the pupils giving them hours of work to do each night? Well no, not really. Truth to tell, the reason we go: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” is because our daughter is completely disorganised and has no sense of time. Getting her to do ten minutes of spelling can take hours.

Homework timetable and tasks

When we looked at ways to help her, it was clear that there were a number of things we had to sort out to have any chance of success. This is where

QWERTY® could help us, as parents. We had to identify the problems (Question); Wonder about all the things that could help solve them; Explore the best possibilities (strategies and techniques in this case) for ensuring success; Rank them, so we knew which ones to try first; implement those strategies (Target) and then evaluate how well they worked (YaY!).

We had to have ways of ensuring her homework was completed, that it was done on time and handed in. So what were the problems? We had to consider things like:

  • knowing what she had to do (not always straightforward!)

  • getting her to remember what it was

  • getting her to start doing her homework on time

  • having the necessary equipment and materials

  • time planning

  • time management

  • organising a suitable work environment

  • parental supervision, as required

In case you find it helpful, we've gone into details about all of the above in our blog Homework Blues Background.

At all stages, we weren't looking for things that we, as parents, could do, but rather at techniques and strategies for our daughter to use to make her a more independent learner.

So much for the problems. What were our solutions? We:

  • used a memory technique to help her remember to bring it home in the first place

  • came up with a strategy to get her to start her homework in a timely fashion

  • created a simple homework routine that included equipment, materials and timing

We go into the details of the solutions in Homework Blues Solutions. You may find that they (or a variation of them personalised for your own circumstances) could help you and your child(ren) if you have similar problems.

In practice, all this took about six to eight weeks to put in place. Going forward, we hope and believe it will help install self-discipline and good habits in our daughter and longer-term show her how she can organise herself to accomplish the tasks that life throws at her more easily. If she can manage this at nine, she should be well-placed to organise herself through the challenges of exam work at the age of fourteen.

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