The homework battle

I have had a hard time this year getting the 8yo boy to sit still long enough to do homework. Based on some of the worksheets he brings home, I’m guessing he has the same problems at school too. I’ve had other homework challenges with the girls (procrastination, stalling, distraction) but I have never had outright refusal to try. His whole focus is getting it done as quickly as possible. Even if that means reading the word “carpenter” as “caterpillar” and filling in the blank as “The carpenter builds *flowers* as he works.”

I’ve tried giving him a play break after school. The result is usually a meltdown when it’s time for homework.

I’ve tried making him sit down immediately after school to do his homework. The result is complete lack of concentration.

I’ve tried making it into a game. He’s far too smart to fall for that anymore.

Yesterday he had a worksheet, spelling words to practice and reading. I was dreading this triple threat. If it’s hard to get him to do one homework activity, you can only imagine the torture that is three of them. Then I thought of something I hadn’t tried before. He sat down and did side one of the worksheet. Then I told him to do 10 push-ups. He looked suspicious but was more than willing to hop up and move around. He did side two of the worksheet. I told him to give me 15 jumping jacks. He grinned, raced over to do the exercise and then raced back to finish the next assignment.

We still have some sloppy writing and misreading going on but far less frequently. Better yet, there was only one complaint in the 20 minutes of work. I call that a success.

Homework Boot Camp, offered Mon-Thurs at approx 4pm.


4 thoughts on “The homework battle

  1. Don’t you just love boys?! I actually tried this same approach when I subbed last week. My class was complaining because they didn’t get a recess (but were given a 2nd specials period in the day) and I had to administer an ISTEP writing prompt practice exercise for 45 minutes. I had them jump up and down, wiggle, do jumping jacks and stretch before they sat and had to stay still and quiet. It seemed to help a lot!

  2. Boys definitely present a different challenge – excellent solution! I have a couple boys on my caseload that I allow to stand when they are working with me. They’re more focused that way and it’s really eliminated the whole falling out of the chair problem, too.

  3. Ruthie does the same thing but for different reasons! Maybe I should try this in my classroom with the students who can not work any better than J.

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