How do you get a 4 year old to do homework?

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

How do you get a 4 year old to do homework?

Postby Aaronmom » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:12 am

Hello all,
My 4 year old does not have alot of homework but once a week teacher will send home a few pages of writing to do at home. I cannot for the life of me get him to do it. He hates writing letters or numbers repeatedly. I don't want to start screaming and timing him out for not doing homework at 4!!!!!!! Any insights anyone???? HELP.

Sandra

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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to do homework?

Postby tamarind » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:48 am

Aaronmom wrote:Hello all,
My 4 year old does not have alot of homework but once a week teacher will send home a few pages of writing to do at home. I cannot for the life of me get him to do it. He hates writing letters or numbers repeatedly. I don't want to start screaming and timing him out for not doing homework at 4!!!!!!! Any insights anyone???? HELP.

Sandra


If I were you, I would just throw away the homework :wink:

At 4 years old, you should focus on teaching phonics,sight words, and Chinese character recognition. Writing repeatedly will only turn off his interesting in learning.

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Postby tankee » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:39 am

I agree with Tamarind.

Beside throwing away the homework, I would change Child Care too.

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Postby mrswongtuition » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:46 am

I'm sorry to disagree on throwing away the homework as it will have psychological impact on the child. You may end up with your child having an attitude of "I can also throw away homework if I don't want to do it".

Let's be realistic: Singapore's education system is such that it's like a pressure cooker. If the kids have an adverse reaction towards homework from young, and it's not corrected, they'll hate it forever! Imagin the implications in his years of study in Pri & Sec!

Unless you intend to homeschool, we don't have much choice except to make the homework fun for him.

Maybe you can read up on my blog on how I encouraged my 3yo son to love homework :) http://thelittleonesinmylife.blogspot.com

At 4yo, he should understand a reward scheme. You can try implementing that or starting a routine.

Another thing to note: Some kids do not like repetition.
This is true for my son. At any one time, he'll probably only write 3-5 of the same alphabet/number. How we help is to do rotation. Switch the book/wkst once he's bored. We switch btw school work and non-school work (puzzles, mazes, colouring).

While he's writing, my maid & I will tell him related stories too. For example he was writing the number 9 yesterday. On his worksheet were 9 ducks. So my maid started a story about a mother duck looking for her 9 baby ducklings. She had to go in a "C", then fly a little and go downwards like a "1" to find baby ducklings!
The story is actually about the strokes to write 9 :)
and we got him to count the ducklings. No complaints! He finished it very quickly!

And I spoke to the school teacher to allow the work to be written in colour (I bought his face Ben10 crayon as reward and he wants go use it).
Ultimately, we want them to learn with a happy heart.

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Postby tamarind » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:20 am

mrswongtuition,
I don't mean throwing the homework in front of the kid, just don't force him to do it if he does not like it.

It is great that you succeeded in encouraging your child to write. Some kids do like to write from a young age.

But for most kids below the age of 5, if they don't like to write, parents should never force them. Forcing them will only make them hate to learn. Between 3 to 6 years of age, it is most important to focus on reading in both English and Chinese, writing repeatedly does not help in word recognition. A child may write a letter/number 20 times and still forget how to read it the next day. Parents should spend much more effort teaching phonics, sight words, and reading story books extensively in both English and Chinese.

The fact is that I never make my boy, who is of average ability, do homework everyday in N2 and K1. Now at 6 years old he has no problem sitting still to complete a few pages of homework given by me and he does his work independently. Thanks to phonics, he can spell effortlessly without the need to practice writing the words at all, and because he has read extensively, I don't worry about his grammar and vocabulary.

My theory is that making kids do a few hours of worksheets since 4 years old may cause them to burn out before they enter P1. We should find the most effective methods to teach them, so that they only need to learn for a very short time everyday, and still have lots of time to enjoy their childhood.

Remember that we should teach kids to study "the smart way", not just make them study hard.

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Postby Sun_2010 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:07 am

My two cents...

Different kids need different approaches
i agree with tamarind that writings skill when forced makes it a chore. Even with the reward scheme. if the child is not at all keen , and he is doing it soley for the reward then while he may learn the letter/number, he is reinforcing his dislike. What is the hurry?

While mrswongtution's approach is really good, you need to have the patience, the skill of being involved with ur kid and understanding his needs. If the child is having some interest but cant just sit and do, then encouragement is all that is needed.

Preschool time is to develop intrinsic interest. Make them do things they love to. Dont want to write then draw. cant draw, then colour. Can colour by themselves then do it with them.

Any yes most importantly,while doing this give some time off for the critical self in u, . The idea is to enjoy the activity not master it. If you are in the process not enjoying it, feeling the kids is doing a bad job, then believe me kids can feel it and know they dont meet ur expectations and so will also hate it or worse will have a low selfesteem.

So DONT GET ur preschooler to do something. Make him want to do it, slowly and gradually when he is ready

BTW, these are points i am struggling to live by...

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Postby smurf » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:21 pm

Hey Sun,

very well said.

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Postby Aaronmom » Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:35 am

Thank you all so much for your very thoughtful replies. My son is not (err I don't really think so) ADD (attention deficit disorder) but he is very very playful and sporty. Deep inside me, I feel something is not right too to "force"him to do homework. But then again, I thought we need to "start" somewhere right? I feel that if he is given his choice, he will never learn!!! I think I might need to have a talk with his teacher and see what she says. Apparently, she is able to "make" him do it at school??? By the way, I am actually not in Singapore, I am in USA. We can be kiasu here too.
Sigh.......
Ok I will concentrate on other more fun things. Thank you everyone again! I really appreciate your insights.

Aaronmom
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Postby jedamum » Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:33 pm

Sun_2010 wrote:The idea is to enjoy the activity not master it. If you are in the process not enjoying it, feeling the kids is doing a bad job, then believe me kids can feel it and know they dont meet ur expectations and so will also hate it or worse will have a low selfesteem.

agree.
my 4yo has name writing homework every friday (1 line only). i don't expect him to write perfectly. i draw lines and dots to guide him. i gave him a start for each letter that he traced nicely (yes, i tend to draw/remark on sch homework my way, even for ds1's). when he does not want to write anymore, i remove the paper and try again at a latter time.

his teachers had feedback that his colouring is horrendous; i have not done anything for this yet cos how to make him colour if he does not like to? de ja vu, cos ds1 did not like colouring when he was a toddler and he turn out fine too, save for some very untidy handwriting. :roll:

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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to do homework?

Postby jedamum » Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:37 pm

Aaronmom wrote:Hello all,
My 4 year old does not have alot of homework but once a week teacher will send home a few pages of writing to do at home. I cannot for the life of me get him to do it. He hates writing letters or numbers repeatedly. I don't want to start screaming and timing him out for not doing homework at 4!!!!!!! Any insights anyone???? HELP.

Sandra

another few points,
your boy 'hates' writing letters or numbers repeatedly cos it is boring? cos he can't write? cos you erase his ugly handwriting everytime he writes out of line?
my boy does not like to write more than once for any letters or numbers; so i break it up into smaller parts for him to do; i close one eye for neatness.
start a system for doing homework; i have done a variety for ds1 when he was a toddler and am doing the same for ds2; when a certain task is done, he gets a stamp to affix somewhere; or he get to play maze/activity books. is this the first time your boy is doing work? if so, give him some time to settle into seatwork. try to do daily seatwork in the form of activity booklets; 10min is suffice cos the gist is to get the kid to sit down and do some work.
MHO.

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