4th Grade Homework Will Be My Undoing


Wits, allow me to introduce you to end.  You two should get along swimmingly, and try this straight jacket on for size.  I think you’ll find it quite comfortable.

This child and 4th grade homework will be the end of me, I’m sure of it.  Let me share with you what has transpired over the past several months to begin my demise.  Every 6 weeks we get a “missing homework report” of all the work that Addison has not turned in.  The first two times we got it we were firm with him, made him do his work and turn it in accompanied by a punishment something along the lines of; no screen time until you turn everything in.  This is met with gnashing of teeth and how unfair it all is and how the other kids don’t have to do this.  I assured him that it was not unfair, rather a torment of his own making. I also let him know that I could care less what the other kids are doing and whether or not their parents were making them turn in their work.  I am a benevolent dictator, not his buddy who will side with him on not doing work.

The next report rolls around and this one has a crap ton of missing work.  I flip my lid and make him return to school the next day with a long list that he must check off as he finds the missing sheets and brings them home to complete.  We gave him over a week to complete all the work.  Every single day I would remind him that he needed to be working on the unfinished work IN ADDITION TO his regular homework.  Again, more gnashing of teeth, staring off into space, sitting and mopping for long periods of time.  The night before all the work was due and he was only half finished.  Dear Husband (bless him) sat with Addison at the kitchen table, sticking him with a cattle prod every time he zoned out and stopped working.  He was up WAY past his bed time and needless to say, in tears over the entire ordeal.  The next day he turned in all the work but not before we told him that he better remember this tortuous experience the next time he shoves a worksheet to the back of his desk instead of putting it into his back pack to be completed at home.

Another six weeks have passed and guess what?  Yup.  Missing homework.  Add to that the extra credit spelling work that he just forgot to turn in even though he had worked on it that morning before school.  The afternoon of the missing work report and the failure to turn in extra credit I found the top of my voice, told Addison to say goodbye to the Kindle because the next time he was going see it would be summer break and scared Harry so bad he hid in a cardboard box. Wait, it gets better.  The weekend and Monday passed without incident.  Tuesday came and guess who forgot to bring their homework home? I was proud of myself for not blowing my top.  Instead I calmly said that since he left his homework at school I would create homework for him right then and there.  I then made him write out his spelling words 1,000 times each.

Somebody please help me!  I don’t know what else to do to get this kid to remember to bring home his work.  Part of his problem is that he is unable to concentrate at school and finish it there.  The teacher (who should be granted sainthood for putting up with 22 little shits precious souls everyday) gives the class time to work on homework and worksheets before going home.  Unfortunately, Addison is easily distracted and is also a master at staring off into nothingness and then before you know it, poof, time to go home and he hasn’t done any work. Rather than put the sheet in his back pack he shoves it in his desk and forgets about it.  After my outburst he came up with the solution that he would have a folder in his back pack labeled “unfinished work” and that he would put all his work in there rather than his desk.  I’ll believe it when I see it and I told him as much.

Sweet Jesus working in the carpentry shop, please tell me what to do with this child.  Part of me worries that I’m being to hard on him, that I should just let it slide.  But if I start that in 4th grade what in the hell will 10th grade be like.  I’ve told him that he needs to get used to doing homework now because there is a heck of a lot more of it in high school and then when he gets to college his professors aren’t going to give a rats ass whether or not he does his homework.  They’ll just give him an F for unfinished work and not blink an eye.  We won’t be there in his dorm room telling him to stay focused so he needs to learn how to do it now.  But he is only 10 for crying out loud! Should I really put the pressure of potential college failure on him at this age?  Oops, too late.

Here is a really scary thought…what do the parents do who can’t be there right when their child gets home to make sure work is getting done?  What about the parents who work two jobs or only have a couple of hours to spend with their child before they go to bed?  Are they just hoping that their child has enough gumption and will power to avoid the phone and video games and do algebra instead?  Is this why our state is 48th in the nation in education and the United States is quickly falling behind the other countries in math and science?  Holy smokes, Idiocracy here we come.

If anybody has any ideas on how to get an elementary child to focus and do their work, I’m all ears because my wits have met their end and are laughing at them.  


10 Responses

  1. Kathryn Green

    Miss – I’m laughing so hard I’m crying reading this because I can visualize this whole scenario taking place. That far away look he gets when he’s so disinterested in what you are saying. I bet Harry’s eyes got as big as saucers at the sound of your voice reaching it’s peak, running for the cardboard box and then gleefully suggested that Kindle would be a thing of the past for him. Oh, my; parenting is for the very young and so thank you, Lord that I may stand on the sidelines watching instead of participating. Love you, MOM

  2. Elasha

    This happened to our oldest when he hit junior high and I still haven’t figured it out! (I should say – HE hasn’t figured it out). Tying missing assignments to electronics/privileges is the only thing that has somewhat worked. That and finding a way to check on assignments weekly. Good luck! He’ll probably figure it out before high school, when things really count . . . we’re hoping ours does.

  3. Marisa

    I have to say “Sweet Jesus working in the carpentry shop” is now on my list of things that I’m going to have to say.

    Also, I recently had this talk with my boyfriend about how we’d handle kids who didn’t do their homework. (Yes, we aren’t married and don’t plan on having kids soon, but some day, who knows? I like to be ready for all potential futures.) I’m pretty sure I would’ve had the same reaction as you.
    Marisa recently posted…My Office Mate Should Be FiredMy Profile

    • Stephanie Clinton

      It warms my heart to know I’ve added to your list of things to say <3 I hope I haven't scared you off from ever having kids. ūüėČ

    • Stephanie Clinton

      Well, laughter was part of my goal here so at least that happened. ūüėČ Keep the prayer coming, we need them

  4. Chris Carter

    “Sweet Jesus working in the carpentry shop,”…. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Oh girl, this is just crazy funny and also crazy frustrating to read all you are going through!!!

    Why doesn’t the teacher put some kind of checklist together for him on a daily basis? If not, then I suggest throwing the heavy hand of major consequences if he doesn’t bring home exactly all that expected? can the teacher shoot you the list of what he needs to have every day? I totally agree, you need to get this under control and poor Addison needs to develop the skill set before the grades get higher and harder!

    I would be losing my MIND. I think either the teacher needs to help him or perhaps a tutor or aide from the school. It shouldn’t be this hard!! My kids have always had binders for their work, and after they work on them or get hand outs they put them in those binders. Then take the binders home! Not sure how this teacher organizes the kid’s work… ?

    Just seems like much UNDO stress for you both. Let me know how it goes honey!!! Ugh. Sounds so hard.
    Chris Carter recently posted…Two Important Ways To Manage Your Child’s AngerMy Profile

    • Stephanie Clinton

      Thanks for the encouragement. ¬†I had thought about having the teacher putting together a check list or emailing me. However, I want him to learn to do this himself. This has been a really tough lesson for all of us and I’m hoping that eventually he will learn to take responsibility for his own work. Keep me in your prayers! I may not survive! ūüėČ

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