My child just entered third grade, and the homework load is much higher this year, with a lot of writing and math drills. It is all work that she can do easily, but it's causing the whole family a lot of pain, because she's have a really hard time just sitting down and doing it — asking many questions about things she clearly actually knows, and getting distracted by the smallest thing going on around her. (Setting up a special quiet area isn't helping, because the distractions could be her pencil or a sudden burst of word association based on something in the lesson.)
So, a page of writing and a couple of pages of math which could be done in fifteen minutes total is taking an hour and a half. She can easily explain the reasoning behind the math problems, but when it comes to writing down what she just said, it's like pulling teeth. She'll slowly write a word, sounding it out in slow motion as she writes each word. And she'll say that she doesn't understand a question, but when she actually gets her mind pointed at it, she can write a great answer. And she's clearly picking up the concepts in class; I have no doubt that she actually understands, which is part of our frustration.
My wife feels like she's just wanting attention, but I think it's more about our daughter's own ability to focus. We both feel that sitting down and working painfully through each question isn't really helping her. That works, but my wife feels like it's just rewarding the behavior, and I feel like it's not really helping her learn any better focus on her own, which, you know, she'll need in actual life. And, we're happy to spend child with our kid, this pretty much the opposite of quality time.
Neither rewards or consequences seem to have any effect, and nor do charts. All of those things basically just seem to add another layer of complication, distraction, and misery. What else can we do?