43

I'm pretty sure no children like doing the majority of their homework. As a child, I resented it deeply because I felt that once I'd left school, I should also have left schoolwork. So I have every sympathy even though now, as an adult, I understand that it helps to re-enforce their learning which will stand them in good stead for exams and the like in later life.

Anyway, we have two kids of 7 and 11 and both, in their different ways, have a bad attitude to homework they don't want to do. The 7 year old throws minor tantrums, which can escalate into major ones if there's something more interesting to do or it's a subject that's strongly disliked. The 11 year old rolls eyes and puts in zero effort to get it out of the way as fast as possible.

As well as wanting them to do well at school (which they do), poor homework reflects poorly on the parents. They're at different schools, due to the age difference, and both schools make it clear that they presume parents will help with homework - so they obviously share that expectation.

Now, before coming to SE, I went to look for advice online. Much of what's suggested we already do: there is a quiet downstairs space for them to work, distraction is minimized, parents are available and willing to help but not take over or do it for them. We do not offer money or treats as a reward (online advice suggests not doing so) as we feel it sends a bad message about the reasons for education: knowledge and mastery ought to be its own reward.

We do not have a regular time slot for homework, because this would be difficult for a variety of reasons.

What surprised me though was that a common suggestion was simply to back off. You can't force children to do their homework and the consequences fall on them, not you. Saying "no" thus becomes a winnable battle for older children the way that refusing food can be for younger ones.

While this makes perfect sense, it is not entirely true that the consequences fall entirely on the child. Teachers are bound to think dimly of parents who cannot encourage children to do successful homework. I am also dubious that this approach will work prior to senior school, with the 7 year old.

Are my concerns valid? Is there anything else we can try?

  • 5
    What I miss in your question is separation between objective benefits of doing homework and dealing with (disregard of) being viewed by others in some way (following a practice frowned upon by the teacher goes at least partially to the former category). And especially how the parents are viewed by the teacher. I've been raised up with too much focus on how other people wiew my actions and I sorely missed a healthy disregard for others my whole youth. Now as a parent, I couldn't care less what teachers think about me – Pavel Sep 27 '17 at 9:27
  • 13
    Why do people think that homework is a value in itself? Repeating stuff you already know without a challenge is just a waste of time. Overcoming (even small) challenges provides its own reward. - Homework should require application of knowledge and be challenging, but not frustrating. What others call "character building" is (in my opinion) often just an euphemism for "creating useful members of the workeforce" as opposed to "creating useful members of society". Make sure that any work your children have to do is actually useful. Challenge the teachers if it isn't! Maybe find a better school. – I'm with Monica Sep 27 '17 at 15:34
  • 5
    @AlexanderKosubek I went to a no homework school and that proved bad for me in later years. I was unable to keep my butt on a chair doing things that sucks (come on, Fourier series are cool but not when you have to do 35 in a row to be quick enough during final exam...) and had to hard teach myself to do stuff I dont like getting ugly jobs in order to go on with college... – Caterpillaraoz Sep 28 '17 at 11:41
  • 3
    Your children may be unchallenged by their homework. Speaking from personal experience this is an absolute performance-killer. I do agree that exercising what they've learned is important, but when this turns into pointless repetition of things they already mastered it becomes a frustrating waste of time. You should talk with your children and their teachers about this. Of course doing tedious homework helps building the right mindset, but at a certain point it definitely will turn out negatively. – Paul Sep 28 '17 at 13:46
  • 1
    If your children are doing well in school, why are you so stressed about it. Also, what do you care what your children's teachers think, or anyone else for that matter. If you are pleased with your children's overall performance, don't pet the sweaty stuff. A simple reminder to children that are already doing well in school that missing homework will tank their grades should be enough. – Jack Sep 28 '17 at 14:26

17 Answers 17

51

...knowledge and mastery ought to be its own reward.

Question: do you work (at your job) for free because it's rewarding and what you want to do? No, you work because you get a paycheck for it. (I did do some of my work - but not the majority - for free.)

Ideally knowledge and mastery are its own reward, but that's not real life. Pardon my skepticism, but that's non-sense until one is free to make one's own choices.

Doing things they don't care for is character building, fulfilling unpleasant expectations, and a lot of other preparations for real adult life. It's also tedious. So, whatever you can do to help them build character and do tedious things that are expected of them is a real win for all.

You can do what @Rory suggests: make it fun. Or reward them when they have done their homework without complaint or drama by reading them an interesting story. Or have a "star chart" (I wouldn't use stars) and the older one at least, can delay gratification for a movie night or something else she'd like for a certain number of stickers.

Although this may be far afield, please consider: what makes you a successful adult? Is it your knowledge or your ability to obtain the knowledge you need? Is it what you can do, or your ability to keep at it until you master what you need to master?

Praise these things in your children. Homework is often drudgery. Praise them on their ability to control their impulse to give up. Praise them on the ability to do it without drama. Praise whatever effort is praiseworthy. But, mostly, praise the process, not the outcome.

13

Try making sure it is fun, for younger ones, and works towards a goal, for older kids.

I always enjoyed homework, and one of my children does too, so it is very easy to just steer her homework the right direction and offer support when there are difficulties.

My eldest sees the value in homework as he knows what he wants his career to be, so for him the essential support I can give is removing distractions and ensuring he makes time.

The tricky one is my middle child, as she doesn't see her schooling as giving her what she wants from life, so for her it's a combination of explaining what it will give her in later life, as well as encouraging her to set her own success criteria.

  • 3
    "...encouraging her to set her own success criteria." What a great way to handle this. – anongoodnurse Sep 27 '17 at 15:03
  • @anongoodnurse IF it is implied that there is a process where this self-set success criteria will be reviewed further down the road, this can be a good exercise in self-management. But this may be grounds for another Q&A. – Mindwin Sep 28 '17 at 14:47
12

The number one change we made that helped with this issue was eliminating all screen time (computer, television, tablet, everything except dedicated eReaders) during the week. This drastically cuts down on the available "more interesting" options, and if any homework requires computer use it becomes almost a treat because they get to use the computer outside of regular hours.

We did this back when the oldest kids were first starting to have "real" homework, maybe around age seven, and the youngest was just in preschool or kindergarten. We combined this lack of screen time with asking at dinner every night whether homework was done yet, and otherwise having a mostly hands-off approach. I also remember giving a speech or two about how if they didn't finish their homework they'd have to take the consequences with their teachers, not me. (I think it was the consequences with the teachers that really made a difference, though, not my speechifying.)

Now (6th and 9th grades) they mostly do their homework without being asked or told, and in fact will sometimes get agitated if they feel they have too many activities and something I want them to do is cutting into their homework time. (I actually had to make one kid stop doing math homework at the dinner table this year.)

  • 3
    I don't know about all week long but if homework's not done: no screen time. – Mazura Sep 26 '17 at 22:47
  • 2
    @Mazura Not all week long, just on weekdays. We mainly did this to make bedtime easier (so screentime as a reward in the evening doesn't work for us) and cut down on fights, but there were a bunch of unanticipated positive side effects, including homework getting done sooner. A modified, less strict version like you suggest might work well for others. – 1006a Sep 26 '17 at 23:32
10

My sons went through hell and we became enforcers for pretty much no result. They both did well and are now both happy and enjoying life.

School on its own can be tough for kids without home being like a labour camp.

The comment about personal responsibility and understanding consequences is an important one but let home be a respite not a burden.

The following links are to soothe any guilt you may feel about not enforcing it.

"What the research shows is that, in countries where they spend more time on homework, the achievement results are lower," Dr Walker, from Sydney University's Education Faculty, said."

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/08/homework-who-needs-it/497966/

https://www.salon.com/2016/03/05/homework_is_wrecking_our_kids_the_research_is_clear_lets_ban_elementary_homework/

  • 1
    I don't remember having homework when I was 5, 6, 7 years old, but my daughter's had it since kindergarten. Very strange, in my mind, and some nights it takes an hour or more (it's not hard, she just balks and it turns into a battle when it really doesn't need to be -- an unnecessary thing, as you're saying). – Michael Armes Sep 28 '17 at 18:42
7

I think your concerns are valid, but you're projecting a bit of your own feelings onto your children's experiences. While they may make it clear they do not enjoy doing homework, their reasons for feeling this way may be completely different than your own. So your attempts to address what you think are their blocks are actually trying to address what yours were XX years ago, not what's impacting them right now.

Unfortunately without knowing more specifics about what subjects or specific complaints the kids have it's a little hard to address any particular point.

One idea would be for you to model the behavior you wish to see in your children. While you say it's difficult to have scheduled homework time, what if you came up with your own homework for you to do along with them? Perhaps you could pick up an online course in a math subject you didn't particularly enjoy or understand in school, or something else that your children could see as analogous to their own schoolwork. Then, when you do get the children to sit down for homework, you can sit with them and work on your own homework and show them that while it is difficult, and that it does take away from their fun time with toys and games and whatnot, they're guaranteed to get time with their parent and see a role model doing much the same mental gymnastics as themselves.

6

Given your own feelings:

As a child, I resented it deeply because I felt that once I'd left school, I should also have left schoolwork.

I don't see any reason you should try to encourage/force your children to do homework. I felt and still feel exactly the same way, and although my children are too young to have homework yet, when they're old enough for it to be an issue I'll make it clear to them that school/teachers do not own their time at home, and that the degree to which they want to do homework is entirely up to them. Of course you also expressed a valid concern:

Teachers are bound to think dimly of parents who cannot encourage children to do successful homework.

"Someone else may think badly of me/my child if I don't force them to do such-and-such" is a general pattern you'll face not just from teachers but from all over. My belief, which may or may not work for you but I think is at least worth considering, is that you need to be assertive and not let things be framed that way. At the very least, if a teacher confronts you about homework your children haven't done, you need to avoid appearing disinterested or negligent and respond in a way that reflects that you've thought about the situation, your children have spent X hours of the week in school already, and they need their time at home to [relax/do family things/spend time on hobbies/read/play games/whatever it is they like]. If you want to be more proactive, you could raise concerns with teachers before they do with you, saying basically the same thing: that they already have your kids in school for X hours and you don't appreciate them being given another Y hours of stuff to do at home and made to feel guilty when they don't do it.

  • I don't see how this strategy benefits them in the long run, especially if they decide to go to college, where some classes expect one to spend more time out of class than in class working on course materials. While there is an age aspect (homework is more effective the older the student is), they have to learn effective study habits. – TemporalWolf Sep 27 '17 at 20:28
  • 1
    @TemporalWolf: That's a good question. College is pretty much completely different in terms of what homework is/means though, and the sorts of work you're assigned in K-12 have little or no relationship to college study habits, especially before the last couple years of high school. It's mostly about "prove you spent [or rather, that your parents spent] a bunch of time doing something" rather than developing skills to find and make sense of information on your own. – R.. Sep 27 '17 at 21:33
  • 1
    Having any sort of field of knowledge you're actually interested in, and spending time finding out about it on your own (even if that just means crawling Wikipedia or Googling) prepares you a lot more for college study/research skills than doing homework assignments. Perhaps this leads to additional material to answer OP's question: how to facilitate development of skills for study/research. – R.. Sep 27 '17 at 21:39
3

Teaching them how to encourage themselves might help with their motivation and will give them a skill that will be useful for the rest of their lives.

I distinctly remember one day when I was fairly young and struggling to focus on some homework, my mom gave me a packet of M&Ms (small chocolate candies for those not familiar) and encouraged me to eat one every time I finished a problem. It really made a difference because it gave me something very immediate to focus on. Instead of focusing on how I couldn't play until I finished the whole problem set, which at that age felt like an eternity away, I just had to finish one achievable problem and then I could give myself a small treat. Breaking work down to manageable chunks and rewarding myself for completing a smaller piece of the whole is a technique I still use as an adult in the working world. (Although now I mostly reward myself with coffee!)

Keep in mind, I think the key to getting this to work is allowing your child to decide for themselves when they deserve a reward. You should probably provide some guidance in the beginning, but the rewards should be something that they give themselves.

For your older child especially, you might also consider teaching them the Pomodoro Technique or some other similar time management technique. The idea of the technique is that before starting to work you decide on a specific task that you're going to work on. You then set a timer and work on your task until the time is up. When the timer is up, take a short break then restart the timer and get back to work. After a few intervals of working, you take a longer break. Similar to above, it encourages breaking work down into manageable chunks and provides a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, that isn't as far away as the end goal. The main difference is that rather than getting the reward after finishing something, you get the reward for staying focused for a specific length of time.

  • Up voted for suggesting the Pomodoro Technique. It is far often thought of something that primarily adults should use to accomplish a task while managing time appropriately. I began using this in the late years of my school life and it helped me immensely since then, didn't know it had a name at that time. – uR2die4 Mar 15 '18 at 23:54
3

Doing homework has to be proven to be beneficial to them in order for them to do it. You can try to induce this restricting their freedom or punishing them for not doing it, but this will not always work.

When I was in school, I refused to do homework because it provided no benefit to me, and doing it would further the misconception that homework is necessary for the mastery of the material. I took pride in never doing homework and acing every test, and nothing ever dissuaded me from this. My parents grounded me from tv and video games, they grounded me from going outside and playing, or anything else remotely fun. So all I did was read books instead of doing my homework, because I enjoyed reading just as much, and my parents were smart enough at least to not ban me from reading. I failed about a dozen classes in high school for not doing homework, including classes that I received 5s (highest grade) on the Advanced Placement tests for. I had to go to summer school with people who literally could not read in order to graduate high school, while consistently maintaining the highest test grades in the school.

So you would think that all of these negative consequences would have meant something to me, but they didn't, at least, they didn't mean more than me proving a point.

What I am trying to illustrate with this story is that your child will weigh the benefits of doing homework versus not doing them, and will question why it needs to be done. If the best answer is "because I/the teacher said so", then don't expect a good response unless your child values the negative consequences of punishment higher than that of their principles.

2

I'm eighteen now and when I recall those times, I'm extremely grateful to my mom for having chosen a super good method.

Frankly, I had and still some real gift and interest in Maths and English (not native to), which may affect the appliance of this answer to another case.

Scroll down a bit until some bold text if you find the background story too redundant.


I, probably as the children of the readers of this question, was very resistant to extra homework. Even if I excelled at Math and English, I hated writing more homework than what I deemed necessary.

Another "probably the same" is that I was addicted to computer games. My dad and mom limited the time I have access to computer each day. I can roughly recall that it was half an hour every weekday and one hour per day every weekend.

I "unlock" my "today's budget" by completing regular school homework for that day (amount of HW was fairly small at primary school, G5 and G6), so even after consuming all the budget, I often have 3 to 3.5 hours of free time daily. Some were spent doing sports like jogging and cycling, but more were spent doing something meaning less less less like watching TV but keep switching channels, or repeatedly picking up all my toys and putting them back.

While my dad and mom was ordinary (to some extent), they didn't want me to do so. They discussed with me that I would learn more extracarricular Maths and English, in order to be more competitive in a long run. I accepted the courses but heavily disliked the homework, and it was a sufferage every day to do the extra homework.

Here comes the answer. As I really liked playing computer games, my mom made an attempt at making a deal with me. The deal was that I do extra homework and Maths exercises to earn extra "computer time" budget.

I hesitated at first and was resistant for some time. I had to accept the deal because it was the only way to earn more time to play computer games.


Now when I review that deal, I have to admit it was great. It really boosted my progress in extracurricular Maths and English, which eventually led to my good skill in other subjects, while giving me enough time to play computer games. Really some killing two stones with one bird.

1

You have two questions, I'll answer them each in turn based on my personal experiences.

Are my concerns valid? Yes, of course they are valid. You should be emotionally invested in your children.

Is there anything else we can try? There are, but I can only speak based on my experiences and from what I've witnessed.

You can't force them to do anything, so you have to teach them habits. Keep in mind this is only my anecdotal evidence but with my 5-year old I study with him. He is still in preschool and will start elementary school next spring, but he does math and language studies while I am studying myself.

I use a form of MoSCoW notation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MoSCoW_method) for tasks we must do daily and from this he understands studying is something that must be done every day. For comparison karate practice should be done every day but isn't as important as studying, then playing with Legos or video games is something we can do if our "shoulds" are complete.

There are no bribes to be had, there are also no real punishments to be had because nothing is taken from him or given to him. His leisure activities are always conditionally available to him. At the end of the day, we talk about his day and what he did. There's no evaluation necessary, he knows if he did well or not because completion of "musts" and "shoulds" being complete make for a good day.

To be honest, I think the key has been studying with him more than the task prioritization. It's one thing to be available, but enjoying leisure activities while the children study seems to distract them so either studying alongside them or doing something they regard as unpleasant while they study minimizes distractions.

0

Remember that you are the parent! Don't bargain, bribe, or negotiate with a 7 year old. Children adapt to regular structure. It's up to you to ensure that homework has priority... and do this EVERY day.

Everything you do (or don't do) teaches your child. If you fail to prioritize homework EVERY day, you are teaching your child that they can bargain their way out of homework. Or, you're teaching your child that homework is not that important to you (and therefore doesn't need to be important for them). If homework comes first EVERY day, it becomes a non-question.

You don't want homework to be based on a reward (bribe). A reward is for something unusual/special. Homework is baseline - it's what's expected every day. It should not be considered "special" that your child has done their homework.

Some basics:

  • no video games until homework is complete
  • no TV until homework is complete
  • no ipods/cellphones, facebook, snapchat, etc until homework is complete

Screen time is an extremely powerful lever.

Your child comes home from school, does their homework, and THEN the time is theirs.

  • Is this easy? No!
  • Will your child complain? Yes - strongly, until they adapt to the structure
  • Will you be tempted to just give in? Probably, but don't! This teaches your child that if they complain enough, you will give in.

One last thing... consider what your child will be like as a teenager if you're trying to bargain/bribe/negotiate with them now. Not a pretty picture.

  • This is @JimB's first post on Parenting.SE. Please ensure you explain your downvotes if you want feedback/clarification from the user. – SomeShinyMonica Sep 27 '17 at 4:13
  • Keep in mind that forced adaption to an unwanted structure is generally accompanied by a considerable amount of resentment towards the source of adaption. If you force your kids to do things now because you're afraid of bargaining with teenagers, imagine having to deal with resentful teenagers instead. It's not a much prettier picture imho. – Erik Sep 28 '17 at 11:32
0

I had two methods: one was to remind him if he repeated the grade he would be doing the same homework next year too while his friends went to the next grade without him.

The other was to leave it up to him to decide when to do homework, thus making him responsible for it. He had to have it finished, or else start it one hour before bedtime. I wouldn't ask about it before that. (Many a time he waited until 61 minutes prior but he got it.) So if he preferred to go out right after school he could, and do it after dinner. But if he wanted to see a movie, he could do it right after school and go out later. (Also many boys do better with music or background noise, but each child differs.)

0

As you say, knowledge and mastery are their own reward. So the fact that your children hate the homework so much, probably says more about the homework than about your children.

What profession are your children wanting to become? Is the homework subject relevant to it? If not, go to the school and ask what purpose the homework is intended for ("it's general knowledge" is a very popular excuse, don't fall for it). If it is relevant, is the quality of the content good? Many children get perfect grades but still have no idea what they did (and won't be able to do it again in a practical context) because of how bad the learning material is.

Try and make the homework yourself. Is it clear? Is it interesting? Is it useful?

Judging by your children's reaction to it, probably not. So, congratulations, your children are able to judge what is worthwhile to spend time on and what isn't. If you are worried about their education, go to the bookstore and buy books about subjects they like. You will see they'll read them.

-1

School before sports, and no exceptions. But you gotta start it when they are young. They will do their homework because the desire to play sports (if they are athletes) motivates them to get stuff done AHEAD OF TIME instead of waiting until last minute.

This may not work for everyone, but worked like a champ for my son, started him at grade 3 with this.

  • 1
    Welcome to Parenting.SE. I don't see any mention of sports in the question so can you further connect to this on how it may apply and the advice you are trying to give out? – SomeShinyMonica Sep 28 '17 at 7:11
-1

Contacting the school about this problem can also work well. If a teacher of a certain subject knows that your child is not seriously doing his homework, then the teacher can pay extra attention to your child. The teacher is then more likely to catch incomplete homework done by your child, as your child cannot hide in the crowd anymore. When your child is caught, the teacher will be prepared for that and would likely be able to find a good way to make sure your child does what is expected of him.

Children don't like being treated unequally, when you try to convince your child to do his homework, your child may be thinking that he is entitled to play time because other children are also playing at home. But at school the teacher can point out to your child that other children did do their homework, while he didn't.

  • Keep in mind that if the teacher doesn't notice that the homework isn't being done, because the child isn't lagging behind anyone else, that this also proves without a doubt that the homework is utterly useless for the child. – Erik Sep 29 '17 at 8:41
  • @Erik That could be the case, but it's best left for the teacher to decide. If the teacher is informed the teacher may well find that the problem isn't a big deal at all. – Count Iblis Sep 29 '17 at 20:31
-1

What worked for me personally as a child was every Sunday after lunch, I had all distractions banned from me and my Dad would sit me down and make me do my homework. I wasn't allowed to move away from the table except to go to the toilet. Once I was done, I could go play. After dinner, my Dad would check my homework to make sure I hadn't done it low effort to go play earlier, and talk to me about it. I feel like the inclusion of routine was good for me.

When I got my grades or some kind of feedback from teachers, I would be highly praised, my parents made a big deal out of my grades being good or improving if they weren't good before. This motivated me to do a good job, because I liked the praise and small presents and reinforcement that I was doing a good job.

I don't know if it would work for your children but it worked for me and my brother.

-2

So, I have found that the getting homework done falls in to two really separate categories. You have to decide where on the range you are first then adjust accordingly. More on that in a second. First though, make homework important.

You have said:

We do not have a regular time slot for homework, because this would be difficult for a variety of reasons.

This means that your sending the message that homework is less important then what ever other scheduling conflicts are arising. This should change IMO. Homework and other educational concerns need to be the most important thing (or at least one of them).

When you were potty training, sleep training, trying to establish the "toddler routine" you made what ever you were working on the most important. "Go Pee pee" was something that was done very often. Special times were set aside for it. "Night Night" happened at a specific sequence of events. Homework (and many other things) are just like "go pee pee" and need the same level of importance.

Then we have the "what kind of parent do I look like if I don't..." thought. Screw them. You do what's best for you kids. Figure it out, what do you want to impart. Everyone else just needs to shut-up about it. Education is important, but you don't need to worry about what Mrs. Smith the math teacher thinks of you. You only need to worry about what your kids need, and what prospects a good education will open for them in the future.

You also asked, mentioned rewards. Back to "go pee pee" and "night night". Many parents give stars when potty training. well stickers are awesome to a 2 year old. A 7 year old isn't having that though. So up your rewards. If you get a month full of stickers you get the new video game. etc. You may need to keep it more immediate, you may be able to go longer, but rewards for good behavior have been a constant in their life, why should that change for this good behavior?

Now onto the getting them to do their homework.

Method 1 You WILL do you home work, and you WILL put effort into it, or else!!!

You need to be careful with this, but if the problem is just needing a nudge in the right direction, then this can help. If the problem is a learning issue, confidence issue, or something else, then this won't work well. But assuming this is normal defiance and you just need them to do their home work. It's time to put on the mean parent hat.

You will do your home work or you won't do another living thing! Nope, no talking. No games! No toys! You will come home, do your home work, eat, and sleep. Nothing else! And if I don't think you tried to do your work, I will make up new homework for you! Making a kid sit there and do nothing but homework, disallowing every single other task (except food, water, sleep, potty, and homework) will get them to do their homework. They may not do a great job at it. They may even fight you on it. But after a day or two of coming home, be sat down in the homework zone, and not being allowed to do anything else, they will do it just to get it out of the way. Then you can praise and give rewards. Don't forget the rewards that's important. If you have to go this harsh a route then make the rewards instant. Start stretching them out till you get to the "A's on your report card are worth money" stage.

Method 2 Fine what ever, it's your homework.

At that age, they are asserting independence, and this is one thing they have control over. So if your loosing the battle of the wills, or your not ready to fight it, then give up. Make a production of giving up, then tack on consequences. If you get a 0 in Math, I'm taking your X-box. If you fail a test, I'm taking you out of sports thing. If you get less then an A (adjust for ability) then were not going to Seaworld this summer.

You have to stick to your guns, but they also need to see that messing up in school has down sides. One or two semesters of sucky math scores is not going to be life altering. Not placing importance on education in some form will.

In both methods the keys are the same, bad things happen if you don't do good in school. Good things happen if you do good. The main difference is how far ahead you kids have to be able to "see" in order for it to click. Also keep in mind with method 2, that some kids just don't care if you take their X-Box. You might have to take many things before it clicks. Method 1 is more direct, but only really works if your trying to get over a hump. It's not a great long term solution, but it can help you get things moving.

  • I didn't downvote you, but. Method 1 is for raising professional procrastinators. Method 2 is for raising cheaters. – user25154 Sep 28 '17 at 7:39
  • Also, method 2 is putting all the focus on the grade, not the education. There is no reason to believe someone getting good grades is being educated (although the other way around usually works). – Erik Sep 28 '17 at 11:36
  • Method 1 is very short term. As I said it only really works if you just need to get things moving. It isn't a long term solution. As for #2 it's certainly a long game solution and you do have to guard against cheating, but it does put the ball back in their court. Which is what they really want. – coteyr Sep 28 '17 at 13:56
  • @Erik True, but how do you measure rather or not an education is being obtained that both a adult and a 7 year old can agree upon. The grade offers a way to do that. For all kids (IMO) understanding what you want of them is the first step in getting them to do what you want. Abstract ideals like a "good education" is not something a 7 year old is going to grasp. – coteyr Sep 28 '17 at 13:59
  • You could actually see whether the child is learning things by letting them apply what they have learned. A short conversation about what the child can should give you a pretty clear idea. – Erik Sep 28 '17 at 14:01

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