How to End Homework Battles

Nancy K Gretzinger, EdD
Healthy ON
Average: 3.8 (5 votes)

Homework needs to be a routine and considered an extension of school learning. What’s the underlying issue for the child for fighting homework?  Go to the source first – ask them!  Maybe the teacher can shed some light.  Sometimes incomplete work in class becomes homework – why isn’t your child completing their homework during school time.




When your child comes home from school change out of school clothes, have a nutritious snack and about 20-30 minutes to unwind.  While your child is having snack ask open-ended questions.  What did you learn new today?  (As a teacher when I was closing a lesson, I would typically say, "Tell your parents you learned......this today in math.")




Your child needs a designated homework area with necessary supplies.  Pencil, paper, maybe a calculator, timer, good lighting. Comfortable chair (no dangling feet - put some type of support so feet have something to rest on), also a desk/table at a proper height.  If your child is a wiggler, buy a beach ball, slightly inflated, and place on the chair-allows for movement.  If they would prefer to stand, let them. Provide a squeeze ball for opposite non-writing hand if it wouldn’t be a distractor. Many teachers provide a folder - one side papers stay home, other side paper's returned.  If the teacher did not do this, the parent should.  The "inbox" is one more place papers can be misplaced on the way to/from. 




Some children benefit from having paper folded in half or covered.  Seeing all may be overwhelming.  Shortening it makes it seem more manageable.  Some children benefit from working 20 minutes (timer set), check their work and reinforce work completed correctly 5-10-minute break, then back to work.




If it’s taken your child in making a conscientious effort to complete work, doesn’t understand it and is taking an inordinate amount of time to complete, it is time to schedule a meeting with the teacher, it’s mandatory the child attends too.




Consider some type of reward for no battle and completed homework.  TV and technology close to bedtime can interrupt getting to sleep.  Possibly accumulated time through the week earns 1 on 1 time with an activity on the weekend.




Old train of thought is 10 minutes per grade for homework. If for some GOOD reason (and not often) work cannot be completed, the parent may consider writing a note directly on the homework paper why it's not completed, sign and date. There may still be a consequence for your child, however, the teacher knows the parent is aware, Homework immediately goes back to the folder and in the backpack.   




If a parent is in school, consider doing homework at the same time together.

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