End the Homework Battle!


Raise your hand if you dread back-to-school time and the homework it brings more than your kids!

Ugh. Me too, sister, me too.  As if we don’t have enough to pack into our precious after-school hours, worksheets and journalling have to find their way in there too.  And when it takes my kid 50 minutes to complete a task that should have taken 10 (15 water breaks, 3 temper tantrums, and 1 trip to the bathroom later…), I am wishing for an eternal summer for more than just the beautiful weather and umbrella drinks. 

Wait, did someone say drinks?? Yes, that’s it! End homework battles by drinking heavily!

Just kidding.  I save my heavy drinking for after the kids are in bed, tyvm.

Seriously, though, something has got to give on this nightly battle of wills over the homework.  Thankfully we’ve come up with a good system in our house.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a whole lot better, and it just might work in your home too.  The crux of the solution all revolves around 1 key tenet: homework is the child’s responsibility, not yours.

Woah, right? Any day I can take a chore off my never-ending list and place it on the list of its rightful owner is a good one. I’ve still got the task of offering the time, space, and materials needed to complete the homework, but making sure homework gets done? NOT MY JOB. 

Here’s the “Homework Plan” that currently hangs on our fridge:

– R is responsible for his homework.
– R may choose to complete his homework, or write his teacher a note explaining why he did not do it.
– Homework time is over at 5:30pm.  R is free to choose when to do homework until that time.
– We are not willing to fight over homework. 
– We do our best work in our family.
– Mommy and Mama are happy to help with homework, as long as R is working as hard as we are.


Ahhhhh, I love the homework plan – it’s so…peaceful! Granted, it doesn’t mean the whining or attempts at power struggling are over, but it does mean that I don’t have to respond or be drawn into it.  Homework is an agreement between teacher and student and while I’ll do everything in my power to support that relationship, it won’t come at a detriment to my sanity.  What’s more? There hasn’t been a single day in which homework wasn’t completed – and done well, at that! 

So I offer this up to my fellow weary moms of school age children, dreading the battle that is to come this evening.  Perhaps you might consider pouring yourself a drink taking a deep breath, and stepping right on out of the ring.

Any other great homework tips to share? What works in your house? Teachers, what are your thoughts on a parent’s role in homework completion?  


7 thoughts on “End the Homework Battle!

  1. Great tips Elise! I personally think all “traditional” homework should be banned. Except reading. Homework should be an opportunity to dig deeper in a topic of interest or field of study, NOT busy work. Just my deeply held opinion.

    Two more important tips: If your child is taking an extra long time to do homework (2x the amount of recommended sustained attention tot he task) or you are helping them understand the tasks or reteaching more than you think is normal you should have a conversation with your child’s teacher. They want to know if your child is struggling with the concepts. Likewise, don’t correct your child’s homework, that’s the teacher’s job. If your son/daughter gets the math problems wrong the teacher needs to know so that the concept can be retaught.

    Fostering homework independence at an early age will create lifelong learning skills necessary to be successful students in the upper school years. Keep up the great work mamas!


  2. This is our approach too…it’s your responsibility to get it done and if you don’t do it…you pay the consequences (child spends recess doing homework – which is a lot worse than having to do it after school!). Thankfully, we have had a pretty easy go of it, but I know that lots of parents struggle. Good advice and I like your idea about writing a letter to the teacher explaining why it was not done.


  3. Yes. A great idea. It is a challenge as homework does not even begin until the arrival at home, which is typically 5:00 p.m. We are also learning to step back too. If it does not get done, he must explain it to the teacher. It goes back incorrect when he does not follow directions or listen to his parents after pleading him to look at it again.


  4. What wonderful advice! Can you parent my kid for me? Seriously I actually do use a lot of your advice. The biggest advice so far from you that I use all the time, is instead of saying “If you don’t stop crying I’m not taking you to the store,” as a threat, I say “only kids in this car that are behaving well get to do such and such.” That actually works! Thank you for all your wonderful posts and advice Elise.


  5. Love your homework guidelines!! Love it. I don’t love homework though. In our town, homework starts in kindergarten. They’re already in school for the entire day! It’s so unnecessary. I strongly feel it shouldn’t start at all (aside from nightly reading) until 6th or 7th grade. However, I think you have a great, very reasonable approach to it!


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