A Nightly Battle, Homework!



October!  It’s only the second month of school, and already you are spending the evenings battling one topic, homework.  While you may arrive at the point of insisting homework must be done, the battle, if continued, will hurt your relationship.  Before more detrimental problems arise, step back and consider the possible solutions.

Organizational Guidance

From year to year, a teacher’s expectation begins with the arrival of a school supply list.  Some children cannot manage a two-inch three-ringed binder and loose paper, for instance.  It may be the sole reason she does not enjoy sitting down with her new school supplies; instead, verbal frustration and emotional distress have changed the balance of home life.

  • Contact the classroom teacher to learn the expectations of maintaining folders, notebooks, or binders.
  • Encourage your child to identify her favorite subjects; thereby, she can begin and conclude with an enjoyable assignment.
  • Losing homework assignments can be problematic. To eliminate the problem, recommend a one-folder system. Morning and afternoon subjects could be placed, respectively, on the left and right sides.
  • Provide your child with a desk calendar to help visualize upcoming projects, tests, and quizzes.
  • To ease the morning routine, plan the location for bookbags, lunches, and other items, such as keys or shoes.

Verbalizing a Routine

After a long day of listening, thinking, contributing, and applying knowledge, students need time to unwind and relax.  The request to begin homework immediately after school is not practical. During a calm time, engage your child in a conversation by asking how she envisions her evening.  Questions such as, “What time do you start feeling tired?” may help in arriving at a decision.  Remind your child that homework can be spent in small increments, and include breaks.  While parents feel responsible for their child’s success, all you can really do is provide guidance and verbal assistance.

Getting Started

Similar to opening up a book and beginning a new story, following directions and retaining information can feel overwhelming.  A child may look at the number of questions or problems and want to give up.  Offering guidance is an excellent place to begin.  Have your child read the directions out loud, and ask her to summarize. Parents can ask questions and direct answers; however, it is the child’s responsibility to do the work.  Using a sheet of paper to cover half of the page may promote willingness and independence.   Parents should keep notes to relay to the teacher.

Auditory and Visual Learners

Everyone has a gift. Some children may be excellent listeners and retain the content with ease, with others require seeing or writing down the information to acquire understanding.

  • If a child does not enjoy reading a book, perhaps reading out loud (in a whisper) or listening to an audiobook could be a solution.
  • Auditory learners often benefit from recording lectures, if a teacher or professor grants permission.
  • Visual learners may thrive in using colored pencils or highlighters to emphasize words.Index cards are useful to review vocabulary or a means to study.
  • Homework journals are mandatory tools for a visual learner, who will make use of daily entries and monthly calendars. If the school does not provide an agenda, your child will need an alternative means, such as a shorthand method of writing assignments, or utilizing a “talk to text” app.
  • Rereading notes and correcting quizzes or tests are excellent practices for all types of learning styles.

Establish Open Communication with the Teacher

Home should be an exciting place to connect with loved ones, unwind, and talk openly about the day.  Heightened levels of frustration and emotion will not improve unless parents, students, and teachers work together to find a solution.  The problem may be simple or complex; yet, without conversation, it will be an unbearable year.  Parents should not delay in reaching out to the classroom teacher of one subject area or the entire team.  Together, everyone involved can contribute ideas and help relieve the tension at home.


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