• carolynboutin

How To End The Battle Around Homework

Homework can cause an enormous amount of stress on a family and absolutely can cause a child to resent school and their teachers. Yet, many children will come home today with laptops or textbooks full of questions that need answering. How can you as a parent insulate your child from the negative effects of homework? I am only giving suggestions for Grade 3 and above as I do not support homework for children younger than that.

Help them to be independent

Not all homework is created equal. I have spoken about this before, about how I feel most homework is a waste of time. If it is busy work, copying, colouring-make sure your child does this alone. You do not need to oversee this. Independent work is actually less stressful for students. I suggest figuring out all the things your child will need to complete the work alone and making sure they have all the materials so they aren’t interrupting you in just a couple of minutes.

Is your child getting enough done during the day?

One of the largest issues with the clients we serve is that not enough work is getting done during class. The child was unable to get started or was distracted perhaps the work was too difficult for their skill set at this time. If this is happening consistently, steps need to be taken. This should be brought to the teacher and any support staffs’ attention immediately. If necessary, an IEP should be drafted with accommodations that would allow more work to be done during the day. I think it is unacceptable for a child to routinely get nothing or almost nothing done. Advocating for your child to get the support they need to be able to complete some of their school work is best done in an organized and recorded fashion. Start with small interventions until your child is able to complete the work.

If your child comes home with nothing done and has no idea what to do, set a 15-minute timer. Try to help for 15 minutes, if your child cannot get the concept, inform their teacher of your efforts and ask the school to please intervene. If you are struggling past 15 minutes, the chances the child will understand the concept diminish. It is better to just move one.


Reading, studying and math practice which should be done most nights on top of any assigned homework should be at the same time each week. If you’re like most families each night of the week is different. That’s why it’s essential to have a Monday routine, Tuesday routine, etc. In my home, a bit of math practice 10-20 questions are required to be able to play with technology. This method has proven extremely effective. Reading should be 10-15 minutes of reading a story together, even with older kids. I also encourage reading before bed the book of their choice. As for the rest of their homework, the more homework is routine, the more that homework doesn’t need to be a battle.

Don’t Make Homework A Battle

Forcing your child to do homework will never work. As a tutor my rule is that I can help them with their homework, they can do it alone or not do it at all. I stay strong that those are the only options. With this simple principle, that it is their choice-I have overwhelming helped more often then I watched them do it alone. Once a child puts up a fight, I give them the option. Sometimes they will do nothing to wait and watch what you do. If you wait and then reoffer help, they will most often take it. If they don’t, and they live through the natural consequence of not having their homework done-they’ll seek your help the next time.

I believe after school hours should be for family time and extra-curriculars. I hope these tips help reduce the amount of conflict your family has around homework.


© 2019 By Carolyn Boutin Tutoring:

We offer our services in the areas from the Niagara region, through Hamilton, the entire Halton area (Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Georgetown) as well as the Greater Toronto Area.