How to Overcome Homework Battles

If your tired of homework battles, Mighty Mommy has some A+ strategies to bring more harmony into your family's life.

Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #351

Now that we’re all about to end the first official quarter of the new school year, we are well in tune to the rhythm, or lack thereof, of our children’s homework habits. I know that in my family of raising eight kids, we usually start out strong with a solid back-to-school homework routine, but once the new school year gains momentum and my kids become involved with their sports, music, and other extracurricular clubs, keeping on top of homework gets increasingly more challenging.

I receive dozens of e-mails from Mighty Mommy listeners asking for tips and guidance on how they can overcome daily homework battles and keep the school year humming along peacefully.  Because I’m in the same boat as many of you, today I’ll share my best tips for overcoming the homework blues and instead creating more homework harmony.

Regroup with a Set Schedule

Most kids function best with structure. During those first couple of weeks of school, we have wonderful intentions of getting organized every night for the following school day by getting backpacks ready, choosing outfits, making lunches, having an earlier bedtime—oh, and staying on course with homework assignments.

Then we hit the ground running with trying to weave in our kid’s new after-school scheduled events and activities, and our own work commitments, on top of keeping our household in order. Whether you started the new school year out strong with a solid schedule or are simply floundering now because you didn’t establish one at all, take a deep breath and regroup.

Your entire family will benefit from knowing that a certain time every day is reserved for studying and doing homework, so call your kids together tonight and tell them you want to help ease their homework frustrations by sticking to a particular time each day for homework and studying. Even for kids who are not easy to cajole into getting their work done, the predictability of a schedule keeps distracted kids in a routine and will also minimize you as the parent from losing your patience and your sanity because you will all be working with these set expectations.  See Also:  How Routines Can Simplify Your Life

Get Organized

One helpful tool my children’s schools provide is a yearly planner. If your school doesn't provide a homework planner, invest in one of your own. The key with a planner is actually using it! This means as a parent, carving out 5-10 minutes at the beginning of each school week with your child and reviewing what was assigned. Our schools post nearly everything on the school website, so I visit that frequently if I have any questions or if one of my kids seems confused about a particular assignment

For many distracted children, deciding what to do first during homework is a major source of tension. Encourage your child to prioritize assignments in the order in which they should be done before beginning his homework session. He should start with one that’s not too long or difficult, but avoid saving the longest or hardest assignments for last.  See Also;  10 Ways to Become a More Organized Parent

Figure Out The Best Time of Day to Tackle the Assignments

After a long day of school, possibly after-school extracurricular activities or a sports practice, coming home from school to dive in to a couple hours of homework can be overwhelming for a kid, and sometimes not possible.  We faced this scenario in our family more times than I can count, so we finally tried changing it up and three of my kids decided they’d like to do homework in the early morning before school, rather than at night. This definitely requires discipline on the student’s part as well as the parent, and doesn’t necessarily work for all assignments such as lengthy book reports or time-involved science projects, but for routine chapter work and things of that nature, it can offer certain learners some advantages. For instance, my kids who like to study early in the morning can come home after their sports or music practice, unwind with dinner and a hot shower, watch a favorite TV program and then head to bed early. Getting to bed early gets them the sleep they need and they are more focused in the early morning to tackle their homework.

Create a Buddy System List

One of my favorite tips from a teacher my oldest daughter had many years ago was to set up a buddy system list at the beginning of the school year. This list would contain the names and phone numbers and emails of a few classmates they can call on when they forget an assignment. If your child can’t find a particular worksheet, or information for what should be studied on a quiz or simply forgets which chapters she’s supposed to read for class the next day, your child can reach out to someone on her buddy list and get the necessary information. I can’t tell you how many times this system has saved one of my kids from wasting precious hours of time and worry because they can quickly text or call someone on their list and retrieve the missing info they need.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.