Homework Battles: How to end them for good!
“How can I get Jake to do his homework?”
If I had a dollar for every time a parent asked me this question during my teaching career, I wouldn’t be working anymore. No joke. Homework battles were the biggest problems facing most of my parents.
But when I started teaching, this question was hard for me to answer. I was the kid who did her homework – every single piece of it. Why? Because the teacher told me to do it. And clearly, I had some inner motivation spurring me on. (It turns out that I love little gold stars and letter grades. I took a class as an adult without grading and had no motivation to do anything.)
But how to help the kid without that motivation, or the disorganized kid, or the kid who’s really struggling with the content? After teaching and working with kids for over 15 years, I’ve found some ways to answer that question and actually end the homework battles at home. So, here are some of my top tips to end the homework drama and get the homework done.
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How to End Homework Battles with your Teen
You need to sit down with your child and figure out what is holding your child back. Does he forget assignments? Can she not figure out how to manage her time? Is he unable to focus and complete work? Is she struggling to understand the assignments and/ or class concepts? Each of these problems has different (though sometimes overlapping) solutions.
Homework? What homework?
This is classic. Your child doesn’t complete homework because she didn’t know there was homework.
I recommend that your child start using a planner. That way, she not only knows what assignments are
Now that she knows she has assignments, how will she use her time to actually complete them?
Ask your child, “What is your plan to complete ______?” Talk through her plan with her, steering her toward any possible problems with the plan. However, don’t just tell her the problems – get her to find them herself. “What about _____? What will you do then?” If she’s completely stuck, brainstorm some possible solutions.
Lack of Focus
Many kids struggle to focus and concentrate on their assignments. There are a lot of culprits here, so let’s talk about the usual suspects:
Your child is working in an environment that just isn’t working for him. He needs silence and it’s super loud where he’s working. Or you expect him to sit still and he needs movement.
We all learn and study differently. Just because you need to have music on in the background, doesn’t mean that works for your teen. Some kids can sit at a desk for 2 hours happily, while others need to move. Allow them to study the way that works for them!
However, if their current studying methods aren’t producing the results either of you
That being said, there are certain things that are guaranteed distractions – cellphones and the TV. Help your child limit those distractions. Encourage a central charging station for electronics that keeps phones away while studying. Turn the TV off if kids are studying nearby or find a room for them that doesn’t have a TV in it.
This also means modeling the behavior you want to see. Less screen time and more focused time. I recently downloaded an app to keep track of my phone use and it has helped me limit my phone use, especially around my kids.
I just don’t understand!
This is the hardest issue to resolve at home, which is why it’s important to communicate with the teacher.
Again, talk through the problem with your child and try to isolate the area of confusion. Does she understand the content in class? Does she understand the homework when it’s assigned?
If she is struggling with content, definitely talk to the teacher right away. See if she can stay after school for help. If that’s not possible or your child needs more assistance, it might be time to consider a tutor. For more on how to find a tutor for your child, read my post!
If your teen is struggling in Social Studies or English, I would love to help. As an online tutor, I can work with kids, well, anywhere! Find out more here.
If the problem is the assignment itself, I recommend your child start checking in with the teacher during or after class. This can be just a quick comprehension check to ensure that she understands what she needs to do for the assignment. Just be sure to set it up with the teacher beforehand!
While I can’t promise there won’t be any more drama, these tips should help keep it to a minimum!