Whatever Gets You Through the Night: 10 Homework Survival Strategies

By Jennifer Bingham Hull

Ah, those homework minefields: confusing assignments, too much work and kiddie resistance.

Homework can be a major headache for elementary school parents. Here are tips to help:

*Go to the Source. Read the blackboard. Visit the teacher’s website. You’ll save time otherwise spent calling classmates for assignments.

*Buy a Second Set of Textbooks. Having an extra set of books at home is a godsend if your child is forgetful.

*Create Routines. Now is the time to teach good study habits.  Reserve certain hours for homework and make them sacrosanct.

*Walk that Fine Line. Encourage independent study but check that assignment book. Review work in subjects your child has trouble with.

*Set Priorities. Sometimes we have our kids do every other problem if they understand their math and need to move on to something else.

*Offer Small Rewards. Say: “If your homework is done by 7:00 p.m. you can play that new game.”

*Know When to Quit. Working with a child who is hungry or tired is a no-win. Provide a snack, take a break or call it a night.

*Get Help. Consider testing if your kid keeps struggling. The sooner special needs are identified the better.

*Take a Stand. If you feel there’s too much homework – and there often is these days – tell the teacher.

*Take Heart. The child who is rebelling against homework one year can become a diligent student the next. I have the kid to prove it.

(Thanks to my friend Nancy who provided some of these tips during our darkest hours of 3rd grade.)

(c) 2010 Jennifer Bingham Hull. Reprint rights granted as long as the article is published in its entirety, including the resource box and its live links.

About the Author

Jennifer Bingham Hull is an award-winning author and mother of two. Her book, Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life, looks at life after the second child. To learn more, visit www.growingafamily.com, where you can contact her to receive this Parenting Tips column and sign up for her free newsletter.

About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.