Good Question: What do you do if your kids hate homework?

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We all have those burning parenting questions that we’d love to have our trusted group of peers weigh in on. Some of us are lucky enough to have that peer group nearby, but many of us turn to Facebook, Twitter, or even Google to ask those tough questions. I’ve always thought it would be nice for The Risky Kids to function as a community, helping those of us who consider ourselves free-range parents navigate some of the trickier parenting issues we face. In what I hope grows into a regular series, I’d like to introduce Good Question. The idea is that you guys will submit the questions that nag you. I’ll give my best answer, share any resources that might be helpful, and then encourage the rest of you to help each other out with your answers in the comments.

If you have any Good Questions, please share them in the comments, on our Facebook page, or email them to Angie at theriskykids at gmail dot com. I’m looking forward to lots of Good Questions and more importantly, all of your Good Answers!

My kid hates homework

This Good Question was inspired by an article I read, along with my own curiosity about kids and homework:

Question: What do you do if your children complain about or have too much homework?


A few weeks ago I came across this article by Sara Bennett, author of “The Case Against Homework.” In it, she addresses what to do if your child balks at doing homework. Depending on the age of the child, she gives different suggestions as to how to handle it both with your child and the teacher.

In my family’s experience, we’ve been very lucky when it comes to the homework dilemma. For the first four years of my daughter’s schooling experience, she attended a Montessori school where homework wasn’t part of the curriculum. Even after transitioning to public school in 4th grade, we’ve been blessed with teachers who didn’t see the need to send home copious amounts of homework. Many nights she didn’t have any, and on the nights she did have homework it was easily finished in 20 minutes or less.  She’s in 6th grade now, and while the amount is definitely growing, it’s still well behind the horror stories I often hear from other parents.

This year my son started kindergarten. He brings home a packet at the beginning of the month with “homework” to do Monday-Thursday. It consists of short, simple tasks, like practicing letter writing or identifying numbers and colors, but the expectation is that they do the work and turn it in. For the most part he’s happy to do it, but it got me thinking – what if he hated it? Is it really a battle worth fighting, especially when he’s already in school 6 1/2 hours a day? It had never occurred to me to just not do it. (Remember when I said I was a rule-follower?)  And yet, I see more value in sending them out to play or letting them veg on a couch with a good book than I do in busywork.

I’m curious – do your kids have more homework than you deem necessary? How do you handle it if it’s too much or they just don’t want to do anymore? Is there a certain age where you think it shifts from not mattering to being a very important part of the educational puzzle?



  1. I know several moms who have struggles with their kids and homework. For the most part, it isn’t an issue in our family (yet). I’ve known moms who just tough through it and mom who set up reward systems. I guess like most things, it’s something you work your way through as best you can!

  2. We too have been lucky that homework has t been too overwhelming. In first grade it was a struggle, but we broke it up into manageable chunks. What surprised me was how present I had to be for the work to get done.

    In 3rd grade, my daughter’s in the habit & only balks occasionally. I’m grateful that on back to school night, the teacher said that if it’s taking more than 45 minutes slap a post it note on it & say that it just wasn’t happening. I haven’t had to do that yet, but it’s good to know her thoughts on the subject.

    • I love your teacher’s suggestion! I fall into the middle. I feel like it’s an important life skill to learn time management skills, but there definitely comes a point when it’s too much and no one is learning anything but how to feel overwhelmed and frustrated.

  3. So far I think the homework load for us has been reasonable. Although there have been a couple of projects that I wanted to throw out in the yard because they took a ridiculous amount of weekend time away from our family. I can tell that Zoe is suffering from 2nd child syndrome because I don’t always remember to even check if she has homework and I threw a couple of sheets away this week in the after school clean out the backpack toss. 😉 I’m too much of a rule keeper to ditch it all together but if it was a complete relationship breaker, I’d have to rethink things.

  4. To be honest, my girls LOVE homework and some days I wish they had more. So you know, they had stuff to do. Honestly.

  5. Homework is causing havoc in many homes and it is easy to stop. Homework has a place in education, but in the last twenty years it has been misused by many teachers attempting to get in all the standards the state mandated. It is ineffective when parents are expected to get involved. A good homework assignment is at a student’s independent level. If it isn’t, the teacher will never know if the student gets instruction at home. I have several strategies that empower students and educate their teachers. If you are experiencing the same stress homework caused in my home (and I was a seasoned teacher before I had children) then I can offer you some help.