Tips for Dealing With Homework Hassles

My friend Connie – who also happens to be my daughter’s Sunday School teacher (and my sons’s Sunday School teacher last year) and also an elder’s wife in our church – is a gentle mommy! And so I asked her for advice on how to handle homework hassles with our children. Here’s what she said:

 At our home, sometimes reluctance to complete a homework assignment, has an underlying hidden root. Perhaps there is a lack of understanding the material, or perhaps the assignment seems overwhelming in scope. Or perhaps there is truly just a lack of internal motivation.

I would encourage moms to carefully assess for the underlying roots of homework reluctance.

For example, last year my youngest son needed to memorize the multiplication table. Initially, he was very overwhelmed (and not very interested). As we worked at breaking down the task into bite sizes, he not only became more engaged but even enjoyed the practice sessions.

I learned something from that experience. Kids enjoy doing things they are good at. Kids do not necessarily enjoy doing things they struggle at.

As moms, we need to ask the question “Does my child truly understand their homework?” and “Does my child need help breaking this assignment down into more manageable parts?”

I like to compare this to playing catch with a young child. They don’t always “catch” the ball on the first try. However, as the ball is thrown over and over, they do begin to catch it (and enjoy it). Your child may need you to “re-throw” the ball of what their homework covered. Or your child may need you to “re-throw” the ball of thinking through how to break down the task.

I think there is value to being “hands-on” with your kids and their homework, as needed. This does not mean completing their work for them; but assessing why there is reluctance and “re-throwing” the ball where it is needed.

We all know there are also times our children completely understand the material, completely understand how to do the assignment and simply lack motivation. Thank goodness God provides our road map for life in the Bible! One of my favorite scripture verses is found in Colossians 3:23. It states “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Bottom line: My children are to work with all their hearts for God (including their homework) because God requires this of all of us. Frankly, I sometimes catch myself uttering this verse while scrubbing out a toilet in our house. We bring glory to God when we work with all our heart FOR HIM. God does not require perfection but rather an attitude of “working with all our heart”.

No two children, especially in the same family, are alike! Do not confuse attitude with ability.

On a final note, I frequently reinforce the following thought with our kids: Choices matter! A verse I pray regularly for my children is found in Proverbs 14:8. It states “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways.” How does this apply to homework and a good work ethic? Life is a process of training ourselves to stop and think about our actions and behavior. Am I doing my best, as to God? Am I working with all my heart? Did I make a wise choice in how I completed this task/assignment? I once heard a little poem that I occasionally tell my children. It goes as follows:

Good, better, best,
Never let it rest,
Until your good is better,
And your better is best.


Thank you Connie for reminding us to patiently “re-throw” the ball! 

Walk with the King!


  1. May the new year find us ever inspired and strengthened to continue tending to our homes, to our spiritual lives and to our “little ministries” through our blogs! Thank you for hosting!


  2. Soo good. I was just discussing this with another home-schooling friend who was discouraged about her son’s lack of enthusiasm about school. I realized my daughter was having a hard time grasping the vocabulary in her science book and one of her history books, so I started reading them to her, adding where I knew she might not understand. It has made school so much more enjoyable for us both. I know she’s learning and she enjoys it. Also, her math seems to drag her down, so I put a timer on occasionally, and this helps her stick her mind to it, as she is competitive and wants to beat it. Thanks for the link party as well!!

  3. We were finding it a bit of a burden to keep asking “do you have homework?” and so we decided to implement a new time of study immediately after school. I clear and prepare the table, prepare a snack and drink and then we work from 4-5.30. If they don’t have homework, I provide revision help either via the school website or just by looking over work that could have been explained better, written neater or just prepare for future tests etc. I am sitting at the table with them on hand to help and they share funny or sad stories from the day. I do occasionally let them go early but they now accept that this time is work time and hopefully instilling a strong work ethic.

    My eldest children are ages 14 and 15 so this time would be unreasonable for younger children but we enjoy the rest of the evening together, deadlines are met early and no dreaded last minute panic because they have ‘forgotten to revise or prepare.

  4. I’m a homeschooling mom, so I’m the teacher too. Occasionally my littlest one and I both get tired of me throwing the ball. Last week we ordered a month of an online math tutor to add a new point of view and to stop the discouragement we both felt. So far it’s working beautifully.

    It has worked wonders with our older children as well. But if your child goes to school all day, I think time with mom is probably the best motivation a child can have.

    I love the set homework time, too. Habits make the world run smoothly! 🙂

    Thanks for the link-up. I shared a free audio download of Knowing God, an excellent book by Packer. Enjoy!

    Annie Kate

    Annie Kate

  5. Hi Courtney and girls

    I don’t have a fancy website or blog to share with you. Just an email. But I so enjoyed these tips on homework and I will pass it along to my daughter for my grandkids. I am so proud to hear about so many moms raising their kids to love God. God be with all of you.
    KathyM (Empty nester grandma)

  6. This is so timely for us as we are just starting into homework the last two years and it seems to be quite challenging for all involved. I have to say that not losing MY temper and being fully involved and not trying to multi-task while helping with homework makes the whole situation smoother for us.

  7. Ha! I heard that poem enumerable times growing up from my Dad, I’ve never heard anyone else quote it, I was beginning to think he thought it up himself! Thanks Connie.

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