How can I help a child who's struggling with homework?

Real Mom Problem

“My daughter is in first grade and has a lot of homework. She tries to get me to just give her the answers, but I won't. I am not sure if she really doesn't understand the homework or if she's just being lazy. Is homework this hard for other moms?”

by reesemom reesemom

Quick Tips

  • 1. Get your child into a homework routine with a consistent time and place to do homework
  • 2. Be there to answer questions, but try to let your child find all the answers on his own
  • 3. Set time limits and incorporate breaks if your child has trouble staying focused
  • 4. Try to make it fun and motivate your kid to enjoy learning
  • 5. Consider tutoring or extra help with the teacher if you feel it's necessary

Real Mom Solutions

No kid loves homework, but that doesn't mean Mom should do it! See how these moms help their kids reap the benefits of homework.

Get the Teacher Involved

  • TiredMommy6906

    If it's an academic problem, talk to the teacher about where he needs help and what you can do at home to help reinforce his learning. Tell the teacher he's struggling with doing his homework.

  • mommasaint

    Is your child struggling in the classroom or only at home? If he is truly struggling at school as well, then a plan between you and his teacher is in order.

  • TJandKarasMom

    We explain to our kids that the teacher doesn't give homework she doesn't think the kids can do, so if my daughter really doesn't understand it, we tell her we will write a note to the teacher (or she will have to talk to the teacher) saying that she doesn't understand it.

  • corrinacs

    The biggest thing I can suggest if your child is struggling with homework is to talk to his teacher about what you are experiencing. She may have tricks/tips about what you can do to make things better. Also, she may be able to tell you if he's doing okay in class or not. She may even suggest resources, like afterschool tutoring that will make this year successful.

  • LucyHarper

    My kids all know that if they don't understand a lesson, they are to go to the teacher after class and set up a time to go over it. All of the teachers at our school stay two hours three times a week for extra help, so all they have to do is walk in.

Consider Tutors or Helpful Aids

  • quickbooksworm

    I would get a tutor if my child was struggling with homework. The methods of teaching math are very different from how I learned. My son (second grade) sometimes brings home stuff and I don't understand the directions. I don't know if it will get better or worse with time, but finding a tutor who is more in line with the current teaching methods and curriculum seems like it would be the best thing.

  • maidjillian

    With the internet there should be no reason you couldn't help your kids with homework. Math might be difficult because it's one thing to read about math problems and another to be shown how to do them. Math XL is an awesome math website, complete with videos and step-by-step instructions. It's not free, but I think you can get a free trial.

  • Qsmiling

    I found out Bananagram is a great toy. My daughter is obsessed with it. She didn't like spelling as much as reading, but now she spends quite a few hours a week on this toy practicing spelling. You can find it on Kids will learn when it is fun.

  • frndlyfn

    A computer can be a learning tool to show your child how fun things can be. My daughter was using before she went to kindergarten and she was near the top of her class for letter sounds and beginner words. has helped with math. We don't just sit her there and walk away. We sit with her and engage during the activity. For rewards, she can watch something on Netflix. My daughter has a computer lab in school so it is important that she knows the basics of computer use anyway. Since she is six we also practiced typing words when she sends an email to someone like one of her grandparents.

Help Your Child Focus & Find a Routine

  • mommasaint

    Your son will get used to doing homework when it becomes part of his routine. I have one child who never does it happily but it isn't anywhere the battle that it used to be.

  • TJandKarasMom

    My daughter can't focus when she's doing homework, but if I'm there she asks questions the whole time. For her, we finally set a time limit and left her alone. She is not allowed to ask for help until her time is up and she has tried every part of the homework. So if she doesn't understand a question, she skips it and goes back. This is also a good test taking skill to have, so we encourage her to do it.

  • mommasaint

    My kids come home and have a snack. Immediately following that is homework. If it isn't done by activity time (football, volleyball, or soccer depending on the kid) they don't go. If they miss a practice they don't get to play in that week's game either. We don't allow TV during the week, so there is no temptation to do that instead.

  • rnmom4lif

    In first and second grade, I pretty much had to be there with my son when he did his homework in order to keep him on track. He didn't really give me a hard time about it. He knew he couldn't go out to play with his friends until he was done. The hard part was just trying to keep him on track and answer all his questions. It wasn't till about fourth grade (he's in fifth now) that he finally started doing it without my having to be nagging him the whole time.

  • VeronicaTex

    Getting a snack and having just a little down time before doing homework really helps. I also believe doing homework before dinner is sound. Making the place they do it and the time they do it a routine, plus enforcing it, is key here.

  • TJandKarasMom

    We have a little work station set up in the dining room for our kids to do their homework. They know when they get home they have a snack then do their homework right away. Then they can go outside or play or whatever. The routine has helped a lot. Also, when they don't bring homework home, they still have the routine and either study spelling words, write sentences or definitions, study math facts, or do workbook pages from workbooks we bought them. Just to keep the same routine every day.