How to: 10 tips to surviving homework

Back to school period hits us all like a ton of bricks. It doesn't just affect your child! We have to help with homework, wash the uniforms, get all the right supplies ready, and the list goes on. Here are 10 strategies to survive the few first weeks and how to get back into the routine.

Plan ahead

Finding the best time for homework is already a great step towards success! Indeed, if you arrive home at 5:30 p.m., you must choose between dining early and doing homework after or dining later, once the homework is done. It’s all a matter of organization. You must also rely on your child’s signs of fatigue. If he/she is not focused when he/she comes back from school and he/she would prefer to think of something else for a little while, choose the first option. Also, you can probably benefit from homework help in school, during the childcare hours. It’s a good option because that way, you will only have to quickly review the work that has already been done.

Some teachers give homework and lessons on Friday (and they want it done by the next Friday). This method allows you to do the homework over the weekend while everybody is more relaxed and feeling less rushed. This method is very appreciated by working parents.

Finally, the idea is to schedule the right moment for homework. This moment must be calm and everyone must be available.

It would also be advisable to involve children in the planning of their homework (When do they have to finish their project? What would be the best time to work on it if they want it to be finished on time?) That way, we are teaching them the foundations of independence and healthy planning. Even if we supervise their homework, they must learn to play their part because one day, we will not be there to help them with it. It's important that they learn from an early age to do their own homework and to simply ask for help for things they do not understand. If they can do it on their own, let them!


Is daddy better in French? What if you help in maths and he takes care of the vocabulary and the verbs? Is grandpa a pro in History and Geography? Does he have enough time to spend some with his grandson? Maybe they could work on a project together! Children tend to listen to their grandparents more.

When you have older children, you can also ask them to help you out when you are lost in the new notions or the new ways. A friend can also help our child. Asking others for help can make our child realize that everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses and that together, we can always get through it.


Having a routine is essential. Once you planned your homework schedule, try sticking to it. That way, you can really assimilate it and make it a part of your everyday life. Children appreciate routines. They find themselves in it and they can find a way to follow it on their own. If every afternoon, after a snack, we ask them to open their bag and get everything they need for their homework, they should be doing it by themselves before December.

Managing doesn't only mean having a routine but also being prepared with all the right supplies needed at home to get through homework and projects. When it is time to go back to school, a lot of parents buy two sets of essential accessories: pencils, sharpener, scissors, glue, etc. to keep at home. No excuses, everything is there! This way, even if our child forgets their pencil case in their locker at school, they can still finish their homework at home. It is also important that the surface they will work on is well lit. If needed, you can add a table lamp... this will help them stay concentrated and awake.

Be positive

Homework is boring! Not one parent absolutely loves this moment but what can make a difference between a catastrophic moment and a “not so bad” moment is our attitude. It's our attitude that inspires our little school kids’ attitude. So, there's no need to whine forever (at best, keep it to yourself!). You can complain with other adults but try your best to hide it from your children. If we keep telling our kids that we hate homework, they will develop that same attitude. It's important to view homework as a positive learning opportunity.


When reading a dissertation, don’t look solely at the mistakes but try to find positive aspects in your child’s work. The objective is not to be perfect and get 100%... it is also to learn from their mistakes. The effort is really important and shouldn't go unnoticed. So encourage your child in their approach and help them overcome their difficulties.


Of course, you must follow the teacher’s instructions but who said we can’t add our own personal touch to homework? You can invent games to learn the vocabulary words, use a card game for math equations, ask your children to become the teacher and write the verbs on a blackboard, etc. There are many ways to make homework fun! Come up with your own ideas, and certainly, this will make it more interesting and time will suddenly seem to pass faster!


Making humorous dictations (My mother has blue hair, seven green ears, and five red hands) or funny math equations (Mario buys 48 DS and 68 Xbox, how many consoles does he have at home?) can help add a touch of fun to an otherwise serious moment. Who said you cannot learn and have fun at the same time? Incorporate toys or allow your children to manipulate objects to understand maths. Use Fruit Loops or pastas. Buy a few gadgets from the dollar store to make your homework time more enjoyable.


You are not an evil homework controller who only dictates, corrects, takes back, judges and accuses! It will only stress your child to be in such an awful atmosphere and will end up discouraging them from doing their homework. They will resent that moment for the whole day! Just sit back and watch your child do their work. Jump in if you notice they are having difficulties with a certain question. To make the atmosphere light and interesting, it could be fun to share your own school memories. Although you don't want to distract your child, homework time is a good opportunity to share ideas, knowledge, and memories.

Ask questions

As soon as school starts, ask questions about the teacher’s ways. That way, everyone is going in the same direction. During the school year, don’t hesitate to contact your child's teacher for more information about homework, a subject, and the evolution of your child's learning or for simple pieces of advice. If we turn our back on the teacher, we will confuse our child by trying to help them in ways they are not familiar with. It is better to be a team with teachers to be fully efficient and beneficial to your child's learning.

Let go

Learning to let go is an art! If one night, everything goes wrong (you had a bad day at work, you have a migraine, your car broke down, your child is in a bad mood, you burned your dinner) you can give up on homework for once. Same thing goes for a math problem that you have been trying to solve for over an hour. Give up. Try again the next morning or the next evening. Taking a break is okay too. Be honest with the teacher. It's okay to ask for help once in a while! And always avoid doing your child’s homework for them, even if it is tempting! They can manage on their own.

Image de Nadine Descheneaux

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