The battle of homework

Jonesie, my third grader, has been the toughest of my three kids to get to do his homework. I have a few theories:

  1. It’s boring.
  2. It takes time.
  3. He has to do it himself.
  4. He has to do high quality homework.

Jonesie is smart. Because he’s smart he’s on the ALP (advanced learning plan) and the ALP requires more homework of him.

All kids hate homework, right? Well, he has this idea that it’s just a waste of time for him because he already knows it. And he might! But the fact of the matter is he has to do his homework. Hence the battle over homework.

His class has been working on the Native American project. They had to do a diorama and then create note cards from research that they’d conducted. The diorama part was fun – we made an igloo out of paper mache, real clay pots, a leather teepee……….. it was fun and we both learned so much.

Then comes the time for him to sit down and write out his note cards. He is required to do six (ugh) and the directions specifically say this is a student project and parents can simply “brainstorm”.

And the fight ensues. He doesn’t know what to write, how to start, he’s thirsty, hungry…. and anything else to delay doing homework. I gave him a one hour limit to GET IT DONE and he cried and pouted. For a few minutes I argued back that he had already done the research, he KNEW the subject, he had to do it on his own.And here is his “helpless” body language……

Slumped over, eyes down, moved away from the table.

So………… I did what any good mother would do: I walked away.

In fact, I went and took a shower to make myself inaccessible to him.

A few minutes later it quieted so I went back into the room and in my head I pictured that he would be writing, focused and either sitting on his knees or standing.

Here is what I found…..

and this……

Exactly what I pictured. He sat there and focused and got his note cards done within his one hour limit.

How do you handle kid battles?

Need more parenting tips? Check out this post on discipline and this post on sticking to your word..


  1. says

    I only wish if I.walked away that my son would do it. With ADHD, he has no focus or motivation. Mess help but also bring out picking habits which distract him…especially in cases like this. Step away and he’s picking his feet & hands. I hate it hate it hate it and wish I knew how to make things better.

  2. says

    I would have done the exact same thing. In fact, this year, I completely handed over responsibility to Thing One for his grades. He’s done remarkably well for a non-motivated sophomore. There’s something about knowing it’s in his hands that is empowering for him.

    Good for you, Mama. Good for you!

  3. Laura says

    OMG! GOod for you! I have this battle daily with my 8 yr old too….tells me he doesn’t have to study or look over words, or test material because he knows it. ANd homework, UGH! Tears, doesn’t know what to write, exactly!!!!! Such a frustration with these smarty pants ones! LOL! :-)

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