Homework - The Dreaded H-Word for Canadian Parents

October 16, 2012

As much as parents look forward to the routine back-to-school brings, reality really hits when the nightly homework starts. Personally, I struggle with working all day, then spending the evening helping my daughters with their homework. The worst part is, much of the time I can't even help them with their questions. My youngest is in French Immersion, and my oldest is taking grade 9 math, which I wasn't an expert in the first time around.

To keep our sanity and reduce the hysteria, we have a few things we set up at the beginning of this school year to make it easier on everyone.

After-school activities are kept to a minimum

 A full day of school is tiring. Loading my kids up with a bunch of sports after school can completely drain them, making it harder for them to focus on their homework. My daughters are allowed to choose one or two activities that take place during the week. Currently, none of their activities require regular practices.

A quiet and comfortable place to do homework

 My daughters are not allowed to watch TV or have a computer in front of them during homework time. It is with great hesitation that I allow them to listen to music while working on their homework, but it's not allowed to be a distraction.

Reward them

After they're finished their homework for the evening, I let them have dessert or watch their favourite TV show. If they do well on a project, the family celebrates with a pizza night or a homework-free night.

Review upcoming projects

We had to learn this one the hard way, after a very very late night working on an Alexander Graham Bell project that was left to the last minute. Even if something isn't due the next day, we encourage our daughters to bring it home and work on it.

Ask the teacher for help

There are times when we aren't able to solve homework problems at home. When this happens, I strongly encourage them to request a time to receive help from the teach.

Review homework

A quick glance over my daughter's homework lets me see how much care and attention they've put into their work.

Open Communication

I keep the communication lines open with their teachers through email, and by popping into the classroom once or twice a month.


My oldest daughter can have up to 3 hours of homework in a night. We encourage her to break up the work by walking the dog, taking a shower, or just resting her eyes for 15 minutes. The best time for her is in between subjects, giving her a chance to regroup.

How much homework do your kids get each night? How do you help them handle the stress? Do you even remember the geometry and algebra they're learning?

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