Common homework frustrations and how to avoid them

Teaching a reluctant child trigonometry can cause the best of us to lose our cool. Here are our tips for staying calm.

Common homework frustrations
Cluey Learning Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Just going by the sheer volume of parenting memes on the internet, trying to teach or tell kids anything is truly a herculean effort. Children, it turns out, can push us to the edge of sanity and squash our last nerves with their infuriating indifference when it comes to homework.

The struggle is real, dearest parents, and you are most definitely not alone.

Here’s a roundup of the most common homework frustrations we hear from parents and a few pointers for avoiding homework-induced trauma.

1. Repeating instructions again and again and again and again…

Children have a natural filter when it comes to anything we say as parents. Even when they appear to be listening, it seems that they just applied some sort of attentive facade — a whitewash for their real thoughts. It can be beyond frustrating to spend your time explaining a concept or working through a maths problem only to find that your child absorbed not one single word you said.

What not to do:

Try not to lose your cool. When we get upset and accusatory (even if the very thing we’re accusing them of is absolutely true), kids automatically go on the defensive, stop listening, and completely disregard our message. Don’t ask them why they didn’t listen (and actually NEVER listen) because it’ll just end up making you angrier.

2. Begging for an answer that you know they know

You’ve been through eight different examples or read through the comprehension task three times in a row. There are study notes and post-it reminders. And yet they refuse to remember the protagonist’s name or that simple multiplication rule or the capital of Germany. It makes you feel like you’re wasting your time — that they can’t be bothered summoning a simple kernel of information from the forefront of their brains. It’s there. For goodness sake you LITERALLY just told them the answer.

What not to do:

Telling a child that they have, in fact, wasted your time (even if it is true) can be pretty serious. Children are still developing emotionally and, although they may not have listened to anything else you have said, you can bet that anything negative you utter will be seared into their memory forever. Try to use positive reinforcement in this kind of situation (“I’m sure you know this because you just said it. Take a moment to think about the answer…”).

3. Textbook / notebook / computer / calculator left at school / lost

Kids carelessly leaving an essential item in their locker or classroom when there’s important homework to be done that evening is mighty frustrating. Planning ahead is a life skill that you always tried to instil. And yet, here you are, trying to figure out how to download a digital calculator app while homework should have been completed 40 minutes ago.

What not to do:

It’s tempting to deliver another one of your winning lectures on the fact that you won’t always be around to solve these problems. And yet in this instance, repetition is not the key. It can be a tough choice, but it might be best to send your child back to face their teacher the next day with incomplete work. At least in this instance the wrath doesn’t have to be yours.

Still grappling? A tutor can help you manage these common frustrations and ease the load at home. At the end of the day, kids listen and respond in different ways when it’s not mum or dad doing the talking.


Contact us to discuss how we can support your child’s learning journey.

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