Q:

Homework has always been a battlefield in our home. What's the best way to avoid daily conflict? -- Want to Stop the War

A:

The best thing parents can do to avoid homework battles is to give their children the responsibility of handling as much of it as they can, as soon as possible. Then nagging children to do their homework and resistance from them will not be an issue. Ideally, by the time children are in seventh or eighth grade, they should be able to do their homework without much parental guidance. This means starting their homework without reminders from parents and completing it without lengthy interruptions for TV, online visits to Facebook and Twitter or texting. It also includes knowing what their assignments are and bringing the appropriate materials home from school.

Once children and parents are locked in a daily homework battle, the best way to escape is by using a homework contract. A homework contract is a written agreement between parent and child that specifies when homework will be started, how much time will be spent on it and where it will be done. The contract should be simple and may include a reward or penalty clause. There also should be a provision for renegotiating the contract when it seems necessary. The contract may also have sections on writing down homework assignments and turning in homework.

Homework contracts work best for older students. Parents can create contracts with their children, or use one like our homework contract on DearTeacher.com in the section on "Study Skills."