Homework. I’m sure many parents have a love-hate relationship with it. Or even more of a hate-relationship with it.

Our daughter has her first year of homework. Usually it is just one page of counting or sight words, and it is fun and engaging. She actually enjoys doing it (we can only hope that feeling will remain when she is older). 

But we do not make her homework a priority in the afternoon when she gets home. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know homework is part of life for kids. Stimulating learning doesn’t stop when the bell rings after school. And we believe keeping up on school work is an important lesson in responsibility, even if research may be beginning to show homework isn’t as beneficial as once believed. I have a Doctorate and my husband has a Masters. We highly value education in our home. But what we value even more is playing outside, imagination, spontaneous trips to get frozen yogurt, going hiking, and most importantly, spending time as a family. 

Ensuring our children do their homework is an important lesson in responsibility. I would rather our children learn a hard lesson from forgetting their homework while they are young, than forgetting to do an important work project when they have bills to pay. Fighting and begging our children to do their homework isn’t helping foster our relationship with them, helping them create a healthy relationship with learning, or sending them positive messages about their abilities. Constantly reminding them to get their homework done doesn’t send them a positive message that we believe they are capable. And the one time you forget to remind them, it will be the time they forget, and it will be your fault because you forgot to remind them. 

We don’t want our children to equate their value and worth with their accomplishments. Kids can come to believe their value lies in how well they are accomplishing tasks. When we choose to play or spend time together instead, or make homework a fun family experience, we are simply enjoying being together. Our children will not be inadequate because they do not finish all their homework projects. But they will be more successful if they have a strong relationship with their parents, who are supportive and love them even when a few assignments fall by the wayside.

Ensuring our kids have a chance to reflect on what they are learning at school is important for their retention. Taking the time to connect with them after school and have conversations about their day not only allows them to reflect, but it shows our interest in their lives.

We value our time together after school. We don’t want homework to be a battle, or create an unhealthy relationship with school and learning. We want after school learning to be fun, imaginative, and engaging. Learning is more likely to happen when parents are engaged in meaningful activities with their children. 

This year let’s not allow homework to replace family time. Let’s not battle with our kids about getting it done. Let’s enjoy our time together and make after school learning fun, memorable, and exciting.

Here are a few tips on making homework and after school learning more fun:

Do it outside! Be sure your child gets exercise too!

Get excited! Don’t battle with your kids, but instead get excited about what they are learning.

Let your child teach you their homework.

Make it a family affair.

Have a snack.

Find the best place. Maybe at the table or snuggled up on the couch.

Work alongside your child. Answer your emails while he or she does their work.

Eliminate distractions.

Create a clean and welcoming place to work.

Play relaxing or stimulating music.

Find a reward system or check-off system that works for your family.

Allow them to choose if they do homework before dinner or after dinner.

Allow them to choose if they do homework at the kitchen table or at their desk.

Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work for your family, and then focus on what works.


What do you do to make homework more fun or make more time for family in the evenings?

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Emily Scott

Emily Scott, PhD, is a stay at home mom of three, and part time parenting consultant and blogger who has written and spoken on various parenting topics including child development, ACEs, and tips on raising responsible kids. 

God Gave Him Bigger Feelings

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy on playground, color photo

He came home from school last week and asked, “Why do I get so angry but my friends never do? Why am I not the same?” And it broke me. Because he is passionate and intelligent and kind and intuitive and beautiful. He didn’t always seem different. We never paid attention to how he would line everything up in play. And we would laugh it off as a quirk when he would organize everything dependent upon shape, size, and color. He was stubborn, sure, but so am I. And then COVID happened, and we attributed the lack of social skills...

Keep Reading

We Have a Big Family and Wouldn’t Change a Thing

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four children in front of Christmas tree, color photo

I have just had my fourth baby. A baby who wasn’t expected but very much wanted and very much loved from the moment we found out. When we told people we were expecting, the response was underwhelming. The stream of intrusive questions would then ensue:  You already have your hands full, how will you cope with four? You’ll need a bigger car! Where will they all sleep? Don’t you own a TV? You know how babies are made right? People seemed to have such a strong opinion about me having a fourth child. RELATED: We Had a Lot of Kids...

Keep Reading

As a Mom I’m Far From Perfect, But I Hope You Remember the Joy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Happy mother and daughter on the beach

Sometimes, I think about the future when you are grown and I am gone. When all that’s left of me are photographs and memories. I know what the photographs will show. I took most of them, after all. But the memories I’m less sure of. I wonder what will stick with you after all that time. How will you remember me? One day, your grandkids will ask you about me. What will you say? Will you tell them I was always distracted? Will you remember that I looked at my phone too much? Will you tell them I didn’t play...

Keep Reading

Being a Daycare Mom Can Be So Hard

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Woman holding boy on couch, black-and-white photo

Dear daycare mom,  I know it’s hard.  To get yourself up before them, to make lunches, to pack the bags, to get yourself ready.  To go into their rooms, where they are peacefully sleeping, and turn the lights on.  To struggle to get them breakfast, get them dressed, and get them out the door.  I know it’s hard.  To have a morning rush when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch and ease into your day.  RELATED: When a Mom is Late To Work To feel like you are missing out on their childhood at times...

Keep Reading

The PB&J that Saved the Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Table with three plates of PB&J sandwiches, color photo

It was one of those days.  One of those days when your pants are too tight, you wake up with a headache, and the kids’ rooms are disasters at 8 a.m. It was one of those days when I had to physically go into Target for our groceries since I didn’t have time to wait for pickup—I think that alone should sum up exactly the kind of day it was.  The kids were hangry. The toddler was, well, toddler-y. RELATED: Toddlers Are Human Too—And Sometimes They Just Need Grace Two minutes into our shopping trip, she had kicked her light-up rain...

Keep Reading

One Day He’ll Love Another Woman More than He Loves Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

To Benjamin, my 16-month-old son, I am everything. I am the first person that boy looks for when he wakes up in the morning and the last person he wants before he goes to bed. If he is in a room full of people he loves and I am not there, he will search for me.  If he has a problem, mommy is the solution. I am the answer to his cries. I feel confident in saying that I am the most important person in that little boy’s little world. I love it. It is an honor and a privilege...

Keep Reading

To My Sister, Thank You For Being the Best Aunt To My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Aunt with three young kids

“Do you have the kids’ basketball schedule yet?” you texted the other day. I sent back a screenshot of the calendar, and within an hour you responded telling me which game you’d be coming to. It was a simple exchange, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for your love for my kids in that moment. It’s something I think often but don’t say nearly enough: thank you for being such an amazing aunt. Truly.  I know it’s not always convenient. You live three hours away and have a busy, full life of your own—but still, you show up for your niece and nephews...

Keep Reading

In Defense of the Stubborn Child

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy hanging over dock, color photo

“Lamp. Lamp. Laaaaamp,” my 2-year-old son screamed while stomping his feet. Tears were running down his face and snot was dripping dangerously close to his mouth. I put on what I hoped would be a soothing, motherly tone, “Okay, just calm down.” While trying to maintain eye contact, I slowly reached toward the tissue box. This must be what the greats like Jeff Corwin, Steve Irwin, or the Kratt brothers feel like when facing a volatile animal in the wild. The sound of a tissue being pulled from the box caused the crying to stop abruptly. His eyes flitted toward...

Keep Reading

Dear Stepdaughter, You Aren’t “Mine” but I Love You as My Own

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hug

First off, I love you. I wasn’t there the day you were born or when you got your first tooth. I wasn’t there when you took your first steps or learned to pee in the potty. But, I have loved you since the day we met, and I’ve been there for every moment since. I’ve given you baths and eventually, taught you how to shower on your own. I’ve brushed your hair, clipped your nails, and taken care of you when you’re sick. I’ve tucked you into bed and kissed you goodnight, held you when you’re sad, chased away your...

Keep Reading

I Was Meant to Be a Boy Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and three boys, black-and-white photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of the day you can pass all your Barbies and dolls on to your daughter and continue that same form of make-believe, to play dress up, do their hair, and go shopping with . . . at least I did.  You grow up, fall in love, get married, and decide to start a family and all those same emotions come rushing back about all you’ll do with your baby girl. You cut open that cake and the blue frosting peeks through, and you’re so excited that you forget all those girl dreams. You...

Keep Reading