You’re right that homework and tears shouldn’t go together—especially not so frequently!

In your case, you’re not looking at the more common problem of a child slacking on homework or not having the time to fit homework into the schedule. You have the more challenging case of a child who’s trying hard—kudos to her and to you—but still struggling.

For the most part, homework is meant to be review. Your child should be practicing skills that were covered in class. If she repeatedly can’t figure out the work, then something is going wrong in the classroom and it’s time to be having this discussion with your daughter’s teacher. Remember—if the homework is coming in complete each day (maybe you’re helping out), the teacher may have no idea about the struggles at home.

The goal is collaboration between you and the teacher for your daughter’s best interests. Is there a learning issue in the classroom? Many hearing and eyesight issues are discovered when parents ask why their child isn’t understanding the schoolwork. Where does your child sit in class—way in back? Next to friends? Behind some talkative distracters? What does the teacher expect of homework and how is it explained? What does the teacher recommend you do to help your daughter at home?

The wrong solution is to do the work for your daughter. That will just hide the problem and lead to continuing issues down the road. An occasional struggle is OK and to be expected—learning to work through struggles is another life skill. But nightly tears are definitely a sign of a larger problem.

What do you think?

Any tips or suggestions that you find work well? Add them as a comment below.