Homework was not going well at my house. My 8-year-old son, Jamie, would spread his papers out on the kitchen counter and start bouncing on and off his stool. Then he'd be "dying of hunger." Next he'd try to convince me that he had already done his reading at recess. Forty-five minutes could go by, and he'd have written only one spelling word in his notebook. And more often than not, evenings ended with tears -- his and mine.
I tried being more involved, then less involved. I took a lenient approach and also a firm one. But nothing seemed to help him tackle his work efficiently. Finally, I consulted an educational psychologist, who met with Jamie, then with my husband and me, and finally with the three of us together for a few "homework coaching" sessions. Here are the strategies I learned from her, along with tips from other experts, which have made a major improvement in the homework situation -- and frustration level -- for both Jamie and me.