Parent Frustrated: Math is boring for her son!

Dear Dr. Phil,


My son fights us on homework, especially his math. It has gotten worse this year. My husband and I call it our nightly "4th grade homework hell".


Hair Pulling Mom, Weaverville, CA.


Hi Mom,

I am a true believer in clear behavior expectations for children, such as: No screen time (TV, computer phone) until all homework is done and checked by a parent. I like clear consequences for homework performance. This is not easy, but it is important to teach homework skills early.


An excerpt from Basic Parenting 101:

My children are late with homework, chores, or curfew.

This is simply an issue of your children doing what they want to do versus what they must do. Let me make this point bluntly,

Why doesn’t your teen poop in the living room?

Why doesn’t your eight year old potty on the couch?

Why doesn’t your eleven year old make dodo at the dining room table during Sunday dinner?

The answer is: they have internalized the Must Rule about toileting that you taught them during the potty training phase of their younger life. I point this out because, unless your children “believe” that they must do their homework, they will do what they want to do. Unless your child believes that they must be home by curfew, they will do what they want to do. Unless your child believes that they must do their chore at a particular level, they will do what they want to do.

Central to most task completion issues is that the child does not believe her adults.

You need to honestly question yourself. Is homework a Maybe (a preference) in your family or a Must Rule? (See Chapter 4: Must, Maybe, and Minor Rules) If you are teaching your children that homework is a preference, then your child will play before she does her work. If your child believes that cleaning her room is a parental preference (Maybe Rule), then riding her bike is more likely to be her choice.


Another major problem with homework is it is often tedious and boring; this tends to start with the teacher.


Arthur Benjamin is a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. He is a dynamic teacher of young and old alike. His teaching method is inspiring. This 9 minute video will give you an idea of how fun math can be:

Arthur Benjamin book:

Stump the Shrink by Dr. Philip Copitch: Is Tutoring Right For My Child  with Guest Blogger: Geri Copitch, 18 Year Veteran Educator.


Stump The Shrink