When They Just Want to Rip Up Their Maths Homework!


Why do I have to do this stupid maths homework

– I’m not doing it!”

This was followed by:


as an A4 Size maths exercise book flies frisbee style across the room.

I’m a former (is there such a thing?) maths teacher, a loving parent, and a blogger who gives advice to parents on how to support their child’s maths, so of course my children always happily do their maths homework?


If this has never happened to you then congratulations, but before you leave this page please leave your suggestions about how to avoid maths homework tantrums in the comments section of this post!

For the rest of you, here are a few suggestions of what to do when your child’s maths homework takes to the air!

Keep Calm

Easy as it may be to add to the noisy display, keeping calm will show that you are in control. It also gives your child a chance to gather their thoughts (and also to wonder ” oh oh what’s coming next?)


It may not be maths homework, but think of times when you’re frustrated and just want to throw the report card, the telephone bill, or the newspaper across the room. Tell your child that you know that they’re finding their maths homework hard and that maths can be difficult. Give them an example of something you used to find difficult but worked on and now you don’t find it so scary at all.


Think of something positive to praise them for. A good maths test last month, a positive comment from their maths teacher, or even say that you were pleased how neat/quick/accurate their maths homework was last week or how you loved the fact that they were able to tackle xyz difficult maths problem.

Give options

Ask if they want you both to look at the maths homework now are later. If you have a preference, make the other option unattractive “If we do it later you might miss your favorite TV programme” but be prepared to give in on this one. Let them have it their way this once.

Give Time

Make the time (yes I know there’s no time but try to find some) to sit down with your child and work through the work together. Try to get them to explain to you what they do understand before tackling the difficult questions. Finally, make time for your child to do some regular maths practice.

What do you do when your kids have a maths homework tantrum?

(This post also features on Works For Me Wednesday)

Caroline Mukisa
About The Author: Caroline Mukisa is the founder of Maths Insider. A Cambridge University educated math teacher, she's been involved in math education for over 20 years as a teacher, tutor, Kumon instructor, Thinkster Math instructor and math ed blogger. She is the author of the insanely helpful ebook "The Ultimate Kumon Review" and insanely useful website "31 Days to Faster Times Tables" You can follow her math tips on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @mathsinsider

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

9 thoughts on “When They Just Want to Rip Up Their Maths Homework!

    • Yes, don’t worry I’m still working on it, but was amazed when I did it and it worked! I’ll have to read this particular post weekly as a reminder!

  1. I have a son with dyscalcula, he is 12 and understands higher math concepts like a 12th grader, but his math facts are at a 4th grade level, so math homework can be a nightmare. Thanks for the tips!

    • Hope the tips help! Do have a look at my “Who else wants their child to be lightening fast at maths?” series of posts. Some of the DIY Kumon ideas in it may help with your son’s arithmetic.

  2. FAB post. I have two kids with ADHD (I am a teacher myself) and these tips are wonderful!

    I think the two most important are being patient (this would solve SO many problems with parenting) and time. So many parents don’t take the time to sit with their child during homework time. This doesn’t mean they DO their homework, but it works well to be their personal cheerleader during the tougher subjects.

    Take care! :)

    • I love that phrase!

      …be their personal cheerleader during the tougher subjects.

      The ideal is when I kind of hover around busying myself in the kitchen while mine do their homework at the breakfast bar, but as teenagehood looms the older one likes to have her own space!

  3. Sympathizing is the best thing! It makes them feel heard. And it doesn’t pit you against each other. And being on the same team is such a plus when you’re trying to get through tasks that you’d both prefer to blow off!

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