Thankfully, I seem to be better off in the Homework Department than many other parents I know. How? Here's the scoop:
I long ago made it clear that Homework is NOT my responsibility. I make it easy to settle to, and provide nice warm mugs of Milo and an organizer full of spare pencils and stuff (Because YOU KNOW the pencil cases have been forgotten somewhere!). I make it quiet (usually), calm (ish) and conducive to concentration. Snacks are provided. Max is removed from the vicinity. And then, I walk away. If you need help, call me. But it ain't MY homework. Been there, done that, Dude! They get into trouble at school for not doing homework, which I think is just great! Imagine, someone else gets to discipline Chas and Sam! Yay!
This attitude sometimes makes me very unpopular with the boys, like the time I left them "doing homework" and went to read Max a bedtime story, came back 30 minutes later to find a party going on. Complete with rock music and microwave popcorn.
I looked at the clock and said, "Fifteen minutes to bedtime, sweet feets."
"But we have all this homework to do!! We can't do this in fifteen minutes!!!"
"You have had forty-five minutes already, guys. Bedtime is in fifteen minutes."
Oh, I was a wicked, evil mother. I was going to get them into trouble! I WANTED them to be in trouble! The homework was not completed, and it was ALL MY FAULT! I sighed and said that my bedtime rule is very important, and they would just have to explain to their teachers that it was all my fault. There was some stamping about on floors, and I did NOT get a goodnight kiss.
But dear readers, it never happened again! Now, I can leave my little darlings at their Homework Time and they do as much as they honestly can. Towards the end, I join them and offer help. I can read out sentences or long sums, and offer moral suppourt and Milo top-ups to tired boys. Generally, the boys do all of their easy stuff first and save the long copying-out-and-editing stuff till I am there.
We have had weird conversations: "I'm not doing this! I hate homework!!"
"But I HAVE to! Are you crazy?"
"Oh! So what are you going to do?"
"Grrrr.... Can I have a cookie? I will need it."
It would be a good idea to let your kids' teachers know if you decide to hand the responsibility to the kids. There must be consequenses at school, or there will be anarchy!
We do have evenings where homework is a problem because of forgotten books. I keep lots of copy-book paper and a list of phone numbers so that the boys can call their buddies for the work, but it can become irritating for all concerned. ("I can't do my homework yet, Christopher is having a shower. Jesse's at taekwondo. Lizzie?? I can't call LIZZIE!") I have yet to come up with a magical solution for this. Even asking, when they get into the car, if they've got everything, (Yeah Mum!) is useless! Anyone have a trick to share? Staple the homework list to their foreheads? Do tell. I will love you forever!