willo91's picture

11 Year old --not turning in homework

I hope someone on here can offer some advice on how to handle this situation. I have tried everything I know to do. My 11 year (6th grader) seems to have trouble completing and turning in his homework. Even when he does complete it, he doesn't turn it in. He already has 6 zero's this 9 week period and we aren't even 1/2 way through it!! I'm just baffled!! We have never had this problem with him before. We did move from WV to NC and of course, he did have to switch schools, but that was 2 years ago. I have tried rewarding him when he does turn it in and I have punished him when he doesn't. Two weeks ago, I took everything from him...no computer, no video games, no tv, and no telephone. I just didn't know what else to do and here we are 2 weeks later and still NOT doing any better! He is so bored because he can't do any of the things he likes to do, but still can't seem to get it together!! I'm at a loss here and I don't know what else to do. I say I'm going to stop worrying about it and just let him fail and repeat the 6th grade...maybe that's what it will take...but I just can't seem to bring myself to actually stop worrying about it. Any suggestions???

2xstepmom's picture

Try taking his homework in and turning it in to the teacher yourself or send it in with a sibling. Maybe this will embarrass him enough that he will turn it in himself.

teachermommy's picture

As a fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teacher I see this issue all the time. Many times it is becuase of a lack of organizational skills. Try looking at your son's system of organization. Is he using multiple folders, a binder, accordian file? I just had a student switch to one folder as he could not keep track of all the multiple folders he was using. He has just one folder for all his academic classes, one folder for his special area classes, and one folder for homework. It made me cringe at first to think that all the work would be shoved in one folder, but it was better than not being able to find it between backpacks, locker, and binders. Inside this students homework folder I placed a nightly note that he has to fill out each day. This works similar to a planner but focuses on just one day at a time. On the nightly note he has a space to write what homework has to be done, things he needs to bring home to do the work, and a checklist for when he finishes the work what he should do to make sure it comes back. I sign it each night and so do the parents. The next morning the student comes in a few minutes early to turn in the work to the appropriate teacher. Then gets his academic folder ready for the day. Find a time where you can go in to help your child organize his locker too, or ask his teacher(s) to help. In his locker, post a checklist of things he should take to each class. Sometimes being able to slide a paperclip up and down this checklist helps the student to mentally prepare the items he needs.
I saw the post that suggested the parent go in and drop off the homework to embarass the child. This might work as a quick fix, but will not bring about a long term change of behavior as the child has not learned the skill himself. It might also create another problem of the child not wanting to go to school as they have now become victim of teasing or verbal aggression from peers seeing the parent at school.

Retention as punishment for not completing work is not always a good idea either. In some cases retention works when the maturity of the child or the academic ability is in question. There has been a lot of debate in the educational field about grading for learning. This has to do with looking at what the child has learned through other ways than just paper to penicl tasks. If your child is able to do the homework, but just chooses not to,then he probably does not need to be retained.

I hope this helps a little bit...

pokey's picture

What does your son say when you ask him why he is not turning in his work?

Focus on figuring out what exactly is going on with your son. It sounds like this is new behavior for him, so there must be a reason for it. What is behind this behavior of not turning in his work?

I would have a meeting with the teacher, with your son present as well, to discuss the situation together and see if s/he can offer insight and possible solutions.

Just some thoughts--

If your son is finding the school material this year especially difficult, perhaps you might monitor his studies and offer your assistance more, or hire a tutor.

Sometimes it is more a time management/organization problem that kids need help with more than the work itself.

Has he changed friends recently to ones who think doing schoolwork is "uncool"?

As a parent who knows her child is not doing his best, that something is wrong---well, of course you are going to worry, and rightfully so. Now's the time to get him back on the right track. HS will be here before you know it, so you want him to form good study habits now to make the transition easier.

Keep trying to find out what is the root of the problem. Good luck!

TCB's picture

I have to agree w/the woman who stated that there must be an underline issue that needs to be addressed as to why he is having problems turning in the work. Having to repeat 6th Grade is a difficult decision that the teacher and you need to discuss w/him present. He needs to understand that you are there for him and this is a serious problem. Also, talk with the school's social worker. As a graduate of ECU School of Social Work, I know that we had to take courses in psychology. She/he may have dealt w/this and could assist in talking to your son.
You can also think about having your son put his homework in a HOMEWORK folder. He will have to put all his work in it, you will need to sign off on a sheet stapled to the inside that you have seen it, and the teachers will have to sign it as well. That way you know that they have taken the work out. Buy one that will stand out. Let the instructors know what you are trying to do. Get everyone on board.
Remember that your son is also going through changes and may be having issues w/those changes.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Letting your son fail is not the solution here. Ck your son's work every day. Talk to his teacher, and work out a system for submitting all assignments. I don't think you shld be handing in the assignments yourself (that's not teaching your son anything), but instead maybe the teacher shld collect the homewk directly from each student. If your son doesn't have the homewk, or if he just doesn't hand it in, a note shld immediately go home to you. I also agree that you need to get to the bottom of why your son is doing this. It's very hard to believe that he deliberately wants to fail. Have you just recently noticed this change in behavior since you moved to your new location, or was your son like this before? Does you son act differently at home as well? As hard as it is, try to get to the bottom of this. Overall, though, I think you're doing all the right things. Hang in there.

TCB's picture

I am curious to know how you have resolved this problem and if any of the emails have helped your son turning in his homework.

willo91's picture

Hi, all...thanks for the suggestions. I, unfortunately, have not been able to resolve this issue, yet. My husband took him to the store and got new notebooks and folders and different things to help him get organized and it worked for 1 week...but then this past Thursday, he did not get a sticker on his report (which shows he did not turn everything in). When I asked him about it, he said he is sure he turned everything in. I emailed his teacher's to find out what assignment(s) were not turned in, but I have yet to receive a response from either of them. I also requested a conference with all of his teachers, myself, and my son. I asked for this conference 2 weeks ago and was told by one of his teachers that she would get back to me on a day we could do this, but that was the last I have heard from her. I have tried, repeatedly to find out if he is being bullied or if something else may be going on at school, but he denies that anything is bothering him. Part of me feels this is just a stage he is going through, but I also feel like there is probably a reason for this behavior. So...I guess I am really not any better off with this situation than I was a few weeks ago. I also have tried getting his homework planner signed by his teachers and myself, but somehow he still isn't turning it all in. I know that when I sign his planner, all of the homework written on the planner is done...or I don't sign it. My thinking was if the teacher is signing it also, that all of the homework IS written in it, but apparently not. So, why sign it if all of the assignments are not written in it? I really just don't feel like I'm getting any sort of support from his teachers at all. I just get the negative reports, but then can't get her to set up a conference time, or get her to email me back about what's missing. I realize she has several students other than my son, but if she is going to take the time to let me know about the negative things, then why can't she take the time to help me fix it? I just feel frustrated and angry about this whole situation....I just have to keep telling myself...this to shall pass!!

TCB's picture

Okay, to me the next step would be to set up a conference with the principal, teacherS, BOTH parents and your son. This will have to be when school has ended for the day to ensure that the teachers are ALL available. If you don't get any help from the principal, I suggest that you contact the Board of Education. You are doing everything that you can and not getting conferences that you need.

svking01's picture

When I read your comments, I wondered if I had written this and not remembered because it describes my intelligent, 11 year old, 6th grade son perfectly. He tells me he turned in his papers when his teachers tell me he hasn't and then tries to redo them and they still don't get handed in. I can help him with papers and know that they are done correctly and they are marked not turned in. I am at my wit's end. I have been to the meeting with both parents, all teachers, and my son, and he signed an agreement and nothing has changed. I have taught him how to organize and to put all his assignments in one folder that he brings to every class and write every assignment down in his agenda, which I look at every night and initial after his homework has been completed. He is getting Fs because of the 0s. His completed assignments are usually As or Bs, so he can do the work. He often doesn't even remember being given some of his work. Teachers say they do not suspect ADD or anything like that, just that he appears to make a choice not to do the work. He is a happy, well-adjusted boy so I don't know what is going on. I just want him to succeed and now I am ready to give up and just let him take control so that we don't have to argue and have upset in our lives.

Crazed mom_777's picture
Crazed mom_777

I also have a daughter that started Middle School, and she has ADD, she has A's in 3 of her class, F's in 2 class, and has never brought home a F. I have found out that the school, requires alot of organzation, and my daughter looses it first thing or it is to heard for her to understand so she just want do it. I think that the new ness, and the classes that she has is just not right for her. maybe this is what is going on with your child. But as a parent I feel your pain. I have just been going crazy and we are half way through. I also go her counseler involved. Good look just keep looking, and searching the web, looking to see if you can put your finger on is.