Sunday, January 16, 2011

How do I get my kids to turn in homework?

Ms. Dorothy,
My boys are having a hard time taking responsibility for their work.  Sometimes they do their homework and then don't turn it in.  I start school myself in the Spring, and I won't be there to hold their hands through this.  How can I get them to be responsible?
- Mom of Middle Schoolers

When homework has no meaning, it is hard to value it.  If the boys feel like they are doing work just for the sake of doing it, it's understandable that they "forget" to turn it in, and even that they don't always do it.

Unfortunately, much of what they are going to have to do over the coming years will be as meaningless to them as the work they are not turning in now.

It is important that they understand how the game is played, and their role in it.  

To be successful in school, they will need to comply with the expectations of teachers.  Not to please the teacher, and not because the teacher is right, but because the boys need what the teachers have to offer.

In order to get where they are going outside of school, the boys need to make the system work for them.  The teachers are an important part of the ticket out of school, and if the boys understand that, it will help them to stop trying to resist and just let it work for them.

Over the next months and years, you will have plenty of opportunities to model good work habits for them.  Remember to talk about the work you do for school, and to let them see you doing it.  They will learn more from your example than from anything you say now.

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