10 Year Old Son and Homework

Updated on February 26, 2010
S.B. asks from New York, NY
11 answers

I have a situation and need some advice. My 10 year old son, who is in 4th grade, is a wonderful student. Makes mostly A's and some B's.
My problem? His teacher contacted me once already about homework he hasn't turned in. My son and I settled all that with a talk and he has been doing okay with it... until last week. He didn't tell me until he thought about it, but he was 3 days late turning in a project. He had another project to turn in Monday and he just looked for it 3 days later to turn in, which was today. He couldn't find it in his room "because it is not where he put it". Needless to say, I blew up!! I grounded him from all forms of computer and video games for a week. I did try to help him find it with no luck.
I just don't know what to do about it anymore! My husband is in Iraq for the 4th time and I am raising my 3 children on my own. It has been tougher this time around since I am dealing with the Tween attitude.
Can someone give me some advice on the homework issue?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm sure it's tough to be on you own with your husband in Iraq. (And I'd like t thank him and you for serving the country!).
My son is in first grade and, while a good deal younger than your son, he is very disorganized.
What I try to do is to have homework time right after school (after a drink and a small snack). He knows he can't really play until his homework is done. Does your son have a homework folder or something like that? Are his assignments on-line on the school's website?
Take the same time each day to have him do and organize his homework. Do it in the same place every day. When he's done, have him organize his stuff and place in his backpack.
Hope that helps. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Your son sounds a lot like I was at that time. I was able to do the homework, but I didn't really turn it in all that much.

What my mom did: she gave me a mini notebook and made me write down my homework every day. Whenever I got any new assignment, I had to write the assignment down and write down the due date. She would look at it every day after she got back from work and would write down the due dates on the family calendar. She didn't really remind me after that, but just knowing that she knew was enough of a kick in the pants for me to be more on top of my homework.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

First of all..thank you to you and your husband. The sacrifices the military families make for all of us should be commended each and every day.

I agree with the earlier post that writing down the assignments and due dates can be very helpful. I actually made my own planner pages for my 4th grader. There's each subject with space under it for the assignment. The dates are on them, as well as a space to write the due date. Now, if your son is already writing things down and still forgetting to turn stuff in, it may take more intervention.

For our school, 4th grade is notoriously known for a lot of homework! My 5th grader has a whole lot less homework than my 4th grader! When your son gets home from school, have him tell you what he has for homework. Math? Social Studies? Reading? Now you know, too. After he'd done his homework, ask him where it is. "Did you put it in your bag?" "Is it ready to go for tomorrow?" It seems like by this age/grade, kids should be able to manage these things on their own, but sometimes they need a little extra time to get those organizational skills down.

If he is actually getting it to school and not turning it in there, then the teacher needs to help on that end.

I can only imagine how much you have to deal with daily, especially being on your own. Just asking about homework after school and before bed - helping him to remember to get it into his bag for the next day- may be all he needs to get him over this time of "falling off the wagon" so-to-speak. I have to do that with my 4th grader. Sometimes the homework gets done, but the pages lay on the counter - which can then get buried in mail, drawings, other papers and all the other stuff that gets piled up there!

Good luck!!!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The homework notebook suggestion is great. My mom was a teacher and had me do that for my own use so I wouldn't stress-out about missing projects.
I'd also suggest that video games, etc. only become available once that day's homework is completed. I get a lot of whining about that one at our house, but it does work. It provides a positive incentive to finish the work.
We also insist on some homework each night so it doesn't all pile up. My son is younger so we try for about 20 minutes per night (or the completion of that day's assignment). It keeps the big projects from feeling overwhelming.
Things were more challenging when my hubby was in Iraq, too. The clear expectations and reliable routine did seem to help once we got a system in place. Write out what you expect and a homework schedule so your son will be certain to know what he must do. As inflexible as that sounds, the predictability during an unpredictable time can end up being comforting.
Hang in there. I hope your hubby returns soon and SAFELY!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I helped tutor 4th grade for while (even though I teach college now!), and the teacher I worked with had a chart for each week that some of the more disorganized students had to fill out and keep in a "homework folder." The chart had the days of the week across the top and the subjects down the left side. Each day, the student would write down the homework assignment in each box (or write "nothing" if there was no homework). Then the teacher would look at the chart, initial at the bottom, and make sure the students were taking the needed books or papers home with them. The parents would then make sure the student completed the necessary work, initial the bottom, and make sure the work got back to school in the morning.

Since your son's teacher let you know about the missing assignments already, she seems like she might be on board with you two working as a team to help him through this time. It may just be a stage and with a little encouragement, he can learn to become more organized. I'm sure the stress of dad being gone is part of it - kiddos sense our emotions and feel them too, so maybe helping him succeed in this area will help him manage the stress overall.

I'll say a prayer for your husband today.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I didn't read all the responses, so I maybe repeating. Has he been looked at for a learning disability? My nephew was the same way and it turned out he had a mild learning disability. Once it was diagnosed, he was given a lot of tools to use and it helped out tremendously. I remember the key to everything was organization. He had to learn how to organize his notebook and backpack, use a homework planner, and no doing homework in his room, but in an organized place in the house. Also, my sister got the teacher involved. After school, my nephew would go to his teacher and have her review his homework planner to make sure he was clear on the assignment and due date. It took some time, but not only did his grades improve, but so did his attitude.



answers from Joplin on

Have a talk with him (calmly) to see if there is something going on that he needs to talk about, but honestly, this is his age. It's common, and believe me, it frustrates him as much as it does you. Blowing up is not going to help at all, neither is harsh punishment. Try to not go overboard, OK ?
Maybe try rewarding him (small rewards) for being consistent with his homework, and help him set up some kind of system for helping him to remember to do the home work and turn it in.
At this same age, my son would do the work, but then forget to turn it in !
Maybe and "in / out" box system, or a chart will help.
Ask him to write down his assignments and when they are due, then you can post them in a place where you will both see them and you can occasionally remind him.
Like I said, this is common and normal for his age, and may get worse before it gets better. He needs your help and encouragement, more than he needs punishment. He needs you to be creative and upbeat about this.
I wish you all the best. :o)


answers from Dallas on

Thank you to your husband and to you. I know you have a lot on your plate right now and you are heading right into tween.

I know it is tough with homework. I have a 15 yr old daughter. Beginning in elementary school all students received an agenda (planner) and part of the daily assignment is to write the homework and assignments in the agenda. Another hw grade is showing that a parent signed the agenda every night. That helps... By 4th grade, the only students required to show parent signatures are the ones a lilttle less organized, etc.

Secondly, Beginning around 5th grade, our teachers gave assignments and had a timeline on them meaning portions of the assignments we due on certain days...this helps with the procrastinators. Even in high school...the science and history projects are given out in the first part of school with dates/times that certain portions are due. The science project is not due until Dec but the assignment and dates are given in early Sept and checked regularly until the due date.

In middle school and on to high school the assignments/projects are assigned more regularly. I know with my daughter, she is in honors classes and honors is known for more projects. The teachers give the assignments in the beginning of the grading period so that everyone knows ahead of time what is expected and when.

Our middle school was particular about binders for each class and organization. Actually that process helped daughter a lot because she has specific places to have her work in progress and completed work. At first I didn't understand all the rules and having so many binders, etc but they have actually helped my daughter better organize her work. We keep schoolwork in a specific place in the house as well.

Another thought is to make sure you see the assignments and you see him put it in the backpack. You know they are then and it is up to him to turn it in.

Sometimes, even with honors students, we have to let them fail so they see the consequences. It only took 1 time for me to "not be around" to "rescue" my daughter in 5th grade for leaving assignments at home and expecting me to find them and get them to the school so she would not have consequences. I was/am one of the worst moms because I would grab an overdue book, assignment, whatever was needed and run to the school to give it to her. We both learned a lot about responsibility when I stopped that in 5th grade. I'm always here to support her but we've learned that school is her job and responsibility.

I don't know if any of this helps you. Hopefully you can get things worked out quickly. Good luck.



answers from Kansas City on

I suggest that you talk to the teacher, and ask her to let you know exactly when projects are due and how many. See if she will make you a list. Have hime write down his homework assignments and have her sign them. She wants him to be successful, so I'm sure that she would work with you on this. You have to stay on top of their work. I wish the best for you and will pray for your family.



answers from San Antonio on

Have 3 boys: 15, 17 and 18. From experience, they have all "whacked out" for a few months somewhere around 4, 5, 6th grade. Their brains and bodies are getting ready to grow, and some are more in tune to social things/ pressures going on at school. Doesn't mean let it all go, by any means---just know that they get kind of goofy for a while.

here's what worked for us: yes, homework planner or academic notebook to write things down and due dates and everything....

Our kids had to show it to us every night while they were getting the hang of it.

Little "chill out" time between school and homework....whether that's sports, a music lesson or running around shooting a basketball for a few minutes. Boys, especially, benefit from a short break before hitting the homework. This was not TV or video game break, though.

One area to do homework. Kitchen table or work table in the dining room or second hand desk or something. Big key: let your son set up the homework area---it's his. My youngest had the hardest time getting organized with homework until we bought a desk at a yard sale and put it in his room. He picked out a lamp, bought pens and pencils and wanted a couple crazy desk things (rubik's cube, lava lamp) for it. But it's his and we shut our mouth and let him set it all up.

We only allow TV or video games after all homework is done. Set a firm ending time, though. They are now all in high school and have so much homework, that the screen stuff rarely occurs during the week.

For our youngest, if he turned in all work during the week and did his best job on it, and did not forget work, he got a special something on the weekend.
(This took some doing---my husband is a "punisher" and I am a "rewarder." My youngest responds much better to rewards than threats of punishment.)
We made pizzas on Friday night if he did everything he needed to, or we made brownies OR he got an extra half hour of video game or TV over the weekend if he took care of all his school responsibilities.

That's what worked for us.

Good luck and God Bless.



answers from Denver on

We use a homework journal at our house too. I would also explain things to the teacher if they don't already know your situation, if you are feeling stressed odds are your son is too. Maybe the teacher can email you the homework assignments or at least a time line so you know what your son is working on. Then maybe you can create a chart so that things won't be sprung on you or he won't forget to turn things in. I know we put a lot of personal accountability on kids, however I think a 10 year old is still a kid and may get overwhelmed at times too. The other thing that I have found helped in our house was getting homework done right when they get home from school. We have a snack and they do their homework that way they have the rest of the night for sport's practices or hanging out or whatever. You are obviously doing a great job since he is such a great student! Keep up the good work mom!

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