Getting Homework Handed in on Time

Updated on August 17, 2008
S.F. asks from Omaha, NE
22 answers

My son is 14 years old. He is in 8th grade. We have always had a problem with him getting his homework handed in on time. It is not that he doesn't know the work because when he does hand it in he gets excellent grades. I am always in contact with his teachers to see if he is missing any work and if so I have them send it home so he can complete it. I just don't know what to do about getting him to hand it in on time since he doesn't always do that he gets bad grades over all. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can change this before he goes to high school? I don't want him getting off on the wrong foot next year. We keep telling him that when he does go to high school they aren't going to be like junior high and let him make up the work they will just give him and 0 and that will be that. Thank you in advance to any responses I get to this problem.


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

These are great suggestions and I will try them both out and see what one works better for us. Thanks again for your help

Featured Answers



answers from Pocatello on

I have the same problem with my 13 yr. old granddaughter that I am raising. She is also in 8th grade. If anyone has suggestions for S., I would like some of them too. Thanks L.



answers from Omaha on

My son is only 7 and I already have this issue. For a 14 year old I would suggest taking away fun time, and adding other things he needs to be responsible for around the house. It is the only way I can think of for teaching responsibility. Good luck!

More Answers



answers from Rapid City on

I also have a 14 year-old 8th grade boy at home. I had similar issues, but read a book entitled, "Parenting Teens With Love And Logic: Preparing Adolescents For Responsible Adulthood". I believe the most current edition was published May 31, 2006. There are several Love and Logic Books out there by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. It was the best parenting book that I've ever read. It states that if parents are constantly not allowing their child/teen to fail (by checking with teachers for missing assignment, by running forgotten homework to school when the teen has forgotten it etc.) then the child/teen will never learn to be responsible. They have to fail and take the consequences in order to learn from them. My son didn't worry about things because he knew that if he didn't do something or if he forgot something, I would come to his rescue and fix it. The sooner you allow him to accept his own consequences, the sooner he will learn to be more responsible. I would highly recommend reading the book (maybe from your local library). I hope that this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Provo on

When homework tasks are given we spend a good time together brainstorming how it can be done in the time allowed. We break it up into tasks to do each day. I check each task off dail \y to make sure they are on track. The other thing I do is that I do not allow for them to ask for extentions on homework....if they havnt planned well and completed their homework they need to learn there are consequences to that from a young age. Extentions etc just teach them that deadlines are there to be broken.
My children all have excellent homework records because of this....and they learnt very young that it is better to pace themselves thru...I do think it is up to the parents to moniter them thru it tho...thats what we are there for.



answers from Wausau on

well I know all about it. I was that kid. and the only thing I can think that helped is when I actually had to the work to get the grade. I think the teachers needed to know that just letting me get by wasn't acceptable. It's OK to be nice to the students, but letting them be lazy is another.
Don't get me wrong, I worked my tail off in school, just not at homework. I didn't really see the purpose in it. I actually didn't care if the teachers gave tests or quizes, I did pretty good at them. But what I am saying is if the teachers didn't let me get by without handing in homework. I probably would have done better, and wouldn't have had to go through some of the things I went through.
I hope this helps. G



answers from Lansing on


You have been getting some great advice, I just have two suggestions:

1) Think about rewards to doing and turning in homework in a timely manner. Speak with your son about things he would like to do, games or sneakers or other things he has been wanting but can't afford, trips he would like to go on. Barter these things for good homework behavior. Also have him help you make up a set of consequences for missed deadlines and homework not turned in on time. By including him in the decisions he will take more responsibility over his actions and will know the consequences to his choices, good or bad.

Require that he works on his homework in the living areas of the home (not his room) and keep a chart. Keep in contact with his teachers. If he has been handing in his homework on time and has done good work then he earns a set amount of points towards his goal: a trip, new coveted item, more time on X-Box, etc.

As adults we are rewarded for good work, why can't kids be the same way. It's not bribing if you both have agreed upon a system of rewards and consequences for his behavior.

2) Use a timer and require that a set amount of work be done in an agreed amount of time. Then stick to that agreement, no extra time given if the goal is not achieved.

I read about a mom who had a similar problem with her daughter. She laid down the law and said that her daughter HAD to finish her homework in a set amount of time (say 15 minutes for reading a History chapter). This amount of time changed based on the amount of work the how much her daughter understood the homework subject. Then the mom set the timer and when it went off her daughter had to close that part of her homework and put it away. She was not allowed to go back to the homework and had to hand it in as it was to the teacher. At first her daughter was very upset and wanted more time, but the mom refused. After a few days her daughter was beating the timer and had more time in the evenings to spend with family and play after all of her homework was finished. Her grades even went up because she was focusing entirely on only one subject at a time and not thinking about the others, or her friends, or what so-and-so said yesterday.

I hope these suggestions help you as you and your DH devise ways to help your son see the value in homework.

Good luck!



answers from Lansing on

I have two middle schoolers. The more you make him responsible the better he'll be in the long run. Unfortunately grade matter for scholarship etc, starting next year. I would try the reward system for turning it in and at 14 he needs to understand some long term consequences for his actions. Talk about what job he wants. Ask if he wants to wait tables or do hard labor and undesireable jobs for the rest of his life or get educated and manage people, or run the company. Simply mention it when you drive by an outdoor construction crew in the winter ucky weather. You need to get him to think about what will happen long term.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I have a 15 yr old daughter and we had this problem from 6th grade on.........she now is in 10th grade and figured it out.

I would so sympathy m(yea, buddy, it stinks, being a school all day and then have to do homework)

Then tell him it needs to change and why, (grades, teachers being upset, high school won't put up with it, college, work in the real world, failing and being held back)

Then show your compassion again.

This us proven psychology, the "sandwich method"

Now, this is at least to alert, hey we have a problem and I know it sucks, this is why we need to fix it.

Then, S., you need to let it go, and he will learn on his own. We are all human beings living this experience and sometimes we only learn if we make our own decisions and mistakes.

My daughter was finally faced with Summer School or repeating a class or two last year. Mind you she has straight A's, she just was ALWAYS missing homework. She repeated the class and had to even stay after 2 times per week to stay on top and I just got word she is doing better then ever in her classes, she immediately comes home and gets her homework done.

Did I hound her, no.........
She finally made the decision on her own, she had to.



answers from Waterloo on

Have you considered the possibility of ADD? It is not always a "learning disability." This sounds like me when I was in school and I wasn't diagnosed until I was 18. I didn't have hyperactivity and did really well on tests and my homework, but always had problems following through and getting things in on time. I wish my parents would have thought of this possibility when I was that age! It will only get worse in high school and exploring all possibilities can only help him.



answers from Provo on

I'm a junior high teacher, so I know exactly what you're talking about. A lot a really smart kids (particularly boys) don't get grades that reflect what they know becuase they have the hardest time getting their work turned in on time.
The advice I give all my parents who run into this problem is pretty much the same: You need to come up with an organizational system that works for your son. Start with a planner that he writes all his homework assignments and due dates down in. You can even have his teachers sign it saying if he has/hasn't turned in his work. Second, there should be a single place (or one for each class) to put homework ready to be turned in. It could be individual class dividers in a binder, pocket dividers, pocket folder(s)... whatever works for your son. At the end of the day he'll check that one "to turn in" place and make sure its empty. If its not empty, he has some running around to do before catching the bus. Last part has to be you... follow up at home and nag, nag, nag if you have to (which, it sounds like you're already doing that part). Check his planner nightly, check his binder nightly, check his homework nightly. Good luck!



answers from Salt Lake City on

I have two suggestions: 1) Read _Positive Discipline_ by Jane Nelson. 2) Have your child tested for inattentive ADD. I have personal background in both areas and if your child needs help getting things done, it's not necessarily a problem with responsibility. It may be a problem with focus, interest, etc. Obviously, the intelligence is there; perhaps the focus on "busy work" isn't -- how many of us focus easily on things that don't interest us? If there's more to it than thad (e.g. ADD), you can get more tips from other people who deal with the difficulty.




answers from Lincoln on


He has to want to achieve on his own and he probably doesn't care about the grade. You want him to WANT to earn his grades. However, you may need another approach. Try having him get extra time on the video game or get to go to the movies for each week he turns in all his homework. You may have to start with daily rewards first.

It sounds like you are working harder than he is. Let the consequences happen to him and he will learn. This is a lot harder to do than say, however. I had to let my son sink or swim. He sank, but he learned. He is doing better now, has a decent job and pays all his bills. Hopefully, your son will learn too.

If none of these things work. Get him tested for inattentive ADD. This is not usually picked up in school. If they say he is smart, but just doesn't want to do his work or they call him a daydreamer, you may have ADD on your hands.

Good luck.

L. :)



answers from Pocatello on

I had this problem and so did my brother. Make sure your son knows that every grade from 9th grade on counts, regardless if he's in jr high or high school. He needs to know that it goes on his permanent transcript and all of those grades are taken into account when applying for college and even many grad schools. This knowledge may ensure that he is more on task when it matters. My grades weren't very good and I was sloppy about getting homework in on time or at all. Once 9th grade started I knew it counted so I kicked it into high gear and my grades shot up. I didn't make the improvement until my first term of 9th grade because I knew it didn't count yet. My brother get his act together until his sophomore year, but that's because he didn't realize it counted yet. Once he realized the grades were on his permanent transcript his grades shot up too.



answers from Great Falls on

It's time, S., when you can STILL do something about it, as soon you won't have much influence at all: adolescents get very independent way too quickly for us parents to be only frustrated.
So, what I'd do, I'd set up a schedule of obligations that need to be accomplished: work passed in in time; and benefits of it: did good during the week, you get your videogame/TV show, taken to the movie, get out with friends for 4 hours, whatever he likes to do a lot. If the work is not passed in and you find it out: ask HIM what he will miss then, give him a CHOICE, so that he does not feel the confrontation like in a battle where he is on one side of the line and you adults threatening him on the other side, this does not work very well with your deep relationships, as he hates to be ordered around. So, let him chose what he will miss this week(end), and go with HIS plan for two weeks. Then, if the missing work will still happen, say :sorry, son, this does not seem to be working, I need to help you out and give you a next suggestion: we will try this way now: you miss ..... whatever is awfully dear to him. Go with it for another two weeks. He will definitely miss SOME works but there should be much less of those. parallel to this schedule, softly and surely lead your conversations to the need of these arrangements, as he needs to learn to UNDERSTAND why it is important for him to do the schoolwork well. Seek for examples, what can be benefits of goo education in life. If he says (typical teenager's excuse) "the work is stupid, I do not gain a thing of it and will never use chemistry in my life, so why do I need it now? and anyways, the teacher is just dumb and I hate him..." start teaching him that through obeying the 'dumb' teacher (you cannot convince him that it is not true, don't even try, it won't work!!!), he learns how to work with 'dumb'people. what if he gets a great job in life, the one he likes a lot, but the BOSS is plain dumb! If he disobeys the boss, he will lose a great job. To obey a stupid boss seems stupid also, but what a gain: good salary, and an interesting job ...SO, sometimes we need to ADJUST, not obey. It is like a maze, to walk through: you cannot ignore this teacher, but you CAN meet some of his expectations to not spoil grades and good mood, and not loose the weekend activities at home, and this is well worth it. S., this is a slow process, you need to be patient and CREATIVE but A LOT depends on you now, how you teach him to work through things in life. He may have an important meeting when he is 20, and miss the moment and lose half a million he was about to win! So, preciseness with time is important to learn, and this homework situation is a good exercise to practice this skill.
Also, always stay on his side: do not confront him openly: first say something good, and then point out what is not QUITE right and needs to be worked on, yet you are always WITH him to help and support.This gives him a feeling of self-confidence, not frustration and the feeling of the generation gap: "they just don't understand" thingie that leads the kids to gangs, where he has all the respect that he so badly needs...
Good luck to you both!


answers from Grand Rapids on

I agree with letting your son experience his own consequences. You can give suggestions, talk about the importance of good grades, etc, and offer to help organize in a manner that suits him, but eventually, he has to do this on his own. If he is really as smart as he sounds, he'll make the choice to do it when it matters to him. Do you really want to be holding his hand in high school, or worse yet college? At some point, he has to do it on his own. I'd rather let my son "fail" now so that he could be "successful" later in life as soon as possible. Good luck.
By the way, I taught Jr. High students and some high school classes as well. It also helps to just keep pointing out positives when he does really well at what he is struggling at. Even one day of papers handed in for all subjects is a reason to rejoice sometimes. Try and observe the changes he is making, even if it's not in this particular area. Anything you can do to boost his self-esteem, genuinely. And then, pick things you love about him, that have NOTHING to do with academics. Like, his patience, or kindness, or thoughfulness, or politeness....Remember the whole child. Good luck.



answers from Milwaukee on

Get him a cool planner, one that has enough space in each day for him to write in when the assignments are due and whom to hand them into (if there are more then 1 teachers). Go out and have him pick it out, that way it will be something he got not something that mom got for him. That way it is something special for him and everything is written in one place. You could just have him use a note book but it might be easier if the days and months are already in place.

Have your son keep himself organized... help him get started but after that it should be simple for him to at least know what needs to be done/handed in when and to whom.

Hopefully this helps... I know that it helped me when I was in high school. I was always forgetting about assignments.



answers from Omaha on

You are absolutely right. He needs to be more responsible. I am a teacher myself and something that I have kids do is keep a planner. At first he will have to keep his planner with everything written down and the teacher will have to initial it, so you know what homework he has. Then you will have to check that it is done each night. There should be a negative consequence and a positive consequence that you and him make together. You have to be consistent with both the negative and positive. As he gets better with completing the homework, start to wean him from getting the teachers' initials and then yours. The key is that you get the teachers to buy in, and they should since he will be doing all the work, they just need to initial that it is correct. Hope this helps.



answers from Salt Lake City on

When I was a kid, I didn't realize that getting good grades was important. I didn't know it'd help me get into college/get scholarships to pay for college. I did know that college was important. My grades weren't awful, but they would've been better if someone had pointed out the "obvious" that I somehow missed.

My friend had to do an hour of homework each night after school. If she didn't have any homework to do, she had to read for an hour.

If you're the one in charge of making sure your kid's homework is done, he won't learn to take responsibility for himself. What will he do in college? Tell him it's his job to get his homework turned in on time. If he makes it your job, be sure to give him one of your jobs - like putting away all the laundry or doing the dishes each night after dinner.



answers from Milwaukee on

Hey S.,

When my daughter entered Jr High she was given a planner. And it was made clear to her that it was to keep track of assignments.all she had to do was to write them in the book. This actually turned out to be a good thing, wish I had this in her middle school. Every night we checked the book against the homework due, and by the end of the month she was not missing any.this idea has contiued on into high school and she finds it a great way of keeping track of all her activites too!! Try it it may help. (Also she knows if she loses it she has to pay the replacement cost, and also the school has a version for the parents too !)

Good Luck !



answers from Provo on

My husband was like this. It is called BOREDOM!!! He does need the reward/consequence to help that have been mentioned, but look into the early college program at your university. The price is cut in half for the time that you go as a high school student. I went part time as a Junior and full time as a Senior. Give him this option if he gets is grades up over the next two years. I found for myself, that I was taking the same classes. No AP classes that I would have to repeat. But they were easier to understand. At one point I started to tutor a friend that didn't understand her class and it was harder and at the HS. By the time my class graduated I had my Associates degree. Plus you got to register before even the Seniors so I was able to take more classes that I needed. You will need to talk to the HS councilor and see what is required for him to get in, but well worth it!!



answers from Salt Lake City on

My son is now 16 and going to be a Junior in High School. I have talked to a lot of parents about this issue and discovered that nearly every middle school aged boy is the same. So don't sweat it to much, however you can't ignore it. What I have found to work the best is to let him know that his cell phone, spending time with his friends and skateboarding (or whatever he is into at the time) are privileges and in order to continue to have those privileges he needs to be responsible and hand in his work. Because he too did well on most of the work that he did actually hand in, I told him that if he would just at least hand it in on time no matter what the grade was that he would end up with all A's and B's in the end, so I didn't care if he even got an F on the assignment I just wanted him to get in the habit of getting in on time. This was the best thing I ever did because instead of constantly arguing with him and always being the bad guy for telling him that he couldn't hang out with friends, all I had to say was, "I don't know, can you play?" and he would hop on the internet and check his grades himself. Now at first this system worked out great and definitely solved the problem with handing in his work on time however things had to be changed up a bit once he started High School. He wasn't real happy when I told him that now he couldn't get an F on any assignments. It didn't take him long to adjust though.

Good luck,




answers from Omaha on

Dear S.,

As hard as this is to do from a Mom's point of view, I think letting your son experience the consequences of not getting his work turned in on time would be the best route to take. Experience is the best teacher. It's too bad the middle school hasn't let him learn that yet. Better for him if he learns it in high school than in college.

Coming from a former high school teacher and mom of seven including a middle and high schooler.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches