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Eighth-Grader Lying About Homework

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My son, who's an eighth-grader, has had trouble turning in homework assignments for the past two years. What can I do to help the situation before he goes to high school? He is lying about completing the work and turning it in.

A: Two years is a long time to neglect homework, so I'm wondering what the consequences have been both from the school and at home. What have you tried? What has worked and what has not? The first principle is that your son is responsible for his homework. You can set the expectations and the consequences, but he must take on the task.

Begin by conferencing with his school counselor, all his teachers, you, and him to determine what exactly is going on and to work out a plan. Make sure that the school states what the consequences will be for not turning in the work -- failure, no sports, no extra-curricular activities, summer school, etc. Set up a weekly progress report to be brought home by him. Then you determine the consequences at home if he fails to bring home the progress report or he is failing to complete or turn in assignments.

Set up a consistent study time for every weeknight. There should be no exceptions, whether he has homework or not. There should be no TV, stereo, computer, or phone in his study area. Check his binder. Does he have a folder or section for every class? For awhile, check to see if homework is in the binder, the binder is in the backpack, and the backpack is where he will remember it everyday. Check his locker at school. Does it need some organization? Help him at first. Then, let go. Give him full responsibility. If he chooses not to take it, then impose the consequences.

You and he will become impatient, but overcoming two years of bad study habits takes time and patience.

More on: Expert Advice

Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


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