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Seventh-Grader Fails to Turn in Homework

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My seventh-grader doesn't always turn in his homework. He doesn't seem to care that he gets zeroes. What can I do?

A: Most seventh-graders have not yet developed the ability to understand long-range consequences, so it's not that he doesn't care, it's just that the reality hasn't sunk in yet.

If he does do his homework, that is a real plus. As for helping him get his work turned in, there are several things you can do to help him remember, but he is the one who will have to accept the responsibility for actually giving his work to the teacher. I strongly urge you not to take his homework to him if he forgets it -- this will prevent him from taking responsibility.

The first step is to have a calm conversation with your son about what he sees as the problem. Questions you might cover are: Where does he put his homework when he finishes it? (He should have a pocket folder in his binder dedicated to each subject where he can put his work.) Does he have an assignment notebook so that he knows exactly what the assignment is and when it is due? Is he carrying his binder to each class and not leaving it in the locker?

I encourage you to meet with his counselor, all his teachers, and him, to discuss what is going on and to work out a plan for helping him learn to manage his homework. Ask if a class or some group work in study skills would be appropriate for him. With everyone working on the plan, the chances are much greater that your son will turn in his work.

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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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