View Full Version : How much responsibility should we be taking for our child's homework?


ejoy21
06-04-13, 01:22 PM
Hello,

A little background:

I have a 10 year-old son who has ADHD. Ever since he began school, our son has struggled to keep his grades up as a result of not completing homework, or actually just failing to turn in the work that he has completed. His biggest saving grace is that his is extremely smart (he was the only kid in his entire school to get 100% on all of his benchmark tests this year). This year the homework situation got a little bit better because we pulled him out of his after school program so that we could ensure that he was actually doing his homework (the after school program was supposed to enforce homework time, but he'd often lie and say that he had completed it, and they would fail to check to see if it was really done). The only reason we had him enrolled in the after school program was to allow him to let off some steam and play with his friends for a few hours after school (once homework was done) instead of coming home and just watching TV.

This is my problem:

My son has just finished elementary school and will be starting middle school this fall. I remember how much of a change there was for me when I started middle school. Suddenly I was taken from an environment where I had one teacher and was placed into a setting where I had six different teachers for my various subjects. The amount of homework increased dramatically, and were were expected, as students, to be more responsible with our ability to stay organized and keep track of what needed to be done. For my husband and I, it has been difficult enough to stay on top of him with regards to the homework he receives from ONE teacher. To tell you the truth, I am panicking about sending him to middle school. I'm sure most of you know how hard it is for ADHD kids to stay organized, and I just don't know how he's going to keep track of all that he needs to do, or even remember that he needs to do it.

As most of you probably also know, it can be very difficult to really get teachers on board with regularly communicating with us parents about what's going on in school. I'm just wondering, how much should I really be stressing about this?? As a parent, I feel like it's my job to make sure that my kid succeeds, but at the same time, I also can't spend 90% of my life trying to track down teachers and supervising my son to make sure he completes what he's supposed to do (and it takes CONSTANT supervision to make sure he stays on task and actually does his homework instead of spinning around in his chair and picking at his clothes for hours - even on meds).

I remember that one of his teachers (one of the good ones that was very good with working with my son and communicating with me) told me that parents should really understand that it's not our job to do or turn in the homework - it's the kid's job, and they have to learn the consequences if they don't. I definitely see his point, but to what extent should I actually take this to heart? I can't just sit back and do nothing. Left to his own devices, my son would not get any homework done at all. But again, I know that it can't be my responsibility to do everything... so what do you guys think? Does anyone else have a child who has struggled in middle school? Any tips?

Another thing is that I'm trying to decide what we should do about an after school program. There's a Boys and Girls club for middle schoolers (different than his elementary school program). I really want him to be in an after school program because we live in an apartment, so unless he's enrolled in a program like this, he really doesn't get a lot of opportunity to play with other kids, or just run around outside (he's not interested in being in an organized sport at all and I don't want to push that on him if he doesn't want to do it). But if he can't get his homework done while he's there, he's not going to be able to go. Gah.

Any advice would be appreciated.

zette93
06-04-13, 07:51 PM
Is there any possibility of sending him to a private school (some of the church run schools are less expensive) where they only have one teacher up through 8th grade?

Does he have a 504 or IEP?

dvdnvwls
06-05-13, 12:42 AM
The more you do his homework, the more he counts on you for his success. He feels (no, not he feels, he knows for sure) that he is inadequate, because he cannot even be trusted with some homework.

Do you want an extra scrapbook full of successful schoolwork that you did, or a successful son who learned self-motivation? You choose. "Both" is not an option.

moments
06-05-13, 02:06 AM
How about brainstorming strategies with him over the summer? See what you both can come up with if you put your minds together. Consult books together if need be (eg: Organize your ADD/ADHD child by Cheryl Carter). He sounds like a pretty smart child. He might have some great ideas and you can spent the first few weeks of the new school year training him in the method that you agree on, and the rest just inspecting/doing spot checks that he keeps it up.

What consequences does the school have in place for incomplete homework? Could he be expected to stay after school until the assignments are complete (doubly effective if he's simply forgotten it and has to do it twice).

PS: I find it crazy that there are 6 different teachers for middle school. That doesn't happen here until high school (you might have a specific subject teacher in middle school (eg: french) but you have one classroom teacher.

dvdnvwls
06-05-13, 03:28 AM
To answer the title of the thread: if you can find a way to be responsible for "Did he do his homework by himself or did he not do it", then that's great. If you are really responsible for his homework (meaning that you did his homework), nothing good can come from that.

ejoy21
06-05-13, 03:54 AM
I guess I'm wording this wrong. I don't ever DO the homework for him, I'm just saying that unless myself or my husband are physically sitting next to him or standing over him and reminding him to do it, it just doesn't get done. If we turn our attention to anything else for even a minute or two, he immediately becomes distracted. The only subject this isn't a problem with is math. He gets very engrossed with math problems and can focus for much longer (but he finishes his math in school about 98% of the time). It's the history notes, the book reports, the research papers (I don't remember doing so much work in fifth grade) that are like pulling teeth. I've tried putting a clock in front of him or setting alarms to help him keep track of time better, but then he just becomes preoccupied with watching the clock and forgets to do the work.

Unfortunately, private school is not an option for us. Where we live (Los Angeles), it is extremely expensive. We were just able to get him on a 504 plan which has helped, but like I said, I'm just nervous about managing multiple teachers. I'm thinking there are just going to be a lot of sit-down meetings between the teachers, my husband, and myself at the beginning of the year so that we can all be on the same page with regards to helping him succeed. I get tired of dealing with teachers who don't tell me that there's a problem until he hasn't been turning in his homework for three solid weeks and is failing. At his elementary school, all of the teachers were supposed to post the daily assignments onto a calendar system, but half the time the assignments weren't posted. Then we'd suddenly find out that our son had missed a huge project that we were never aware had existed. I'd love to know how these teachers expect me to do my part to make sure he's getting his work done if I'm not in the loop. So frustrating.

I'll definitely look into the book you recommended (Moments). I know that my son WANTS to do the work and get better grades. I also know that he is very capable of doing it. We just have to find the right method...

JenE
06-05-13, 09:19 AM
How is he academically? Does he understand the work but just not do the homework? Is he medicated? Not saying he should be, just getting more info.

What accommodations are in his 504? They could include reduced homework. My son brings home worksheets with 30 problems for the same math concept. If he gets it in 10, the other 20 are busy work. Does he have difficulty writing? Could he use a computer? Or could he dictate his answers for someone else to write down? We do that sometimes with my son.

Communication with the teachers will be paramount. He could use an agenda to record his assignments and each teacher sign daily to indicate he recorded them correctly. If he does the work but forgets to turn it in, make a completed work folder and keep it all in there. He needs to check it for each class and turn in any work for the class. I would probably check in with the teacher weekly to make sure he is up to date.

Hml1976
06-05-13, 12:08 PM
Hello,

A little background:

I have a 10 year-old son who has ADHD. Ever since he began school, our son has struggled to keep his grades up as a result of not completing homework, or actually just failing to turn in the work that he has completed. His biggest saving grace is that his is extremely smart (he was the only kid in his entire school to get 100% on all of his benchmark tests this year).

Have you considered that he may be highly gifted? My son is and also has adhd. On the other hand your son's homework skills sound like mine and I don't have adhd, I was just really smart and bored out of my freaking skull at school. (My son was adopted so no genetic link there)

All of the organization tips in the world wouldn't work for me, my mom closely monitored my homework until 9th grade when I went to private school and finally found school interesting.

I would look into private school scholarships or magnet programs for gifted kids, there are many for kids with your son's level of intelligence. If he's interested in the work he may be easier to help organize. Good luck :)

SquarePeg
06-05-13, 12:24 PM
High school starts at 12 and at the teacher parent talks we are constantly told that even though they are adolescents, they still need tight supervision when it comes to homework and doing well at school. This is true for teenagers in general not just those with ADHD.

Students are issued with a school diary and homework has to be written down by the child every day so that parents can check this. The diary is also used as a means of communication between teachers and parents.

If your school doesn´t use this system then talk to his main tutor and say that he has difficulties in being organised and completing assignments. His tutor could then make sure that each teacher knows that he has to write down all of his assignments.

Kids with ADHD often lie about completing homework and often say that have forgotten it (a possibility). Even though they know they will be in trouble in the future for this, they often cannot think beyond the moment, so to plan for future consequences can be difficult. They can suffer punishments repeatedly and still not change their behavour.

zette93
06-05-13, 03:39 PM
The books Smart But Scattered and Smart But Scattered for Teens have some very detailed plans for how to teach these homework and organizational skills to your child.

At some level, though, I do believe it is a neurological issue, and your son may need your handholding to do homework and get it turned in just as much as the kid in a wheelchair needs the ramp to get into the school. A better analogy might be the kid with muscular dystrophy who depends on leg braces and crutches -- sure he can climb stairs occasionally with great effort, but the school should do their best to schedule his classes all on the ground floor.

I would make sure the 504 requires a comm log of assignments that each teacher has to initial daily. Early in the school year, make a pest of yourself each and every time a teacher does not initial his or her section. If he starts failing classes, you will have grounds to demand an IEP that has more legal teeth.

Adduce
06-05-13, 05:41 PM
Found a website which has some handy study tips for children and parents.
Hope this is helpful.

study-skills-for-all-ages (Google and you will find the site)

Vet Hopeful
06-07-13, 01:49 PM
I'm a senior in college and need somebody to keep on me about homework/studying.:rolleyes:
Optimally he could do it himself. But an ADD brain is not optimal. My guess is that you will need to continue to spend a lot of time keeping on him.

Just some thoughts.
The agenda idea is a necessity. If he can't remember to write homework down then his teachers need to help him. It should stay in one book that stays in his backpack.

Maybe he could do some things differently (I prefer working on the computer). Record answers to questions in some subjects to cut down on writing? Supplement textbooks with recordings if he is an audio learner?

The backpack could be emptied on one shelf (his special area) everyday. You look at his agenda and help him sort it out. The homework/books never leave this area and immediately go back in the bag. Notebooks and folders for each subject or a large binder withvsections for notes separated by class depending on what he prefers... He picks the order to do his work. He is rewarded after very short periods of studying by a video game break. I still only study for 5-30 minutes before breaking. lol. Then after x amount of working is complete he gets a token. X number of tokens and he gets an agreed upon reward (if reward systems work for him at all).

Also, could meds be altered?

messyme
11-05-13, 10:08 AM
It might be worth a try to first help your son learn strategies for doing his homework and keep an eye on him and help him use these strategies for a while (ex: a few months), and then let him be on his own. But make sure he has many good strategies to use, checklists, a quiet place to study, etc. first. If you're going to try that, middle school is better than later on when the work and his grades are even more important. At the same time, talk to his teachers and make sure they check his homework, and as you said give him a consequence when it's not done (like staying after school).

But, since he has ADHD, that might not work. I think it's worth trying though; for one thing because then teachers understand that there is a problem. If it's always done, they won't realize how difficult it was to get him to do it.

If after many months that doesn't work though and he's constantly just suffering the consequences, he might need more help. Are there tutoring services that help with organization? Maybe you could have a tutor or someone sit down with him to do the homework with him and help him learn to break the tasks into smaller pieces, etc.? Does he have any friends from school with whom he could do the homework? Or maybe put him back in the after-school program but talk to them about checking to make sure he actually does the homework?

ginniebean
11-05-13, 02:32 PM
I remember that one of his teachers (one of the good ones that was very good with working with my son and communicating with me) told me that parents should really understand that it's not our job to do or turn in the homework - it's the kid's job, and they have to learn the consequences if they don't. I definitely see his point, but to what extent should I actually take this to heart? I can't just sit back and do nothing. Left to his own devices, my son would not get any homework done at all. But again, I know that it can't be my responsibility to do everything... so what do you guys think? Does anyone else have a child who has struggled in middle school? Any tips?

Many schools have webpages where the homework for classes are posted tho the teachers often do forget to input.

I realised long ago that many teachers complain about Parents doing their childs homework or helping them too much because so many do this.

I'm not a fan of homework, every study done on homework has failed to show any value in it. It's not the usual child who just goes and does their homework, the parents are there, checking it, working with them and helping them fix it. Many parents see this as taking responsibility for making sure their child gets the good grades. I noticed when I took an active role things went along great (more or less) and when I didn't grades nosedived.

The way I looked at it, what choice did I have? To blame the kid and say you 'should be' when he clearly couldn't do this was useless. I helped and it was a massive pain.

Alternatively there is homeschooling. The new online programs are awesome. Then you can see clearly what your child is and is not doing.

Social skills are as important if not more so than academic acheivement.People get fired for being 'wierd' or 'misfit'. ALL THE TIME. Even when they outperform their peers in productivity.