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Helping a Youth Overcome Poor Schoolwork
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2000

The Plan

It is imperative that the parents stay in touch with the studentís teachers to see that the work is being done.  The parents must keep the student responsible and answerable to them for all school work.  

  • Since some students will not take the responsibility to get their homework assignments and do the homework, many of these have to have a homework notepad in which they must list the days homework and have it signed by each teacher, every day, so their parents can see what is to be done each night.
  • Many schools have a homework hot line that can be accessed by phone or by e-mail.  Most teachers invite interaction between parents via the phone, appointment, or e-mail.
  • It is then the parents responsibility to make sure the student has mandatory study time set aside each night in which s/he accomplishes the daily homework. 
  • Never take the studentís word as s/he is not trust worthy yet!  Always assume there is homework in every class.    

The Contingency Plan

Since these parents know that their student does not want to do homework, they plan in advance for the day that their student comes home without notebook signed or they do not bring home the books which are needed to do the homework.

  1. They have already met with each teacher and explained what they need for the teacher to help their student be responsible and successful.
  2. They understand what is expected in each class.
  3. They have made prior arrangements to get the number to the school's homework hot line if there is one.
  4. They have the home phone of each teacher for when they need it.
  5. They have e-mail access to reach the teacher about other issues such as dates for tests and due dates for projects, and etc.
  6. They have told their student what is expected of him/her and the consequences if these things are not done.
  7. They are always consistent and immediate with administering the consequences.

The Consequences

The student that doesn't bring home the books or get his/her homework assignments signed will:

  • lose a privilege.  This must be something that is of great worth to the student.
  • have to walk or will be taken back to get the books.  If they are taken back, they are assessed the cost of gas which will be take out of their allowance or they will be assessed an extra nasty chore like washing baseboards, wall, toilets, the refrigerator. etc., which must be done after the homework is finished.  It must be done before s/he is free to do pleasurable pursuits.

In no way should the misbehavior of the student allow him/her not do his/her work or s/he is rewarded for misbehaving and will continue to get further behind.

Most students hate school because they do not do well in their school work.  They have little or no success in their homework because they are so far behind that they cannot perform the school work. 

It may be that if the parents cannot help their youth catch up by explaining the daily work and helping him/her to work through the homework, without doing it for him, then they may have to invest in a tutor for him.  The school usually has names of qualified people who serve as a tutors, but the price is usually quite spendy. 

Studies show that when a student does the homework that s/he performs better on tests.  The reverse is also true.

It is important that the student not be allowed to get behind.  This causes frustration and poor self esteem.  Studies show that frustration and poor self esteem usually lead to the child acting out in school and ultimately getting suspended and kicked out of school.  For some students, this frustration leads to violence at home, the community and in the school.

It is a known fact that one failure leads to more failure in all aspects of life due to the failure casting poor self-esteem on the child.  This leads to failure to succeed as an adult, mate, parent and provider.

A parent must over see the student during the mandatory study time.  This should be about two hours to get the school work on a Junior High level accomplished.  Depending on the work and how far behind the student is, this may be even longer some nights. 

The parent supervising the homework can plan activities so that s/he will be in the same vicinity as where the student is doing his/her homework.  That way the parent can see that the student is taking full advantage of the study time for studying and if needed the parent can be there to help as a problem arises.

No activities should supersede the mandatory the study hours each school night for the student.   The study hours can be worked around sports or special activities as long as the study hours happen before the student gets too tired to think or that they cut into the student bedtime.

How To Get Your Child To Do What You Ask How To Get Your Child To Do What You Ask
by Annette Nay, PhD

Dr Nay's eBook is an informative parenting tool every parent should have to make the job of parenting easier and more effective.
Click the image for more information.


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