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  • FIRST POST
    • bylromarha
    • By bylromarha 9th May 18, 10:03 PM
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    bylromarha
    Motivating a teen to do homework
    • #1
    • 9th May 18, 10:03 PM
    Motivating a teen to do homework 9th May 18 at 10:03 PM
    My Year 9 lad has always struggled with homework.

    When he was in primary, he did the bare minimum and school never rewarded completion, punished non completion or checked it, so routines weren't learnt there.

    Since beginning secondary school we've tried various carrots and sticks to get homework completed, but none work with him. We've spoken to the school a few times - they send a teacher to talk with him and the motivational chat has no impact. It's not that he can't do the work, he just doesn't focus on it.

    The biggest issue we have is all his homework is to be completed on the laptop. His assignments are issued on there, the information he needs to use is on there - Youtube videos and BBC bitesize websites and the like, and he's expected to complete work on Google Drive. It's being on the internet which is causing the distraction to him! I'd like to ban electronics until homework is completed, but it just isn't possible with this set up.

    We've got to the point where we've tried sitting next to him and watching him (despite not having the time in the evening to do this as we both have work to do in the evenings), but this makes him stroppy if we comment when he flicks over to a game site and isn't on task with his homework. This descends into an arguement as you can imagine.

    To keep the peace currently, he's just being left to his own devices - if he does his homework, he does it, if he doesn't he doesn't. Detentions have lost their impact as he's had so many. He's a bit of a solitary bod as well, no clubs he loves or friends he hangs with outside of school, so the only punishment we can really issue is no time playing games on your phone - which is a non punishment as he plays them on his laptop.

    Any tips from people who've had success in this area please? Tips particularly welcome from other parents who've experience with homework on "Show My Homework", Google Drive and watching educational Youtube videos. Thanks.
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
Page 1
    • *max*
    • By *max* 9th May 18, 10:22 PM
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    *max*
    • #2
    • 9th May 18, 10:22 PM
    • #2
    • 9th May 18, 10:22 PM
    My Year 9 lad has always struggled with homework.

    When he was in primary, he did the bare minimum and school never rewarded completion, punished non completion or checked it, so routines weren't learnt there.

    Since beginning secondary school we've tried various carrots and sticks to get homework completed, but none work with him. We've spoken to the school a few times - they send a teacher to talk with him and the motivational chat has no impact. It's not that he can't do the work, he just doesn't focus on it.

    The biggest issue we have is all his homework is to be completed on the laptop. His assignments are issued on there, the information he needs to use is on there - Youtube videos and BBC bitesize websites and the like, and he's expected to complete work on Google Drive. It's being on the internet which is causing the distraction to him! I'd like to ban electronics until homework is completed, but it just isn't possible with this set up.

    We've got to the point where we've tried sitting next to him and watching him (despite not having the time in the evening to do this as we both have work to do in the evenings), but this makes him stroppy if we comment when he flicks over to a game site and isn't on task with his homework. This descends into an arguement as you can imagine.

    To keep the peace currently, he's just being left to his own devices - if he does his homework, he does it, if he doesn't he doesn't. Detentions have lost their impact as he's had so many. He's a bit of a solitary bod as well, no clubs he loves or friends he hangs with outside of school, so the only punishment we can really issue is no time playing games on your phone - which is a non punishment as he plays them on his laptop.

    Any tips from people who've had success in this area please? Tips particularly welcome from other parents who've experience with homework on "Show My Homework", Google Drive and watching educational Youtube videos. Thanks.
    Originally posted by bylromarha

    Would it be possible to save the videos to a thumb drive, to then be watched offline (turn off the router!) and print out the docs for him to hand write on - until he learns to stay off other websites?

    Otherwise, using parental block for all the websites he likes to access while he's supposed to do his HW?

    To be honest, at the moment he gets zero discipline from yourselves, no consequences, so he's learned that you'll give up after a while and leave him to it. You have to put a proper regimen in place, with set times for HW with NO distractions allowed, and stick to it - and take away his phone if he doesn't do as he's supposed to. Then take away his laptop too - if he's not going to do his HW anyway, he can explain to the teachers what happened.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 10th May 18, 7:03 AM
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    Spendless
    • #3
    • 10th May 18, 7:03 AM
    • #3
    • 10th May 18, 7:03 AM
    Does his school do a homework club? If so, could he stay behind on school nights and complete the work there? I doubt that they'll have their computers set up, so he can flick over to play games instead.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 10th May 18, 8:11 AM
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    AnotherJoe
    • #4
    • 10th May 18, 8:11 AM
    • #4
    • 10th May 18, 8:11 AM
    There are many apps you can get which will allow you to block access to all but specified apps and websites. Get one. If he transgresses, take away his phone for increasing periods of time. First time one day, second two, third four, etc. He'll soon get the picture and it will also teach him about exponential series.
    • tacpot12
    • By tacpot12 10th May 18, 8:49 AM
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    tacpot12
    • #5
    • 10th May 18, 8:49 AM
    • #5
    • 10th May 18, 8:49 AM
    but this makes him stroppy if we comment when he flicks over to a game site and isn't on task with his homework. This descends into an argument as you can imagine.
    Why are you worried about him being stroppy and arguing with you? He clearly isn't going to change his behaviour without being challenged. As you rightly observe, his other school hasn't helped him, but no amount of niceness is going to change him.

    The idea of taking his laptop off him when he switches away to a non-homework related site is a good idea. Yes, it needs you to sit with him to monitor this. But with you sitting there, he will want to get his homework done quickly (so you need to monitor the quality as well) or will want to dally, which will be boring for him unless he is allowed to switch away to a non-homework site. Just grab the laptop off him if he does anything that is not getting on with his homework. You won't have to take it off him more than a couple of times to get the message. I would warn the school that they need to maintain the expectation that he completes his homework even if his parents have taken his laptop - the school needs to know that you are doing this as punishment.

    I'd suggest you agree with him a time that he wants to do his homework, and arrange your evening schedule around his homework. Explain that your can only spend the time that his homework should take with him. Most homework will take between 30 minutes and 1.5 hrs. So expect him to complete the work in that time, and take his laptop & phone off him for the rest of the evening if the work isn't complete by the time you've agreed (plus a buffer of say 15 mins). He will soon get the message that he needs to get the work completed adequately if he wants his laptop and phone back. I think you should help him to complete the work on time. He just needs to get into the habit of working, the marks he gets are less important.

    Unfortunately forming this habit is going to take a while, and this is very disruptive to your own needs, but I'm afraid it is the only thing that will work. Try it for a month. Then try letting him complete his homework on his own, but expect him to show you the homework he is going to hand in, and take his laptop off him if it is rubbish (or he won't show you) and go back to sitting with him while he does it.

    I'm sorry you have such an intractable teenager. Good luck
    • jimbo747
    • By jimbo747 10th May 18, 3:24 PM
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    jimbo747
    • #6
    • 10th May 18, 3:24 PM
    • #6
    • 10th May 18, 3:24 PM
    I've always done the bare minimum, or what I could get away with. If putting in extra effort gave little reward then I didn't bother, I used my energy and effort elsewhere. I've done pretty well for myself in life, and I'm not stressing about having to constantly meet some standard, unlike my wife.

    Let him be, might end up being suited to a career in programming.
    • ibizafan
    • By ibizafan 10th May 18, 4:05 PM
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    ibizafan
    • #7
    • 10th May 18, 4:05 PM
    • #7
    • 10th May 18, 4:05 PM
    My youngest son did the bare minimum of work at the Grammar school he attended, and I often received letters from the school about his lack of application. I got really stressed about it at the time, as he was capable of so much more. Fast forward to now. He is 33 with a degree, masterís degree, and Australian accountancy qualifications. He also has a very good job with the Queensland government dealing with tax evasion. Why did I worry about him? He is already picking out very good schools for his own children to attend and they are 2 and eight months old!
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 10th May 18, 7:43 PM
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    Spendless
    • #8
    • 10th May 18, 7:43 PM
    • #8
    • 10th May 18, 7:43 PM
    I've always done the bare minimum, or what I could get away with. If putting in extra effort gave little reward then I didn't bother, I used my energy and effort elsewhere. I've done pretty well for myself in life, and I'm not stressing about having to constantly meet some standard, unlike my wife.

    Let him be, might end up being suited to a career in programming.
    Originally posted by jimbo747
    I smiled as I read this, because my now 18yo son has the same attitude. By the time of GCSEs he only wanted 'enough' to get him on to the next stage. Beyond that he thought a waste of time, despite his capabilities.

    What makes him do his homework now (usually at the last minute, but completed) is he's at an FE college doing a level 3 computing course and he needed the grades to get onto year 2, though that was touch and go in the last week! And now he wants to be able to go to Uni.

    I'm actually encouraged by your last line of 'might be suited to a career in programming' for my own DS.
    • bylromarha
    • By bylromarha 10th May 18, 8:11 PM
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    bylromarha
    • #9
    • 10th May 18, 8:11 PM
    • #9
    • 10th May 18, 8:11 PM
    Thanks for all the replies so far.

    Just to clarify, his phone is pin protected by us & he only goes on it when homework is completed. He hasn't been on it for a while...but like I said, he gets his game fix from the laptop.

    We ban him from doing homework at the weekends.

    Blocking access to the sites he likes is pointless...we tried that in year 7, he just goes and finds other sites. I want to turn off the router, but can't, as all homework is internet based.

    Homework issued by school is around 2 hours minimum a night, using their timings. We gave him a 15 minute buffer per homework, so he needs 3 hours to complete as school timings are not generous imo...300 words written & research the subject in 30mins. Homework club is only open for 2 hours after school and isn't supervised well, so he could easily spend his whole time watching Youtube videos.

    Downloading youtube videos isn't too practical. Tonight he's been issued a 45min video to watch, then write about his learning from it. It's due in tomorrow. The turn around is too tight after we get in from work. And I'm not even sure it's legal to download youtube videos.

    Taking his laptop away so he can't complete the homework means more detentions. Detentions have lost their effect on him. It's where we were in year 8. Several detentions due to him not having his laptop much as we kept taking it away for not working, little homework completed, behaviour unchanged. We've recently realised sitting next to him makes no difference to his behaviour, and taking his laptop away as he's not doing his work just means more pointless detentions. Detentions don't impact his behaviour. Hence we've left him to it as we can't think of an effective consequence. At least this way some homework is getting done, badly and over far too many hours, but is done.

    Which is why we are where we are. I hate the fact there are no consequences that have an effect. I hate the fact he has to use the thing which is the distraction. There's no way he can do homework without his laptop and the internet. He needs help to learn how to self regulate his screen time as I'm out of ideas and the ones you've all suggested have been tried in some form.

    And everything on google says help teens with homework by taking away all electronic distractions. That's no help!
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
    • Tabbytabitha
    • By Tabbytabitha 10th May 18, 8:21 PM
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    Tabbytabitha
    Thanks for all the replies so far.

    Just to clarify, his phone is pin protected by us & he only goes on it when homework is completed. He hasn't been on it for a while...but like I said, he gets his game fix from the laptop.

    We ban him from doing homework at the weekends.

    Blocking access to the sites he likes is pointless...we tried that in year 7, he just goes and finds other sites. I want to turn off the router, but can't, as all homework is internet based.

    Homework issued by school is around 2 hours minimum a night, using their timings. We gave him a 15 minute buffer per homework, so he needs 3 hours to complete as school timings are not generous imo...300 words written & research the subject in 30mins. Homework club is only open for 2 hours after school and isn't supervised well, so he could easily spend his whole time watching Youtube videos.

    Downloading youtube videos isn't too practical. Tonight he's been issued a 45min video to watch, then write about his learning from it. It's due in tomorrow. The turn around is too tight after we get in from work. And I'm not even sure it's legal to download youtube videos.

    Taking his laptop away so he can't complete the homework means more detentions. Detentions have lost their effect on him. It's where we were in year 8. Several detentions due to him not having his laptop much as we kept taking it away for not working, little homework completed, behaviour unchanged. We've recently realised sitting next to him makes no difference to his behaviour, and taking his laptop away as he's not doing his work just means more pointless detentions. Detentions don't impact his behaviour. Hence we've left him to it as we can't think of an effective consequence. At least this way some homework is getting done, badly and over far too many hours, but is done.

    Which is why we are where we are. I hate the fact there are no consequences that have an effect. I hate the fact he has to use the thing which is the distraction. There's no way he can do homework without his laptop and the internet. He needs help to learn how to self regulate his screen time as I'm out of ideas and the ones you've all suggested have been tried in some form.

    And everything on google says help teens with homework by taking away all electronic distractions. That's no help!
    Originally posted by bylromarha
    There must be something he enjoys doing that you could stop if he doesn't improve his behaviour and attitude, surely?
    • MPD
    • By MPD 10th May 18, 8:28 PM
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    • 328 Thanks
    MPD
    Whitelist the sites he needs, absolutely no access to other sites, games, phones etc until the homework is done to an acceptable standard. Take the arguments, moods and whatever else, they won't stop until he knows they won't work.

    There is always a way if there is a will.
    After years of disappointment with get-rich-quick schemes, I know I'm gonna get rich with this scheme...and quick! - Homer Simpson
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 10th May 18, 8:37 PM
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    Spendless
    Homework issued by school is around 2 hours minimum a night, using their timings. We gave him a 15 minute buffer per homework, so he needs 3 hours to complete as school timings are not generous imo...300 words written & research the subject in 30mins. Homework club is only open for 2 hours after school and isn't supervised well, so he could easily spend his whole time watching Youtube videos.

    Downloading youtube videos isn't too practical. Tonight he's been issued a 45min video to watch, then write about his learning from it. It's due in tomorrow. The turn around is too tight after we get in from work. And I'm not even sure it's legal to download youtube videos.
    Originally posted by bylromarha
    2 hours every night minimum homework? That's far more than mine ever have/had (aged 15 and 18 attend/ed an Outstanding secondary, more than obsessed with their results!) Is this usual? No wonder the poor lad doesn't want to do his homework! I wouldn't want to either, he's already spent what 5 hours-ish in lessons then gets another 2 hours on top between getting in and going to bed.

    The turn around isn't good either, issuing on day 1 to be in the following day. If this is happening frequently then I think it should be fetched up with the school.

    What's the reason for so much homework? I have read that a lot of homework given to pupils is down to the teacher not completing the work in classtime. Whether this is down to teacher not being allocated enough time to complete a subject, having to deal with other issues too, or I've read a load of nonsense I dont know.

    I certainly would ask more about how well homework club is supervised. I'd be surprised if they can just look at youtube videos on the school computers. My own son discovered to his cost that the school used a keyboard logger. He didn't make that mistake twice!
    • jimbo747
    • By jimbo747 10th May 18, 8:38 PM
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    jimbo747
    I smiled as I read this, because my now 18yo son has the same attitude. By the time of GCSEs he only wanted 'enough' to get him on to the next stage. Beyond that he thought a waste of time, despite his capabilities.

    What makes him do his homework now (usually at the last minute, but completed) is he's at an FE college doing a level 3 computing course and he needed the grades to get onto year 2, though that was touch and go in the last week! And now he wants to be able to go to Uni.

    I'm actually encouraged by your last line of 'might be suited to a career in programming' for my own DS.
    Originally posted by Spendless
    Programmers need to achieve what is required in the design spec with as little code as possible. All about efficiency, why write something in 50 lines of code that can be done in 10, or why spend hours coming up with an elaborate fix when a "good enough" 10 minute approach is just as valid if it achieves the required outcome. Can then spend the rest of the time doing what you want.
    • mattpaint
    • By mattpaint 10th May 18, 11:21 PM
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    mattpaint
    You're going to have to start putting your child ahead of your own needs. Sit next to him for two hours and make sure he does his homework. If he doesn't then he loses everything until he's willing to try again.
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 11th May 18, 7:43 AM
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    marliepanda
    Primary school didn!!!8217;t make him (we didn!!!8217;t help him...)

    We don!!!8217;t have time to sit with him as we have our own work to do (we don!!!8217;t want to sit down and help him)

    I mean I don!!!8217;t want to sound too crazy but maybe you need to start helping him...
    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 11th May 18, 8:56 AM
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    pollypenny
    OP, I think your are a teacher. I sat at one end if the table doing my marking, while son sat at the other doing homework.

    Would that work for you?
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

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    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 11th May 18, 11:15 AM
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    onomatopoeia99
    I'm going to take the contrary view from just about everyone here. He's not seven, he's a teenager, by now he needs to be capable of doing stuff without his parents standing over him telling him all the time, so step back and leave him to get on with it on his own terms as ultimately it is his education. You've led him to water multiple times, you can't force him to drink and nor can the school.

    And yes, from the start of secondary school I did my homework completely and on time without my parents needing to nag or watch me. I had a computer (ZX81, Spectrum or BBC B depending on which year) in my room and I did not have it on while I was working. I might play games or do programming before or after my homework, but I always got the homework done, and I am about the most disorganised and least motivated person in the history of the world.
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek.
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    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 11th May 18, 11:59 AM
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    ska lover
    We ban him from doing homework at the weekends.

    Which is why we are where we are. I hate the fact there are no consequences that have an effect.
    Originally posted by bylromarha
    It sounds like it is not only your son who needs a kick up the arris

    There are consequences, it is just that he hasn't reached them yet. When he fails exams, and has to resit, when he doesn't get into college / uni / get a job - and you have to financially support him longer - there will be consequences for you all, for his lazyness and for your lazy parenting (He is currently left to his own devices is not working out for you is it).

    Why the hell are you banning homework at weekends? Not only are you teaching him he is entitled to two days break (for not bothering to do anything all week) but then is piling on the pressure to do so many hours homework mon to friday. He hasn't actually earned a break at all, if he isn't putting effort in-- that is not how life works and you are banning him from doing homework on the best time of the week - hell yes he should have his head in the homework on a weekend.

    Get some childlocks on the internet and ban all the sites that you know he dosses around on. Stick to it. He will moan and scream, but stick to it - at the minute you are letting him be the boss of this situation because the outcome of that is a quiet life for you in the meantime. You leave him to it so he learns that he only needs to moan and gets left alone. It is called 'tough love' and standing back watching him make such mistakes, so you can have a quiet life, is not parenting. You arent there to be their friend, their mate, your job is to parent and foresee how to give them the wings to fly

    This whole situation is akin to not bothering to toilet train a toddler, you are going to end up wiping their butt for far longer if you do not put the work in at the front end.

    The younger generation have a lot of different problems than your own generation did OP, and he will already have a lot of difficulties against him, struggling to get housed, jobs etc, without having an ingrained lazy self entitled attitude and no qualifications - Sorry but you are breeding a snowflake and you need to stop and start parenting, show him YOU are the parent, you are the boss, NOT him.

    Sorry but someone had to say it. I remember posting a very similar situation to you OP years back, and someone said similar to me and it really made me think. Initially I thought they were just having a pop but I realised I was being told home truths, and its not really my style to have a pop at pple on these boards.

    I know you hate me, but seriously have a think about what I have said and envisage your son in ten years time, if he continues down this path
    Last edited by ska lover; 11-05-2018 at 12:05 PM.
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • Loz01
    • By Loz01 11th May 18, 2:32 PM
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    Loz01
    Why are you banning him from homework at the weekends? Evenings and boring Sunday afternoons are the perfect time to DO homework instead of being at school for 8 hours then cramming in 3 more hours work. Surely its just piling up over the weekend and putting more pressure on the after school hours?
    When your lifestyle requires several deaths a week but you think the people eating plants have a superiority complex...
    • dawyldthing
    • By dawyldthing 11th May 18, 3:27 PM
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    dawyldthing
    If your on talk talk you can ban whole websites. I'd ban the ones he goes on full stop until he's pulled his socks up then put parental timer on so he has to do homework as I'm sure it can ban all gaming
    roll on end of April 2019 *9 done* = *31 to go*
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