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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 2
    • svain
    • By svain 11th May 18, 3:33 PM
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    svain
    Homework levels are ridiculous nowadays and i cant blame the kid for not being motivated. I am totally with OP, banning homework at weekends is perfectly reasonable, kids need time to be kids ..... On the flip side at his age if he doesn't do the homework there will be consequences at school, so let him decide if the consequences are worth it ... If they aren't, he will start doing it off his own back .... Personally, i wouldnt worry about it, life is too short!
    Last edited by svain; 11-05-2018 at 3:51 PM.
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 11th May 18, 5:17 PM
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    ska lover
    Homework levels are ridiculous nowadays and i cant blame the kid for not being motivated. I am totally with OP, banning homework at weekends is perfectly reasonable, kids need time to be kids ..... On the flip side at his age if he doesn't do the homework there will be consequences at school, so let him decide if the consequences are worth it ... If they aren't, he will start doing it off his own back .... Personally, i wouldnt worry about it, life is too short!
    Originally posted by svain

    A break at weekends, maybe, if it is earned. Good things do not come easy or free... and whilst you say 'kids need to be kids', I agree for kids, but I would say a teenager heading towards his exams would ideally be showing a degree of self discipline instead of this attitude of doing whatever the hell he wants and ruling the roost - which is being reinforced by his parents

    And as for ''letting him decide if the consequences are worth it'' ....... a 13 year old does not have the insight to realise the long term consequences, all he is thinking about is there here and now.. the consequence of not doing his homework tonight will be a chilled night playing games. He is not thinking about in five years when his lack of motivation has come back to bite him on the bum in the real world - not his online version of it

    Life's too short to worry about your own kids education? I could not disagree more with this statement! What you are describing is free range parenting - hardly parenting at all, letting them make decisions of which they have no idea of the long term effects, then as a parent put zero effort in, and stand back and watch them crash and fail anyway.
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 11th May 18, 5:45 PM
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    onomatopoeia99
    Homework levels are ridiculous nowadays and i cant blame the kid for not being motivated. I am totally with OP, banning homework at weekends is perfectly reasonable, kids need time to be kids .....
    Originally posted by svain
    At secondary school (early 1980s) I got about two hours homework a night (three subjects, typically 3/4 of an hour each), with extra at weekends as we had longer to complete it. Trying to finish the "weekend" homework on Friday night to hand in on Monday morning would have been a nightmare. Fortunately my parents didn't impose any similar silly ban on me doing my homework on a Sunday.

    I didn't need time to be a kid at weekends, I needed time to do my schoolwork. Not that I'm entirely sure what "being a kid" consists of for fourteen year olds - hanging around on street corners, getting stoned or trying to persuade members of the opposite sex to make your mum and dad grandparents before they were anticipating?
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek.
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    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 11th May 18, 5:58 PM
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    Owain Moneysaver
    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?
    Originally posted by Loz01
    I agree.

    Saturday morning was prime homework time for me.

    How about if he does half his homework on Monday, he can have 2 hours games on Tuesday - before or after homework is his choice. If he does half his Tuesday homework, he can have 2 hours games on Wednesday, and so on.

    That's a start.

    Then maybe reach an arrangement about weekends eg if by Sunday night (or Friday night, depending on how the homework is set) he has finished all the homework from the last 7 days, he gets extra game time at the weekend, or game credits, or excused chores, or whatever.

    The school also need to be approached as setting homework for overnight is inflexible and going to cause problems. Watching a video for 45 minutes and then "write about his learning from it" is too vague and undirected and sounds like the teacher can't be bothered setting and marking 'proper' work.

    Other approach is take him down the tip or recycling centre and point out that if he doesn't get his qualifications that's what he'll be doing for the rest of his life. Then take him to the mankiest housing scheme around and point out that's where he'll be living, and he won't have a gaming computer because he won't be able to afford one and even if he did it would be nicked.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 11th May 18, 6:37 PM
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    ska lover
    At secondary school (early 1980s) I got about two hours homework a night (three subjects, typically 3/4 of an hour each), with extra at weekends as we had longer to complete it. Trying to finish the "weekend" homework on Friday night to hand in on Monday morning would have been a nightmare. ?
    Originally posted by onomatopoeia99
    It was the same for me, early teens age 13 / 14 around 1.5 hours homework most nights, plus a paper round plus a saturday job. Oh the joys of sweeping up hair for a fiver a day in the local hairdressers - this was in the 80's too

    Plus we had household chores, us kids, when we got to teenagers had to do our own ironing - all clothes and school uniform and always tend to the washing up after the evening meal

    I still found time to have a can of cider in the park on occasion though

    It will make me sound like I am really ancient when I say this.. but I do partly blame social media and the internet, it is so easy to procrastinate and spend hours reading the entire internet. I have found that out of the last few days recovering from surgery how easy hours while away whilst doing nothing in particular on an laptop or phone - this is something we did not have as kids, we had less distractions and kids are always on social media
    Last edited by ska lover; 11-05-2018 at 6:39 PM.
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 11th May 18, 6:39 PM
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    ska lover
    Then take him to the mankiest housing scheme around and point out that's where he'll be living, .
    Originally posted by Owain Moneysaver
    If he is lucky, social housing (I think you mean by housing schemes) are impossible to get on these days
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 11th May 18, 7:33 PM
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    Fireflyaway
    I'd sit with him once for a chat and ensure he listens. Explain that the homework is for his benefit. If he wants to have choice and opportunities in life and live a decent life not be stuck in a dead end job or unable to afford nice things, he needs to put effort in. That involves concentrating at school and doing homework. He is old enough to understand that. Detention is pointless. He is punishing himself anyway by not working hard enough.
    If he chooses to change, that's great, but if not you can't force him. Does he have a particular job in mind ? Maybe remind him of the qualifications of skills he will need for that? If he has an interest then explain he won't be able to afford it as an adult if he doesn't work. Start explaining the value of things and how much things cost v how long it takes to work before you can afford it. Ie a meal out is nice but it might take a whole days work to afford it. As a child with no responsibility it's hard to link the cause and effect. Oh and if you can find it. There is a cool documentary called on the way to school! Really makes you think.
    • Tabbytabitha
    • By Tabbytabitha 11th May 18, 7:57 PM
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    Tabbytabitha
    Homework levels are ridiculous nowadays and i cant blame the kid for not being motivated. I am totally with OP, banning homework at weekends is perfectly reasonable, kids need time to be kids ..... On the flip side at his age if he doesn't do the homework there will be consequences at school, so let him decide if the consequences are worth it ... If they aren't, he will start doing it off his own back .... Personally, i wouldnt worry about it, life is too short!
    Originally posted by svain
    Two hours a night was what I used to have in the 60s and, IIRC, four hours at weekends.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 12th May 18, 9:18 AM
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    Fireflyaway
    Two hours a night was what I used to have in the 60s and, IIRC, four hours at weekends.
    Originally posted by Tabbytabitha
    I didn't quote that correctly sorry tabbytabitha. I was after the section stating Life is too short for so much homework!

    Life is short but 50 years working in a job you hate for minimum wage will seem a long time. It's exciting to think how many opportunities are out there. A bit of effort goes a long way.

    My husband still studies nearly every day. Many job require you to maintain and gain knowledge.
    Last edited by Fireflyaway; 12-05-2018 at 9:21 AM. Reason: T
    • svain
    • By svain 12th May 18, 2:51 PM
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    svain
    A break at weekends, maybe, if it is earned. Good things do not come easy or free... and whilst you say 'kids need to be kids', I agree for kids, but I would say a teenager heading towards his exams would ideally be showing a degree of self discipline instead of this attitude of doing whatever the hell he wants and ruling the roost - which is being reinforced by his parents

    And as for ''letting him decide if the consequences are worth it'' ....... a 13 year old does not have the insight to realise the long term consequences, all he is thinking about is there here and now.. the consequence of not doing his homework tonight will be a chilled night playing games. He is not thinking about in five years when his lack of motivation has come back to bite him on the bum in the real world - not his online version of it

    Life's too short to worry about your own kids education? I could not disagree more with this statement! What you are describing is free range parenting - hardly parenting at all, letting them make decisions of which they have no idea of the long term effects, then as a parent put zero effort in, and stand back and watch them crash and fail anyway.
    Originally posted by ska lover

    Free range parenting because i dont agree with your homework regime .... do me a favour .... Sending them away to do homework for hours on end is the easy option. Interacting, engaging and sharing time & interests with them is the more difficult task and as kids far more beneficial to them in the long run.


    I didn't need time to be a kid at weekends, I needed time to do my schoolwork. Not that I'm entirely sure what "being a kid" consists of for fourteen year olds - hanging around on street corners, getting stoned or trying to persuade members of the opposite sex to make your mum and dad grandparents before they were anticipating?
    Originally posted by onomatopoeia99
    That just says more about your world


    Other approach is take him down the tip or recycling centre and point out that if he doesn't get his qualifications that's what he'll be doing for the rest of his life. Then take him to the mankiest housing scheme around and point out that's where he'll be living, and he won't have a gaming computer because he won't be able to afford one and even if he did it would be nicked.
    Originally posted by Owain Moneysaver
    If he is lucky, social housing (I think you mean by housing schemes) are impossible to get on these days
    Originally posted by ska lover
    Classic case of tick box, middle class, social media, bubble type modern parenting

    Writing them off because they may not do well at school is more toxic to them than not achieving a few certificates. Believe it or not, in the real world success can happen in spite of school not because of it and brow beating them into submission is the easy option, that rarely works long term
    • John-K
    • By John-K 12th May 18, 4:07 PM
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    John-K
    Believe it or not, in the real world success can happen in spite of school not because of it and brow beating them into submission is the easy option, that rarely works long term
    Originally posted by svain
    Yes, you can do well despite doing badly at school, but it is far less likely that way. Failing at school makes it far harder later than it needs to be.
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 13th May 18, 12:24 AM
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    ska lover
    Free range parenting because i dont agree with your homework regime .... do me a favour .... Sending them away to do homework for hours on end is the easy option. Interacting, engaging and sharing time & interests with them is the more difficult task and as kids far more beneficial to them in the long run.

    No one has said anything about 'sending them away for hours on end to do homework'

    Parents have their part to play too and the second part of your paragraph is a completely different topic about family time




    Classic case of tick box, middle class, social media, bubble type modern parenting
    You say this in response to my comment about social housing being impossible to gain these days. Your response confuses me. The fact that social housing is impossible to get is not really anything to do with any kind of good or bad parenting - more of a societal issue. There is nothing 'middle class' about expecting your kids to do homework

    Writing them off because they may not do well at school is more toxic to them than not achieving a few certificates. Believe it or not, in the real world success can happen in spite of school not because of it and brow beating them into submission is the easy option, that rarely works long term
    Originally posted by svain
    No one has mentioned anything about 'writing them off because they don't do well in school'' ..that would just be sad. Not all are academic but all teenagers do need to learn work ethic. There needs to be a balance, and they need to know that just because at times they 'don't really feel like it' work still needs to be completed.

    My point is about getting a good work ethic installed in lazy teenagers, not banishing them to their bedrooms, neglecting them from family life or writing them off.

    Yes in the real world success can and does happen in spite of qualifications, However success does not happen to the lazy who do not put in the effort and will not land in anyone's lap if they sit and wait for it to come and don't put in the effort to what they want to achieve



    Last edited by ska lover; 13-05-2018 at 12:43 AM.
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 13th May 18, 10:16 AM
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    iammumtoone
    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.
    Originally posted by mattpaint
    Comments like this are not helpful did you read the OP they are not leaving their son to go out parting every night they have to work.

    I am having my own problems with my son and have had the same said to me. I know he comes first but keeping my job is also very high on the list what comes first, if I lose my job due to getting the sack as I am having to put my son first, then I haven't put him first as it could happen that we lose our home due to not being able to pay the mortgage/bills.

    Its a very easy statement to make and whilst everyone knows its true in reality if you are in danger of losing a job you can't manage due to your childs needs then its a difficult situation.
    Last edited by iammumtoone; 13-05-2018 at 10:22 AM.
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 13th May 18, 10:22 AM
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    iammumtoone
    Have you spoken to the school regarding the difficulties at home, could they help by allowing him to do some off-line homework? Are they able to provide print outs of the homework?

    When he has to watch a video for 3/4 hours could you watch it with it, then could he type the written work in Word, the router could be turned off for that part. If the written work needs to be submitted on line then either copy and paste or ask the school if he could be allowed to submit it printed.
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 13th May 18, 3:44 PM
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    ska lover
    Comments like this are not helpful did you read the OP they are not leaving their son to go out parting every night they have to work.

    I am having my own problems with my son and have had the same said to me. I know he comes first but keeping my job is also very high on the list what comes first, if I lose my job due to getting the sack as I am having to put my son first, then I haven't put him first as it could happen that we lose our home due to not being able to pay the mortgage/bills.

    Its a very easy statement to make and whilst everyone knows its true in reality if you are in danger of losing a job you can't manage due to your childs needs then its a difficult situation.
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    Sorry to butt in to this

    This is the same issue that every family in the word has, time management...and unless both parents are working permanent evening shifts/weekends then they haven't got any more difficulties than anyone else..we all have to work

    What is wrong with setting them up doing homework at the kitchen table, whilst the parent keeps an eye and preps the evening meal for example - it doesn't have to mean constant hovvering or doing the homework for them, more the fact they know they will get caught if they start browsing the internet - this lad in question he has two parents and in that respect they actually have it easier than many families
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • svain
    • By svain 13th May 18, 6:47 PM
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    svain
    No one has mentioned anything about 'writing them off because they don't do well in school'' ..that would just be sad. Not all are academic but all teenagers do need to learn work ethic. There needs to be a balance, and they need to know that just because at times they 'don't really feel like it' work still needs to be completed.

    My point is about getting a good work ethic installed in lazy teenagers, not banishing them to their bedrooms, neglecting them from family life or writing them off.

    Yes in the real world success can and does happen in spite of qualifications, However success does not happen to the lazy who do not put in the effort and will not land in anyone's lap if they sit and wait for it to come and don't put in the effort to what they want to achieve
    Originally posted by ska lover
    You are, by suggesting they deserve nothing better than social housing.
    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 13th May 18, 10:45 PM
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    Jojo the Tightfisted
    Most school internet connections block games and computer rooms are monitored by staff - it would be madness to leave 30 Year 9s unattended around expensive equipment, after all.

    Take his computer away, take his phone away and he'll either have to do his homework at school or not at all, with the result that if he's in detention completing it, even though it isn't so much of a punishment anymore, he is at least doing it.


    IIRC, you deal with nice, amenable little ones, rather than hulking, sulking Year 9s. The vast majority of them start sorting themselves out in Year 10, most of the remainder do so by the start of Year 11 - with or without parents hovering over them and watching every keystroke (and that would drive me absolutely bonkers right now, never mind as a stroppy teenager).


    So it could be a plan to confiscate both phone and laptop or simply change the wifi password/not top up his data. It's then up to him what he does with his time outside of detentions - if he's short on friends (also something that tends to sort itself out in the next 6-9 months) or hobbies, he's going to have to do something to occupy his time - and if he's really that incapable of occupying himself without a screen, he's going to have to improve his homework/behaviour to get it back for the summer, isn't he?
    I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die: I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by.

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    Originally posted by colinw
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 14th May 18, 12:33 AM
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    ska lover
    You are, by suggesting they deserve nothing better than social housing.
    Originally posted by svain
    Once again, what you are accusing me of, has never actually been said, or anything resembling it

    You seem to want to argue, I will make it easy - you win.
    Last edited by ska lover; 14-05-2018 at 1:34 AM.
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 18th May 18, 6:22 AM
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    Simple Soul
    Just a few thoughts:

    1. Why would you ban homework at the weekends? As someone has already said, it is inflexible and puts a lot of pressure on weekdays.

    2. As someone else has already said: 2 hours is a lot for his age. The rule of thumb is 10 minutes for each school year; so a Year 9 should be doing 90 minutes (1.5 hours) a day, including weekends. This amounts to about the same as 2 hours every weekday, but it is less concentrated, and therefore less pressured.

    3. If he gets pocket money, could you increase/decrease it relative to improvements/deteriorations in his end-of-year results? His schoolwork is his job right now, and this would reflect how the adult world works. When I was at school, we had a report taken home at the end of each year with a percentage for each subject. If the OVERALL AVERAGE percentage for all subjects decreased by, say, 17%, you could decrease his pocket money by 17% for the next 12 months. By the same token, if his overall average percentage increased by say, 5%, you would increase his pocket money by 5% for the next 12 months.

    4. Boys take longer to mature than girls. I suspect he will turn a corner soon anyway.
    • bylromarha
    • By bylromarha 19th May 18, 3:46 PM
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    bylromarha
    Thanks to those of you who actually took time to read my posts and suggest ideas rather than jump to criticise. Particularly love the MAKE HIM DO IT posts - the whole point of this thread was to ask how. I'm wondering if I'm supposed to hold his fingers to make him type, thus making him do it?!

    He's done his homework in the kitchen since year 7, we're often in there while dinner is being prepared, making drinks. Hubby set up teen viewer, where you have their screen mirrored on your own screen, so hubby could call him out when he starts playing games. Doesn't stop him game flicking.

    We don't allow weekend homework as we're under the opinion that 20 hours to complete it during the week is more than adequate. If he chooses to not use that time for his homework, then it's his own fault.

    Can't turn the router off as he needs to constantly research for homework on the internet and all his homework tasks are on there as well as both hubby and I using it for our work in the evening. No point whitelisting sites, due to internet searching needed for homework, or blacklisting sites, due to game sites being infinite.

    If we took his laptop away, he would fill his time with reading. Anything, everything, the toilet cleaner label would be on his list if you took every book out of our house. He does not do much else.

    Pocket money is non existant for him, he forgets to claim it.

    The age he's at, the life stretching out before him means very little to impact the behaviour now.

    Too many other points to address, but if you read my 2 posts, most of them would be answered.

    Daughter had her parents evening this week, and surprisingly 1 teacher began talking to me about son. As a result the SENCO is now involved. I'm fully aware this isn't a magic bullet, but school is beginning to make links between different inschool behaviours I wasn't aware of and his lack of focus in school/homework.

    2 things for me to take away from this thread

    1) Investigate apps which mean his laptop alone has limited internet time - if he hasn't done the research based tasks or found out the homeworks he's been given within those times, then tough. He can still type things up/write things without internet access.

    2) MSE sadly still has too many users on it IMO who just seem to want to pick a fight, don't bother to read posts or criticise rather than help. I do miss the days when the site was smaller and people helped each other out on here. Thanks to those that helped or offered advice.
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
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