I have to say that I’ve struggled to let myself off the hook for this one. I know that if I get too busy, something is bound to fall through the cracks. Kids know that and they are sneaky!
Last fall, I vowed to be a better help to my younger son regarding school work. I knew that I had dropped that ball for sure when I received an email from a teacher saying that he was in danger of failing because of missed homework.
Imagine my surprise when I found that my “honor-roll” student was making D’s in some of his classes, and that my precious little boy had been lying to me (“I don’t have homework. I did it in resource period.”) like some crazy teenager.
Oh, wait, he is a teenager. Wake up call!!!
The D that surprised me was in English, most notably his spelling assignments. He has always been an excellent speller. I noticed that, although he was making A+’s on his exams, he was making F-‘s on his homework. Since there was more homework grades than exams grades, his average had plummeted to a D.
I also discovered that his grades in history were dropping, mainly because he wasn’t doing his weekly homework. I was surprised to find out that he had been expected to find a current news event– tv, internet, newspaper, etc.– to share with the class every week since school began and he hadn’t done it all year!
I called him in to review his grades. First, I addressed the history grade. I asked him where he was getting his news articles or stories, and he said that he made something up every week to share with the class. (Boy, I bet those stories were interesting. Kudos for creativity and imagination.) He also said that he “forgot” his current events paper every week. I told him that I had found his weekly current event paper on the teacher’s web page, and
made him encouraged him to save it to his computer so he could print it out if he “forgot” it at school. No more excuses.
Next, I addressed English / spelling. I showed him his homework grades and his average grade. In response, he pointed out his test scores. He didn’t feel that he needed to do homework if he could ace the tests. Good argument. However, my goal was and is to teach responsibility for himself and his own work, and part of this is homework.
After our “discussion,” I threw down the ultimatum. I told him that he needed to get his homework average up to a 70% in all classes or he would lose his new tablet computer. That did the trick– he brought home his spelling homework and completed the whole week’s worth in 15 minutes. Stinker! He also had a “real” news story to share with the class that week.
So, I dropped the ball, but I got it back. And I learned once again that even sweet little boys with autism grow into snarky teenagers. I wonder what he’ll have for me next!
Question: What are some ways that you keep your kids accountable for their homework?