Reply To: High School Freshman Refusing to do Schoolwork

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My middle son, who is ADD with anxiety issues, goes through times where we have found he had hidden and not handed in homework for months at a time. When talking to him, we find out it is because he didn’t understand it. When we tutored him a bit, he finally “got” whatever concept it was and was able to finish his homework. On the flip side, my oldest, who has ADD and ASD, didn’t hand in homework and I finally realized that for some classes it was his fall-back at the end of each quarter. If his grade was failing, he would hand in enough homework to bring his grade up to a tolerable level. During his junior year I finally persuaded his teachers to use the “0 for any late homework”, but wasn’t able to do that his senior year. But he also didn’t do much homework for the classes that he found “hard”. He is also very smart but didn’t get an advanced diploma because he just couldn’t pass Spanish 3 even though he loved his IB Physics, Math and History classes. He had to write long papers for each class, and it was an extremely painful time in our lives because he kept saying he could do it himself and refused any help from me or my husband, then finally told us he didn’t know HOW to write the paper but still refused help, then finally found enough online information and finished them 4 months after they were due. We offered to get him a tutor and any other kind of help but he refused. It basically came down to his fear of failing and thinking WE didn’t think he could do it. He is now starting college but seems to be getting things together. It’s a hard road, and I don’t have clear answers, but just know that you can help but you can’t run their lives for them. Try a tutor, especially now that there are on-line ones that are more affordable. Ask the teachers to be very literal with her, since we found out our oldest thought when a teacher said something had to be in by Friday to take a test, that that meant he had until the beginning of Friday’s class to hand it in not Thursday or before so the teacher could look at it. Ask that her counselor meet with her once a week to go over what she needs to do and to be the point person on checking in with the other teachers. This, I think, was the most helpful thing we did since it gave him some accountability to someone other than his parents and it was someone that was mostly impartial (he was also my sons’ English teacher). I wish you the best in your meeting and that the administration and teachers are responsive.