Any suggestions on how to motivate an 11-year-old boy with school and homework?

[deleted account] ( 20 moms have responded )

He's suffering from a bad case of "I hate school" and nothing I do seems to work. Homework time is an absolute nightmare and it takes him FOREVER to do. I've tried both punishments and rewards to no avail. Help!

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Jonie - posted on 09/13/2011

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lord help me - my son flatly refuses to do "any school work" he was on the honor roll last year and this year the only thing he will say is I dont know how to do it-then says he is embarrassed to ask for help from his teachers-so he sits quietly and dont do it. at home he wants us to sit with him and all but do it. He is very smart 11 year old who spends more time figuring out how not to do it than it would take to do it. Also we are having huge trouble getting him out of the bed for school. no matter what time he gos to bed he refuses to get up-Where is my little boy- I would like him back please.... I want to sometimes just say I QUIT-but since I LOVE this child with every fiber in my being,, That is not an option--any suggestions.

Karen - posted on 08/21/2013

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my grandson will not bring home school work he is smart enough he just doesn't seem to care

Ashlyn - posted on 02/04/2010

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I like reading all of these ideas as I am going through this with my son also!! You are certainly not alone!! Can you add some ideas on how to deal with wasting time (not focusing as an avoidance tactic)??!!

Theresa - posted on 01/18/2010

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My son had issues around this age too. My dad used to be a junior high principal and he said 6th and 7th was a very common time for homework issues. This is an age where they start getting more and harder homework. Are you sure that your son doesn't have an undiagnosed learning disability and that he isn't being put into classes that are to hard for him? Make sure neither of those things is an issue first. Talking to his teachers would help you figure this out if you're unsure. I told my son that not doing his homework was absolutely unacceptable. I then went to his teachers and talked with each of the 3 he was having issues with their classes. They agreed to sign his assignment book each day as long as he brought it to them. that way I knew what he really did and didn't have. Video games are very improtant to him so we set up that he started each day woth No video game time. He had to earn it. For each teacher signature he got 10 minutes of playing time. For each assignment he finished he got 10 minutes of playing time. If he had all 3 signatues and all 3 assignments done that would be 1 hour of time, which is all I allow each day anyway. He had to get all the assignments done and show them to me before he could use any or the earned time. If he wrote down the assignment, but forgot to get a signature he got the 10 for completing the assignment, but not for the signature. If he wrote there was no assignment, but didn't have the teacher sign he got no tie for that class because I couldn't trust that there was really no assignment. We discussed all this with him before we implemented it so that he knew exactly what was expected of him. There was one condition first however. He had to make up any assignment he had already missed and get all his grades up to passing bfore he could get any time on video games, TV or with friends. We can check assignment grades daily online here so I would check, any F would forfit anytime until the F was taken care of. I also told this plan to his teachers so that they knew I was doing something about his homework issues. Teachers are much more willing to work with problems when they know the parents are involved and wanting to help their child. It took somtime, but my son is now in 8th grade and things are going much better, not perfect, but much better. It may also help to sit down with your son while he does his homework. Just sitting at the same tabel so that you can see when he starts to get frustrated and you can help before he gets too frustrated. Hope that helps. Good luck.

Ashlyn - posted on 02/04/2010

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Thanks for that post!! That really sounds like my son!! Perhaps I can get his teacher to do the same thing!!

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Kimberley - posted 4 days ago

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This is good but I often succumb to the constant requests for his gaming consoles back once relinquished & very rarely give him a timeframe to warrant any improvement. I'm most certainly going to be putting this into practice tonight. I've also purchased some KS3 study books as they can often be a fun way to learn in their own time in conjunction with schooling. I make a point of praising him for the effort made & valuable points from him but he passes that off as me 'just saying that & it isn't genuine'. 11 years old is a tricky age both in educational and emotional contexts. I haven't felt this stressed for many years!!

Donna - posted on 02/04/2010

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i'm so glad that helped. i'm sure his teacher would do that too. most teachers are wonderful!!! i just suggest no punishment, only because it seemed that he really punished him self by not doing his homework and had to give up his free time to get it done :) then when he "decieded" to get all of it done at home he excepted help from me with out attitude. :) lol which is alway great! hope that helps and good luck! take care:) ..boys will be boys LOL

Donna - posted on 02/04/2010

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my son is 15 now but.. when he was that age it was like i was punishing him by making him do his homework! it was awful. he acted like it was my fault he had homework. we would fight and he would cry. i decieded it wasn't worth it and finally i just stopped getting mad started helping the best i could. i called his teacher & talked about it (in private he didn't know about it) she said let him do as much as possible and what ever he didn't do he could do during lunch time! well guess what? after losing his lunch time with friends he started doing his work at home and let me help him! talking to his teacher was the best thing for me! he didn't get in trouble but had to give up his free time at school. now he is a wonderful student and totally out grew it! thank goodness LOL

Natalie - posted on 02/02/2010

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I just went through this with my 11 year old boy. He wasn't doing school work or homework. I am luck to be a stay home mom who had time to do this. I have always told the kids you never know when mom will show for school. For one week I went and sat next to him in his classes. I learned a couple of things first some teacher are to scatterbrained and the kids can't keep up and He was not to happy to see me showing up at school. None of the kids made fun of him,that could be because I sais I would come and sit by them if there were any issues including them not doing thier work. His grades have come up . We need to make sure we follow through on the things we say we will do.Good Luck!

Kenitra - posted on 01/18/2010

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Does he enjoy sports? My son is in middle school, and is very active in sports. The school makes him maintain a certain GPA. If he wants to play sports, it goes with the package.



Another thing that could work, pay him for his "A's" on his report card. Say, $5 per "A".

Wendy - posted on 01/18/2010

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Our 12 year old had this issue before. He had a teacher that imparted to him that he was old enough to take responsibility for his own work. She told us he would succeed or ail on his own, it was time for him to take control of his schedule & work. Of course he could always ask for help, if he needed it.
For our part we set the rule that homework must be completed before anything else (TV, Video games, friends, bedtime).
Since he can't wait to drive we also let him know our requirements are that he maintain a B average if he wishes to drive in the future (This promotes effort on his part & will help with insurance rates when he is able to drive). We have also had to let him know he could buckle down and do the work or he could stay back and do it the following year, when all his friends would move on without him to the next grade.
Since then he has done amazing! He even carried a 4.0 for some time. Although the work has gotten more difficult for him he continues to carry mostly A, with a few B's. I praise him for his effort and remind him of our deal and tell him to keep up the good work.

[deleted account]

Recently I have taken a hands-off approach with my 12 yo son because he won't listen to or respect me. He has to deal with his Dad and do his own laundry, etc. I told him if he winds up failing or getting into trouble at school, he had to deal with the consequences since he isn't listening to my advice, or taking my help. So far it is a bit more peaceful and his grades have fluctuated...I'm taking the ait and see approach. this is after trying like crazy to make him get everything, or most of his schoolwork done, to little success.

Sylvia - posted on 01/17/2010

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Tell him to make his own shedule for homeork and u will look at it and make adjustments if need be. That way he feels he did it. Have him do his work atthe library while you look at books yourself. Last but not least he might need a tutor.

Monica - posted on 01/17/2010

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I'm having a similar problem with my son. I've tried giving him a timer so he can work for 45 min then take a 15 min break. He seems a bit more motivated so far...

Stephanie - posted on 01/08/2010

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I bought a pack of poker chips. My kids can earn then by completing book, good grades, chores, ect.....

I set different times for different chips

They are always willing to do anything, even be quite when I need them to be, to earn a chip

Jackie - posted on 01/07/2010

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My son (now almost 13) went through the whole "I hate school" thing a few years ago, wouldn't do homework, didn't want to go to school etc. Turned out that he was being bullied by kids in his class. ( this all went on over a few years, til we had had enough!) The school did nothing,so we changed schools. The change in him was immediate, & to this day he is a different kid to the one he was.( a better kid!)are you sure there's not more to it? maybe he's being bullied by others too?(I hope not)Can you sit him down & talk to him to find out? Good luck!

Crystal - posted on 12/16/2009

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Try asking the school what help they have. Also (although can be expensive) as a child I went to an after school "school help" place. I know my best friends daughter went to something like that too. The school should have the information on such places in your area. They play games while doing homework. If nothing else works try rewards: ie. you did 1 hour of homeowrk you get 1 hour of game system/ TV. I use TV more than I should as a rexax after work so the kids watch with me... but I do use the game system as an after school homework insentive. If everything gets done no issues than they get 1.3hours of game (yes I know but there is more than 1 in my family) but if they yell and scream the loose time to play. They can use the system while I'm making dinner they start at 5pm if homework isn't done yet they are loosing their time for games -- not my issue. I also use this for nightime showers. 6.30 times up and they have 15 minutes before dinner to take showers. If they want to eat they had better shower!

At the end of the week progress reports from the school are awsome, everything turned in and good at school -- we get to go out fo rthe night! $1.00 movie here we come! Bottels of water in my hand and I buy popcorn there (at a yucky price $5.00) but still under $20.00 for the whole family and a great reward for everyone. And to answer yes I have left one behind before while the rest of us went out-- because they didn't get their work done! feels bad but works!

Good luck

Gabriella - posted on 12/15/2009

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Mandy makes very good suggestions and points. I would add the incorporation of homework/school subjects into the everyday routine. I monitor what my oldest is working on in his school subjects. An example was in his science class, they were working on the periodic table. So I would make up words using the elemental symbols and ask him to tell me which elements were in the word. Just little things that keep him learning all the time without him just sitting at the desk. I try to keep it fun and light, making jokes and imitating the ionic exchange of electrons (we role play them as kidnappers, sends the message and is so silly he will never forget it). I do this with all of his subjects. It makes it fun for him and for me as well. I even find ways to slide the subjects into his video games. Good luck!

Mandy - posted on 12/15/2009

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Is there an older child near you who could act as a mentor? Sometimes being with another child/teenager to work alongside helps. They get the benefit of seeing a good role model for doing homework and also have someone to ask questions to.

It might also be worthwhile checking with the school that he is actually able to do the work. Sometimes the change in year groups is a bit overwhelming and kids get left behind because they are not picking it up as quickly as before.

Another possibility is that he is having problems socially at school and so is opting out of anything to do with it. If he can't talk to you about it maybe there is another member of your family who could sit with him to try and find out what is happening?

Just be as patient as you can and I am sure you will get to the real reason behind his behaviour.

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