I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. As a former educator and administrator, I spent quite a bit of time talking with parents whose children either didn't do or didn't turn in their homework.
Believe it or not, there are a TON of students who go home, spend hours doing their homework and then fail to turn it in. They receive missing assignment reports, detentions are given, parents are notified and the hunt for the missing assignment begins.
With most of these students, the work is somewhere in the backback. It's almost ALWAYS in there. It just never made it out. I worked on this great mystery for 15 years and never was able to make sense of it. There was no discernible pattern. There were no commonalities between the students. There was simply no rhyme or reason that I could find for this.
With the first type of student, parents ranted and raved, we had locker and backpack checks, we had students check in with the Guidance Counselors daily. We had teachers specifically asking for work daily. We pulled out all the tricks and used them as best we could. Yet, in some cases, they continued to not turn in their homework. I'm almost convinced that there is a neurological disconnect for these students. Maybe it's a fear of turning over something they've worked so hard on. I have no idea!
The second type of student in this situation simply did not do the assignment. Either they "didn't hear the teacher" or they "forgot" or they simply didn't understand the assignment so they didn't do it.
Schools have different responses to these situations. Some simply issue a zero and move on. Some allow the student an extra day but offer a reduced grade for the assignment. Others have a system in place that forces the student to stay after school and complete the assignment. I'm sure there are other options but these are the most familiar to me.
The second type of student with missing assignments was the one who simply failed to do them. That, my friends, would be the case with my 12 year old Boy Child.
I'm at a loss. I am a former teacher and principal. This should NOT be happening to me! It's like the curse of the preacher's kid!
We have done everything we can think of to change this child's behavior. Every day I ask him, "Do you have homework?" and he answers, "Yes." Every day, he sits down and does his homework and announces when he's done. Every day I ask, "Are you sure you did it all?" And every day, he answers, "Yes."
Yet, every other day (or so it seems), I get a call telling me he's got "an academic referral" for not turning in something. It's maddening! Maddening, I tell you! You see, every time he gets one of these academic referrals, he has to stay after school that day or the next for an hour and a half to work on the missing assignment and his current homework.
The Spouse and I are very supportive of this action. HOWEVER, the frequency with which this is occurring is now interfering with my and The Spouse's ability to actually come home for the evening. This is NOT a good thing!
The Spouse feeds me. She keeps me nourished. She enjoys cooking. She does not, however, enjoy being delayed because The Boy Child forgot to do a simple Social Studies assignment. That works out to be a really, really bad thing for everyone.
The question, then, is this: How do we lessen and eventually eliminate the "I forgot" conundrum?
The solution, I believe, begins with a series of rewards and punishments. For instance, if he goes an entire week without an academic referral, we can stop at a favorite fast food restaurant for his favorite food on the Friday of that week. If, however, he receives an Academic Referral during a week then he will lose an entire day of technology. (In our home "technology" is defined as anything that draws power, uses power, or connects one electronically with the outside world.)
So, effective this week, we are going to begin this process. I'm sure, much like the chore chart episode, there will be much to post about in the coming weeks. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
If you have any solutions or thoughts, please share them! I'm willing to try just about anything!