PrepScholar

Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to do homework: 15 expert tips and tricks.

author image

Coursework/GPA

feature-homework-stress-biting-pencil

Everyone struggles with homework sometimes, but if getting your homework done has become a chronic issue for you, then you may need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve written this article all about how to do homework. Once you’re finished reading it, you’ll know how to do homework (and have tons of new ways to motivate yourself to do homework)!

We’ve broken this article down into a few major sections. You’ll find:

  • A diagnostic test to help you figure out why you’re struggling with homework
  • A discussion of the four major homework problems students face, along with expert tips for addressing them
  • A bonus section with tips for how to do homework fast

By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to tackle whatever homework assignments your teachers throw at you .

So let’s get started!

body-stack-of-textbooks-red

How to Do Homework: Figure Out Your Struggles 

Sometimes it feels like everything is standing between you and getting your homework done. But the truth is, most people only have one or two major roadblocks that are keeping them from getting their homework done well and on time. 

The best way to figure out how to get motivated to do homework starts with pinpointing the issues that are affecting your ability to get your assignments done. That’s why we’ve developed a short quiz to help you identify the areas where you’re struggling. 

Take the quiz below and record your answers on your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers! 

1. You’ve just been assigned an essay in your English class that’s due at the end of the week. What’s the first thing you do?

A. Keep it in mind, even though you won’t start it until the day before it’s due  B. Open up your planner. You’ve got to figure out when you’ll write your paper since you have band practice, a speech tournament, and your little sister’s dance recital this week, too.  C. Groan out loud. Another essay? You could barely get yourself to write the last one!  D. Start thinking about your essay topic, which makes you think about your art project that’s due the same day, which reminds you that your favorite artist might have just posted to Instagram...so you better check your feed right now. 

2. Your mom asked you to pick up your room before she gets home from work. You’ve just gotten home from school. You decide you’ll tackle your chores: 

A. Five minutes before your mom walks through the front door. As long as it gets done, who cares when you start?  B. As soon as you get home from your shift at the local grocery store.  C. After you give yourself a 15-minute pep talk about how you need to get to work.  D. You won’t get it done. Between texts from your friends, trying to watch your favorite Netflix show, and playing with your dog, you just lost track of time! 

3. You’ve signed up to wash dogs at the Humane Society to help earn money for your senior class trip. You: 

A. Show up ten minutes late. You put off leaving your house until the last minute, then got stuck in unexpected traffic on the way to the shelter.  B. Have to call and cancel at the last minute. You forgot you’d already agreed to babysit your cousin and bake cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale.  C. Actually arrive fifteen minutes early with extra brushes and bandanas you picked up at the store. You’re passionate about animals, so you’re excited to help out! D. Show up on time, but only get three dogs washed. You couldn’t help it: you just kept getting distracted by how cute they were!

4. You have an hour of downtime, so you decide you’re going to watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. You: 

A. Scroll through your social media feeds for twenty minutes before hitting play, which means you’re not able to finish the whole episode. Ugh! You really wanted to see who was sent home!  B. Watch fifteen minutes until you remember you’re supposed to pick up your sister from band practice before heading to your part-time job. No GBBO for you!  C. You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you’ve got SAT studying to do. It’s just more fun to watch people make scones.  D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you’re reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time.

5. Your teacher asks you to stay after class because you’ve missed turning in two homework assignments in a row. When she asks you what’s wrong, you say: 

A. You planned to do your assignments during lunch, but you ran out of time. You decided it would be better to turn in nothing at all than submit unfinished work.  B. You really wanted to get the assignments done, but between your extracurriculars, family commitments, and your part-time job, your homework fell through the cracks.  C. You have a hard time psyching yourself to tackle the assignments. You just can’t seem to find the motivation to work on them once you get home.  D. You tried to do them, but you had a hard time focusing. By the time you realized you hadn’t gotten anything done, it was already time to turn them in. 

Like we said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to this quiz (though your results will be better if you answered as honestly as possible). Here’s how your answers break down: 

  • If your answers were mostly As, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is procrastination. 
  • If your answers were mostly Bs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is time management. 
  • If your answers were mostly Cs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is motivation. 
  • If your answers were mostly Ds, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is getting distracted. 

Now that you’ve identified why you’re having a hard time getting your homework done, we can help you figure out how to fix it! Scroll down to find your core problem area to learn more about how you can start to address it. 

And one more thing: you’re really struggling with homework, it’s a good idea to read through every section below. You may find some additional tips that will help make homework less intimidating. 

body-procrastination-meme

How to Do Homework When You’re a Procrastinator  

Merriam Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” In other words, procrastination is when you choose to do something at the last minute on a regular basis. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling an all-nighter, trying to finish an assignment between periods, or sprinting to turn in a paper minutes before a deadline, you’ve experienced the effects of procrastination. 

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that 70% to 95% of undergraduate students procrastinate when it comes to doing their homework. Unfortunately, procrastination can negatively impact your grades. Researchers have found that procrastination can lower your grade on an assignment by as much as five points ...which might not sound serious until you realize that can mean the difference between a B- and a C+. 

Procrastination can also negatively affect your health by increasing your stress levels , which can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, a weakened immune system, and even heart conditions. Getting a handle on procrastination can not only improve your grades, it can make you feel better, too! 

The big thing to understand about procrastination is that it’s not the result of laziness. Laziness is defined as being “disinclined to activity or exertion.” In other words, being lazy is all about doing nothing. But a s this Psychology Today article explains , procrastinators don’t put things off because they don’t want to work. Instead, procrastinators tend to postpone tasks they don’t want to do in favor of tasks that they perceive as either more important or more fun. Put another way, procrastinators want to do things...as long as it’s not their homework! 

3 Tips f or Conquering Procrastination 

Because putting off doing homework is a common problem, there are lots of good tactics for addressing procrastination. Keep reading for our three expert tips that will get your homework habits back on track in no time. 

#1: Create a Reward System

Like we mentioned earlier, procrastination happens when you prioritize other activities over getting your homework done. Many times, this happens because homework...well, just isn’t enjoyable. But you can add some fun back into the process by rewarding yourself for getting your work done. 

Here’s what we mean: let’s say you decide that every time you get your homework done before the day it’s due, you’ll give yourself a point. For every five points you earn, you’ll treat yourself to your favorite dessert: a chocolate cupcake! Now you have an extra (delicious!) incentive to motivate you to leave procrastination in the dust. 

If you’re not into cupcakes, don’t worry. Your reward can be anything that motivates you . Maybe it’s hanging out with your best friend or an extra ten minutes of video game time. As long as you’re choosing something that makes homework worth doing, you’ll be successful. 

#2: Have a Homework Accountability Partner 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to start your homework ahead of time, it may be a good idea to call in reinforcements . Find a friend or classmate you can trust and explain to them that you’re trying to change your homework habits. Ask them if they’d be willing to text you to make sure you’re doing your homework and check in with you once a week to see if you’re meeting your anti-procrastination goals. 

Sharing your goals can make them feel more real, and an accountability partner can help hold you responsible for your decisions. For example, let’s say you’re tempted to put off your science lab write-up until the morning before it’s due. But you know that your accountability partner is going to text you about it tomorrow...and you don’t want to fess up that you haven’t started your assignment. A homework accountability partner can give you the extra support and incentive you need to keep your homework habits on track. 

#3: Create Your Own Due Dates 

If you’re a life-long procrastinator, you might find that changing the habit is harder than you expected. In that case, you might try using procrastination to your advantage! If you just can’t seem to stop doing your work at the last minute, try setting your own due dates for assignments that range from a day to a week before the assignment is actually due. 

Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you have a math worksheet that’s been assigned on Tuesday and is due on Friday. In your planner, you can write down the due date as Thursday instead. You may still put off your homework assignment until the last minute...but in this case, the “last minute” is a day before the assignment’s real due date . This little hack can trick your procrastination-addicted brain into planning ahead! 

body-busy-meme-2

If you feel like Kevin Hart in this meme, then our tips for doing homework when you're busy are for you. 

How to Do Homework When You’re too Busy

If you’re aiming to go to a top-tier college , you’re going to have a full plate. Because college admissions is getting more competitive, it’s important that you’re maintaining your grades , studying hard for your standardized tests , and participating in extracurriculars so your application stands out. A packed schedule can get even more hectic once you add family obligations or a part-time job to the mix. 

If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that stress—and more severe stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression— are a major problem for high school students . In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that during the school year, students’ stress levels are higher than those of the adults around them. 

For students, homework is a major contributor to their overall stress levels . Many high schoolers have multiple hours of homework every night , and figuring out how to fit it into an already-packed schedule can seem impossible. 

3 Tips for Fitting Homework Into Your Busy Schedule

While it might feel like you have literally no time left in your schedule, there are still ways to make sure you’re able to get your homework done and meet your other commitments. Here are our expert homework tips for even the busiest of students. 

#1: Make a Prioritized To-Do List 

You probably already have a to-do list to keep yourself on track. The next step is to prioritize the items on your to-do list so you can see what items need your attention right away. 

Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each day, sit down and make a list of all the items you need to get done before you go to bed. This includes your homework, but it should also take into account any practices, chores, events, or job shifts you may have. Once you get everything listed out, it’s time to prioritize them using the labels A, B, and C. Here’s what those labels mean:

  • A Tasks : tasks that have to get done—like showing up at work or turning in an assignment—get an A. 
  • B Tasks : these are tasks that you would like to get done by the end of the day but aren’t as time sensitive. For example, studying for a test you have next week could be a B-level task. It’s still important, but it doesn’t have to be done right away.
  • C Tasks: these are tasks that aren’t very important and/or have no real consequences if you don’t get them done immediately. For instance, if you’re hoping to clean out your closet but it’s not an assigned chore from your parents, you could label that to-do item with a C.

Prioritizing your to-do list helps you visualize which items need your immediate attention, and which items you can leave for later. A prioritized to-do list ensures that you’re spending your time efficiently and effectively, which helps you make room in your schedule for homework. So even though you might really want to start making decorations for Homecoming (a B task), you’ll know that finishing your reading log (an A task) is more important. 

#2: Use a Planner With Time Labels

Your planner is probably packed with notes, events, and assignments already. (And if you’re not using a planner, it’s time to start!) But planners can do more for you than just remind you when an assignment is due. If you’re using a planner with time labels, it can help you visualize how you need to spend your day.

A planner with time labels breaks your day down into chunks, and you assign tasks to each chunk of time. For example, you can make a note of your class schedule with assignments, block out time to study, and make sure you know when you need to be at practice. Once you know which tasks take priority, you can add them to any empty spaces in your day. 

Planning out how you spend your time not only helps you use it wisely, it can help you feel less overwhelmed, too . We’re big fans of planners that include a task list ( like this one ) or have room for notes ( like this one ). 

#3: Set Reminders on Your Phone 

If you need a little extra nudge to make sure you’re getting your homework done on time, it’s a good idea to set some reminders on your phone. You don’t need a fancy app, either. You can use your alarm app to have it go off at specific times throughout the day to remind you to do your homework. This works especially well if you have a set homework time scheduled. So if you’ve decided you’re doing homework at 6:00 pm, you can set an alarm to remind you to bust out your books and get to work. 

If you use your phone as your planner, you may have the option to add alerts, emails, or notifications to scheduled events . Many calendar apps, including the one that comes with your phone, have built-in reminders that you can customize to meet your needs. So if you block off time to do your homework from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, you can set a reminder that will pop up on your phone when it’s time to get started. 

body-unmotivated-meme

This dog isn't judging your lack of motivation...but your teacher might. Keep reading for tips to help you motivate yourself to do your homework.

How to Do Homework When You’re Unmotivated 

At first glance, it may seem like procrastination and being unmotivated are the same thing. After all, both of these issues usually result in you putting off your homework until the very last minute. 

But there’s one key difference: many procrastinators are working, they’re just prioritizing work differently. They know they’re going to start their homework...they’re just going to do it later. 

Conversely, people who are unmotivated to do homework just can’t find the willpower to tackle their assignments. Procrastinators know they’ll at least attempt the homework at the last minute, whereas people who are unmotivated struggle with convincing themselves to do it at a ll. For procrastinators, the stress comes from the inevitable time crunch. For unmotivated people, the stress comes from trying to convince themselves to do something they don’t want to do in the first place. 

Here are some common reasons students are unmotivated in doing homework : 

  • Assignments are too easy, too hard, or seemingly pointless 
  • Students aren’t interested in (or passionate about) the subject matter
  • Students are intimidated by the work and/or feels like they don’t understand the assignment 
  • Homework isn’t fun, and students would rather spend their time on things that they enjoy 

To sum it up: people who lack motivation to do their homework are more likely to not do it at all, or to spend more time worrying about doing their homework than...well, actually doing it.

3 Tips for How to Get Motivated to Do Homework

The key to getting homework done when you’re unmotivated is to figure out what does motivate you, then apply those things to homework. It sounds tricky...but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Here are our three expert tips for motivating yourself to do your homework. 

#1: Use Incremental Incentives

When you’re not motivated, it’s important to give yourself small rewards to stay focused on finishing the task at hand. The trick is to keep the incentives small and to reward yourself often. For example, maybe you’re reading a good book in your free time. For every ten minutes you spend on your homework, you get to read five pages of your book. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure you’re choosing a reward that works for you! 

So why does this technique work? Using small rewards more often allows you to experience small wins for getting your work done. Every time you make it to one of your tiny reward points, you get to celebrate your success, which gives your brain a boost of dopamine . Dopamine helps you stay motivated and also creates a feeling of satisfaction when you complete your homework !  

#2: Form a Homework Group 

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, it’s okay to turn to others for support. Creating a homework group can help with this. Bring together a group of your friends or classmates, and pick one time a week where you meet and work on homework together. You don’t have to be in the same class, or even taking the same subjects— the goal is to encourage one another to start (and finish!) your assignments. 

Another added benefit of a homework group is that you can help one another if you’re struggling to understand the material covered in your classes. This is especially helpful if your lack of motivation comes from being intimidated by your assignments. Asking your friends for help may feel less scary than talking to your teacher...and once you get a handle on the material, your homework may become less frightening, too. 

#3: Change Up Your Environment 

If you find that you’re totally unmotivated, it may help if you find a new place to do your homework. For example, if you’ve been struggling to get your homework done at home, try spending an extra hour in the library after school instead. The change of scenery can limit your distractions and give you the energy you need to get your work done. 

If you’re stuck doing homework at home, you can still use this tip. For instance, maybe you’ve always done your homework sitting on your bed. Try relocating somewhere else, like your kitchen table, for a few weeks. You may find that setting up a new “homework spot” in your house gives you a motivational lift and helps you get your work done. 

body-focus-meme

Social media can be a huge problem when it comes to doing homework. We have advice for helping you unplug and regain focus.

How to Do Homework When You’re Easily Distracted

We live in an always-on world, and there are tons of things clamoring for our attention. From friends and family to pop culture and social media, it seems like there’s always something (or someone!) distracting us from the things we need to do.

The 24/7 world we live in has affected our ability to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time. Research has shown that over the past decade, an average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds . And when we do lose focus, i t takes people a long time to get back on task . One study found that it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to work once we’ve been distracte d. No wonder it can take hours to get your homework done! 

3 Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you have a hard time focusing when you’re doing your homework, it’s a good idea to try and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here are three expert tips for blocking out the noise so you can focus on getting your homework done. 

#1: Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Pick a place where you’ll do your homework every day, and make it as distraction-free as possible. Try to find a location where there won’t be tons of noise, and limit your access to screens while you’re doing your homework. Put together a focus-oriented playlist (or choose one on your favorite streaming service), and put your headphones on while you work. 

You may find that other people, like your friends and family, are your biggest distraction. If that’s the case, try setting up some homework boundaries. Let them know when you’ll be working on homework every day, and ask them if they’ll help you keep a quiet environment. They’ll be happy to lend a hand! 

#2: Limit Your Access to Technology 

We know, we know...this tip isn’t fun, but it does work. For homework that doesn’t require a computer, like handouts or worksheets, it’s best to put all your technology away . Turn off your television, put your phone and laptop in your backpack, and silence notifications on any wearable tech you may be sporting. If you listen to music while you work, that’s fine...but make sure you have a playlist set up so you’re not shuffling through songs once you get started on your homework. 

If your homework requires your laptop or tablet, it can be harder to limit your access to distractions. But it’s not impossible! T here are apps you can download that will block certain websites while you’re working so that you’re not tempted to scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed. Silence notifications and text messages on your computer, and don’t open your email account unless you absolutely have to. And if you don’t need access to the internet to complete your assignments, turn off your WiFi. Cutting out the online chatter is a great way to make sure you’re getting your homework done. 

#3: Set a Timer (the Pomodoro Technique)

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique ? It’s a productivity hack that uses a timer to help you focus!

Here’s how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, you get to take a 5 minute break. Every time you go through one of these cycles, it’s called a “pomodoro.” For every four pomodoros you complete, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

The pomodoro technique works through a combination of boundary setting and rewards. First, it gives you a finite amount of time to focus, so you know that you only have to work really hard for 25 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you’re rewarded with a short break where you can do whatever you want. Additionally, tracking how many pomodoros you complete can help you see how long you’re really working on your homework. (Once you start using our focus tips, you may find it doesn’t take as long as you thought!)

body-hand-number-two

Two Bonus Tips for How to Do Homework Fast

Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when you just need to get your homework done as fast as possible. (Why do teachers always have projects due in the same week? The world may never know.)

The problem with speeding through homework is that it’s easy to make mistakes. While turning in an assignment is always better than not submitting anything at all, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising quality for speed. Simply put, the goal is to get your homework done quickly and still make a good grade on the assignment! 

Here are our two bonus tips for getting a decent grade on your homework assignments , even when you’re in a time crunch. 

#1: Do the Easy Parts First 

This is especially true if you’re working on a handout with multiple questions. Before you start working on the assignment, read through all the questions and problems. As you do, make a mark beside the questions you think are “easy” to answer . 

Once you’ve finished going through the whole assignment, you can answer these questions first. Getting the easy questions out of the way as quickly as possible lets you spend more time on the trickier portions of your homework, which will maximize your assignment grade. 

(Quick note: this is also a good strategy to use on timed assignments and tests, like the SAT and the ACT !) 

#2: Pay Attention in Class 

Homework gets a lot easier when you’re actively learning the material. Teachers aren’t giving you homework because they’re mean or trying to ruin your weekend... it’s because they want you to really understand the course material. Homework is designed to reinforce what you’re already learning in class so you’ll be ready to tackle harder concepts later.

When you pay attention in class, ask questions, and take good notes, you’re absorbing the information you’ll need to succeed on your homework assignments. (You’re stuck in class anyway, so you might as well make the most of it!) Not only will paying attention in class make your homework less confusing, it will also help it go much faster, too.

body_next_step_drawing_blackboard

What’s Next?

If you’re looking to improve your productivity beyond homework, a good place to begin is with time management. After all, we only have so much time in a day...so it’s important to get the most out of it! To get you started, check out this list of the 12 best time management techniques that you can start using today.

You may have read this article because homework struggles have been affecting your GPA. Now that you’re on the path to homework success, it’s time to start being proactive about raising your grades. This article teaches you everything you need to know about raising your GPA so you can

Now you know how to get motivated to do homework...but what about your study habits? Studying is just as critical to getting good grades, and ultimately getting into a good college . We can teach you how to study bette r in high school. (We’ve also got tons of resources to help you study for your ACT and SAT exams , too!)

These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

author image

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

Student and Parent Forum

Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com , allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.

Join the Conversation

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!

Improve With Our Famous Guides

  • For All Students

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points

How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:

Score 800 on SAT Math

Score 800 on SAT Reading

Score 800 on SAT Writing

Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:

Score 600 on SAT Math

Score 600 on SAT Reading

Score 600 on SAT Writing

Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests

What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?

15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points

How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:

36 on ACT English

36 on ACT Math

36 on ACT Reading

36 on ACT Science

Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:

24 on ACT English

24 on ACT Math

24 on ACT Reading

24 on ACT Science

What ACT target score should you be aiming for?

ACT Vocabulary You Must Know

ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score

How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League

How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA

How to Write an Amazing College Essay

What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?

Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide

Should you retake your SAT or ACT?

When should you take the SAT or ACT?

Stay Informed

complete his homework

Get the latest articles and test prep tips!

Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?

Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:

GRE Online Prep Blog

GMAT Online Prep Blog

TOEFL Online Prep Blog

Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”
  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • Study Skills
  • Homework Skills

How to Finish Your Homework

Last Updated: March 2, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 17 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 280,579 times.

While studying can differ for different age groups, many of the things that get in the way are the same. Whether it's your environment or time management skills, it easy for things to discourage you from finishing your homework. With a little organization and help, your homework can become approachable.

Managing Your Time

Step 1 Set aside a specific time to do your homework.

  • For instance, try setting aside a time you know you can work well such as an hour or 2 before dinner, or if you're a night owl, after dinner.

Step 2 Take a break every hour.

  • Work in hour blocks, with 50 minutes spent studying and 10 minutes spent taking a break.
  • It can also be helpful to move around when you are taking your break, especially if you are working at a screen. Go for a walk outside to get your blood circulating and enjoy some fresh air.
  • You might also want to eat a healthy snack on your break to improve your focus. Avoid junk food and choose something like a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, veggies, or a small portion of cottage cheese.

Step 3 Prioritize tasks.

  • Identify which assignments are worth the most points for each class. Most likely these will take the longest to complete. [5] X Research source
  • Consider how long you have to do each project, and if possible, see when the assignment is introduced. Oftentimes, primary and secondary school classes do not have syllabi, so it might be harder to plan out an entire term, but if you are in college, you will most likely have a syllabus with at least a partial course schedule. Knowing how long you have to complete an assignment will help you prioritize which assignments to do first. You can also ask the teacher how long you have to complete an assignment. [6] X Research source

Step 4 Create a study schedule.

  • Use highlighters or stickers to mark which assignments are most important.
  • If you're using an online or mobile schedule, create alerts or notifications for the projects and any time-sensitive steps for those projects.

Step 5 Make sure to complete the most pressing assignments first.

  • Don't let a big project overshadow the smaller assignments you need to complete!

Step 6 Break down larger projects into manageable tasks.

  • Assignment outlines can help you visualize the necessary tasks to get the assignment done.

Step 7 Don't multitask.

Creating a Productive Work Environment

Step 1 Find a comfortable, but not too comfortable, place to work.

  • A desk or table would be a better location than a couch or a bed.

Step 2 Minimize social distractions.

  • Turn your phone off or on silent (not vibrate). It might be best to put the phone out of sight, or in another room while you work, as the temptation to text or get on social media can be as much of a distraction as actually using social media.
  • Use an app that blocks social media. There are plenty of applications out there that can help block social media and other distracting sites (such as shopping or gaming sites). [10] X Trustworthy Source Pew Research Center Nonpartisan thinktank conducting research and providing information on public opinion, demographic trends, and social trends Go to source

Step 3 Minimize noise.

  • Use a white noise app to block out noise.
  • Use earplugs or noise-blocking earmuffs. [12] X Research source
  • Work in a quiet place, such as a library or a home office, if you have one.
  • Avoid listening to music while studying. Studies have shown that although listening to music while studying lowers overall performance, this does not affect everyone equally. [13] X Research source However listening to music before studying has been shown to improve performance on cognitive tasks. [14] X Research source

Step 4 Write down why you need to finish your homework.

Using Your Resources

Step 1 Ask your parents or peers for help.

  • If you're too afraid to ask a teacher during class, see if you can stay behind to ask your questions.

Step 3 Find a tutor (if available).

  • First, contact your school to see if there are any after-school tutoring programs. While not all primary and secondary schools offer tutoring, a vast majority of universities do. If your school does not offer tutoring, they may know of other resources for you to contact.
  • Then, contact your library to see if they offer any tutoring. [18] X Research source
  • In some areas, there may also be free community tutoring programs. Contact your local community center for more information.
  • There are plenty of private tutors out there as well, but they can be costly (ranging from $20 to $100 an hour). [19] X Research source You can find tutors online through a number of websites, such as Craigslist or Angie's list.

Step 4 Go to the library.

  • If you need to work at a library after school, ask your parents or search the web to find your local library.

Supercharge Your Studying with this Expert Series

1 - Study For Exams

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Reader Videos

Share a quick video tip and help bring articles to life with your friendly advice. Your insights could make a real difference and help millions of people!

  • Don't feel too stressed or you'll be doing less work than you actually can. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 2
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 2
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 3

complete his homework

  • Recommended time doing homework varies by age. The National PTA recommends about 10 minutes per grade level per night (30 minutes a night for the third grade). Thanks Helpful 9 Not Helpful 0
  • Some people may need additional help in order to focus on their homework and finish it. If you are struggling in school, ask your parents or teachers about what resources may be available, and seek out professional help or ask your parents to do so, if necessary. Thanks Helpful 29 Not Helpful 9
  • If you are under the age of thirteen, you may need to obtain your parents’ permission before downloading any computer applications. Thanks Helpful 30 Not Helpful 13

You Might Also Like

Plan a Homework Schedule

  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html
  • ↑ https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/power-habit-charles-duhigg
  • ↑ https://www.edutopia.org/article/research-tested-benefits-breaks/
  • ↑ https://www.wma.us/about/titan-blog/post/~board/titan-blog/post/how-to-prioritize-school-assignments-and-homework
  • ↑ https://jhsap.org/self_help_resources/school-life_balance//
  • ↑ https://lsc.cornell.edu/how-to-study/studying-for-and-taking-exams/guidelines-for-creating-a-study-schedule/
  • ↑ https://success.oregonstate.edu/learning/concentration
  • ↑ https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/07/28/parenting-children-in-the-age-of-screens/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html/
  • ↑ https://absn.northeastern.edu/blog/8-things-to-keep-in-your-at-home-study-space/
  • ↑ https://scholar.utc.edu/theses/171/
  • ↑ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/acp.1731
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/talk-to-parents.html
  • ↑ https://rdw.rowan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2412&context=etd
  • ↑ https://blogs.chapman.edu/scst/2016/02/09/what-tutoring-is-and-what-tutoring-is-not/
  • ↑ https://undergrad.stanford.edu/tutoring-support
  • ↑ https://www.ideaedu.org/idea-notes-on-instruction/encouraged-students-to-use-multiple-resources-e-g-internet-library-holdings-outside-experts-to-improve-understanding/

About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Darrell Rivers

Darrell Rivers

Oct 16, 2021

Did this article help you?

complete his homework

Sep 13, 2021

Rowan Kennedy

Rowan Kennedy

Sep 9, 2016

Sally Hope

Oct 19, 2021

Veda D.

Oct 9, 2021

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Know What You Want in Life

Trending Articles

What Do I Want in a Weight Loss Program Quiz

Watch Articles

Make Sugar Cookies

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Level up your tech skills and stay ahead of the curve

successbydesignplanners

Welcome to successbydesignplanners!

  • Request a Sample

Shopping Cart

Continue Shopping

Strategies for Getting Students to Complete Work

Strategies for Getting Students to Complete Work

You're not alone if you're looking for ways to motivate your students to do their homework. Getting students to do their homework regularly can be a source of frustration for teachers. We know students who consistently complete homework will achieve more academically, particularly in high school, and students who don't do their homework will falter. 

As a teacher, you want your students to benefit from good work habits — for success in the classroom and in life. After all, effective homework strategies teach responsibility and self-discipline while instilling confidence and motivation. The good news is you have plenty of options to make an impact.

We've put together this guide to help teachers make the most out of homework time and motivate their students. Here, we discuss some reasons students don't do their homework, what to do when students don't do their homework, how to create engaging assignments and the best approaches to take with your students in the classroom. We also offer tips for organizing your students and developing effective work habits.

Reasons Why Students Don't Do Their Homework

When a student leaves school for the day, you hope you have done enough to set them up for homework time, but many factors are beyond your control. If a student frequently fails to complete assignments, consider what may be going on at home. Understanding the root of the problem can help you get a better handle on the situation. 

You may want to connect with the student in a different way, reach out to the parents or offer additional support. Once you're able to identify why students don't do homework, you can begin implementing strategies to encourage and enable your pupils to complete their assignments in the future. Here are some common reasons why students may not complete homework.

Issues in School

Although you try your best to deliver quality instruction and create meaningful habits, students sometimes face other school issues that inhibit their learning abilities. Thankfully, many of these problems have easy fixes, even if it takes time to craft a working routine that benefits the student. Here are common problems student face in school that can affect their homework performance:

  • Lack of understanding: Lack of understanding is one of the primary reasons students don't do their homework. When children don't receive enough instruction, they lack the basic skills they need to complete an assignment. It's essential that your homework instructions are as clear and specific as possible so that students can fully comprehend the task at hand.
  • No feedback: Many students feel motivated by feedback, which is why they may not complete their homework when they don't receive any praise or constructive criticism. Try incorporating homework feedback into your lesson plan by writing comments on completed assignments or building time into the day to address homework patterns with the class.
  • Being overwhelmed by the task:  Hefty, time-consuming tasks can be mentally draining for students. If a student feels that an assignment will take a large portion of time and they don't know how to break it down, they may decide the work isn't worth the effort. For large tasks and projects, consider assigning one portion at a time. For example, you can easily break down a large research project. Have students craft source lists for the first few days and find valuable information. After this, ask them to create an outline. Then assign the paper due date. This way, the students have all the information they need to complete the assignment.

Problems at Home

Not every student has a supportive and welcoming home environment that enables them to do their best work. Although there may not be a surefire way to combat these issues, there are steps you can take to make homework completion more accessible and easier:

  • Parents are unavailable: A reason students may not complete homework is their parents are unavailable to offer help with at-home assignments. You can provide extra assistance to these students in the classroom . Set them up with a tutor or encourage them to reach out if they have any questions.
  • Lack of consistency: If a student's family moves around a lot, they may lack the consistency they need to sit down and work on their assignments at home. This is another instance where you can talk to the student and suggest a common workplace they can utilize to work on homework — like the library or an after-school study room — to give them a more stable place to focus.
  • A troubled home life: When kids have a chaotic or troubling home life, they may feel unmotivated to do their homework. You can handle sensitive situations like these by forming a positive relationship with the student, listening to their problems and making them feel valued and encouraged in the classroom.
  • Too much time watching TV or engaging in social media: Some students spend hours of their free time consuming social media and watching television, neglecting to do their homework. Unfortunately, you can't control how your students use their free time, but you can conduct parent conferences to discuss ways to help students focus at home.

Exterior Issues

Your students may have issues that span beyond school and home. Exterior challenges arise all the time, and although it can be difficult to pinpoint them, taking the extra steps to connect with your student will be worth it in the long run. Check out these exterior challenges to determine the best way to communicate with your students and help them overcome barriers:

  • Extracurricular activities or after - school jobs: Students who participate in after - school activities or jobs often have difficulty completing homework on top of their busy schedules. Activities such as these are enriching and shouldn't disable students from doing their homework. To accommodate, consider assigning homework ahead of time rather than the day before it's due so that students have enough time to manage their workload throughout the week.
  • No positive role models: Some students don't have access to positive role models who value education and encourage them to complete their homework. In these cases, you should try to work with the student, inspire them to succeed and teach them the importance of school.
  • Loud, distracting or cramped work environment: Another reason why students don't do their homework is that they may not have a work environment that is conducive to concentration and learning. Try having a one-on-one with your student to discuss what they can do to eliminate distractions, like staying after school to complete their assignments or spending time in the library.
  • Teenage pregnancies or parenting at a young age: If your student is pregnant or has recently given birth, they may be struggling to find time to do their homework. You can offer advice on how they can balance their homework and manage their time, or offer them resources for doing so.
  • Drug or alcohol use: This is another sensitive subject that can be difficult to navigate. If your student shows signs of drug use, you can talk to them privately and offer resources, contact the school counselor or have a conversation with their parents.

How to Motivate Kids to Do Homework

Communicating information effectively can set students up for success at home. On the first day of school, take a confident, upbeat approach with your students regarding homework. What you say and do in the classroom can help get students on track during homework time.

Below are eight homework strategies for teachers you can use to help your students complete homework . For the greatest impact, put these strategies into practice early in the school year.

1. Explain the Purpose of Homework

Students need to understand why it’s important to do their homework. Homework is intended to be a positive experience that furthers learning, and your students should never view it as a punishment. Make it clear every assignment has a purpose, and mastery only occurs when students work independently, without the safety net of the classroom. Let students know you will always explain how a given assignment will fit into the big picture.

Emphasize how homework is a way to solidify the concepts students learn in the classroom, and the best way to accomplish this is through consistency and repetition. With this practice, students will feel confident in their skills and transition well into the next day’s lesson. When students do their homework well, more learning can take place in the classroom every day. 

2. Set Expectations on the First Day

Research shows students are more successful when teachers set high standards , so make your expectations clear. Explain students who complete their homework assignments will be successful in your class. For those who don't, it will be a tough road ahead.

Keep your tone positive and let students know what to expect regarding workload. Clarify how you will grade homework and the consequences of missed assignments. Spell everything out in a homework contract and have students sign it. Just make sure to explain it, too, so the information sinks in.

3. Give Homework Daily

Assign each evening's homework in manageable chunks. If you send students home with a weekly packet of information, they may become overwhelmed. Some students may procrastinate and leave the entire packet until the last minute, which defeats the purpose of daily practice. Over time, daily assignments become part of a student's routine and part of life, not a chore.

4. Provide Clear Instructions

Make sure to provide clear instructions and post homework in multiple locations, such as in your classroom and on your website. Ensure your students always have the ability to find further explanations or assistance. For younger students, you can provide instructions and handouts to parents, so they can assist if their child gets stuck when working at home.

5. Set Aside Classroom Time for Independent Learning

Teachers often make the mistake of creating an environment of dependency in the classroom. Some students may overly rely on teachers and peers for guidance and information. To truly master the day’s material, students need the opportunity to work independently through the learning process before they leave for the day. If this piece is missing, students may become frustrated when they sit down to do their homework.

6. Earn Respect

You need to gain a student’s respect before you can expect to influence their homework habits. To gain respect, be likable, build rapport with your students and always follow through. When students respect you, they will start to trust what you tell them, and through your influence, you can inspire a strong work ethic.

7. Take a Personal Interest in the Lives of Your Students

Get to know your students. Try relating to students by engaging them in conversations about topics that interest them. Once you've established a personal connection, they are more likely to listen to you, and it will mean more when you tell them to complete their homework.

Additionally, you'll be better equipped to handle student barriers if you understand and connect with your students. Your students may find it easier to speak with you to craft solutions if they believe you genuinely care about their well-being and accomplishments.

8. Foster a Growth Mindset

Students who foster a growth mindset can make immense strides in their education and lives. This kind of mindset involves accepting and seeking challenges for the sake of learning and growing. When people adopt this way of thinking, they view mistakes and failure as a natural part of the learning process rather than becoming upset or frustrated.

You can help foster this mindset in your students by explaining the importance of practice, learning and failures. Providing meaningful feedback can help this process, as students learn the difference between judgment and helpful tips that enable them to grow.

Organizing Homework and Tips for Turning in Homework

As students move into middle school, organization skills can become an issue. They have multiple teachers, multiple assignments to juggle, supplies galore and about eight or nine different classes they need to show up on time for each day. All this can be a bit overwhelming.

Organization skills are key to homework success. A student with crumpled-up papers in their backpack may get by temporarily, but, eventually, things are going to fall apart. To head off homework nightmares, help your students get organized from the start.

teacher helping student take notes

Use the following organizational strategies early in the school year.

  • Set up a homework file:  Students need a simple, fail-safe system to stay organized. Advise students to keep all their homework in a central location, such as a pocket folder . Designate one place, and one place only, for all subjects. If students start filing information in separate notebooks, or corners of their lockers, assignments will get lost.
  • Incorporate planning time:  Set aside time each week for students to plan their homework schedules. Have students use daily planners to map out after-school activities and schedule in blocks of time to complete homework. They can even schedule in downtime if they choose.
  • Offer encouragement:  Organizing and planning homework can be tricky for many students. Offer encouragement and praise for any amount of progress. Your feedback goes a long way. 

8 Ways to Create Engaging Homework Assignments

Even though you may have exemplary communication skills and the best-laid plans for organization, you still need to keep homework interesting. Homework needs to have a purpose and be engaging. If students don’t see the point or understand the benefits, they will be less likely to complete assignments.

Here are eight ways to create engaging assignments that will aid in motivating students to do homework .

1. Create Quality Assignments

If you’re going to give an assignment, make it worthwhile. Give clear and concise instructions and offer relevant resources. Try to narrow down the focus of the task. If you try to reinforce too many concepts at once, students may miss the point or feel overwhelmed. Never give busywork. If you get a reputation for giving busywork, students will not engage consistently and may miss assignments that really matter.

2. Give Homework as a Review or Practice

Homework is an opportunity for students to review and practice what they learned that day. It is not a time for teachers to introduce new material. Independent work solidifies skills learned in the classroom and boosts confidence and motivation. When students realize they can achieve success on their own, they feel good about themselves. When they feel good about themselves, they want to learn more. With the right tools in place, students will be motivated to complete homework assignments on a regular basis. 

3. Make Students Think

Give students the opportunity to have an “a-ha moment” during homework time. Allow them to think independently and extract information from other resources outside of the classroom. Challenge students to think for themselves and explore new ideas. Thinking outside the box can be exciting and motivating for students.

4. Offer Choices

Give students options whenever possible. For example, have a few topics to choose from when you give a writing assignment. When students get to make decisions about homework, they become more invested and enjoy the process more. Meaningful choices can encourage students to capitalize on their strengths and become more engaged with learning material .

5. Keep Assignments Interesting

Mix things up. If your students recognize you have a formulaic approach to homework, it can begin to feel like a repetitive chore. You may not know whether your students are learning from the material or memorizing the basic steps to find the answers. Additionally, students will tire of similar subjects and formats, so aim for a varied approach. One great way to pique a student’s interest is to assign a long-term project. Encourage students to seek new and unique research and bring interesting conversations to the classroom.

6. Align Assignments With Skill Levels

Although you likely can't individualize every assignment, you can tailor homework to homogeneous groups within your classroom. For example, at-risk or gifted students may have different assignments than the rest of the class. In high school, students in advanced placement or honors classes typically receive assignments that require more abstract thinking. 

7. Assign a Manageable Workload

Be sure to schedule the right amount of homework. You want homework time to be effective and productive, not exhausting and overwhelming. Many educators follow the 10-minutes-per-grade-level rule. A first-grader would do 10 minutes of homework a night, a second-grader would do 20 minutes and so on, maxing out at about two hours for high school students. Coordinate homework with the other teachers on your team to keep the total amount of time consistent each night.

8. Make the Connection Between the Material and Life

If the subject matter is relatable, students are more apt to complete homework assignments. Hands-on assignments that make sense in the real world can spark a student's interest and really sink in. Be entertaining or share information through a story, then send students home with a related assignment.

For example, let’s say you are working on persuasive arguments in your language arts class. You could set up a classroom trial where students are lawyers, judges, plaintiffs, defendants or part of a jury. After the lesson and some classroom discussion, you could have students write a few persuasive paragraphs from their perspective for homework. 

Teach Effective Homework Motivation Strategies

Good homework habits are key to getting the most out of an assignment and completing it on time, and it’s never too early to start. If you’re a kindergarten or first-grade teacher, consider sending age-appropriate homework home so students can begin to establish a routine. This can be as simple as having a parent read a few pages of a book to the student. 

Regardless of grade level, encourage students to practice good homework strategies. Teach these strategies to the group or individually for students who are struggling. 

Encourage students to:

  • Take notes during the school day.
  • Use an effective planner to keep track of assignments and due dates .
  • Set up a quiet place at home to study.
  • Assess assignment difficulty to determine how much time they will need to dedicate to completing it.
  • Gather and organize homework supplies such as pencils, erasers, calculators, paper, etc.
  • Use school resources during study halls and independent learning times.
  • Pick a time to do homework that works with the family schedule.
  • Practice time management strategies and learn to stay on routine.
  • Turn off cell phones, television or any other distractions during homework time.
  • Download education apps that can help them focus or set timers during homework time. 
  • Prepare for a test or long-term assignments in chunks, instead of cramming.
  • Determine personal rewards for achieving their learning goals.
  • Work with other students who have similar questions or challenges.
  • Identify and understand their learning style. 

Reinforce Effective Homework Habits

Being a great teacher means reinforcing effective homework habits is a critical part of the process. When students complete their homework, be sure to acknowledge it, or the pattern probably won’t continue. And, if students don’t complete assignments, make sure you have consequences in place. 

Here are seven things you can do to reinforce good homework habits:

  • Always check homework: Only assign homework you plan to review and score. Hold students accountable by checking their homework in front of them each day. Taking time to get this system in place during the first month of the school year can really pay off. Once students realize you are the type of teacher who always checks homework, they'll be more likely to complete it. On the other hand, if you’re too casual about homework, students won’t think it’s important and probably won't complete it consistently. Make sure to grade for effort, as this encourages students of all ability levels.
  • Provide prompt feedback: The sooner a student receives feedback, the more it will resonate. Who can remember the details of an assignment from a week ago? Immediate feedback has a greater impact on student performance than long turnaround times. If a student knows they did well on an assignment, they will feel confident and motivated to move on. If they didn’t do well, you can evaluate why and remediate the situation. But, if too much time goes by, things can start to slip.
  • Praise students for both performance and effort: Everybody responds well to praise, so find something positive to say about a student’s performance or effort. Make sure your praise is genuine because students know when it’s not.
  • Use a points system with incentives: Assign points to completed assignments and take away points for missed assignments. Offer age-appropriate incentives for students with the highest number of points. You can also modify this system to incentivize the class as a group. Keep in mind, points systems with incentives are best suited for elementary and middle school students.
  • Allow make-up work with point deductions: To reinforce the importance of each assignment, give students the opportunity to make up missed work. Enforce consequences for missed assignments, or you will continue to see a pattern. Since every point counts toward a final grade, make sure students understand partial credit is better than no credit at all.
  • Give students a visual to manage missed assignments: When a student does not turn in homework repeatedly, print out a list of everything that goes into their grade. Highlight each missing assignment and the points associated with it. Some kids may not realize how many assignments they've missed, or how much this impacts their overall grade. Sometimes a visual can help drive the message home.
  • Offer help when needed: Some students have limited resources, and need to know they can ask you for help or guidance. You can set up help sessions before or after school, during lunch or even over the phone. Also, check with your school district to see what they offer. Some schools have peer tutoring programs, homework hotlines and study centers. You can also set up a study-buddy system in your classroom.

Connecting With Parents

Parents need to understand homework policies and expectations. At the beginning of the school year, let parents know they can contact you anytime to discuss homework or anything else. Make them feel like they are part of the team, and that they can make a difference. A good time to do this is at a parent back-to-school night. If parents don’t show up, you can send them an email or give them a call the next day. Let them know when you are available and the best way to reach you. 

If a student is struggling with homework during the school year, reach out to their parents. Although some parents are more responsive than others, it’s a good first step. Some parents may just be unaware of the situation and need to begin reinforcing the importance of completing assignments at home.

When you put all the right pieces in place, you can motivate and inspire students to learn and enjoy the homework process . Encouraging your students to do their homework routinely promotes a love of learning and boosts their confidence . Students typically want to succeed, and giving them the proper tools to do their best work will positively affect them for many years to come.

Check out Our Student Planners

At Success By Design, Inc., we help students plan and organize their homework and other activities. We know that, as a teacher, you want to give your students every opportunity to succeed academically and for the rest of their lives.  Check out our student planners  to get students on the right track at the beginning of the next school year and view our online special for reduced price assignment notebooks . It will be here before you know it.

success by design student planners

← Previous Post Next Post →

  • Tags: Elementary School High School Middle School Parent Resources Teaching Resources
  • May 09, 2018
  • Administrator Resources
  • Character Building
  • Elementary School
  • High School
  • Middle School
  • Parent Resources
  • Student Planners
  • Teaching Resources

ALL STUDENT PLANNERS

All custom covers, customize your planner, our products.

  • Planners with a Purpose
  • STEM Planners
  • Additional Items
  • Customer Referrals
  • Order Information
  • Customizing Your Planner
  • Terms of Service
  • Shipping Policy
  • Business Documents

Keep in Touch

Home / Expert Articles / Child Behavior Problems / School & Homework

The Homework Battle: How to Get Children to Do Homework

By debbie pincus, ms lmhc.

Teen girl with hands on head frustrated by homework

Parents often feel it’s their job to get their kids to do well in school. Naturally, you might get anxious about this responsibility as a parent. You might also get nervous about your kids succeeding in life—and homework often becomes the focus of that concern.

But when parents feel it’s their responsibility to get their kids to achieve, they now need something from their children—they need them to do their homework and be a success. I believe this need puts you in a powerless position as a parent because your child doesn’t have to give you what you want.

The battle about homework becomes a battle over control. Your child starts fighting to have more control over the choices in their life, while you feel that your job as a parent is to be in control of things. So you both fight harder, and it turns into a war in your home.

Over the years, I’ve talked to many parents who are in the trenches with their kids, and I’ve seen firsthand that there are many creative ways kids rebel when it comes to schoolwork. Your child might forget to do their homework, do their homework but not hand it in, do it sloppily or carelessly, or not study properly for their test. These are just a few ways that kids try to hold onto the little control they have.

When this starts happening, parents feel more and more out of control, so they punish, nag, threaten, and argue. Some parents stop trying altogether to get their children to do homework. Or, and this is common, parents will over-function for their kids by doing the work for them.

Now the battle is in full swing: reactivity is heightened as anxiety is elevated—and homework gets lost in the shuffle. The hard truth for parents is that you cannot make your children do anything, let alone homework. But what you can do is to set limits, respect their individual choices, and help motivate them to motivate themselves.

You might be thinking to yourself, “You don’t know my child. I can’t motivate him to do anything.” Many parents tell me that their children are not motivated to do their work. I believe that children are motivated—they just may not be motivated the way you’d like them to be. Keep reading for some concrete tips to help you guide them in their work without having to nag, threaten, or fight with them.

Offer for FREE Empowering Parents Personal Parenting Plan

Also, keep in mind that if you carry more of the worry, fear, disappointments, and concern than your child does about their work, ask yourself, “What’s wrong with this picture, and how did this happen?” Remember, as long as you carry their concerns, they don’t have to.

Stop the Nightly Fights

The way you can stop fighting with your kids over homework every night is to stop fighting with them tonight. Disengage from the dance. Choose some different steps or decide not to dance at all. Let homework stay where it belongs—between the teacher and the student. Stay focused on your job, which is to help your child do their job. Don’t do it for them.

If you feel frustrated, take a break from helping your child with homework. Your blood pressure on the rise is a no-win for everyone. Take five or ten minutes to calm down, and let your child do the same if you feel a storm brewing.

Create Structure Around Homework Time

Set limits around homework time. Here are a few possibilities that I’ve found to be effective with families:

  • Homework is done at the same time each night.
  • Homework is done in a public area of your house.
  • If grades are failing or falling, take away screen time so your child can focus and have more time to concentrate on their work.
  • Make it the rule that weekend activities don’t happen until work is completed. Homework comes first. As James Lehman says, “The weekend doesn’t begin until homework is done.”

Let Your Child Make Their Own Choices

I recommend that your child be free to make their own choices within the parameters you set around schoolwork. You need to back off a bit as a parent. Otherwise, you won’t be helping them with their responsibilities.

If you take too much control over the situation, it will backfire on you by turning into a power struggle. And believe me, you don’t want a power struggle over homework. I’ve seen many kids purposely do poorly just to show their parents who’s in charge. I’ve also seen children who complied to ease their parents’ anxiety, but these same kids never learned to think and make choices for themselves.

Let Your Child Own the Consequences of Their Choices

I’m a big believer in natural consequences when it comes to schoolwork. Within the structure you set up, your child has some choices. They can choose to do their homework or not. And they can choose to do it well and with effort or not. The natural consequences will come from their choices—if they don’t choose to do their work, their grades will drop.

When that happens, you can ask them some honest questions:

“Are you satisfied with how things are going?”

“What do you want to do about your grade situation?”

“How can I be helpful to you?”

Be careful not to be snarky or judgmental. Just ask the question honestly. Show honest concern and try not to show disappointment.

Intervene Without Taking Control

The expectation is that homework is done to the best of your child’s ability. When they stop making an effort, and you see their grades drop, that’s when you invite yourself in. You can say:

“It’s my job to help you do your job better. I’m going to help you set up a plan to help yourself, and I will check in to make sure you’re following it.”

Set up a plan with your child’s input to get them back on their feet. For example, the new rules might be that homework must be done in a public place in your home until they get their grades back up. You and your child might meet with the teacher to discuss disciplinary actions should their grades continue to drop.

In other words, you will help your child get back on track by putting a concrete plan in place. And when you see this change, you can step back out of it. But before that, your child is going to sit in a public space and you’re going to monitor their work.

You’re also checking in more. Depending on your child’s age, you’re making sure that things are checked off before they go out. You’re adding a half-hour of review time for their subjects every day. And then, each day after school, they’re checking with their teacher or going for some extra help.

Remember, this plan is not a punishment—it’s a practical way of helping your child to do their best.

“I Don’t Care about Bad Grades!”

Many parents will say that their kids just don’t care about their grades. My guess is that somewhere inside, they do care. “I don’t care” also becomes part of a power struggle.

In other words, your child is saying, “I’m not going to care because you can’t make me. You don’t own my life.” And they’re right. The truth is, you can’t make them care. Instead, focus on what helps their behavior improve. And focus more on their actions and less on their attitude because it’s the actions that matter the most.

Motivation Comes From Ownership

It’s important to understand that caring and motivation come from ownership. You can help your child be motivated by allowing them to own their life more.

So let them own their disappointment over their grades. Don’t feel it more than they do. Let them choose what they will do or not do about their homework and face the consequences of those choices. Now they will begin to feel ownership, which may lead to caring.

Let them figure out what motivates them, not have them motivated by fear of you. Help guide them, but don’t prevent them from feeling the real-life consequences of bad choices. Think of it this way: it’s better for your child to learn from those consequences at age ten by failing their grade and having to go to summer school than for them to learn at age 25 by losing their job.

When Your Child Has a Learning Disability

I want to note that it’s very important that you check to see that there are no other learning issues around your child’s refusal to do homework. If they’re having difficulty doing the work or are performing below grade-level expectations, they should be tested to rule out any learning disabilities or other concerns.

If there is a learning disability, your child may need more help. For example, some kids need a little more guidance; you may need to sit near your child and help a little more. You can still put structures into place depending on who your child is.

Advertisement for Empowering Parents Total Transformation Online Package

But be careful. Many times, kids with learning disabilities get way too much help and develop what psychologists call learned helplessness . Be sure you’re not over-functioning for your learning disabled child by doing their work for them or filling in answers when they’re capable of thinking through them themselves.

The Difference Between Guidance and Over-Functioning

Your child needs guidance from you, but understand that guidance does not mean doing their spelling homework for them. Rather, it’s helping them review their words. When you cross the line into over-functioning, you take on your child’s work and put their responsibilities on your shoulders. So you want to guide them by helping them edit their book report themselves or helping them take the time to review before a test. Those can be good ways of guiding your child, but anything more than that is taking too much ownership of their work.

If your child asks for help, you can coach them. Suggest that they speak with their teacher on how to be a good student and teach them those communication skills. In other words, show them how to help themselves. So you should not back off altogether—it’s that middle ground that you’re looking for. That’s why I think it’s essential to set up a structure. And within that structure, you expect your child to do what they have to do to be a good student.

Focus on Your Own Goals

When you start over-focusing on your child’s work, pause and think about your own goals and what do you need to get done to achieve those goals. Model your own persistence and perseverance to your child.

Believe In Your Child

I also tell parents to start believing in their children. Don’t keep looking at your child as a fragile creature who can’t do the work. I think we often come to the table with fear and doubt—we think if we don’t help our kids, they’re just not going to do it.

But as much as you say, “I’m just trying to help you,” what your child hears is, “You’re a failure; I don’t believe you can do it on your own.”

Instead, your message should be, “I know you can do it. And I believe in you enough to let you make your own choices and deal with the consequences.”

Related content: What Can I Do When My Child Refuses to Go to School? “My Child Refuses to Do Homework” — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over Schoolwork

For more information on the concept of learned helplessness in psychology and behavior, we recommend the following articles:

Psychology Today: Learned Helplessness

VeryWell Mind: What Is Learned Helplessness and Why Does it Happen?

About Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC

For more than 25 years, Debbie has offered compassionate and effective therapy and coaching, helping individuals, couples and parents to heal themselves and their relationships. Debbie is the creator of the Calm Parent AM & PM™ program and is also the author of numerous books for young people on interpersonal relations.

You must log in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Create one for free!

Frank My daughter Nina just turned 8 (Feb 11). She does not like to do homework one bit. Her teacher gives her homework every day except Friday. She loves Fridays because she doesn't like homework. She always hides her homework under her bed, refuses to do her homework, and in the More morning she tells her teacher "I lost it last night and can't find it!". She feels homework is a waste of time, yes, we all feel that way, but poor Nina needs to learn that homework is important to help you stay smart. She needs to start doing homework. How can I make her 2nd-grade brain know that homework is actually good? Is there a way to make her love, love, LOVE homework? Let me know.

Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and sharing your story. Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limited in the advice and suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role. In addition to the tips in More the article above, it may be helpful to look into local resources to help you develop a plan for addressing these particular issues with your cousins, such as their doctor or their teachers. We wish you the best going forward. Take care.

Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach I hear you. Homework can be a challenging, frustrating time in many families even under the best of circumstances, so you are not alone. When kids struggle with a subject, it can be even more difficult to get assignments completed. Although you didn’t indicate that your daughter More has ADHD, you might find some helpful tips in Why School is Hard for Kids with ADHD—and How You Can Help . Author Anna Stewart outlines techniques that can be useful to help make homework more interesting for kids with a variety of learning challenges in this article. You might also consider checking in with your daughter’s teacher, as s/he might have some additional ideas for engaging your daughter in her homework. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.

So, after reading this I get to say…GREAT…You really do not know my child.  We have done 100% of everything listed in this article.  In the end, my son has utterly declared “I DON’T CARE, AND I DON’T NEED SCHOOL”.  We have attempted a “reward” system as well, and that doesn’t work.  He cares about 3 or 4 things.  Nintendo DS, Lego, K’Nex, TV…all of those he has lost over the past year.  Now he reads, ALL the time.  Fine, but that doesn’t get his homework done.  It also doesn’t get anything else he needs to do done.  We’ve done “task boards”, we’ve done “Reward Systems”, we’ve done the “What is on your list to complete”.  EVERYTHING is met with either a full fledged meltdown (think 2 year old…on the floor, kicking and screaming and crying).  His IMMEDIATE response to ANYTHING that may interrupt him is “NO” or worse.  If something doesn’t go his way directly he throws a fit INSTANTLY, even if the response is “Give me a second” it’s NOW OR I’M DESTROYING SOMETHING.  He’s been suspended multiple times for his anger issues, and he’s only 10.  Unfortuantely we have no family history as he was adopted from Russia.  His “formal” diagnosis are ADHD and Anxiety.  I’m thinking there is something much more going on.  BTW: He did have an IQ test and that put him at 145 for Spacial and Geometric items, with a 136 for written and language.  His composite was 139, which puts him in the genius category, but he’s failing across the board…because he refuses to do the work.

Interesting article and comments. Our son (6th grade) was early diagnosed as ADHD and for the first 3 years of elementary school several of his teachers suggested he might require special education. But then the school counseling staff did a workup and determined that his IQ is 161 and from that point forward his classroom antics were largely tolerated as “eccentric”.  He has now moved to middle school (6th grade) and while his classroom participation seems to be satisfactory to all teachers, he has refused to do approximately 65% of his homework so far this school year. We have tried talking with him, reasoning with him, removing screen time, offering cash payments (which he lectures us as being unethical “bribes”), offering trips, offering hobbies and sporting events, and just about anything we can think of. Our other children have all been through the “talented and gifted” programs, but he simply refuses to participate in day-to-day school work. His fall report card was pretty much solid “F” or “O” grades. He may be bored out of his mind, or he may have some other issues. Unfortunately, home schooling is not an option, and neither is one of the $40,000 per year local private schools which may or may not be in a better position to deal with his approach to school.  Do “learning centers” work for kids like this? Paying somebody else to force him to do his homework seems like a coward’s solution but I am nearly at the end of my rope! Thanks..

RebeccaW_ParentalSupport 12yokosuka Many parents struggle with staying calm when their child is acting out and screaming, so you are not alone.  It tends to be effective to set up a structured time for kids to do their homework and study, and they can earn a privilege if they comply and meet More their responsibilities.  What this might look like for your daughter is that if she studies, she can earn her phone that day.  If she refuses, and chooses to argue or scream at you instead, then she doesn’t earn her phone that day and has another chance the next day.  You can read more about this in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/end-the-nightly-homework-struggle-5-homework-strategies-that-work-for-kids/.  If you are also looking for resources to help you stay calm, I encourage you to check out our articles, blogs, and other resources on https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/parenting-strategies-techniques/calm-parenting/.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.

Scott carcione 

I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you are experiencing with your

son.I also hear the different

approaches you and your ex are taking toward parenting your son.While it would be ideal if you were able to

find common ground, and present a consistent, united response to your son’s

choices, in the end, you can only https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-after-divorce-9-ways-to-parent-on-your-own-terms/.At

this point, it might be useful to meet with the school to discuss how you can

work together to hold your son accountable for his actions, such as receiving a

poor grade if he refuses to do his work.Janet Lehman discusses this more in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-your-child-has-problems-at-school-6-tips-for-parents/.Take care.

It can be so challenging when your child is acting out at school, yet does

not act that way at home.One strategy I

recommend is talking with your son at home about his behavior at school.During this conversation, I encourage you to

address his choices, and come up with a specific plan for what he can do differently

to follow the rules.I also recommend

working with his teachers, and discussing how you can assist them in helping

your son to follow the rules.You might

find additional useful tips in our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/acting-out-in-school-when-your-child-is-the-class-troublemaker/.Please be sure to write back and let us know

how things are going for you and your son.Take care.

I hear you.It can be so challenging

when your young child is having outbursts like this.A lot of young children tend to act out and

have tantrums when they are experiencing a big transition, such as starting a

new school or adjusting to having a younger sibling, so you are not alone.Something that can be helpful is to set up

clear structure and expectations around homework, as Janet Lehman points out in

https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-child-refuses-to-do-homework-heres-how-to-stop-the-struggle/.I also encourage you to set aside some time

for you to have https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/attention-seeking-behavior-in-young-children-dos-and-donts-for-parents/ with your daughter as well.Please be sure to write back and let us know

how things are going for you and your family.Take care.

JoJoSuma I am having the exact same problem with my 9 year old son. His grades are quickly falling and I have no idea why or where to begin with helping him turn things around. When he applies himself he receives score of 80% or higher, and when he doesn't it clearly shows and he receives failing scores. He, too, says that he doesn't do or want to do the work because it is boring, or that he "Forgot" or "lost it". He has started to become a disruption to the class and at this rate I am afraid that he will have to repeat 5th grade. I am also a single parent so my frustration is at an all time high. You are not alone and I wish you and your family the best.

Thank you so much for these tips RebeccaW_ParentalSupport because I SERIOUSLY had nowhere to turn and no clue where to begin. I have cried many nights feeling like I was losing control. I will try your tips and see where things go from here.

It’s not uncommon

for kids to avoid doing homework, chores or other similar tasks.  After

all, homework can be boring or difficult, and most people (both kids and adults

alike) tend to prefer activities which are enjoyable or fun.  This does

not mean that you cannot address this with your daughter, though. 

Something which can be helpful for many families is to set up a structured

homework time, and to require that your daughter complete her homework in order

to earn a privilege later on that evening.  You can read about this, and

other tips, in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/end-the-nightly-homework-struggle-5-homework-strategies-that-work-for-kids/. 

Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and

your daughter.  Take care.

Thestruggleisreal I'm just now signing up for these articles, I'm struggling with my 12 year and school work, she just doesn't want to do it, she has no care I'm world to do, she is driving me crazy over not doing, I hate to see her More fail, but I don't know what to do

FamilyMan888 

I can hear how much your

daughter’s education means to you, and the additional difficulties you are

facing as a result of her learning disabilities.  You make a great point

that you cannot force her to do her work, or get additional help, and I also

understand your concern that getting her teachers to “make” her do these things

at school might create more conflict there as well.  As James Lehman

points out in his article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/stop-the-blame-game-how-to-teach-your-child-to-stop-making-excuses-and-start-taking-responsibility/, lowering your expectations for your daughter due to her

diagnosis is probably not going to be effective either.  Instead, what you

might try is involving her in the https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/, and asking her what she thinks she needs, and what she will do

differently, to meet classroom expectations.  Please be sure to write back

and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.

tvllpit Very effective to  kids age of 5, 7, and 11 years old. Thank you for sharing your idea.

Thank you for

your question.  You are correct that we recommend setting up a structured

time for kids to do homework, yet not getting into a power struggle with them

if they refuse to do their work during that time.  It could be useful to

talk with your 11 year old about what makes it difficult to follow through with

doing homework at that time, and perhaps experimenting with doing homework at

another time to see if that works more effectively.  In the end, though,

if your child is simply refusing to do the work, then we recommend giving a

consequence and avoiding a power struggle.  Megan Devine details this

process more in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/end-the-nightly-homework-struggle-5-homework-strategies-that-work-for-kids/. 

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.

jovi916 I'm a mother to a 10 year old 5th grader. Since 3rd grade I've been struggling with homework. That first year, I thought it was just lack of consistency since my children go between mine and dad's house. I tried setting some sort of system up with More the teacher to get back on track, but the teacher said it was the child's responsibility to get the hw done. This year has been esp. Difficult. He stopped doing hw, got an F, so I got on him. He stared turning half done work, but same grades so I still got on him. Grades went up, I loosened up, then he stopped with in school work. Now it's back to not turning anything in, even big projects and presentations. He had never really been allowed to watch tv, but now it's a definite no, I took his Legos away, took him out of sports. Nothing is working. He's basically sitting at the table every night, and all weekend long in order to get caught up with missing assignments. I'm worried, and next year he'll be in middle school. I try setting an example by studying in front of him. My daughter just does her homework and gets good grades. Idk what to do.

I can hear your concern. Academic achievement is important

to most parents and when your children seem to be struggling to complete their

work and get good grades, it can be distressing. Ultimately, your childrens’

school work and grades are their responsibility. You shouldn’t have to quit

your own studies in order to help them improve theirs. The above article gives

some great tips for helping motivate your children to complete their homework.

We do have a couple other articles you may also find useful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/10-ways-to-motivate-your-child-to-do-better-in-school/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/sinking-fast-at-school-how-to-help-your-child-stay-afloat/. We appreciate you

writing in and hope you find the information useful. Take care.

RNM I have the exact same issues with my 8 year old. It makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong. He's a smart kid, he just doesn't seem to care to do his homework let alone if he gets a bad grade as a result. He hates reading, but does More very well in spelling and science. Homework is an issue nightly and the teacher pulled me aside today to tell me again how much he talks in class and that now he isn't writing down his assignments and is missing 3 assignments this week. SMH, I don't know what to do anymore other than to coach him (some more) and take away basketball if he doesn't do his homework.

What?  "Let homework stay where it belongs—between the teacher and the student. Refuse to get pulled in by the school.."  I do not see the logic or benefit of this advice.  Homework, by definition, is the responsibility of the student and parent (NOT the teacher).  The teacher does not live at the student's home or run the house.  

In my opinion, the lack of parental involvement with academics often causes the low student performance evident across the U.S.  I do not agree with advocating for even LESS parental involvement.

I completely agree with you. Parental, or adult, engagement at home can be a deal-maker/breaker when it comes to student performance. I subscribe to theories that differ from the author's.

First, if an adult is involved with the child and his activities, then the child will commonly react with "hey, somebody cares about me" leading to an increased sense of self-worth. A sense of caring about one's-self leads to caring about grades and other socially acceptable behaviors (Maslow).

Secondly, I am a FIRM believer in the techniques of behavior modification through positive reinforcement (Karen Pryor). It's up to an invested adult to determine what motivates the student and use those motivators to shape and reinforce desirable behavior such as daily homework completion. A classroom teacher has too many students and too little time to apply this theory.

Letting a child sink or swim by himself is a bad idea. Children have only one childhood; there are no do-overs.

And yes, children are work.

Many experience similar feelings of being at fault when

their child fails, so, you’re not alone. Truth of the matter is, allowing your

child to experience natural consequences of their actions by allowing them to

fail gives them the opportunity to look at themselves and change their

behavior.  We have a couple articles I think you may find helpful: When You Should Let Your Child Fail: The Benefits of Natural Consequences & 5 Natural Consequences You Should Let Your Child Face . Good luck to you and

your family moving forward. Take care.

hao hao It is so true, we can't control our children's home. It is their responsibility. But they don't care it. What can we do it?

indusreepradeep

How great it is that you want to help your brother be more

productive with his homework. He’s lucky to have a sibling who cares about him

and wants him to be successful. Because we are a website aimed at helping

parents develop better ways of managing acting out behavior, we are limited in

the advice we can offer you as his sibling. There is a website that may be able

to offer you some suggestions. http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/

is a website aimed at helping teens and young adults figure out ways of dealing

with challenges they may be facing in their lives. They offer several ways of

getting support, such as by e-mail or text, through an online forum and chat,

and also a call in helpline. You can check out what they have to offer at http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/. Good luck

to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

Kathleenann indusreepradeep

Thank you so much for your humble support....

It sounds like you have done a lot

of work to try to help your daughter achieve her educational goals, and it’s

normal to feel frustrated when she does not seem to be putting in the same

amount of effort.  It can be useful to keep your focus on whether your

daughter is doing her work, and to keep that separate from whether she “cares”

about doing her work.  Ultimately, it is up to your daughter to do her

work, regardless of how she appears to feel about it.  To that end, we

recommend working with the various local supports you have in place, such as

her therapists and others on her IEP team, to talk about what could be useful

to motivate your daughter to do her school work.  Because individuals with

autism can vary greatly with their abilities, it’s going to be more effective

to work closely with the professionals who are familiar with your daughter’s

strengths and level of functioning in order to develop a plan to address this

issue.  Thank you so much for writing in; we wish you and your daughter

all the best as you continue to address her difficulties with school. 

is there a blog for parents that went to Therapeutic boarding schooling for their adolescent?

Responses to questions posted on EmpoweringParents.com are not intended to replace qualified medical or mental health assessments. We cannot diagnose disorders or offer recommendations on which treatment plan is best for your family. Please seek the support of local resources as needed. If you need immediate assistance, or if you and your family are in crisis, please contact a qualified mental health provider in your area, or contact your statewide crisis hotline.

We value your opinions and encourage you to add your comments to this discussion. We ask that you refrain from discussing topics of a political or religious nature. Unfortunately, it's not possible for us to respond to every question posted on our website.

  • 1. "My Child Refuses to Do Homework" — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over Schoolwork
  • 2. What to Do When Your Child or Teen is Suspended or Expelled From School
  • 3. Acting Out in School: When Your Child is the Class Troublemaker
  • 4. Young Kids in School: Help for the Top 4 Behavior Problems
  • 5. When Your Child Has Problems at School: 6 Tips for Parents
  • 140,000+ Subscribers Subscribe
  • 50,000+ Fans Follow
  • 10,000+ Followers Follow
  • 6,000+ Followers Follow

Disrespect... defiance... backtalk... lack of motivation...

Frustrated and exhausted by your child's behavior?

Get your FREE Personal Parenting Plan today.

Does your child exhibit angry outbursts , such as tantrums, lashing out, punching walls, and throwing things?

Would you like to learn about how to use consequences more effectively?

Backtalk... complaints... arguments... attitude... just plain ignoring you

Do you struggle with disrespect or verbal abuse from your child?

Has your child been diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)?

Or does your child exhibit a consistent and severe pattern of anger, irritability, arguing, defiance, and vindictiveness toward you or other authority figures?

Intimidation... aggression... physical abuse and violence ...

Are you concerned that your child may physically hurt you or others?

You must select at least one category to create your Personal Parenting Plan:

We're just about finished! Create a secure account with Empowering Parents to access your Personal Parenting Plan.

The New 3Rs Academic Transformation

complete his homework

The R ight Systems, The R ight Resources, The R ight People

complete his homework

  • by Blaine Helwig
  • Apr 13, 2018

Teacher Tips to Improve Homework Completion

Updated: Apr 2, 2022

complete his homework

“Andrew will not complete his homework.”

“At least half my class does not do their homework, consistently.”

“I have called the parent repeatedly. Her daughter still will not complete her homework.”

“Johnny’s mother told me three times that he will sit down and complete his homework the minute he walks in the front door. Yet, Johnny still is not completing his homework.”

Unfortunately, there are far too many anecdotal stories like these in our elementary schools. It can be very frustrating when the teacher appears to care more about the child’s education than the parent. There are no easy answers to solve all the situations when kids do not complete their homework, but these are several effective tips that may help with many students. Several actions listed below may assist teachers to improve the likelihood their students will complete nightly homework.

Teacher Tips to Improve Nightly Homework Completion.

1.) Use a nightly homework assignment book. Check or assign a student to assist any student that consistently demonstrates difficulty completing their assignment book. The use of a teacher website listing nightly homework assignments (cumulatively) is helpful to both student and parent alike. The more structured the teacher’s homework routines, the higher probability of student completion.

2.) Establish a consistent daily routine at or near dismissal time. For example, if the teacher collectively practices a couple math problems to refresh students on content and methodology, it is usually effective since students are mentally prepared and reminded of their homework obligation. Also, the teacher may ask his or her students as they are prepared to leave the classroom, “What do you have to do tonight?” – Reply: ‘Read and do my homework.’

3.) Individual student and/or class contracts/agreements are viable if the incentive is meaningful to students. The incentives can vary from colorful stickers to extra recess time. It has been my professional experience that teachers are incredibly insightful in determining what matters to children and what does not. The classroom teacher needs only to set-up an efficient accountability system with a motivating incentive program and these type of student-teacher agreements invariably yield positive results.

complete his homework

4.) All homework should be quickly reviewed for accuracy the following school day. Otherwise, the student will discover that nightly homework has no accountability. They will believe it is not important and not to do it or make-up answers so their homework appears complete. Rule: If the classroom teacher is NOT reviewing nightly homework the following class day for accuracy, then homework should NOT be assigned at all.

5.) If a student is NOT completing their homework, there must be a consequence. The child should complete the work at some point during the day on their time – lunch, recess, after school, etc. I recommend asking the parent for permission when their child can complete their unfinished homework – in writing. If there is no parent support, ask the parent to write and sign a dated note (day, month and year) that states, “My child, John Hancock, is NOT required to complete nightly homework.” I recommend telling the parent that (your) intention is to place the note in the child’s cumulative folder – physically or digitally. Frequently, the parent will hold their child accountable for nightly homework rather than allow written documentation citing their own lack of parental accountability.

If the parent will not provide a note, the teacher should document the crux of the conversation. Place that documentation in the student’s cumulative folder – for a future colleague’s reference. This task is well worth the time. The student’s pattern is clearly documented, and parents guilty of complicit behavior often blame prior year’s teachers. A teacher’s historical note of this nature helps parents’ recollection if they possess convenient memories of prior events.

6.) If the student refuses to do work but there is parent and administrative support, a very effective technique is requiring the student to remain in the office and complete that day’s nightly homework for an hour or a specified time . Generally speaking, the child will not complete the homework on the first couple afterschool detentions, but when their time is monopolized for two to four consecutive days, the child is ready to choose to complete their work in lieu of afterschool time.

As long as the child consistently completes their homework, they do not have the afterschool office assignment. In general, within a week, it has been my experience that the child is much more willing to be compliant. It is usually a test of wills. The parents and school faculty should remain calm and collaborative. The child is making this choice, and afterschool 'detention' is nothing more than a common consequence.

7.) If a large number of students are not completing homework, initiating an afterschool homework club is usually effective – one club for each the primary and intermediate grades. Teachers can take turns in the two grade level ranges, and a teacher only has this duty once or twice a month in a normal sized elementary campus. If the campus is Title 1, ask the lead administrator for funding an afterschool homework club. Thus, teachers are paid for their time. Additionally, children who repeatedly fail to do their homework, may come proactively to homework club – eliminating a reactive punishment. Students often tire of proactive work and begin completing their work at home, in lieu of afterschool.

complete his homework

8.) Resignation – If the school administration and the parents do not support the teacher’s efforts on the importance of the child’s education and completing their homework, the classroom teacher has definitely done their due diligence. I recommend focusing on what can be successfully changed for the good of the student.

Link to ALL Pedagogy and Administrative Leadership Blogs on this website

  • Principal Leadership
  • Teacher - Pedagogy

Recent Posts

School Boards - Are the Key to Raising Academics!

Autonomy Comes with a Condition!

Academic Turn-around (MATH) - 'Do What Matters!'

20 Elapsed Time Word Problems

Classen Rafael / EyeEm / Getty Images

  • Classroom Organization
  • Reading Strategies
  • Becoming A Teacher
  • Assessments & Tests
  • Secondary Education
  • Special Education
  • Homeschooling

complete his homework

Elapsed time is the amount of time that passes between the beginning and the end of an event. The concept of elapsed time fits nicely in the elementary school curriculum. Beginning in third grade, students should be able to tell and write time to the nearest minute and solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time. Reinforce these essential skills with the following elapsed time word problems and games.

Elapsed Time Word Problems

These quick and easy elapsed time word problems are perfect for parents and teachers who want to help students practice elapsed time to the nearest minute with simple mental math problems. Answers are listed below.

  • Sam and his mom arrive at the doctor’s office at 2:30 p.m. They see the doctor at 3:10 p.m. How long was their wait?
  • Dad says dinner will be ready in 35 minutes. It’s 5:30 p.m. now. What time will dinner be ready?
  • Becky is meeting her friend at the library at 12:45 p.m. It takes her 25 minutes to get to the library. What time will she need to leave her house to arrive on time?
  • Ethan’s birthday party started at 4:30 p.m. The last guest left at 6:32 p.m. How long did Ethan’s party last?
  • Kayla put cupcakes in the oven at 3:41 p.m. The directions say that the cupcakes need to bake for 38 minutes. What time will Kayla need to take them out of the oven?
  • Dakota arrived at school at 7:59 a.m. He left at 2:33 p.m. How long was Dakota at school?
  • Dylan started working on homework at 5:45 p.m. It took him 1 hour and 57 minutes to complete it. What time did Dylan complete his homework?
  • Dad arrives home at 4:50 p.m. He left work 40 minutes ago. What time did Dad get off work? 
  • Jessica’s family is traveling from Atlanta, Georgia to New York by plane. Their flight leaves at 11:15 a.m. and should take 2 hours and 15 minutes. What time will their plane arrive in New York?
  • Jordan got to football practice at 7:05 p.m. Steve showed up 11 minutes later. What time did Steve get to practice?
  • Jack ran a marathon in 2 hours and 17 minutes. He crossed the finish line at 10:33 a.m. What time did the race start?
  • Marci was babysitting for her cousin. Her cousin was gone for 3 hours and 40 minutes. Marci left at 9:57 p.m. What time did she start babysitting? 
  • Caleb and his friends went to see a movie at 7:35 p.m. They left at 10:05 p.m. How long was the movie?
  • Francine got to work at 8:10 a.m. She left at 3:45 p.m. How long did Francine work?
  • Brandon went to bed at 9:15 p.m. It took him 23 minutes to fall asleep. What time did Brandon fall asleep?
  • Kelli had to wait in a long, slow-moving line to purchase a popular new video game that was just released. She got in line at 9:15 a.m. She left with the game at 11:07 a.m. How long did Kelli wait in line?
  • Jaydon went to batting practice Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. He left at 11:42 a.m. How long was he at batting practice?
  • Ashton got behind on her reading assignment, so she had to read four chapters last night. She started at 8:05 p.m. and finished at 9:15 p.m. How long did it take Ashton to catch up on her assignment?
  • Natasha has a dentist appointment at 10:40 a.m. It should last 35 minutes. What time will she finish?
  • Mrs. Kennedy’s 3rd-grade class is going to the aquarium on a field trip. They are scheduled to arrive at 9:10 a.m. and leave at 1:40 p.m. How long will they spend at the aquarium?

Elapsed Time Games

Try these games and activities at home to help your children practice elapsed time.

Daily Schedule

Let your children keep track of their schedule and ask them to figure the elapsed time for each activity. For example, how long did your child spend eating breakfast, reading, taking a bath, or playing video games?

How Long Will It Take?

Give your kids practice with elapsed time by encouraging them to figure out how long daily activities take. For example, the next time you order a pizza online or by phone, you'll probably be given an estimated delivery time. Use that information to create a word problem that's relevant to your child's life, such as, "It's 5:40 p.m. now and the pizza shop says the pizza will be here at 6:20 p.m. How long will it take for the pizza to arrive?"

Order a set of time dice from online retailers or teacher supply stores. The set contains two twelve-sided dice, one with numbers representing the hours and the other with numbers representing minutes. Take turns rolling the time dice with your child. Each player should roll twice, then calculate the elapsed time between the two resulting dice times. (A pencil and paper will come in handy, as you'll want to jot down the time of the first roll.)

Elapsed Time Word Problem Answers

  •  2 hours and 2 minutes
  • 6 hours and 34 minutes
  • 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • 7 hours and 35 minutes
  • 1 hour and 52 minutes
  • 3 hours and 12 minutes
  • 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • 4 hours and 30 minutes
  • How To Tell Time in Spanish
  • Sinking of the RMS Titanic
  • A Timeline of the Sinking of the Titanic
  • How to Tell Time in Italian
  • When Is the Spring Equinox?
  • Free Math Word Problem Worksheets for Fifth-Graders
  • What Time Is the SAT Test?
  • World War II: Operation Ten-Go
  • Proportions Word Problems Worksheet: Answers and Explanations
  • Telling Time in French
  • Building an Effective Plan of Improvement for Teachers
  • Learn About the Munich Olympic Massacre
  • Fundamental Lessons for Telling the Time
  • Practice Multiplication Skills With Times Tables Worksheets
  • What Is Uptime in Web Hosting?
  • President John F. Kennedy's Assassination

complete his homework

Live revision! Join us for our free exam revision livestreams Watch now →

Reference Library

Collections

  • See what's new
  • All Resources
  • Student Resources
  • Assessment Resources
  • Teaching Resources
  • CPD Courses
  • Livestreams

Study notes, videos, interactive activities and more!

Psychology news, insights and enrichment

Currated collections of free resources

Browse resources by topic

  • All Psychology Resources

Resource Selections

Currated lists of resources

  • Exam Support

Example Answer for Question 19 Paper 1: A Level Psychology, June 2017 (AQA)

Last updated 25 Apr 2018

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share by Email

Section D – Psychopathology: Q19 [16 Marks]

According to the Failure to Function Adequately (FFA) definition, a person is considered abnormal if they are unable to cope with the demands of everyday life (e.g. social and/or occupational) and live independently in society. Furthermore, to be classified as abnormal, a person’s behaviour should cause personal suffering and distress because of their failure to cope. However, they may also cause distress or discomfort to other people who observe their behaviour. Therefore, according to this definition, Rob could be considered abnormal because his symptoms are causing an inability to cope with everyday life as he is finding it difficult to ‘complete his homework’. Furthermore, Rob’s symptoms are also causing distress or discomforted, as ‘his parents and teachers’ have noticed his anxiety.

One strength of the FFA definition is that is takes into account the subjective personal experiences of Rob. This definition considers the thoughts and feelings of Rob and the issues he is facing and does not simply make a judgement based on a pre-defined list of symptoms. This suggests that the FFA definition is a useful tool for assessing psychopathological behaviour.

However, one weakness of the FFA definition is the issue of individual differences. For example, one person who hears voices may be unable to function adequately; whereas, another person may suffer from the same symptoms, but function perfectly well. Therefore, despite the same psychological and behavioural symptoms, each person would be diagnosed differently according to this definition, thus questioning the validity of this definition.

Jahoda (1958) took a different approach to defining abnormality, suggesting that abnormal behaviour should be defined by the absence of particular (ideal) characteristics. In other words, behaviours which move away (deviate) from ideal mental health. Jahoda outlined a series of principles, including: having an accurate view of reality; being able to integrate and resist stress; and being able to master your environment (love, friendships, work, leisure time, etc.) Therefore, if an individual does not demonstrate one of these criteria, they would be classified as abnormal according to this definition. It could be argued that Rob does not have an accurate view of reality as he is hearing voices which are not present. Furthermore, he seems to be unable to resist stress as his parents and teachers have noted that he is anxious, and he is unable to master the environment, in particular his work, as his symptoms are preventing him from completing his homework. Consequently, Rob would be seen as abnormal, according to this definition.

One strength of Jahoda’s definition is that it takes a positive and holistic view. Firstly, the definition focuses on positive and desirable behaviours, rather than considering just negative and undesirable behaviour. Secondly, the definition considers the whole person, taking into account a multitude of factors that can affect their health and well-being. Therefore, a strength of the deviation from ideal mental health definition of abnormality is that it is comprehensive, covering a broad range of criteria.

However, one weakness of the deviation from ideal mental health definition is the unrealistic criteria proposed by Jahoda. There are times when everyone will experience stress and negativity, for example, when grieving following the death of a loved one. However, according to this definition, these people would be classified as abnormal, irrespective of the circumstances which are outside their control. With the high standards set by these criteria, it must also be questioned on how many need to be absent for diagnosis to occur.

[~550 Words]

Please Note:  These answers have been produced without the knowledge of the mark scheme and merely reflect my attempt at producing a model answer on the day of the exam.

  • Psychopathology
  • Failure to Function Adequately
  • Deviation from Ideal Mental Health

You might also like

Failure to function adequately.

Study Notes

Introduction to ​Psychopathology

Definitions of abnormality.

Quizzes & Activities

Deviation from Ideal Mental Health

Phobias, depression and ocd - emotional & cognitive characteristics.

complete his homework

Mental Health - Time To Act?

30th March 2016

Teaching Phobias at London Zoo

23rd June 2016

Break the Silence, But Not with Stereotyping

21st December 2016

Our subjects

  • › Criminology
  • › Economics
  • › Geography
  • › Health & Social Care
  • › Psychology
  • › Sociology
  • › Teaching & learning resources
  • › Student revision workshops
  • › Online student courses
  • › CPD for teachers
  • › Livestreams
  • › Teaching jobs

Boston House, 214 High Street, Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, LS23 6AD Tel: 01937 848885

  • › Contact us
  • › Terms of use
  • › Privacy & cookies

© 2002-2024 Tutor2u Limited. Company Reg no: 04489574. VAT reg no 816865400.

IMAGES

  1. How to make time for homework and home learning

    complete his homework

  2. Simple tips for getting the homework done

    complete his homework

  3. Tips To Help Children Enjoy & Complete Homework

    complete his homework

  4. 5 Effective Ways of Completing your Homework Faster

    complete his homework

  5. How to Finish Summer Homework Quickly

    complete his homework

  6. How to Help Middle and High School Students Develop the Skills They

    complete his homework

VIDEO

  1. Who created homework

  2. i vaccumed up his homework

  3. how he will do his homework? 💀💀

  4. You NEED To Complete Homework As Soon As Possible

  5. how to complete our homework part 2 spoken english

  6. How to complete homework or assignments faster ? #shortcuts #study #studymotivation #fypシ #shorts

COMMENTS

  1. Brainly

    Get personalized homework help for free — for real. Join for free. Brainly is the knowledge-sharing community where hundreds of millions of students and experts put their heads together to crack their toughest homework questions.

  2. How to Do Homework: 15 Expert Tips and Tricks

    You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you've got SAT studying to do. It's just more fun to watch people make scones. D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you're reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time. 5.

  3. How to Finish Your Homework: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

    Download Article. 1. Ask your parents or peers for help. Parent involvement in homework has been shown to help with homework completion and improved academic performance. [15] Asking a friend for help in understanding a concept or an assignment can go a long way in helping you complete your homework on time. [16] 2.

  4. Learn How to Solve Fraction Word Problems with Examples and Interactive

    Example 3: It took Nick five-thirds of an hour to complete his math homework on Monday, three-fourths of an hour on Tuesday, and five-sixths of an hour on Wednesday. How many hours did he take to complete his homework altogether? Analysis: To solve this problem, we will add three fractions with unlike denominators. Note that the first is an ...

  5. How to Get Students to Complete Work

    Keep your tone positive and let students know what to expect regarding workload. Clarify how you will grade homework and the consequences of missed assignments. Spell everything out in a homework contract and have students sign it. Just make sure to explain it, too, so the information sinks in. 3.

  6. How to Get Children to Do Homework

    Stay focused on your job, which is to help your child do their job. Don't do it for them. If you feel frustrated, take a break from helping your child with homework. Your blood pressure on the rise is a no-win for everyone. Take five or ten minutes to calm down, and let your child do the same if you feel a storm brewing.

  7. 4 Tips for Completing Your Homework On Time

    10 minutes: Do some jumping jacks, dance the Macarena, polish your nails. 45 minutes: Work on "2" assignments and maybe even finish with any 3s and 4s. Put everything in your backpack. Completing your homework on time is a learned skill. It requires some discipline and not everyone is naturally disciplined.

  8. Ordering Fractions

    Example 3: It takes Jack three-fifths of an hour to complete his math homework, five-sixths of an hour to complete his reading homework, and two-thirds of an hour to complete his science homework.Order the time spent to complete Jack's homework by subject from least to greatest. Analysis: These fractions have unlike denominators.We will use the least common denominator (LCD) to write these ...

  9. An Age-By-Age Guide to Helping Kids Manage Homework

    Third to fifth grades. Many children will be able to do homework independently in grades 3-5. Even then, their ability to focus and follow through may vary from day to day. "Most children are ...

  10. Teacher Tips to Improve Homework Completion

    Several actions listed below may assist teachers to improve the likelihood their students will complete nightly homework. Teacher Tips to Improve Nightly Homework Completion. 1.) Use a nightly homework assignment book. Check or assign a student to assist any student that consistently demonstrates difficulty completing their assignment book.

  11. 20 Elapsed Time Word Problems

    Dylan started working on homework at 5:45 p.m. It took him 1 hour and 57 minutes to complete it. What time did Dylan complete his homework? Dad arrives home at 4:50 p.m. He left work 40 minutes ago. What time did Dad get off work? Jessica's family is traveling from Atlanta, Georgia to New York by plane. Their flight leaves at 11:15 a.m. and ...

  12. Fraction Word Problems Flashcards

    It took Nick five-thirds of an hour to complete his math homework on Monday, three-fourths of an hour on Tuesday, and five-sixths of an hour on Wednesday. How many hours did he take to complete his homework altogether? 1/3. Stefanie swam four-fifths of a lap in the morning and seven-fifteenths of a lap in the evening. How much farther did ...

  13. PDF Name: Cause and Effect

    Tim forgot his math book. He was unable to complete his homework. Keegan skipped lunch. He was hungry. Erin's car had a flat tire. She called a tow truck. Papa hid the cookies in the cupboard. Gina couldn't find them. Kelly studied her spelling words. She got an A on her test.

  14. Giftedness Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Which group is the most underrepresented in gifted education?, Steven is a gifted student who is very bored in class and does not complete his homework. What would be the best way to help Steven become excited about learning again?, Based on an IQ score of 125-130 alone, what percent of the general population would be considered ...

  15. A student completes his homework in 1 hour and 34 minutes. How long, in

    The student takes 94 minutes to complete his homework. This is found by converting 1 hour into 60 minutes and adding the remaining 34 minutes. Therefore, the correct answer is C. Explanation: A student completes his homework in 1 hour and 34 minutes. To find out how long this is in minutes, we need to convert the hours to minutes and then add ...

  16. HW CH 1. Perspectives in Psychology Flashcards

    To answer his questions, Manny would likely visit a, Chrystal believes that she is in control of her own destiny and that she can achieve any goal that she sets for herself. ... Spencer is always forgetting to complete his homework before class. Although Spencer cannot pinpoint why this happens, a(n) _____ would wonder if Spencer was forgetting ...

  17. It takes Ed 45 minutes to complete his science homework. It takes him 2

    it takes ED 30 minutes to complete his math homework. What is ratio? The ratio can be defined as the number that can be used to represent one quantity as a percentage of another.Only when the two numbers in a ratio have the same unit can they be compared.Ratios are used to compare two objects.. Given, It takes Ed 45 minutes to complete his science homework.

  18. Example Answer for Question 19 Paper 1: A Level Psychology ...

    Therefore, according to this definition, Rob could be considered abnormal because his symptoms are causing an inability to cope with everyday life as he is finding it difficult to 'complete his homework'. Furthermore, Rob's symptoms are also causing distress or discomforted, as 'his parents and teachers' have noticed his anxiety.

  19. Elapsed Time Math Problems Flashcards

    Chapter 3 homework, Chapter 1, Chapter 5 HW, Chapter 4 homework. 362 terms. NM104093430g. Preview. WWW #16A. 12 terms. bvue752. Preview. ATI-Mental Health . ... It took him 1 hour and 57 minutes to complete it. What time did Dylan complete his homework? 7:42 p.m. Dad arrives home at 4:50 p.m. He left work 40 minutes ago. What time did Dad get ...

  20. *RBT Exam Jeopardy Questions* Flashcards

    Paul's behavior analyst paired praise with the delivery of food, and, over time, Paul began to complete his homework contingent on verbal praise alone. Praise is now functioning as what type of reinforcer? Conditioned reinforcement. A client is learning a new skill. He begins with being physically guided, then lightly physically prompted, then ...

  21. How long did it take Raj's older brother to complete his homework?

    The time that it took Raj's older brother to complete his homework was 1 ¹ / ₄ hours . How to find the time taken to complete the homework? The time that it would take for Raj to complete the homework is 5/6 hours. His older brother would do it in 1 1/2 times as long. The first thing to do is to convert this to an improper fraction: = 1 1/2

  22. RBT Study cards Flashcards

    johnny loves to play with lego's but hates to complete his homework. His mom makes playing with legos contingent on completing his homework. Premack principle aka grandmas law. altering demands - interspersal. bobby hates completing math worksheets. The BCBA suggests mixing up the routine by having bobby complete a couple math problems, then ...

  23. Chapter 14 Psychological Disorders Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Bryce often interrupts his elementary school teacher while she is speaking and frequently forgets to complete his homework. He also has difficulty taking turns in playground games with classmates. Bryce most clearly exhibits symptoms of:, He insisted that madness was not demon possession, but a sickness of the mind caused by ...