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Why Can’t I Do My Homework? (10 Possible Reasons)
There’s nothing worse than sitting in front of your computer, with an empty Word document blinding you with an all-white screen.
It’s almost as if the empty page is taunting your inability to get your homework done.
The blank screen serves as a reminder that you can’t do anything else until you get this assignment finished.
This is a common problem that will plague you throughout your entire educational career.
Why Can’t I Do My Homework?
There will be many things trying to leach your attention away from the project at hand.
Whether you’ve got friends messaging you about the latest game release or music that is impossible to not rock out to, you need to consider your environment.
Sometimes, the distraction isn’t coming from an outside force, but rather something that is going on inside you.
Lack of food and sleep can impair your ability to function more than you may realize at first.
Medical problems can be massive, inescapable issues.
Whether you’re in physical, mental, or emotional pain, it is easy to let these things consume your mind.
These are distractions that must be dealt with immediately.
When there is too much going on with your schedule or too much going on around you, it can cause your mind to run in circles.
The exhaustion that comes with a busy schedule is enough to wipe out any student’s focus.
Whatever is causing you to be distracted should be dealt with if at all possible.
During this period in your life, your education is the most important thing going on. Your education is the foundation for your future.
Don’t let distractions stop you from being able to get your work done.
Even if you’re worried that you may not be able to get your work done well, it is better to turn something in than nothing at all.
Late work may be acceptable in middle school and high school, but the majority of college professors won’t even look at your late work.
They won’t accept excuses like “I didn’t have the time” or “I couldn’t focus”.
That’s why it is so important to get into the habit of never having late work.
Late work won’t be allowed in your future career, either.
1. Lack Of Nutrition
One of the reasons that you may be feeling distracted is that your brain doesn’t have the proper nutrients it needs to function.
Doing your homework requires a lot of brainpower, so you need to feed your brain.
In order to support healthy brain function , you’re going to need protein, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, dietary cholesterol, monounsaturated fats, water, and small amounts of caffeine.
Each nutrient serves your brain in a different way.
Protein is extremely important for your bones, muscles, and brain.
It helps your brain tell the rest of your body what to do and helps improve your mood.
You can find protein in foods like meat, eggs, fish, nuts, beans, dairy, and soy products.
Antioxidants are going to help stop your brain from aging and can help when you’re feeling mentally fatigued.
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants, with berries being especially packed with these superior nutrients.
Omega-3 fatty acids help your brain work even harder than normal and have been shown to slightly improve your mental health.
Chicken, eggs, beef, and oily fish are great sources of Omega-3.
Typically, you’re taught to avoid cholesterol, but not all cholesterol is bad.
Your brain needs dietary cholesterol in order to form the cells that it uses to communicate with the rest of your body.
You can find dietary cholesterol in egg yolks and dairy products.
Fats are another type of nutrient that is misunderstood.
Monounsaturated fats improve your memory, making it easier to recall information for your homework assignment.
Avocados and nuts are filled with monounsaturated fats.
Water is crucial to every single part of your life, including your education.
Your brain is 73% water, which means your body needs plenty of it to function.
Make sure to keep a glass of water with you while you are studying.
2. Too Little Sleep
Nobody feels their best after a rough night of sleep, but a frequent lack of proper sleep has disastrous effects on your ability to think straight or function.
Although some may believe that sleep isn’t as necessary as doctors and teachers make it out to be, your doctors and teachers are right about this fact.
Sleep contributes to how well you can focus and how well you can remember things, which are the two things that you need to do to get your homework done.
Without sleep, students are prone to having a hard time creating thoughts, remembering details, and staying focused.
Your brain takes in information in three parts: acquisition, consolidation, and recall.
The acquisition of information is when it is introduced to you.
The consolidation of information is how well it holds in your mind once it has been taught.
Recall refers to how well you can remember the information that you learned.
Without proper sleep, you will not be able to take information as well, which affects the acquisition step.
Information that isn’t acquired efficiently won’t consolidate in your mind, which makes it nearly impossible to recall accurately.
If you notice that you’re having a hard time remembering things or having a hard time focusing, try going to sleep earlier than you normally do.
It can be difficult for students to go to sleep early because many students feel that after school is the only time they have available to do what they want to do.
However, you will need to give up at least a couple of extra hours during the school week in order to help you focus and remember things better.
If you’ve tried going to sleep earlier and find that you just lie awake instead, speak with your doctor.
3. Trying To Multitask
Multitasking is a skill that everyone should learn, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be used all of the time.
When doing mentally strenuous work, it is best to avoid doing any type of multitasking.
Other tasks will only be a distraction to you.
In the modern age, people are wired to constantly multitask, whether they know it or not.
Many people feel that they can’t get things done unless they’re multitasking.
In those situations, you may want to speak to a doctor about why you need as much stimulation as you do.
You may be multitasking without even noticing it.
Trying to keep up with group chats and working on homework assignments will divide your attention, making it harder to focus on one thing or another.
The more that you try to do at once, the more likely you are to make mistakes.
Watching a show and working on homework could cause you to cross the two things and write down something you didn’t mean to write.
When you multitask, you put more pressure on your brain to run more functions at once.
This can lead to you getting anxious.
An increase in anxiety means a decrease in emotional control.
Multitasking will cause your brain to tire itself faster than focusing on a single task.
You’ll also want to avoid trying to have conversations while working on your homework, even if you never have to look away from the screen.
Talking and listening to what the other person has to say is taking away from your brain’s ability to recall information it has learned in the past.
4. Mental Health
Mental health can have a greater effect on your life than many physical ailments.
Your brain is the organ that you use to perceive the world.
When your brain isn’t working right, you’re not going to be as effective or efficient.
It doesn’t take much time for your mental health to get the best of you.
As soon as you believe you may be having mental health problems, you will want to speak with a counselor, therapist, doctor, teacher, or another trustworthy adult in your life.
There are a few mental health problems that could be causing you to have a difficult time focusing.
Some of the most common mental health problems that cause people to have shorter attention spans are ADHD and depression.
ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder that can develop during early childhood.
If you notice that you are incredibly forgettable, lose things often, and are frequently daydreaming, you may have ADHD.
No one knows for certain what causes ADHD, but scientists are currently looking into potential causes such as brain injury, the use of alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy, premature births, and low birth weight.
Depression is more than a deep sadness or teenage blues.
It is a mental health disorder that can impair your attention span and your ability to recall information.
This is due to a low amount of serotonin or dopamine in your brain.
Depression also reduces your cognitive flexibility, which means you have a harder time with change.
It also damages your executive functioning which is responsible for guiding your brain through all the steps in a process, even if you’ve done it countless times before.
Don’t underestimate the ability of a mental health disorder to disrupt your ability to think and function.
5. No Passion About The Subject
Passion can play a massive role in your ability to get things done.
You may notice that some subjects of homework are easier for you to get through than others.
This is because you may like one subject more than another.
Some students aren’t academics at heart, which often results in them having lower grades despite being just as bright as some of the top students in their class.
The key is to muster up enough passion or motivation to get yourself through your assignment.
You will want to take note of what you like and dislike about school, even if they’re small aspects of school like working outside or preferring quiet spaces.
This will help you find a career that you can be passionate about and help you avoid jobs that are everything you hate.
Unlike being able to choose what job you’re going to take, you can’t always choose the type of homework you have to do either.
That’s why you may want to evaluate the order in which you do your homework.
If you have homework in multiple subjects, start with the ones that you don’t like or have a harder time with.
This gives you more time to patiently go through your notes or figure out what you don’t understand.
By starting with the harder homework, you will breeze through the rest of your homework because it won’t be nearly as hard in comparison to what you were just doing.
6. Inability To Prioritize
Being able to properly prioritize what you need to do in the short-term and long-term is a skill that takes many students until their final years of education to master, and some never do.
Students who are able to prioritize their duties will experience vastly less stress.
Prioritizing doesn’t mean being able to do everything that you want to do in a day, but rather, choosing the right activities to fill your day.
You may find that you have to put your education above your hobbies and occasional time with loved ones, but it’s what’s best for you and your future.
When you get better at prioritizing, you may find rare situations where you need to have a hobby or time with a loved one above your education.
These moments aren’t often, but they may be what you need when you feel like you’re running out of stream or self-care.
7. Poor Time Management Skills
As you get better at prioritizing, you will learn the crucial lesson of the importance of time management skills.
The sooner you learn this lesson, the more likely you’ll get through your educational career without major mistakes.
When you don’t manage your time well, you might spend the hours that you had after school doing your homework mindlessly scrolling through social media instead.
After you’ve lost a couple of hours to your favorite platform, you may remember that you have a lot of homework to do.
This means that you have to rush through your homework, and the results will most likely be sloppy.
To avoid the lecture you’ll get for your sloppy work from your teacher, start doing your homework earlier to give yourself time to do better work.
The best time to do your homework is right after you get home because your brain will still be in learning mode.
The only thing you should do before your homework is have a light snack to help improve your brain function.
8. Physical Pain
You may not need to move many muscles in order to do your homework, but there are many pains that you don’t even have to move to trigger.
The more pain you’re in, the harder it is to focus.
If you ever feel pain that is distracting you from being able to do daily tasks, like homework or chores, you should tell your doctor, parents, or legal guardian.
Pain that keeps you from being able to function isn’t normal.
It doesn’t take much pain to be distracting.
There are few things harder than trying to write an essay while you also have a headache.
Throbbing pain, like headaches or toothaches, can be especially distracting.
If your pain is so bad that you are having a difficult time getting your homework done, contact your teacher to see if they can give you additional time to get the work done.
You may need a doctor’s note, but many teachers understand that not every student can go to the doctor over every bump and bruise.
When you’re trying to do a lot of homework and balance the rest of your life, it can be incredibly overwhelming.
The stress of trying to understand difficult concepts because you know you’re going to be graded on your ability to understand the topics is anxiety-inducing.
Students deal with a lot of things outside of school as well, such as trying to figure out what they want to do with their life, social development, family problems, and other life problems that many people go through.
Sometimes, all it takes is the wrong math question to send you into tears and almost have a total meltdown.
During these moments, try to remember not to let yourself get worked up.
It’s okay if you don’t understand a topic while you’re doing homework.
As long as you keep trying over a long time, you’ll eventually understand the topic enough to pass your class.
There is a lot of pressure to do the best and get perfect grades, but you also have to remember that you can’t be that good at everything.
10. Too Many Stimuli
Stimuli are anything that cause you to react, whether you notice the reaction or not.
Stimuli can include the temperature of a room, the texture of your clothes, flashing lights, or music playing in the background.
Your brain is picking up on each of these stimuli that your body is feeling.
To keep it focused on the task at hand, make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Put on some comfortable clothes, make sure you’re not too hot or too cold, and find somewhere to do your homework where there’s not a lot going on.
Don’t let your homework go unfinished just because you were distracted, and don’t fall into the habit of having unfinished work.
Your future depends on how well you are able to get things done, even if you don’t want to and would rather be doing something else.
About Janet Jacobs
I bring a passion for whatever I write or do and am always looking to learn a little more each day. Lover of all things outdoors and appreciate the little things in life.
October 17, 2021 at 7:07 am
I hate everything.
October 21, 2021 at 5:20 pm
October 29, 2021 at 1:15 am
November 2, 2021 at 4:56 pm
November 2, 2021 at 11:15 pm
November 6, 2021 at 11:15 pm
November 16, 2021 at 9:17 pm
January 13, 2022 at 1:39 pm
March 18, 2022 at 10:54 am
May 16, 2022 at 6:48 pm
June 26, 2022 at 12:24 pm
December 2, 2022 at 7:38 pm
September 8, 2022 at 7:46 pm
September 14, 2022 at 11:12 am
November 21, 2022 at 4:24 pm
November 30, 2022 at 7:08 pm
i feel the same
November 8, 2021 at 7:55 pm
I have so much homework and I’m back in online learning as of today. I freaking hate life right now.
November 14, 2021 at 11:28 am
November 22, 2021 at 10:39 pm
Please, and let me give you some extra advice and please listen to me. Do your homework daily and early! Also, it is best if you see your homework not as work but as something enjoyable, find something about school you really like and make that as something you need to chase for. Include your homeworks as a routine every single day you have to do 1-2 homeworks that’s it. Start off small, and don’t stress yourself. The more you do, you do less work so if you can’t finish 1-2 homeworks in that day then finish what you can and move on and keep on having a good mood, if you feel too stressed out then take a break and play something. I don’t recommend playing games or looking through social media, instead I recommend something productive like taking a walk, running, working out, or playing musical instruments is a good way to ease your brain from stress and you’ll forget all about it. Then when you feel good again, go back to doing homework and if you do feel stressed at least you got some work done and progress. It also doesn’t matter if you didn’t finish the work because what matters is the progress you’ve done during the time. Don’t force yourself to do homework but do it when you feel you want to do it, just don’t neglect it for days or even a week because that will stack up, and try listening to your classes because that will also make things a lot easier for you. Probably one of the things why you say homework is hard is because you do not listen at all. You do know if you just try and listen to your teacher, you can understand the situation a lot better because they explain it to you. Keep staying healthy with good mental health, that way you’d enjoy homework the same way as you enjoy your passions
January 1, 2022 at 3:33 pm
October 2, 2022 at 8:52 pm
Totally helpful. Another mother advice.
November 28, 2021 at 11:26 pm
January 13, 2022 at 1:37 pm
school brings me so much pain
February 6, 2022 at 11:08 pm
i keep telling myself i just need to do it and its not that hard but yall this AP calc class is kicking my buTT i feel so overwhelmed
February 22, 2022 at 10:26 pm
The work isn’t even that hard. It takes me forever to do any assignment and i just don’t car. I couldn’t care even if i wanted to.
December 5, 2022 at 8:25 am
March 13, 2022 at 8:21 pm
i cant start or do my work and everyone is yelling at me to get it done but i always seem to find somthing better to do like go on my phone,laptop,ps4 when i could be doing my work and constanly staying up late until 3:00 max and always overracting and when i finally get motivation to do my work i just do like 5 asiginments and then not do anymore assinments for a while and that time is used on my electronicts.
April 7, 2022 at 3:49 am
What do I do when I’m experiencing all of the above?
November 1, 2022 at 9:04 pm
idk why i feel the same but same.
September 8, 2022 at 7:47 pm
i feeel the same
“anti spam thingy
November 28, 2022 at 7:31 pm
life is sad
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Suggest a correction.
Can't do homework, even though I want to
I am currently 15 and in high school, and I can't seem to do any homework at home. It's causing me to fail most of my classes. It's not even that I can't do it, most of it is easy work, it's that I can't seem to motivate myself no matter how much I yell at myself or other people yell at me to do it. I just end up staring at my papers/computer for hours.
My parents are yelling at me almost every night now because of my failing grades, but at this point the anxiety I feel thinking about homework just totally shuts me down, I can't do anything. I get anxiety just looking/talking to my parents now, expecting them to start yelling at me, that I've started to avoid them. I've talked with my parents about some mental health issues I think I have, especially relating to stress and anxiety, and they just disregard whatever I tell them, just repeating that I'm perfectly normal. I've even talked with a school counselor, who proceeded to talk to my parents, who told her I was just being overdramatic and trying to get out of work.
None of this can be healthy, I need advice.
Sounds like anxiety avoidance as opposed to a mood issue. You would do well to research the web for methods to reduce it minus drugs
The methods i like involve watching the breath. Google some. There are lots of methods to choose from.
i know it's 6 years later, but i saw this post, which matched some of my behaviors, and then i saw your response
reading up on "anxiety avoidance" is very informative and i believe it might be helpful, i just wanted to thank you for sharing this!
Hate to say it, but you need to do your homework. You hate it now but it will make or break your future. Your success now in high school decides whether or not you are a clerk or a lawyer. You say it yourself, it's easy. Thererfore, I suggest you just buckle down and spend the 45 minutes right after school finishing your homework. Turn off the computer or phone and buckle down and do it. If you get it done fast, you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want. If you procrastinate, you have the job looming over your head until you actually start it. Everyone has been through the homework crisis but the ones who ended up succeeding were the ones who found the motivation to make goals and achieve in high school. Good luck!
Advice from a high school teacher -
Buy a whiteboard for your bedroom wall and divide into a weekly calendar, then use it to track what tasks for what subjects need to be done each night.
Start small - if you are finding it hard to get started, set yourself a short time frame to begin with (10-15 minutes) work on one task for that allotted time, then leave the room and take a 5 min break. Chat to family member,s go to the toilet, get a drink. Then return and invest another 15 minutes. See how many reps you can do on the first night (maybe only one or two) and then stop when you feel the anxiety taking hold. You can try again tomorrow and aim to include a third round and so on as the homework needs require.
Communicate - with your parents and almost more importantly with your subject teachers and/or head of house, year level coordinator, guidance counsellor,whoever is in a position to provide you with the pastoral care you need at school make sure they understand Your mindset and what is holding you back, as well as your eagerness to overcome it. They can have your back at school while you do what you can at home to get back on track.
Start with what you enjoy - do the homework of the subject you like the most. This isn't a long term solution but it at least stops you from falling behind in every subject in the short term.
Consider speaking to a doctor or therapist about your mindset and anxiety. It is unusual for a student to be unable to motivate themselves to do any homework when they indicate they are aware of the need to do it.
Be honest with yourself - it could just be sheer laziness (potentially what your parents and teachers suspect) and if so, kick yourself up the arse and snap out of it...but it could be the beginnings of a serious anxiety issue which you need to get help for. Reflect on this and be brutally honest with yourself. And good luck!
I'm wondering if part of the issue is that you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have. Have you thought about breaking it up to where you work for a bit, take a break, work, break, etc.?
Also, you may consider talking to a counselor at your school. You're not the first student they've spoken to who has experienced this, and they'll have resources to help you.
Hey dude, yeah school sucks. What do you do if you're not doing homework?
I had this problem and I couldn't quite overcome it, although the paths I took towards graduation were a little unorthodox and not worth sharing unless you want to change schools two times and develop a drug problem.
The Good news:
You can still have a fulfilling and even successful life even if you don't do it all and eat the dirt.
The Bad news
You will not be respected by your current peers nor will you be given opportunities unless your competency is phenomenal relative to your lack of discipline. There's nothing wrong with being a clerk relative to a lawyer, unless you're another lawyer in which case you're just "the help."
Getting to where your peers are can take a lot longer and involve a lot more grunt work, which takes a toll. "Compound interest" gained by your peers who succeeded right out of the gate is a real thing.
I wouldn't recommend that path. The amount of shit you have to eat and the number of people you'll realize are arrogant jackoffs is enough to emotionally break a person.
So here's my advice:
Go to your teachers, parents, guidance counselors, whomever, and be up-front that you need help with discipline related to stress/anxiety. Medication should not be your very first recourse, although given the resources available to you that is likely what they will push. I know what I always wanted was a Physics tutor, but like fuck I ever got one or was even considered one. That said medication is not bad, it's just that medication is reinforcement against bad moods/behaviors and not a cure. If you can get someone you trust to consistently be there to help set you up for the first three days at a minimum you'll be both golden and very lucky.
/u/Ozangel1500 has it right. r/getdisciplined might be of help too. Break down what you have into the smallest chunks you think you can manage and then attack them one at a time. If you have any way to limit online distractions like an extension to block websites like reddit at a certain time of day, use them.
Changing scenery as much as you can helps too-- use your dining room or kitchen or some unusual alcove with a table and chair to trick your mind into thinking "this space is for schoolwork" instead of "this place is for fun and schoolwork." In those fights fun always wins or at least puts up a hell of a fight. If you ever get a car this is when being "that guy" who does his work in a Starbucks or McDonald's or wherever can be helpful too. Surprisingly libraries aren't very good in my experience-- humans crave a certain level of background noise.
It gets easier as you do it every day. It really does. The tough part is doing it every day. Yes I stole this from Bojack Horseman. Fuck you it's still true.
I Hate Myself for Not Doing My Homework
I’m in high school and would consider myself to have above average intellect. Still, I’m getting Ds and Es in school.
I seem to do well on all of the tests, but when I get home from school and I have to do my homework, I just can’t make myself do it. My teachers ask me why I don’t do my homework and I tell them I just don’t care anymore. But in reality I do care — I hate myself for not doing the work. Still, when I get home from school I just can’t make myself do the work. Then, when I get my report card, I look at the grades and just cry myself to sleep. I want to do better but I just can’t seem to make myself work harder. Is this just me being lazy or is there something more?
Because there could be so many underlying reasons for your quandary, it’s not possible to make an accurate assessment from such a distance. That’s why it would be in your and your family’s best interest to seek out an evaluation by a mental health professional experienced in such issues.
Some of the possible reasons for your difficulties can include:
The aforementioned are just a few of the many possible explanations for your difficulties other than pure laziness. Your problems might be related to some very different causes other than a deficiency of character. My best suggestion: talk openly with your parents and school counselor about your concerns, and seek a professional opinion about the best ways to address the issues.
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How to Avoid Getting in Trouble for Not Doing Your Homework
Last Updated: March 14, 2023
This article was co-authored by Alicia Oglesby . Alicia Oglesby is a Professional School Counselor and the Director of School and College Counseling at Bishop McNamara High School outside of Washington DC. With over ten years of experience in counseling, Alicia specializes in academic advising, social-emotional skills, and career counseling. Alicia holds a BS in Psychology from Howard University and a Master’s in Clinical Counseling and Applied Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. She also studied Race and Mental Health at Virginia Tech. Alicia holds Professional School Counseling Certifications in both Washington DC and Pennsylvania. She has created a college counseling program in its entirety and developed five programs focused on application workshops, parent information workshops, essay writing collaborative, peer-reviewed application activities, and financial aid literacy events. This article has been viewed 93,320 times.
Homework generally isn’t that much fun. But it generally is a requirement that has a pretty decent-sized impact on your grade, so if you want (or need) to do well in a class, getting the homework done is a big deal. So what happens if you forget to do one of the assignments? You have a few options; the first and best is, of course, to not to forget to do it in the first place. But if that’s not an option, there are a few other measures you can take to try to get out of a homework scrape. Read on to find out more.
Using Good Judgment
- Explain why you didn’t do the homework--maybe you forgot about the assignment, got home late, fell asleep, etc. Don’t sugarcoat your reason, but do use some discretion; if you didn’t do your homework because you were at an all-night kegger, keep your reason general (ie, “I didn’t get home until late”) rather than overly specific (ie, “I was too busy doing keg stands”).
- Apologize. After giving your reason, sincerely apologize. Don’t gloss over this part--the sincerity of your apology will impact how likely your teacher is to want to help you. If you don't feel comfortable talking to the teacher directly, feel free to send them an email or leave them a note.
- Explain that it won’t happen again--and make sure it doesn’t. Let your teacher know that this was a rare instance of you lapsing on a responsibility and that you’ll be careful that it doesn’t happen again. And--this part is important--keep your word. If you make forgetting your homework habitual, your teacher will not only stop believing your excuses, they’ll rapidly become less sympathetic to your apologies.
- Ask for another day to finish the assignment. The best case scenario here is that your teacher will grant you extra time to complete the assignment and won’t penalize you for turning it in past the original deadline. More likely, though, your teacher will offer to let you turn in the assignment late, for partial credit. Don’t gripe about or be ungrateful for partial-credit--it will make it less likely that your teacher will extend you a similar opportunity in the future.
- Ask the teacher to help you understand the assignment and to let you have another chance at completing it. This both buys you more time and has the added benefit of getting you one-on-one homework help as well.
- If the story’s creative or amusing enough, your teacher might cut you some slack simply because you didn’t give them one of the same boring excuses they always hear.
- For example, maybe it just so happened that your parents went out last night and left you with a family friend who turned out to be a clairvoyant and burned all of your homework because he looked into the future and saw that if he didn’t destroy it all your cat would rip your homework to shreds while you slept and you would breathe in a fatal amount of air-borne paper bits and choke to death.
Avoiding Bad Excuses
- It should be obvious, but don’t use “the dog ate my homework.” You might as well not even bother coming up with an excuse at all.
- Don’t just say “I lost it” unless you can come up with a believable set of extenuating circumstances to explain how it got lost. Saying it just got lost randomly is pretty transparent.
- Instead of blaming the printer or your laptop, etc., explain that you had trouble when you were trying to print (or whatever) the homework right before class but that you’ll email it to your teacher by the end of the day. You can buy more time with that, and quickly type it up.
- Just be sure you actually do send it to them by the end of the day--preferably by 5 pm.  X Research source
- First, since it’s your responsibility, not theirs, to make sure you’re up-to-date on assignments, this excuse is pretty much like telling the teacher that it was your own fault.
- Second, because, from your teacher’s point of view, an entire classroom of other students managed to find out about and do the homework, so it clearly isn’t as hard as you’re making it out to be.  X Research source
- And finally, the ignorance excuse won’t work because when you’re absent, your teacher expects that you’ll find out everything you missed. If didn’t, your teacher will again see it as your own fault.
Avoiding the Situation in the First Place
- Start by writing down every assignment and its due date as soon as it’s assigned.
- Be sure to write all of your assignments down in the same place so you don’t miss any or have to go on a desperate search every time you want to know what’s due. A day planner, dedicated homework notebook, or scheduling app are all good options.
- Whenever you get an assignment, estimate how long it will take to complete and set aside the necessary time accordingly.
- If it’s an assignment that will take several days or even several weeks, set aside as many blocks of time as you’ll need to complete it over that span of time.
- Don’t procrastinate on homework--don’t let yourself play video games or chat on Facebook until you’ve finished your night’s assignments.
- Do the harder assignments first. Getting the harder work out of the way first is a more efficient and rewarding use of your time.
- If you have a study-hall period, a free period, a few minutes between classes, a 10-15 minute bus ride home, etc., use that time to work on homework. Sure, you’d rather be talking to friends or playing on your phone, but if you want to have your homework done, you’ll need to actually take the time to do it.  X Research source
- Start by approaching the teacher. Explain your difficulties and ask for their help. That’s what your teachers are there for, after all--to help you learn. (And if they show any reluctance to help, remind them of this fact.) They’re the best source of help since they’re the ones making and grading the homework, and having the help of an insider is often invaluable.
- Get help from a classmate. If your teacher isn’t able to give as much help as you need, supplement their help with help from a classmate who understands the material and is doing well in the class. If you aren’t sure who that might be, ask your teacher for suggestions.
- Get a tutor. Many schools offer free peer-tutoring services that can be a significant help. Ask your teacher or an administrator whether such services are available. If not, consider looking into hiring a tutor. There are a number of professional tutoring services to choose from, or you might try hiring a local college student for tutoring help.
- Even if you think you’re a great multi-tasker, trying to do homework while also texting, catching up on Facebook, and tweeting about how much you hate homework is actually hurting you more than helping you get through the process.
- Moreover, though multitasking can be an asset for some activities, it isn’t an asset when studying. When you’re multitasking, your mind leaves your current train of thought (like, say, trigonometry) and takes up a new train (maybe texting a friend about tomorrow’s plans), and the result is that you end up doing worse on both.
- Find a quiet, distraction-free space to do your studying. The better you’re able to concentrate, the better you’ll do on your work and the more quickly you’ll get through it. Put away or turn off anything you know will distract you (your phone, Facebook alerts, whatever).  X Research source
- If you find yourself being distracted by thoughts of other things you should or want to be doing, keep a piece of paper next to you where you can write down those thoughts as they come up. Don’t dwell on them, just write them down and know you can get back to them later.  X Research source
- Set small goals and reward yourself when you achieve them. For example, set a goal to study for 15-20 minutes straight and then reward yourself with a small treat when you do so.  X Research source
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://www.brighthubeducation.com/study-and-learning-tips/51078-10-most-common-homework-excuses/
- ↑ http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=KidsHealth&lic=1&ps=207&cat_id=20179&article_set=20472
- ↑ http://success.oregonstate.edu/learning-corner/learning-college/concentration-distractions
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Homework Procrastination: Why You Procrastinate on Homework and How to Stop
Homework procrastination involves unnecessarily postponing working on homework assignments. For example, if a student delays starting a homework assignment until right before its deadline for no good reason, even though it would have been better for them to start earlier, that student is engaging in homework procrastination.
Homework procrastination can take various forms, from wasting hours trying to bring yourself to start writing an essay, to putting off an important project until the end of the semester. This is a problem not only because it can harm your performance at school, and therefore cause you to receive lower grades , but also because it can cause you to suffer from various other issues , such as frustration, anxiety, and stress .
If you often procrastinate when it comes to doing homework, know that you’re not alone. Procrastination is a common problem among students ; in terms of statistics, studies show that approximately 80%–95% of college students engage in procrastination to some degree, approximately 75% consider themselves to be procrastinators, and approximately 50% say that they procrastinate in a consistent and problematic manner.
Fortunately, however, there are some things that you can do to solve this problem, as you will see in the following article. Specifically, you will first see an explanation about why students procrastinate on their homework, so you can understand your own behavior better. Then, you will see what you can do in order to stop procrastinating on your homework, so you can start getting them done on time.
Why you procrastinate on homework
You procrastinate on homework because issues such as exhaustion and anxiety outweigh your self-control and motivation. These issues include personal factors, like fear and perfectionism, and situational factors, like distractions and unclear instructions.
Specifically, when you need to get homework done, you rely primarily on your self-control in order to get yourself to do it. Furthermore, your self-control is sometimes supported by your motivation, which helps you complete your homework on time.
However, in some cases, you suffer from issues that interfere with or oppose your self-control and motivation, such as exhaustion and anxiety . When these issues are stronger than your self-control and motivation, you end up procrastinating, until you reach a point where the balance between them shifts in your favor, or until it’s too late.
This explains why you might end up procrastinating on your homework even when you have the necessary motivation and you truly wish that you could just get started. This also explains why you might end up procrastinating on your homework until right before deadlines , when the increased motivation, often in the form of stressful pressure, finally pushes you to get to work.
Accordingly, common reasons for procrastinating on homework include the following :
- Abstract goals , in terms of being vague about how and when you intend to do the homework.
- Feeling overwhelmed , often while being unsure of how to complete the homework.
- Perfectionism , in the form of refusing to create work that has any flaws.
- Fear of failure , often because of concerns over how such failure might reflect on you.
- Anxiety , often in light of potential negative feedback.
- Task aversion , especially in cases where you find the homework boring or unpleasant.
- Lack of motivation , often as a result of feeling disconnected from your future self or having rewards that are far in the future.
- Physical or mental exhaustion , often due to a combination of reasons, such as a high academic workload and associated stress .
- Resentment , generally toward the homework, toward its source, or toward something related, such as a parent pushing you to do well in a subject that you’re not interested in.
- Sensation seeking , generally in the form of enjoying working on things right before the deadline, when there’s intense time pressure.
- Problematic work environment , generally as a result of having many distractions or temptations around.
- Lack of sufficient communication from instructors, for example when it comes to not having clear directions and due dates for a certain class project.
In addition, other issues can also make you more likely to procrastinate on your homework. For example:
- Problematic behaviors like self-handicapping , which involves procrastinating so that if you fail you can blame your failure on procrastination rather than your abilities, and self-sabotaging , which involves procrastinating as a result of a tendency to sabotage your progress.
- Personality traits like distractibility and impulsivity .
- Underlying issues like lack of sleep , ADHD , and depression .
Finally, note that some of these issues can lead to problematic procrastination cycles . For example, this can happen if you’re anxious about your homework, so you procrastinate on it, which makes you even more anxious about your homework due to the added negative emotions that you now associate with it (e.g., guilt and shame), which in turn makes you more likely to keep procrastinating on your homework in the future.
Understanding why you procrastinate on your homework can help you learn how to overcome your procrastination. However, while understanding why you procrastinate can be helpful, in many cases you can reduce your procrastination even without figuring this out. As such, if you find that you’re struggling with this step, don’t worry, and don’t get stuck; simply move on to the next step, which involves trying out various anti-procrastination techniques, until you find the ones that work best for you.
How to stop procrastinating on homework
To stop procrastinating on your homework right now , you should identify the smallest possible thing you can do to make progress on it, and then modify your environment to make it as likely as possible that you will do it.
For example, if you need to write a paper for a university course, the smallest possible step that you can take toward finishing it might be opening the relevant document on your computer, and writing just a single opening line, even if it’s poorly phrased initially. Once you realize that this is all you need to do, you can start modifying your work environment to help yourself achieve that, for example by going to a room with no distractions, leaving your phone outside, and turning on airplane mode on your laptop to disable your access to online distractions .
There are many other anti-procrastination techniques that can help you stop procrastinating on your homework. You don’t need to use all of these techniques, since some won’t be relevant in your case, and since you will generally need only a few of them in order to make significant progress toward overcoming your procrastination. As such, try skimming through this list, and finding the techniques that you think will work best for you.
Improve your planning:
- Set concrete goals for yourself. For example, instead of a vague goal, such as “finish my psychology paper over the weekend”, set a concrete goal, such as “start writing an outline for the psychology paper on Thursday at 5 pm in the library, right after I finish the last class for the week”).
- Break your homework into small and manageable steps. For example, if you need to write a research paper, you can start with steps such as “(1) brainstorm three potential topics, (2) figure out which topic I like best, and (3) find five relevant sources”. If the project that you’re dealing with is large and will therefore require a large number of steps, don’t worry about outlining the whole thing from the start; simply identify the first few steps that you need to take, and add new ones as you go along, to avoid feeling overwhelmed or getting stuck.
- Set a series of milestones and deadlines for yourself. This will help you be accountable and plan ahead, and can also motivate you and give you a rewarding feeling of continuous progress.
- Identify your productivity cycles. Different people are more productive at different times, based on factors such as whether it’s morning, noon, or evening. To reduce procrastination, you should take your personal productivity patterns into account, and schedule your homework for times when you’re most likely to be able to actually work on it.
Improve your environment:
- Change your environment to make it easier for you to focus. For example, if you know that you work best when there are no distracting noises, go somewhere quiet, or put on some noise-blocking headphones.
- Change your environment to make it easier for yourself to get started. For example, if you know that you will need to write an essay tomorrow after you wake up, then leave the document open on your computer before you go to bed.
- Change your environment to make it harder for yourself to procrastinate. For example, if you tend to procrastinate by browsing apps on your phone , leave your phone outside the room where you plan to work.
Change your approach:
- Start with a tiny step. For example, if you need to write an essay, help yourself get started by committing to only write a single sentence at first. This can help you push yourself to get started on homework, and often, once you do so, you’ll find it easy to keep going.
- Start with the best or worst part first. Some people find that starting with the most enjoyable or easiest part of an assignment helps them get going, while others find that getting the worst part out of the way first helps them avoid procrastinating over time. Use either approach if you feel that it works for you.
- Add a time delay before you procrastinate. If you can’t avoid procrastinating entirely, try committing to having a time delay before you indulge your impulse to do so. For example, this can involve counting to 10 before you’re allowed to open a new tab on the social media website that you usually use to procrastinate.
- Use the Pomodoro technique. This involves alternating between scheduled periods of work and rest. For example, you can work on your homework for 25-minute long stretches, with 5-minute breaks in between, and a longer 30-minute break after every 4 work sets that you complete.
Increase your motivation:
- Make doing the homework feel more rewarding. For example, you can gamify your work, by marking down streaks of days on which you’ve managed to make sufficient progress on your assignments, and potentially also give yourself some reward once you reach a sufficiently long streak.
- Make doing the homework feel more enjoyable. For example, you can do your homework in a pleasant location, while listening to energizing music.
- Visualize your future self. For example, you can visualize yourself being able to relax after you finish working, visualize yourself being rewarded for getting a good grade in a course, or visualize yourself having to handle the issues associated with not finishing your homework on time.
- Focus on your goals instead of your assignments. Instead of focusing on the fact that you have an aversion to your homework, for whatever reason, try focusing on your end goals for completing the homework, such as getting a good grade in an important class so you can have a better application for grad school.
Change your mindset:
- Give yourself permission to make mistakes, and accept the fact that your work won’t be perfect, especially at first. This can be helpful, for example, when it comes to assignments that involve writing, where you can give yourself permission to write a bad first draft, and then edit it afterward.
- Address your fears. If you’re procrastinating because you’re afraid of something, try to identify your fears and resolve them. For example, if you’re afraid that your writing won’t be good enough, you can say to yourself that your goal is to just start by getting something written down, and that you can always improve it later.
- Develop self-compassion. Self-compassion can help reduce your procrastination, as well as various issues that are associated with it, such as stress. It consists of three components that you should develop: self-kindness , which involves being nice to yourself, common humanity , which involves recognizing that everyone experiences challenges, and mindfulness , which involves accepting your emotions in a non-judgmental manner.
- Develop self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief in your ability to carry out the actions that you need to achieve your goals, and it can help you reduce your procrastination. To develop self-efficacy, try to identify the various strategies that you can use to finish your homework, and think about your ability to execute those strategies successfully.
When deciding which approach to use in order to overcome your procrastination , keep in mind that anti-procrastination techniques are especially effective when they’re tailored to the specific causes of your procrastination. For example, if you procrastinate because you set abstract goals for yourself, you should focus on setting concrete goals instead. Similarly, if you procrastinate because of available distractions, you should remove those distractions from your study environment, or go work somewhere else instead.
In addition, note that if you suffer from an underlying issue that leads to procrastination, such as lack of sleep , depression , or ADHD , you will likely need to resolve that issue, using professional help if necessary, if you want to successfully overcome your procrastination.
Finally, keep in mind that most people need more than one technique in order to overcome their procrastination , and that different techniques work better for different people in different circumstances. Accordingly, don’t expect a single technique to solve all your problems, and don’t feel that if some technique works well for others then it will necessarily also work well for you. Instead, try out the various techniques that are available to you, until you figure out which ones work best for you, in your particular situation.
Choose Your Test
Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to do homework: 15 expert tips and tricks.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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, y ou 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!)
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.
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!)
Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!
Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.
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.
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30 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Find Motivation to Do Homework
Updated on January 24, 2023 By Daniel Wong 41 Comments
To stop procrastinating on homework, you need to find motivation to do the homework in the first place.
But first, you have to overcome feeling too overwhelmed to even start.
You know what it feels like when everything hits you at once, right?
You have three tests to study for and a math assignment due tomorrow.
And you’ve got a history report due the day after.
You tell yourself to get down to work. But with so much to do, you feel overwhelmed.
So you procrastinate.
You check your social media feed, watch a few videos, and get yourself a drink. But you know that none of this is bringing you closer to getting the work done.
Does this sound familiar?
Don’t worry – you are not alone. Procrastination is a problem that everyone faces, but there are ways around it.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to overcome procrastination and consistently find the motivation to do the homework .
So read on to discover 30 powerful tips to help you stop procrastinating on your homework.
Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the tips found here, plus 3 exclusive bonus tips that you’ll only find in the PDF.
How to stop procrastinating and motivate yourself to do your homework.
Procrastination when it comes to homework isn’t just an issue of laziness or a lack of motivation .
The following tips will help you to first address the root cause of your procrastination and then implement strategies to keep your motivation levels high.
1. Take a quiz to see how much you procrastinate.
The first step to changing your behavior is to become more self-aware.
How often do you procrastinate? What kinds of tasks do you tend to put off? Is procrastination a small or big problem for you?
To answer these questions, I suggest that you take this online quiz designed by Psychology Today .
2. Figure out why you’re procrastinating.
Procrastination is a complex issue that involves multiple factors.
Stop thinking of excuses for not doing your homework , and figure out what’s keeping you from getting started.
Are you procrastinating because:
- You’re not sure you’ll be able to solve all the homework problems?
- You’re subconsciously rebelling against your teachers or parents?
- You’re not interested in the subject or topic?
- You’re physically or mentally tired?
- You’re waiting for the perfect time to start?
- You don’t know where to start?
Once you’ve identified exactly why you’re procrastinating, you can pick out the tips in this article that will get to the root of the problem.
3. Write down what you’re procrastinating on.
Students tend to procrastinate when they’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
But you might be surprised to discover that simply by writing down the specific tasks you’re putting off, the situation will feel more manageable.
It’s a quick solution, and it makes a real difference.
Give it a try and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
4. Put your homework on your desk.
Here’s an even simpler idea.
Many times, the hardest part of getting your homework done is getting started.
It doesn’t require a lot of willpower to take out your homework and put it on your desk.
But once it’s sitting there in front of you, you’ll be much closer to actually getting down to work.
5. Break down the task into smaller steps.
This one trick will make any task seem more manageable.
For example, if you have a history report to write, you could break it down into the following steps:
- Read the history textbook
- Do online research
- Organize the information
- Create an outline
- Write the introduction
- Write the body paragraphs
- Write the conclusion
- Edit and proofread the report
Focus on just one step at a time. This way, you won’t need to motivate yourself to write the whole report at one go.
This is an important technique to use if you want to study smart and get more done .
6. Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines.
As a follow-up to Point #5, you can further combat procrastination by creating a timeline with specific deadlines.
Using the same example above, I’ve added deadlines to each of the steps:
- Jan 30 th : Read the history textbook
- Feb 2 nd : Do online research
- Feb 3 rd : Organize the information
- Feb 5 th : Create an outline
- Feb 8 th : Write the introduction
- Feb 12 th : Write the body paragraphs
- Feb 14 th : Write the conclusion
- Feb 16 th : Edit and proofread the report
Assigning specific dates creates a sense of urgency, which makes it more likely that you’ll keep to the deadlines.
7. Spend time with people who are focused and hardworking.
Jim Rohn famously said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
If you hang out with people who are motivated and hardworking, you’ll become more like them.
Likewise, if you hang out with people who continually procrastinate, you’ll become more like them too.
Motivation to do homework naturally increases when you surround yourself with the right people.
So choose your friends wisely. Find homework buddies who will influence you positively to become a straight-A student who leads a balanced life.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! It just means that you and your friends know when it’s time to get down to work and when it’s time to enjoy yourselves.
8. Tell at least two or three people about the tasks you plan to complete.
When you tell others about the tasks you intend to finish, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your plans.
This is called “accountability,” and it kicks in because you want to be seen as someone who keeps your word.
So if you know about this principle, why not use it to your advantage?
You could even ask a friend to be your accountability buddy. At the beginning of each day, you could text each other what you plan to work on that day.
Then at the end of the day, you could check in with each other to see if things went according to plan.
9. Change your environment .
Maybe it’s your environment that’s making you feel sluggish.
When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Or is your distracting computer within easy reach?
If your environment is part of your procrastination problem, then change it.
Sometimes all you need is a simple change of scenery. Bring your work to the dining room table and get it done there. Or head to a nearby café to complete your report.
10. Talk to people who have overcome their procrastination problem.
If you have friends who consistently win the battle with procrastination, learn from their experience.
What was the turning point for them? What tips and strategies do they use? What keeps them motivated?
Find all this out, and then apply the information to your own situation.
11. Decide on a reward to give yourself after you complete your task.
“Planned” rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to do your homework.
The reward doesn’t have to be something huge.
For instance, you might decide that after you finish 10 questions of your math homework, you get to watch your favorite TV show.
Or you might decide that after reading one chapter of your history textbook, you get to spend 10 minutes on Facebook.
By giving yourself a reward, you’ll feel more motivated to get through the task at hand.
12. Decide on a consequence you’ll impose on yourself if you don’t meet the deadline.
It’s important that you decide on what the consequence will be before you start working toward your goal.
As an example, you could tell your younger brother that you’ll give him $1 for every deadline you don’t meet (see Point #6).
Or you could decide that you’ll delete one game from your phone for every late homework submission.
Those consequences would probably be painful enough to help you get down to work, right?
13. Visualize success.
Take 30 seconds and imagine how you’ll feel when you finish your work.
What positive emotions will you experience?
Will you feel a sense of satisfaction from getting all your work done? Do you relish the freedom that comes with having some extra time on your hands when you’ve completed your homework?
This simple exercise of visualizing success may be enough to inspire you to start doing your assignment.
14. Visualize the process it will take to achieve that success.
Even more important than visualizing the outcome is visualizing the process it will take to achieve that outcome.
Research shows that focusing on the process is critical to success. If you’re procrastinating on a task, take a few moments to think about what you’ll need to do to complete it.
Visualize the following:
- What resources you’ll need
- Who you can turn to for help
- How long the task will take
- Where you’ll work on the task
- The joy you’ll experience as you make progress
This kind of visualization is like practice for your mind.
Once you understand what’s necessary to achieve your goal, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get down to work with real focus. This is key to doing well in school .
15. Write down why you want to complete the task.
You’ll be more motivated when you’re clear about why you want to accomplish something.
To motivate yourself to do your homework, think about all the ways in which it’s a meaningful task.
So take a couple of minutes to write down the reasons. Here are some possible ones:
- Learn useful information
- Master the topic
- Enjoy a sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed the task
- Become a more focused student
- Learn to embrace challenges
- Fulfill your responsibility as a student
- Get a good grade on the assignment
16. Write down the negative feelings you’ll have if you don’t complete the task.
If you don’t complete the assignment, you might feel disappointed or discouraged. You might even feel as if you’ve let your parents or your teacher – or even yourself – down.
It isn’t wise to dwell on these negative emotions for too long. But by imagining how you’ll feel if you don’t finish the task, you’ll realize how important it is that you get to work.
17. Do the hardest task first.
Most students will choose to do the easiest task first, rather than the hardest one. But this approach isn’t effective because it leaves the worst for last.
It’s more difficult to find motivation to do homework in less enjoyable subjects.
As Brian Tracy says , “Eat that frog!” By this, he means that you should always get your most difficult task out of the way at the beginning of the day.
If math is your least favorite subject, force yourself to complete your math homework first.
After doing so, you’ll feel a surge of motivation from knowing it’s finished. And you won’t procrastinate on your other homework because it will seem easier in comparison.
(On a separate note, check out these tips on how to get better at math if you’re struggling.)
18. Set a timer when doing your homework.
I recommend that you use a stopwatch for every homework session. (If you prefer, you could also use this online stopwatch or the Tomato Timer .)
Start the timer at the beginning of the session, and work in 30- to 45-minute blocks.
Using a timer creates a sense of urgency, which will help you fight off your urge to procrastinate.
When you know you only have to work for a short session, it will be easier to find motivation to complete your homework.
Tell yourself that you need to work hard until the timer goes off, and then you can take a break. (And then be sure to take that break!)
19. Eliminate distractions.
Here are some suggestions on how you can do this:
- Delete all the games and social media apps on your phone
- Turn off all notifications on your phone
- Mute your group chats
- Archive your inactive chats
- Turn off your phone, or put it on airplane mode
- Put your phone at least 10 feet away from you
- Turn off the Internet access on your computer
- Use an app like Freedom to restrict your Internet usage
- Put any other distractions (like food, magazines and books unrelated to your homework) at the other end of the room
- Unplug the TV
- Use earplugs if your surroundings are noisy
20. At the start of each day, write down the two to three Most Important Tasks (MITs) you want to accomplish.
This will enable you to prioritize your tasks. As Josh Kaufman explains , a Most Important Task (MIT) is a critical task that will help you to get significant results down the road.
Not all tasks are equally important. That’s why it’s vital that you identify your MITs, so that you can complete those as early in the day as possible.
What do you most need to get done today? That’s an MIT.
Get to work on it, then feel the satisfaction that comes from knowing it’s out of the way.
21. Focus on progress instead of perfection.
Perfectionism can destroy your motivation to do homework and keep you from starting important assignments.
Some students procrastinate because they’re waiting for the perfect time to start.
Others do so because they want to get their homework done perfectly. But they know this isn’t really possible – so they put off even getting started.
What’s the solution?
To focus on progress instead of perfection.
There’s never a perfect time for anything. Nor will you ever be able to complete your homework perfectly. But you can do your best, and that’s enough.
So concentrate on learning and improving, and turn this into a habit that you implement whenever you study .
22. Get organized.
Procrastination is common among students who are disorganized.
When you can’t remember which assignment is due when or which tests you have coming up, you’ll naturally feel confused. You’ll experience school- and test-related stress .
This, in turn, will lead to procrastination.
That’s why it’s crucial that you get organized. Here are some tips for doing this:
- Don’t rely on your memory ; write everything down
- Keep a to-do list
- Use a student planner
- Use a calendar and take note of important dates like exams, project due dates, school holidays , birthdays, and family events
- At the end of each day, plan for the following day
- Use one binder or folder for each subject or course
- Do weekly filing of your loose papers, notes, and old homework
- Throw away all the papers and notes you no longer need
23. Stop saying “I have to” and start saying “I choose to.”
When you say things like “I have to write my essay” or “I have to finish my science assignment,” you’ll probably feel annoyed. You might be tempted to complain about your teachers or your school .
What’s the alternative?
To use the phrase “I choose to.”
The truth is, you don’t “have” to do anything.
You can choose not to write your essay; you’ll just run the risk of failing the class.
You can choose not to do your science assignment; you’ll just need to deal with your angry teacher.
When you say “I choose to do my homework,” you’ll feel empowered. This means you’ll be more motivated to study and to do what you ought to.
24. Clear your desk once a week.
Clutter can be demotivating. It also causes stress , which is often at the root of procrastination.
Hard to believe? Give it a try and see for yourself.
By clearing your desk, you’ll reduce stress and make your workspace more organized.
So set a recurring appointment to organize your workspace once a week for just 10 minutes. You’ll receive huge benefits in the long run!
25. If a task takes two minutes or less to complete, do it now.
This is a principle from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done .
You may notice that you tend to procrastinate when many tasks pile up. The way to prevent this from happening is to take care of the small but important tasks as soon as you have time.
Here are some examples of small two-minute tasks that you should do once you have a chance:
- Replying to your project group member’s email
- Picking up anything on the floor that doesn’t belong there
- Asking your parents to sign a consent form
- Filing a graded assignment
- Making a quick phone call
- Writing a checklist
- Sending a text to schedule a meeting
- Making an online purchase that doesn’t require further research
26. Finish one task before starting on the next.
You aren’t being productive when you switch between working on your literature essay, social studies report, and physics problem set – while also intermittently checking your phone.
Research shows that multitasking is less effective than doing one thing at a time. Multitasking may even damage your brain !
When it comes to overcoming procrastination, it’s better to stick with one task all the way through before starting on the next one.
You’ll get a sense of accomplishment when you finish the first assignment, which will give you a boost of inspiration as you move on to the next one.
27. Build your focus gradually.
You can’t win the battle against procrastination overnight; it takes time. This means that you need to build your focus progressively.
If you can only focus for 10 minutes at once, that’s fine. Start with three sessions of 10 minutes a day. After a week, increase it to three sessions of 15 minutes a day, and so on.
As the weeks go by, you’ll become far more focused than when you first started. And you’ll soon see how great that makes you feel.
28. Before you start work, write down three things you’re thankful for.
Gratitude improves your psychological health and increases your mental strength .
These factors are linked to motivation. The more you practice gratitude, the easier it will be to find motivation to do your homework. As such, it’s less likely that you’ll be a serial procrastinator.
Before you get down to work for the day, write down three things you’re thankful for. These could be simple things like good health, fine weather, or a loving family.
You could even do this in a “gratitude journal,” which you can then look back on whenever you need a shot of fresh appreciation for the good things in your life.
Either way, this short exercise will get you in the right mindset to be productive.
29. Get enough sleep.
For most people, this means getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night to function optimally.
What does sleep have to do with procrastination?
More than you might realize.
It’s almost impossible to feel motivated when you’re tired. And when you’re low on energy, your willpower is depleted too.
That’s why you give in to the temptation of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube videos more easily when you’re sleep-deprived.
Here are ways to get more sleep , and sleep better too:
- Create a bedtime routine
- Go to sleep at around the same time every night
- Set a daily alarm as a reminder to go to bed
- Exercise regularly (but not within a few hours of bedtime)
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible
- Remove or switch off all electronic devices before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime
- Use an eye mask and earplugs
30. Schedule appointments with yourself to complete your homework.
These appointments are specific blocks of time reserved for working on a report, assignment, or project. Scheduling appointments is effective because it makes the task more “official,” so you’re more likely to keep the appointment.
For example, you could schedule appointments such as:
- Jan 25 th , 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Math assignment
- Jan 27 th , 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Online research for social studies project
- Jan 28 th , 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Write introduction for English essay
Transform homework procrastination into homework motivation
Procrastination is a problem we all face.
But given that you’ve read all the way to here, I know you’re committed to overcoming this problem.
And now that you’re armed with these tips, you have all the tools you need to become more disciplined and focused .
By the way, please don’t feel as if you need to implement all the tips at once, because that would be too overwhelming.
Instead, I recommend that you focus on just a couple of tips a week, and make gradual progress. No rush!
Over time, you’ll realize that your habit of procrastination has been replaced by the habit of getting things done.
Now’s the time to get started on that process of transformation. 🙂
Like this article? Please share it with your friends.
Images: Student and books , Homework , Group of students , Consequences , Why , Writing a list , Organized desk , Gratitude
January 19, 2016 at 11:53 am
Ur tips are rlly helpful. Thnkyou ! 🙂
January 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm
You’re welcome 🙂
August 29, 2018 at 11:21 am
Thanks very much
February 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm
The funny thing is while I was reading the first few steps of this article I was procrastinating on my homework….
November 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm
same here! but now I actually want to get my stuff done… huh
December 4, 2022 at 11:35 pm
June 6, 2020 at 6:04 am
I love your articles
January 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm
Thanks soo much. It’s almost like you could read my mind- when I felt so overwhelmed with the workload heap I had created for myself by procrastination, I know feel very motivated to tackle it out completely and replace that bad habit with the wonderful tips mentioned here! 🙂
January 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm
I’m glad to help 🙂
January 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm
You have shared great tips here. I especially like the point “Write down why you want to complete the task” because it is helpful to make us more motivated when we are clear about our goals
January 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm
Glad that you found the tips useful, John!
January 29, 2016 at 1:22 am
Thank you very much for your wonderful tips!!! ☺☺☺
January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am
It’s my joy to help, Kabir 🙂
February 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm
Always love your articles. Keep them up 🙂
February 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm
Thanks, Matthew 🙂
February 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm
There are quite a lot of things that you need to do in order to come out with flying colors while studying in a university away from your homeland. Procrastinating on homework is one of the major mistakes committed by students and these tips will help you to avoid them all and make yourself more efficient during your student life.
February 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm
Completely agreed, Leong Siew.
October 5, 2018 at 12:52 am
Wow! thank you very much, I love it .
November 2, 2018 at 10:45 am
You are helping me a lot.. thank you very much….😊
November 6, 2018 at 5:19 pm
I’m procrastinating by reading this
November 29, 2018 at 10:21 am
January 8, 2021 at 3:38 am
March 3, 2019 at 9:12 am
Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! Please keep up your excellent work!
April 12, 2019 at 11:12 am
We should stop procrastinating.
September 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm
Thank you so much for the tips:) i’ve been procrastinating since i started high schools and my grades were really bad “F” but the tips have made me a straight A student again.
January 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm
Thanks for the tips, Daniel! They’re really useful! 😁
April 10, 2020 at 2:15 pm
I have always stood first in my class. But procrastination has always been a very bad habit of mine which is why I lost marks for late submission .As an excuse for finding motivation for studying I would spend hours on the phone and I would eventually procrastinate. So I tried your tips and tricks today and they really worked.i am so glad and thankful for your help. 🇮🇳Love from India🇮🇳
April 15, 2020 at 11:16 am
Well I’m gonna give this a shot it looks and sounds very helpful thank you guys I really needed this
April 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm
Daniel, your amazing information and advice, has been very useful! keep up your excellent work! May you give more useful content to us.
May 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm
nice article thanks for your sharing.
May 20, 2020 at 4:49 am
Thank you so much this helped me so much but I was wondering about like what if you just like being lazy and stuff and don’t feel like doing anything and you don’t want to tell anyone because you might annoy them and you just don’t want to add your problems and put another burden on theirs
July 12, 2020 at 1:55 am
I’ve read many short procrastination tip articles and always thought they were stupid or overlooking the actual problem. ‘do this and this’ or that and that, and I sit there thinking I CAN’T. This article had some nice original tips that I actually followed and really did make me feel a bit better. Cheers, diving into what will probably be a 3 hour case study.
August 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm
Nicely explain each tips and those are practical thanks for sharing. Dr.Achyut More
November 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Thanks a lot! It was very helpful!
November 15, 2020 at 9:11 am
I keep catching myself procrastinating today. I started reading this yesterday, but then I realized I was procrastinating, so I stopped to finish it today. Thank you for all the great tips.
November 30, 2020 at 5:15 pm
Woow this is so great. Thanks so much Daniel
December 3, 2020 at 3:13 am
These tips were very helpful!
December 18, 2020 at 11:54 am
Procrastination is a major problem of mine, and this, this is very helpful. It is very motivational, now I think I can complete my work.
December 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm
Daniel Wong: When you’re doing your homework, is your super-comfortable bed just two steps away? Me: Nope, my super-comfortable bed is one step away. (But I seriously can’t study anywhere else. If I go to the dining table, my mum would be right in front of me talking loudly on the phone with colleagues and other rooms is an absolute no. My mum doesn’t allow me to go outside. Please give me some suggestions. )
September 19, 2022 at 12:14 pm
I would try and find some noise cancelling headphones to play some classical music or get some earbuds to ignore you mum lol
March 1, 2021 at 5:46 pm
Thank you very much. I highly appreciate it.
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Home / Expert Articles / Child Behavior Problems / School & Homework
“My Child Refuses to Do Homework” — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over Schoolwork
By janet lehman, msw.
For many parents, getting their kids to do their homework is a nightly struggle. Some kids refuse to do their homework. Others claim that they don’t have homework, but then the report card comes out, and you realize that their work was not being done.
So why is homework time so difficult? In my opinion, one of the major reasons is that it’s hard for kids to focus at home. Look at it this way: when your child is in school, they’re in a classroom where there aren’t a lot of distractions. The learning is structured and organized, and all the students are focusing on the same thing.
But when your child comes home, their brain clicks over to “free time” mode. In their mind, home is a place to relax, have a snack, listen to music, and play video games. Kids simply don’t view the home as the place to do schoolwork.
If the homework struggles you experience are part of a larger pattern of acting out behavior, then the child is resisting to get power over you. They intend to do what they want to do when they want to do it, and homework just becomes another battlefield. And, as on any other battlefield, parents can use tactics that succeed or tactics that fail.
Regardless of why your child won’t do their homework, know that fighting over it is a losing proposition for both of you. You will end up frustrated, angry, and exhausted, and your child will have found yet another way to push your buttons. And, even worse, they will wind up hating school and hating learning.
A major part of getting your child to do their homework lies in establishing a system so that your child comes to see that homework is just a regular part of home life. Once they accept that, you’ve already won half the battle. Accordingly, my first few tips are around setting up this system. If you get the system right, things tend to fall into place.
Put this system in place with your child at a time when things are calm and going well rather than during the heat of an argument. Tell your child that you’re going to try something different starting next week with homework that will make it go better for everyone. Then explain the system.
You’ll find that this system will make your life easier as a parent, will make you more effective as a parent, and will help your child to get the work done. And when your child gets their work done, they’re more likely to succeed, and nothing drives motivation more than success.
Structure the Evening for Homework
When your kids come home, there should be a structure and a schedule set up each night. I recommend that you write this up and post it on the refrigerator or in some central location in the house. Kids need to know that there is a time to eat, a time to do homework, and also that there is free time. And remember, free time starts after homework is done.
Homework time should be a quiet time in your whole house. Siblings shouldn’t be in the next room watching TV or playing video games. The whole idea is to eliminate distractions. The message to your child is, “You’re not going to do anything anyway, so you might as well do your homework.”
Even if your child doesn’t have homework some nights, homework time should still mean no phone and no electronics. Instead, your child can read a book or a magazine in their room or work on longer-term assignments. Consistently adhering to the homework time structure is important to instill the homework habit.
Start the Evening Homework Habit When Your Kids are Young
If your children are younger and they don’t get homework yet, set aside quiet time each evening where your child can read or do some type of learning. Doing so will help children understand that evening quiet and study time is a part of everyday home life, just like chores. This habit will pay off when the real homework begins.
Use a Public Place for Homework
For a lot of kids, sending them to their rooms to do their homework is a mistake. Many children need your presence to stay focused and disciplined. And they need to be away from the stuff in their rooms that can distract them.
You know your child best. If you think they’re not being productive in their room, then insist they work at the kitchen table or in some other room where you can monitor them and where there will be fewer distractions.
If they do homework in their room, the door to the room should be open, and you should check in from time to time. No text messaging, no fooling around. Take the phone and laptop away and eliminate electronics from the room during study time. In short, you want to get rid of all the temptations and distractions.
Give Breaks During Homework Time
Many kids get tired halfway through homework time, and that’s when they start acting up. If your child is doing an hour of homework, have them take a 5-minute break every half-hour so that they can get up, have a snack, and stretch their legs. But don’t allow electronics during the break—electronics are just too distracting.
Monitor the break and ensure that your child gets back to work promptly.
Be sure to encourage your child when they’re discouraged. It’s okay to say things like:
“I know it’s a drag, but think of this—when you get your work done, the rest of the night is yours.”
“Look, if you do your work all week, you’ll have the whole weekend to do what you want.”
Show your child empathy—how many of us truly enjoyed homework every night? It’s work, pure and simple. But your child will be encouraged when they begin to have success with their work.
Help Your Child Get Started With Their Homework
Some kids have a hard time getting assignments started. They may be overwhelmed or unsure where to begin. Or the work may seem too difficult.
There’s a concept I explain in The Total Transformation® child behavior program called hurdle help . If you have a child who has a hard time getting started, spend the first five minutes with them to get them over the first couple of hurdles. Perhaps help them with the first math problem or make sure they understand the assignment.
For many kids who are slow starters, hurdle help is very effective. This doesn’t mean you are doing their homework for them—this is simply extra help designed to get them going on their own.
Help Your Child Manage Long-Term Assignments
If your child has a big, long-term project, then you want to work with them to estimate how much time it’s going to take. Then your child has to work within that time frame. So if your child has a science project, help them manage and structure their time. For instance, if the project is due in 30 days, ask them:
“How much time are you going to spend on it each night?”
They might say, “15 minutes a night,” and you hold them to that.
Don’t assume that your child knows how to manage their time effectively. As adults, we sometimes take for granted the habits we have spent a lifetime developing and forget that our kids are not there yet.
Make Sunday Night a School Night
The way that I structure the weekend is that Sunday night is a school night, not Friday. So if your child has homework for the weekend, and as long as they’re done all their work for the past week, they get Friday and Saturday night off and can do their homework on Sunday night.
If there’s a project or something big to do over the weekend, then work with your child to budget their time. They may have to put some time in on Saturday or Sunday during the day. But other than that, your child should have the weekend off too, just like adults do.
The Weekend Doesn’t Begin Until Overdue Work Is Done
If your child has overdue homework, their weekend shouldn’t begin until those assignments are done. In other words, Friday night is a homework night if their week’s work is not complete.
Believe me, this is a highly effective consequence for kids because it creates a great incentive to get their work done. Indeed, each minute they’re doing homework is a minute they could be hanging out with friends or playing video games.
If you can hold to this rule once and deal with the complaining, then next week the homework will be done.
By the way, if they say they can’t do their homework because they didn’t bring their school books home, they should be grounded for the weekend. You can say:
“I don’t want to hear that you can’t do it because you don’t have your books. You’d better call around and find a friend who you can borrow them from. Otherwise, you’ll be staying in this weekend.”
Make Homework a Higher Priority Than Activities
Kids are involved in a lot of after school activities these days. I understand that. But my priority has always been “homework comes first.”
In my opinion, if the homework isn’t done on Monday, then your child shouldn’t go to football on Tuesday. It’s fine if he misses a practice or two. You can say:
“Here’s the deal. We’re not going to football today. You need to get your work done first.”
If your child says, “Well, if I miss a practice, I’m going to get thrown off the team,” You can say:
“Well, then make sure your work is complete. Otherwise, you’re not going to practice. That’s all there is to it.”
I personally don’t put football, soccer, or any other extracurricular activities above homework and home responsibilities. I don’t believe parents should be going from soccer to karate to basketball with their kids while homework and school responsibilities are being neglected.
Use Rewards for Schoolwork, Not Bribes
Most kids get personal satisfaction out of getting good grades and completing their work, and that’s what we’re aiming for. Nevertheless, it’s important to reinforce positive behavior, and that may mean offering an incentive for getting good grades. For instance, my son knew that he would get a certain reward for his performance if he got all B’s or above. The reward was an incentive to do well.
One of the shortcuts we take as parents is to bribe our kids rather than rewarding them for performance. It can be a subtle difference. A reward is something that is given after an achievement. A bribe is something you give your child after negotiating with them over something that is already a responsibility.
If you bribe your child to do their homework or to do anything else that is an expected responsibility, then your child will come to expect something extra just for behaving appropriately. Bribes undermine your parental authority as kids learn that they can get things from you by threatening bad behavior. Bribes put your child in charge of you.
The appropriate parental response to not meeting a responsibility is a consequence, not a bribe. A bribe says, “If you do your homework, I will extend your curfew by an hour.” In contrast, a consequence says, “If you don’t do your homework, you’re grounded until it’s finished.” Never bribe your kids to do what they’re expected to do.
Use Effective Consequences
When giving consequences, be sure they’re effective consequences. What makes an effective consequence? An effective consequence motivates your child to good behavior. They put you back in control and teach your child how to problem-solve, giving your child the skills needed to be successful.
An effective consequence looks like this:
“If you fall below a B average, then you can no longer study in your room and must study at the kitchen table until you get your average back to a B.”
For the child who prefers to study in their room, this is an effective consequence.
Another effective consequence would be the following:
“If you choose not to study during the scheduled time, you will lose your electronics for the night. Tomorrow, you’ll get another chance to use them.”
And the next day, your child gets to try again to earn the privilege of electronics. Short-term consequences like this are very effective. Just don’t take away this privilege for more than a day as your child will have no incentive to do better the next time.
For more on consequences, read the article on how to give effective consequences to your child .
Be Prepared to Let Your Child Fail
Failure should be an option, and sometimes you just have to let your child fail . Parents often do their kids a disservice when they shield them from the consequences of their actions. If your child chooses not to study enough and they get a failing grade, that’s the natural consequence for their behavior. And they should experience the discomfort that results from their behavior.
Let me be clear. If you interfere and try to get your child’s teacher to change their grade, your child will learn the wrong lesson. Your child will learn that if they screw up enough, Mom and Dad will take care of them. And they don’t learn their math or science or whatever it is they failed.
To be sure, failing is a hard lesson, but it’s the right lesson when your child fails. And it’s not the end of the world. In fact, for many kids, it’s what turns them around.
Don’t Fight with Your Child Over Homework
Don’t get sucked into arguments with your child about homework. Make it very clear that if they don’t do their homework, then the next part of their night does not begin. Keep discussions simple. Say to your child:
“Right now is homework time. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can have free time.”
Say this in a supportive way with a smile on your face. Again, it’s important not to get sucked into fights with your child. Remember, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. If your child refuses to do his or her work, then calmly give the consequence that you established for not doing homework.
Also, trying to convince your child that grades are important is a losing battle. You can’t make your child take school as seriously as you do. The truth is, they don’t typically think that way. To get your child to do homework, focus on their behavior, not their motivation. Rather than giving a lecture, just maintain the system that enables them to get their work done. Often, the motivation comes after the child has had a taste of success, and this system sets them up for that success.
Stay Calm When Helping Your Child With Their Homework
It’s important to be calm when helping your child with their homework. Don’t argue about the right answer for the math problem or the right way to do the geography quiz. If you get frustrated and start yelling and screaming at your child, this sets a negative tone and won’t help them get the work done. It’s better to walk away than it is to engage in an argument, even when you’re just trying to be helpful.
For couples, it may be that one of you is more patient and acceptable to your child. Let that person take on the homework monitoring responsibilities. And don’t take it personally if it isn’t you.
Remember, if you can’t stay calm when helping your child, or if you find that your help is making the situation worse, then it’s better not to help at all. Find someone else or talk to the teacher about how your child can get the help they need. And try not to blame your child for the frustration that you feel.
It’s Your Child’s Homework, Not Yours
Remember that your child is doing the homework as a school assignment. The teacher will ultimately be the judge of how good or bad, correct or incorrect the work is. You’re not responsible for the work itself; your job is to guide your child. You can always make suggestions, but ultimately it’s your child’s job to do their assignments. And it’s the teacher’s job to grade them.
Know the Teachers and the Assignments
Build good relationships with your child’s teachers. Meet with the teachers at the beginning of the school year and stay in touch as the year progresses. Your relationships with your child’s teachers will pay off if your child begins to have problems.
And if your child does have problems, then communicate with their teachers weekly. If they’re not handing in their work on time, ask the teachers to send you any assignments that they didn’t get done each week. Many schools have assignments available online, which is a big help for parents. Just don’t rely on your child to give you accurate information. Find out for yourself.
The bottom line is that you want to hold your child accountable for doing their work, and you can only do that if you know what the work is. If you keep yourself informed, then you won’t be surprised when report cards come out.
Work with your child on a system to keep track of assignments. I recommend an old-fashioned paper calendar simply because we already have too many distracting electronics in our lives—experiment and use what works best for your child.
Finally, try to see your child’s teachers as your allies. In my experience, most teachers are dedicated and caring, but I realize that this isn’t always the case. So, for your child’s sake, do your best to find a way to work with their teachers.
If You Think Your Child Might Have a Learning Disability
Kids are expected to do some difficult work, and your child may struggle. If your child is having an especially hard time, talk with their teacher. Ask if it’s typical for your child to be struggling in this area.
In some cases, the teacher may recommend testing to see if your child has a learning disability. While this can be hard to hear as a parent, it’s important to find out so that you can make the necessary adjustments.
If it turns out that your child does have a learning disability, then you want to get an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) set up with the school.
Most kids don’t enjoy homework, and for some, it will always be a struggle. Our children all have different strengths and abilities, and while some may never be excellent students, they might be great workers, talented artists, or thoughtful builders.
I have to admit that dealing with my son’s homework was one of my least favorite experiences as a parent. It was overwhelming at times. Often, I just wasn’t equipped to offer the help he needed.
Our son struggled with a learning disability, which made the work feel unending at times. My husband James was much better at helping him, so he took on this responsibility. But even with this division of labor, we had to make adjustments to our schedules, our lives, and our expectations to make sure our son did his homework as expected.
Life would be easier if all children were self-motivated students who came home, sat down, and dug into their homework without being asked. This is hardly the case, though. Therefore, you need to set up a system that is right for your child, and it’s going to be easier for some kids than for others.
We’re trying to raise our kids to be responsible and accountable for their homework. And we’re trying to avoid fighting with them over it every night. When I had parents in my office, I would take these concepts and show them how they could make it work for their families in their own homes. The families I worked with were able to turn the nightly homework struggle around successfully time and time again.
Related content: The Homework Battle: How to Get Children to Do Homework
About Janet Lehman, MSW
Janet Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled children and teens for over 30 years. A veteran social worker, she specializes in child behavior issues — ranging from anger management and oppositional defiance to more serious criminal behavior in teens. She is co-creator of The Total Transformation® Program , The Complete Guide To Consequences™ , Getting Through To Your Child™ , and Two Parents One Plan™ .
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Hello, my grandson recently moved with me from another state. He is currently in 8th grade (but should be in 9th). He basically failed the last 2 years and was promoted. I would say he is at a 6th grade level. It's a daily fight with him to do his homework. He won't even try. I know a lot of this is because no one has ever made him do his homework before. I thought he would just have to get in a routine of doing it. He's been in school for a month now and its a fight every single day after school. I have lost all the patience I had. I am tired of being a broken record and being the "bad guy". I don't want to give up on him and send him back to his mom, where I know he will never graduate. I have made so many sacrifices to get him here, but I am literally at my wits end with this. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I didn't think it was going to be this hard.
My rule is homework after school. If he comes home and does his homework after school, it was easier for him to complete. That lasted a week and a half. Now, he just sits there and does nothing. Does anyone have any suggestions? I couldn't live with myself if I sent him back and he became nothing but a drop out. I know I am not one to have patience, and I am trying but at the same time, I am almost over it. I don't like going to bed crying and knowing that he is crying too. I am open to all suggestions. Please and thank you.
I'm so sorry you are facing these struggles with your grandson. We here from many caregivers in similar situations, so you're not alone in your frustration. We have several articles that offer helpful tips for managing these homework struggles, which can be found here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/school-homework/
We appreciate you reaching out and wish you all the best moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.
Jessicar Thank you for this article and strategies. I echo many of the frustrations expressed by other parents here, including my opinion (as an educator) that homework should not exist. I agree that teachers and parents are in a struggle about which adult is responsible for supporting the child in getting More homework done. The best thing for my son was a free "homework club" in fourth and fifth grade where a teacher monitored completion of homework. He has nothing like this in middle school so far. Where I really disagree with the article is about extracurricular activities. Kids need physical activity through sports! They need enrichment beyond academics through the arts, theater, music. Many families send their children to religious, language, and/or cultural programs after school. If I sat in school all day, I'd want to move my body and interact with others too. The solution is not removing extracurricular activities that are healthy or motivating or valued. The solution is for schools to limit homework. Given that there is still homework as a reality--I'd like advice on when to have child do homework AFTER sports or extracurricular activity. When is the best time for homework if the goal is to go to bed on time (in my house in bed around 9 pm)? Between extracurricular and dinner--when the kid is tired? After dinner? My child is in 7th grade and I still can't figure it out. What do others do/think?
I found school to be extremely boring, as a teen. Looking back I realize that I hadn't found the work challenging enough. Personally, I struggled with this all through high school. I was completely disinterested in school, as a result.
I noticed that there wasn't a section addressing situations where children, who are motivated by challenges, do poorly as a result of boredom.
I enjoy reading many of the articles; even those which don't necessarily apply to my current situations with my child. One never knows what obstacles or challenges one may come across. Thank you
Here's what I know. Correcting our children when their behavior is displeasing is what most parents focus on. Without a lot of explanation I'm going to try to get you to change your focus. All children have 4 emotional needs:
1. A sense of belonging
2. A sense of personal power
3. To be heard and understood
4. Limits and boundaries
Rather than focus on your child's behavior, focus on meeting these needs. Meet the needs, change the behavior. There a 25 ways to meet these needs. One of the most effective is to spend regular one-on-one time with your child doing what your child wants to do. How do you spell love? T-I-M-E. It seems counter-intuitive, but just try it for a week. Do this for 1/2 hour every day for a week. See what happens.
Frustrated Confused Parent, I went through similar challenges with my son when he was in high school. As a grade school student his grades were always B and higher. The changes began when his mother and I separated; my son was 12yo. Prior to our separation I was the one who maintained, and enforced the habit of completing his assignments before extracurricular activities could be enjoyed. His mother never felt she had the patience or intelligence to assist him with his homework assignments and upon our separation she completely ignored his school work. Although he continued to follow the structure I had established through grade school, he soon began to realize that no one was showing interest any longer and, thus, began shirking school related responsibilities. My son and I were, and still are, close. I am certain that the separation likely had some affect on him, but it was more than that. He was reaching his teens and becoming more self-aware. Friends began to play a more integral and influential part in his life. Unfortunately my son's grades began slipping as he reached his early teens. For me, this was extremely frustrating since I was aware of how intelligent he was and of what he was capable. After many aggravating, lengthy, heated, and unyielding conversations with his mother about maintaining the structure established through grade school, it became clear she was incapable or simply unwilling. Essentially, he was on his own. Of course I would do whatever I could to help. For starters, I facilitated a transfer to a Charter School, realizing that he needed more individualized attention than that which a public school could provide. It seemed as though he was getting 'lost in the shuffle'.
Unfortunately the damage had already been done. After two years under his mother's lack of tutelage my son had developed some poor habits.
He struggled with maintaining good grades throughout his high school career. By 'maintaining good grades' I mean that he would take a grading of 45 in math and bring it to a 70 within three weeks of the end of a marking period. He ALWAYS passed, though. He would somehow get his grades to or even above passing by the end of the period. As I began to see this, I began to have more faith knowing that when the going got tough he would step up and take charge. It also indicated that he did well with what might perceive as an impossible goal. So, I started to have faith that he'd find his way.
He has since graduated, he has a good-paying job, and he is beginning school to become an electrician within the next month or so. In two weeks he moves into his own apartment, also. He's never done drugs, never drank alcohol, and never started smoking cigarettes. All of which I have done as a teen and well into my adult years. I am in recovery. My son is aware of my own struggles. Most importantly, I believe, is that he has a complete understanding that we all struggle in our own ways. Working through the difficulties, challenges, and obstacles are what makes us stronger and it's our compassion for others, and ourselves, which help us grow into decent adults.
I came to realize that the 'grades' he received in school had nothing to do with the amazing adult he's become; it was literally everything else.
NanaRound2 My 6 year old grandson has just taken 2 hours to write a list and write 3 sentences. He thinks if the words were shorter it wouldn't take so long. Already went through this with his dad. I celebrated more than he did when he graduated. Can't drag More another kid through school. Losing my mind and like the previous comment have tried EVERYTHING.
Yeah -been there, done that. Doesn't work. At least not for my child. I've read every *actual* parenting book out there ( You know, the books publishes by Harvard & Stanford professors who've been studying parenting and child psychology for the past 30 years?) ... and you're all missing something - because I've tried it all.
My kid DGAF. This was almost painful to read. "oh, yup - tried that one. That one too. Oh, hey - I've tried that as well."
This is so frustrating; tell me something I haven't already tried 50 times.
Psych Fan I'm with you my sophomore son DGAF . I tried so much stuff even set time stuff and he just doesn't go get his work out. He's 5'9 so I am 5'1 and I can't move him to do stuff . All he does is debate with me that More Grades really don't matter that he's like I'm just going to get D's because I'm not going to care to do better because I do not like school. He doesn't understand why I don't approve of D grades because I know he has better potential but he's like D grades I will pass and get my diploma .
The first thing on the list is to try and stay calm. While doing homework with my children I'm usually very calm. When I do get frustrated I'll leave the room for a moment, wash my face, and take a few deep breaths until I calm down. Or I'll make hot chocolate to help calm my nerves. It's not a perfect system, but what is?
Number two is to set clear expectations around homework time and responsibilities. We have a standard homework time at our house, with a timer and everything. If our kids meet the homework time goal they'll be rewarded later in the evening with family time. Each of our kids know their roles and responsibilities in the house whether the work gets done before dinner or not.
Number three is a relationship with the teachers, each of whom e-mail us, some two or three times a day. Contact with them has never been better. They're teachers are all pretty awesome too.
Number Four, play the parental role most useful to your child...I have three kids. One needs no help at all, one needs minor help and advisement, while the third requires constant supervision or their e-mail might 'accidentally' open up. This we've provided through double teaming. One parent works with them until the other gets home, then they switch while the other goes to make dinner.
Five, keep activities similar with all your kids. We all live on the same schedule, if one of them finishes homework early they get the reward of extra quiet reading time-my kids are ALL book worms.
Six, Set up a structured time and place for homework. Done. Homework table with a supplies basket right in the middle of the room. Big enough for all of them to work at and then some, it's an octagonal table which my husband built. I also always have their 'homework snacks' waiting for them when they get home, and I usually try to make it healthy-even if they don't realize it.
Seven, start early. My kids have been doing 'homework' with me since they were babies, and (as I pointed out to them yesterday) they loved it. We'd learn about cooking, dinosaurs, amphibians, insects, math, English, chemistry, even the periodic table came up. We'd do work pages every day and they'd love it.
Eight, hurdle help, works in area's like math, but not so much with history or English when the problems aren't as straight forward. But we do use this method where it applies.
Nine, choose the best person for the job. I'm best at English and my husband at math. When I get stuck on math I know who to go to, and I'll even study in my spare time to get better at it so I can be more useful in case he has to work late. That being said, we both devote a lot of our time to helping our kids with their homework.
Ten, show empathy and support. Done, not only can I relate to my kids, but I've pointed out that not getting their work done will make them feel bad bad enough, and that that's why we should work on getting it done together, so they have something to be proud of.
Use positive reinforcement and incentives. :) There was this one time I sat my son down at a table with a work book about 400 pages long. He was young, not even in school yet. Next to the book I placed a giant bag of M&Ms. I told him for every page he got done, he could have one m&m. About ten minutes later he finished the workbook and grinned up at me. When I found out he'd finished the book, I quickly checked it to see if it was done well, and then pushed the bag of M&M's towards him and told him he could just have it...Now they get rewarded in video games and computer time...
It seems that according to this article I'm doing everything right...So why is my child still struggling with homework/classwork? They've literally just refused to do it. Have seriously just sat in their chair without saying a word and stared at the table, or desk, or screen- as the majority of work is now done on computers...I'll sit with them, ask them if they need help, try to help them with problems. They will tell me the right answer to the questions being asked and then refuse to write it down. I feel like I've done everything I can as a parent to help them, but despite all my efforts, it isn't working. So...when all of these things fail, when a parent has done everything right, and there is nothing more they can do short of taking the pen or pencil into their own hands and doing it themselves, (but that would be cheating their child out of an education) what then should the parents do?
When our kids don't get their homework done before dinner, they're sent down the hall where it's quiet so they can finish it at the desk there, while the other kids have family time. They are told to come and get us if they really need help after that. But at this point it's like ostracizing our child for not doing homework.
I agree with most of what's on this page, and our family lifestyle reflects that, but I will disagree with one thing it said. It is our job to help our kids and be supportive of them yes, to nurture them and help them get the skills they need to take care of themselves and their home when they're older...but it is not our job to do the teachers work for them, they get paid for that. Some days it seems like that's what's expected of parents. Some even send home classwork if the kids don't finish it in class. Which means the child now has even more work to do on top of their homework. Though I understand that the teachers want the child to finish the lesson, and were the homework not a factor I probably wouldn't mind it as much. I don't even mind them sending home study guides to help kids before tests (Which is what homework was originally) but to send home overwhelming piles of work each night for parents to help kids with, (Each child with different homework so that parents need to bounce from history, to math to English) it's unreasonable. When teachers send home homework, they're dictating what the parents can do with the little time they have with their child. Which is wrong. We once had to cancel a trip to a science museum because our child had too much homework to finish and there was no way to make it in time and get their homework done. They could have had an amazing educational experience which would overall help them get excited about learning with new and fun tactile experiences, but their schedule (and therefore our schedule) was being dictated by the teacher while they weren't even in class. Of course I try not to talk bad about homework in front of my children, because that would make it even more difficult to get them to do it. But children NEED family time, they NEED to be kids. To be allowed to get away from their work and be themselves, to go outside and play with their friends, or even go out to dinner once in a while with their parents. Homework has made it difficult to grow a relationship with our children beyond the confines of what the teachers are dictating. It's violating in some ways and frustrating in others. It's grown into this monstrous thing which it was never meant to become, and the funny part about it is that most studies done on it show that schools who don't have homework have higher test scores and graduation rates. Not to mention better mental health rates. Studies also show, that after a child is taught something, they'll only really learn it after a good nights sleep, and that no amount of homework will change that. Sleep is what our bodies need to absorb important information we learn throughout the day, so staying up late with homework might even be harmful to a child's education...
Sorry I guess that turned into a bit of a rant...In the end I was hoping to find something useful in this article, something I hadn't tried that might work, but I've done it all, and will probably continue to do all of it in hopes that consistency might be the key...It's just that even after years of already doing All of this consistently, it's still not working. It's as if my child has made a conscious decision Not to work. He's not unintelligent, he understands it, he's even been tested and found to have an above average ability to learn. He just not doing it..So what now? What more can I do to actually inspire him to do the work?
Momof6kiddos Gonna have to agree. We do not need tips, tricks, and how-tos for getting our kids to fit traditional molds of sit-and-get schooling. Here's a scenario...homework is described as reinforcement and practice for concepts learned in the school day. Well if the kid has mastered the concept, homework is unnecessary. More If the kid has not mastered the concept then the homework becomes the parents job to re-teach the material. Either way it is fairly useless. Especially in elementary school where kids get one-size-fits-all worksheets. No wonder it's a battle! This whole website is about listening and empowering parents and treating kids like the small respected human beings that they are... Yet when it comes to homework the advice is more like "keep calm and carry on" without tackling the real issue of whether that tiny screaming human in front of you may have a legitimate gripe!!!!
JC Hi Barb, thank you for bringing this up! My son sounds a lot like you...and he really wants to get good grades and go to an Ivy League school. What could someone do to help an 8th grader in the moment of struggle, while making sure they don't get more More anxious from falling behind for the rest of the year?
Tb Hi Barb, I'm the parent of an 8th grader and I want to thank you for the comment you left here. You helped me look at the deeper issues and I really appreciate that. I'm going to approach the conversation with my son differently, thanks to you. Thank More you!
My 11 year old daughter, Alice, has always helped her 7 year old sister, Chole, with homework. But just recently Alice has been giving Chole the wrong answers. We have been trying to get her to give Chole the correct answers
but she always yells at us. She has a baby sister 2 months named Ray and ever since Ray was born she has been giving Chole wrong answers. I once overheard her and Kevin, my husband, talking about how she felt left out. She came and talked to me and said exactly what she had told Kevin. She also told me she has been getting bad grades and doesn't get her homework. Me and Alice talked and she said "All the cool New York girls get straight A's and ever since I started getting D's and F's they said I wasn't cool anymore." We started having her grandparents come over and she would yell, hit, scream, and talk back to them. She is a great student but she spends all of her time on her phone. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even at school she is on her phone. All I'm asking is that 1. How do I make her stop screaming, yelling, hitting, and back talking? 2. How do I make her feel cool and get A's again?and 3. How do I get her off her phone?
sounds like you have a number of concerns around your daughter’s behavior, and
it certainly can feel overwhelming. We would suggest https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/its-never-too-late-7-ways-to-start-parenting-more-effectively/ and focusing on just one or two of the most serious, to get
started. Behaviors like verbal or physical abuse would be of top priority,
while behaviors like https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-walk-away-from-a-fight-with-your-child-why-its-harder-than-you-think/ we would recommend ignoring, and not giving it any power or control.
Empowering Parents author Sara Bean offers some great insight into the reason
for poor child behavior in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.It sounds like your daughter is struggling to
find more effective ways to solve the problems she is facing, and the result is
the acting out behavior. Keep in mind, you can’t make your daughter do anything, but what you can do is help her to
learn better tools to solve whatever problems may come her way. Best of luck to
you and your family as you continue to work on this.
Emma Reed Alice also swears at school and she swears to teachers. Please we have tried everything, even her sister at age 18. What have we done wrong?
Being away from loved ones when they are struggling can be
distressing. It may help to know that it’s not unusual to see changes in
behavior as kids move from the tweens into adolescence, as Janet Lehman
explains in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/adolescent-behavior-changes-is-your-child-embarrassed-by-you/. Normally responsible
kids can start to push back against meeting expectations and disrespect towards
parents and other authority figures can become quite common. The behavior you
describe isn’t OK; it is normal though. I can hear how much you want to help
your daughter and granddaughter
work through these challenges. If your daughter is open to it, you could share
some Empowering Parents articles with her, such as the one above and this one, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.
We appreciate you writing in. Best of luck to you and your family moving
forward. Take care.
mphyvr Thanks for all these "strategies", they might work for some parents, but quite simplistic and just plain old common sense for more defiant kids... Thanks anyways and hope this article helps many.
Psych Fan I'm a mom of a sophomore he's also a swearing boy and will have quite a tantrum even with consequences of take away all he does is sleep. He doesn't like school says school is a waste of time and that grades won't matter in his adulthood . He says More it over n over about how schooling won't help him in the future as I go it will help you do good on a ACT and SAT he is like getting good scores on those are only good if your going to college. He also is like jobs won't look at my grades . I tell him homework teaches him responsibility once a job sees your amount of effort in school your going to have a heck of time getting hired. I even ask him how is he going to succeed to work real well at a job when he doesn't work hard at school he goes I don't need to work hard at school but I will need to work hard at a job.
dcastillo68 If it was only this simple, but, in reality it is not. Middle school syndrome is the worst. Kids don't want to be labeled as nerds so they do everything to try to fail. I went through that with my first born, and now again with my youngest. It is More very frustrating when I was the total opposite when I was growing up. I cared about my grades an I took it for granted thinking they will feel the same way. Now seeing how they are happy with just getting by is really frustrating to me because I am such an over achiever. They didn't even get an ounce of this. Very very frustrating. And I wish I have never invited video games to this household. That is all they want to do. I keep using this an incentive to bring them back on track, but as soon as I give them their games back, they are back to their old habits. Sorry, but I can't wait until they are finished with school and hopefully moving out of state to hopefully a college career. I may change my mind later, but at the moment, this is just how I feel. It is very hard too when you don't get any help. I find today's teacher to be lazy and pushing on more responsibility to the parents. Who has time to do a full day's of work, only to do additional work at home? okay, enough venting.
@frustrated single dad Diane Lewis Hi there - I have a son adopted out of foster care. He is 6 1/2 and has been in 5 homes. He is totally the same! They learn this behavior and are incredibly manipulative. They are so insanely smart. I worry about exactly the same thing. They turn on and off the behavior depending on who they are with and what they want.
We did Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT) at the Mailman Center (Jackson Hospital Miami). It made a huge difference in the short-term. They basically taught us to be full-time behavioral therapists with my son. The effects wore off after a few months as my son adapted and found ways to circumvent the consequences techniques taught to us. He is like the Borg! I am going back to get more ideas on how to adapt and change and stay one step ahead of my son. The gals there are really smart!
So, that being said - we have to be Jean Luc Picard and constantly change and adapt and outsmart them - just like changing the phasers on a laser gun! It is bloody hard work. And, harder the older they get -
eg. He drops like a dead weight - throws his book bag and will not get in the car to go to school - response - next morning I headed it off by calling out to the kids "LAST ONE IN THE CAR IS A ROTTEN EGG!" This has worked for 2 days now.
Wont do homework 2 nights ago - response - "ooh I like doing word puzzles - Im going to do them and win" - this worked one night but not the next - he just then just left me to do his work - so I have told his teacher that there will be no school party for Alex next week unless he gets his homework finished - we will see if this works.....
It is totally exhausting and you have to be on your A game all the time. Im telling you this but - I have to tell myself this too. We have to stay really fit (like cross fit) and work out like a marine. We have to be very disciplined with ourselves - a healthy body is a healthy mind - we cannot let up at all. We have to stay calm at all times (again self discipline).
Im always looking for concrete reactions to situations with my son. Like I said - the entire day goes on like this with everything except what he wants to do. Wont get dressed in the morning - put out his clothes in dining room where there are no distractions or toys - tell him that if he gets dressed and ready for school quickly - he can spend the left over time on the trampoline. That worked this morning.
STAY STRONG MY BROTHER IN ARMS!!! If you can get into a PCIT program - do it.
Love to you - R
My child comes home and says he doesn't have homework, does something easy to make it look like he's doing his homework, or says he did it during free time in class. How do you combat this without going to the school everyday? Neither my husband nor I can do More this because of work, and the we asked the teacher's if it was possible to send us the assignments via email or let us come pick them up once a week with no cooperation. He is a very smart kid and gets "A's' on the work he does, but he is failing all of his core classes because he won't do homework.
@atmywitsend , my child is the same way. I'm at my wits end. I feel like I'm a failure as a parent because I thought I taught my smart kid to succeed - and instead she's lying to me.
Psych Fan NinaMays I'm with the same feelings as my son can be above a C student but he choose to go oh I rather just get F's on this work than to actually get at least a B or A on these many assignments.. I ask him why he chooses F's More in many assignments when he could get a grade to bring his grades up and me telling me he's not being his full potential as by making him not do his work how can I truly believe he's going to be successful and he's like I have big brains . Then I'm like why not show me by doing your school work he goes I don't need do that and I show you of my big brains by telling you school isn't important. Telling me I am brainwashed. He is a sophomore in high school.
FRUSTRATED PARENT NinaMays This is my reality too - "relationship" with teachers is difficult when they won't co-operate with homework expectations, or follow up email - the schools complain that kids are on the internet - yet its them providing wifi passwords - so kids are playing in class - lying about More homework - and since I'm not in the class, I have no idea until report cards surface.
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.
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- 1. The Homework Battle: How to Get Children to Do Homework
- 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
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Disrespect... defiance... backtalk... lack of motivation...
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Give yourself a half hour or an hour break when you get home from school and get down to it. Find a place where there is no distractions and get to work
Why Can't I Do My Homework? · 1. Lack Of Nutrition · 2. Too Little Sleep · 3. Trying To Multitask · 4. Mental Health · 5. No Passion About The
Go to your teachers, parents, guidance counselors, whomever, and be up-front that you need help with discipline related to stress/anxiety.
I seem to do well on all of the tests, but when I get home from school and I have to do my homework, I just can't make myself do it. My teachers
Get help with your homework if you're struggling. If you are having trouble starting, or if you're just stuck on a problem, talk about the assignment with
Ask your teacher or an administrator whether such services are available. If not, consider looking into hiring a tutor. There are a number of professional
Why you procrastinate on homework · Abstract goals, in terms of being vague about how and when you intend to do the homework. · Feeling overwhelmed, often while
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
Perfectionism can destroy your motivation to do homework and keep you from starting important assignments. Some students procrastinate because
You can't make your child take school as seriously as you do. The truth is, they don't typically think that way. To get your child to do homework, focus on