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When a child doesn't do homework

Classroom Management 


Full Member
1.What are your consequences when a child does not do homework?

2. What if they do only one assignment and not all of it?

3. What is your stance on a half done page such as in math?

4. What are some rewards you give for kids doing their homework?

Thanks for your ideas!


Senior Member

I teach first so...

  • Reading is MOST important. If I send home an assigned book from reading group, they bring a signed HW slip back. Otherwise I only know if they read nightly from turned in Reading Logs... turned in whenever the page is complete.

  • Math homework is not assigned each night but I do log it in my grade book when returned. I only mark it and return it if it is incomplete or incorrect, otherwise I trash it.

  • I NEVER give rewards for homework! It's expected that they do it. In fact, I don't give rewards related to work or behavior. The reward is intrinsic.

  • CONSEQUENCE - I send home a "Missing Homework Notice" periodically throughout the marking period that stipulates the missing assignments, lack of reading logs and it says that this will be reflected on the report card if not turned in.


Full Member
In my classroom I create my own homework sheets/packets. Parents know (from early on in the year) that their child is expected to bring homework (3-4 times a week). Parents have to check the availability of homework and sign the bottom portion of it. Students bring the homework back, I tear off the bottom slip and keep for my own records. If homework is incomplete, or missing, student does not get credit. Like previous post said, no reward for homework.
Speaking of rewards, as much as I can, in each math worksheet students get a set of similar problems that have been studied in class. For extra reinforcement, I also provide 2-3 extra problems that are a bit challenging but manageable. If students complete those, they get points that can be redeemed (no homework pass, for example).


Senior Member
...1.What are your consequences when a child does not do homework?

2. What if they do only one assignment and not all of it?

3. What is your stance on a half done page such as in math?

4. What are some rewards you give for kids doing their homework?...
1. None. Since homework is done at home parents are in charge. If a meaningful "consequence" is to be given it should go to the parents not the student.

2. I need to adjust my teaching so the student can finish all of the assignment.

3. See #2.

4. Again, none. I never know for sure who has done the homework - student; parent; sibling, friend. Consider student A who comes from a home with supportive parents versus student B who comes from a home where parents are not around. It's not a level playing field. The award should go to A's parents and CPS summons to B's.

The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn examines the "myths" we have grown up with regarding homework.


Senior Member
1. I give them time to do it in the morning. I have students who, for whatever reason, have no support at home. Since it is "practice" I would rather them do it at some time than end up hating homework.

2. I talk to them to find out why. Sometimes it is just to difficult for them. Then I either help them or have one of my other kids help them.

3. See number 2.

4. In my situation I ended up giving treats for completed homework, which I hated doing but it was the only way I could get my kids last year to at least attempt their homework. Most of them have been convinced, by 2nd grade, that doing school work is not cool at all. I usually give them one small piece of candy.

*Normally I don't give rewards for things they should be doing but sometimes you have to.


Senior Member
My plan

1. I don't give much homework, but when I do I expect it to be done. Now, let me qualify that with the understanding that many times they have more than one night to complete the work. This also means that they have had the opportunity to come to my classroom in the morning before classes start.

So what do I do? The POSITIVE part first.

I have edited a card that someone made up years ago to suit me. It helps the student, parent, and me keep track of two areas: "Time out of class" (Going to the nurse and restroom) and "Responsibilities" (No homework, Unprepared for class, Off-task behaviors).

Then I use a hole punch to track these areas.

The "time out of class" is simply tracked.
The "responsibilities" is offered a reward for no holes punched out of the card at the end of each quarter. (Students are given an "oops" type pass on the first day, so they do have 1 free punch.)

Now the consequence part. The school offers lunch detention (DT) for those that do not do their homework or for behaviors. I don't use this option often because it is used most frequently by the math teachers and so a student may knock out two infractions for the price of one lunch DT.

When the student is receiving the "punch" they must also fill out a "pink slip." (Someone on PT created the pink slip.)

My school also offers the opportunity to turn your work in a day late for a 70. So if the student doesn't turn the homework or classwork in the next day, then they get a zero. If a student builds up several zeros then they receive an invitation to come in for morning tutorials to make up work for "x" amount of points. The invitation is not "optional" -- basically it is a detention with the teacher.

2. Same as above.
3. Math teachers give a zero if no work is shown. If I am doing something that requires math, I do the same. Otherwise, we grade the paper as is or the student can choose to take the "punch" and late grade by finishing the work that night.
4. Some rewards (at the end of the quarter only) - choice of a couple jolly ranchers and a fancy pencil, or miniature candy bar, or something I can find inexpensively from oriental trading company.<!--giggle-->


Senior Member

I teach grade six and sadly my prince does not support homework, so any consequences would not be backed by admin. I give 20 min of reading nightly with one reading night being comprehension homework that I send home on Mondays. My students also have ten vocabulary words a week. I give 10 points a week for the reading and 5 points for comprehension homework. Students who do not bring back homework get a missing homework stamp in his/her planner. Planners are required by all students in all classes and are signed nightly by parents. 15 missing points a week would not wreck a child's grade but is enough points that a child who does not complete homework would not be able to make an A in the class.

Also the record in the planner has been very, very useful when meeting with parents. When I have parents that are upset about the low reading level of their child, the many missing homework stamps in the planner speaks for itself. This method is also effective when conferencing with parents that just signs that the 20 minutes of reading is being done when actually it isn't. When that parent complains of low reading levels I can say....."hmmmmm, I just don't understand this. I see that John is doing his 20 minutes of nightly reading at home and we are working hard at school. We should be seeing more progress." This fosters more of a joint effort between student, parent, and teacher.

I know that families are very busy in this day in age, but I still believe that reading a little every night will give a child an advantage over those who do not practice their reading at home. :)


Senior Member
At my DD's school

Homework counts for nothing, and is checked in class.

My DD teacher said you know who is really doing the homework, and who isn't. She was required to give it, but no consequences if it wasn't done. Except bombing those wonderful math and spelling tests, since the child didn't do much practice at school and none at home.

I had my daughter do it herself, and she did everything. Especially when math was story problems, fractions and long division. I think a good 90% of her science, spelling, social studies, and math report card grades were based on tests alone.

It was hard to push that 2 hours/day of homework, when all her friends were outside playing.

Homework is a hot mess because there are parents who think non school time is theirs, and they don't make their kids do any homework (my BIL), . If the kid gets consequences, like lunch detention, he and his wife raise holy hell. I know parents who make siblings *help* cough cough. Or outright do the stuff to avoid phone calls or notes. My parents had all the parenting skills of reptiles, so I received no help from K-12. It was all in my lap to figure out. If you work in a low income school, I bet it's even worse.

I teach art, so no homework here. The school I work at gives homework, but like my daughter's school is only graded in class for check mark. You can get so many bonus points and earn some free time in class.

Reading logs are the worse. My daughter's were truthful. All her friends made stuff up and had their parents sign off on them.


Full Member
A frustration I have

Is that if I don't give some consequence for not doing homework, then those kids who were doing it don't see the point anymore. They get lazy and lose what they were doing so well. If I allow kids to do work at breakfast, then they just copy the kid who did his work. Plus the quality of the work is so poor and sloppy, it's not even worth taking it.

I agree that we don't know what kind of help they will get at home but I feel the discipline of homework really shapes a student. That is if she does it. I think those self driven kids will do it.


Senior Member
Every child starts with a 100 for a homework grade in each subject. If homework is not completed, they get a notice for parents to sign and -5 points from the 100 in that subject. The homework grade is averaged into their mp grade.

If I receive a note from a parent about incomplete homework, they are excused. I understand crazy nights, emergencies and bad nights happen. If this becomes a habit I call home.

If most is completed I count it and tell them to finish it by the end of the day.

Most kids do their homework and no reward is given.

I explain this to parents at Back to School Night. I have done this for the last ten years and it is school wide. Our former p was tired of all the incomplete homework. Our new p is on board with it.

It sounds like a lot, but I have a binder and check hwk while they are doing seat work or during a prep time. It goes quickly.


Take away what they want

I usually don't have a problem when it comes to homework. I stress it's importance in the beginning and I stay CONSISTENT. I assign about 4 items for homework and I am a do all or no credit given kind of teacher. We get 15 minutes for recess so for every item they don't complete they lose 5 minutes and must complete and show it to me before they can actually play, which means you should complete it at home or during your recess or while you have extra time. They know I won't check it again once I have passed up their desk first thing. The key is not giving a great deal of homework. You only want to reinforce.


Senior Member
If a child does not do homework ask them why. I never did homework as a child because I was forced to cook and clean and act as a mother from the time I got home. My single father did not care that I may have had school work. I worked in the house cooking, cleaning for a family of 12. I may have been able to put a half hour to homework in the morning. I came from a very traditional family where women's work was in the home and usually in the kitchen and behind the vacuum cleaner. I only started getting good at school work when my father was thrown into an institution and I was allowed to actually read a book. I'm serious, a lot of children I see are like this. They don't do homework because their parents are not honoring their education.

Giving rewards to children who have done their homework really makes me think you are giving their parents a reward for treating them like "children" not a maid service.

Not something You want to hear.