Home > Doing Your Homework > Master of Deception: Dealing with Homework Refusal and School Failure by Sue Whitney
Doing Your Homework:
"My son is a sophomore in high school. He is a master of deception. He says he has no homework. By the time I learn that he did, he has another "0."
"Can I demand that the teachers give me a list of his homework assignments? When I request this information, the teachers won't give it to me. I'm told that 'teachers are too busy.'
High school teachers can easily have over one hundred students. You are probably getting as much help from the teachers as any other parent.
You are dealing with several issues:
If you think your son’s testing is outdated or incomplete, you can have another evaluation done, preferably by an evaluator in the private sector.
Does Your Son Have a Disability?
Now read the evaluation that was completed on your son. After reading the Tests and Measurements article, you will have a clearer sense about what the test scores mean.
If you need help understanding what the test scores mean, make an appointment with the evaluator. Bring your list of questions to this meeting. Ask the evaluator to educate you about your son, his strengths and weaknesses, and what can be done about the homework problem.
If parts of the evaluation do not seem to describe your son accurately or the evaluation was done a few years ago, you may want to get an updated evaluation by a private sector evaluator.
What does a good evaluation look like? Look at this evaluation to see what a comprehensive evaluation includes and how the test information is presented.
Homework Refusal and Failure
Demanding that his teachers provide you with his homework will not solve this problem. Complaining that the teachers won't give you his assignments will have a negative impact on your relationships with these teachers. His teachers are likely to view you as an over-protective "helicopter parent" - you don't want that identity!
Find a good therapist who is knowledgeable about adolescents and family dynamics. Ask your son's doctor to recommend a therapist. (The therapist and the doctor may be able to suggest an evaluator if you decide to get a new evaluation on your son.)
If you get a referral from your primary care physician, most health insurance plans will cover several visits. If you are not sure about your benefits, call your insurance company before you make an appointment.
As your son's parent, you still control the food, money, internet, telephone, and transportation. Use this power to get straight answers from your son about homework. Although he may not be able to do the work, he is capable of telling you what the assignments are, or who he can call to get his assignments.
You need to find out why your son is failing. Does he need help or pressure? Both?
Don’t you wish Dr. Spock books went through age 25?
Sample Psychoeducational Evaluation
From Emotions to Advocacy - The Parents Journey. Strong emotions cause parents to react, often with damaging results. Don't shoot yourself in the foot. If you are having problems with the school, use your head.
Meet Sue Whitney