From the classic “my dog ate my homework” excuse to more clever excuses like, “my backpack got stolen” or, “I left my binder in my mom’s car,” there are endless ways students can try to get out of doing and handing in homework. Here are some ways you can help students overcome homework excuses like these.
Try to understand why students don’t do their work
There are many reasons why a student may not do their homework. These might be:
- Lack of interest
- Wanting to get it perfect or a fear of failure
- Being surrounded by distractions
- It’s too difficult
- It’s too much to do at once
- It’s not as important as another task
- They forgot
- They didn’t have time
Help students overcome homework excuses by taking different approaches on assignments
We’re not talking about bringing the difficulty level down here. Although that could be the case with a student who is struggling, it might be helpful to simply lessen the amount slightly or break it up into smaller chunks.
Or, take a different approach with the homework. For example, if a student is experiencing a lack of interest in a project, try allowing them to take a creative approach on it. If you are a teacher or tutor, give them ideas of different options like turning an English project into an art project, a song, or a skit.
You can also have your students do some partner or group work so they are held accountable to someone else. This also avoids excuses about not having the right supplies, because even if one child doesn’t have their books, someone else in the group likely will. Another option is to schedule an assignment that is done in class or during a tutoring session. This will avoid the excuse of not understanding something, or finding it too difficult, because help will be readily available.
If you are a parent, talk to your child’s teacher or tutor about what other options there are to allow your child to take a creative approach on a project.
Other ways to help students overcome homework excuses:
If your students are not struggling with the assignment itself, but just have trouble doing homework in general, there are few things you can try to help them overcome homework excuses. If they seem to be struggling with procrastination, try giving them some study tips to follow. For example, turn off all devices when doing homework!
You can also encourage students to set earlier deadlines. Or, you could even have a deadline for a first draft before the final deadline for a paper. This will help them get the paper done early so that they don’t feel pressed for time on the final copy. It will also allow them to have more time to get feedback on their first draft before they submit the final copy.
And finally, encourage your students to have a space they can study in without distractions. If they don’t have a quiet space at home, recommend a library or a study area at school.
Whatever problem your student has with completing homework, try figuring out what it is and help them overcome homework excuses. A creative approach or changing up the usual ways may encourage them to get things done. Good luck!