Skip to content
  • Staying organized
  • School struggles
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Following instructions

Why kids don’t hand in their work (even if they did it)

By Amanda Morin

This article is part of

Take N.O.T.E.

A simple, step-by-step tool to help you figure out if the struggles you’re seeing might be signs of a learning and thinking difference

When kids complete their homework but don’t turn it in, it’s frustrating. And it can be even more frustrating if kids don’t have an answer to the question, “Why didn’t you hand it in?”

It’s not unusual for kids to forget to turn in their homework from time to time. And some kids choose not to hand in their homework, even if they did it.

Middle-schoolers and high-schoolers may want to seem cool in front of their friends. To some kids that age, caring about getting their homework done isn’t cool. 

Some kids might feel like they’re just “not good” at a class or at school in general. Maybe they had a bad experience with an assignment or a teacher in the past. So they don’t even bother handing in their work — even if they did it.

For other kids, though, getting homework to the teacher is a different kind of challenge. It’s one thing to do homework. It’s another thing to put it in your backpack, bring it to school, find it in your backpack, and remember to turn it in.

It may seem like kids are being lazy or not trying hard enough. But challenges with organization are real.

Dive deeper

Homework and trouble with organization

The routine to get out the door in the morning is already hard for some kids. Managing to take their homework with them adds another layer. It doesn’t mean that kids don’t want to get it right or aren’t working hard. Kids can want to get organized and still struggle with it.

Other kids may get their homework to school but forget to turn it in. Maybe they can’t find it in their messy backpack. They might be distractible and get sidetracked by something before turning it in. 

Some kids just completely forget to turn homework in. Forgetfulness isn’t uncommon, especially when kids are stressed or tired. And it’s more common for some kids than others, like kids who have trouble with focus or with following directions.

Learn more about what can cause organization challenges .

How a homework contract can help

A homework contract holds everyone accountable for what they need to do to make sure homework gets done and turned in. 

Parents and caregivers: Download a homework contract to use with your child. Use it to outline the ways you’ll help with homework, including how much you’ll help your child get it to school.

Educators: If kids are having trouble turning in their homework, suggest that families try a homework contract. Explore homework contracts and other organization printables for families. 

Next steps

When kids are completing homework but not turning it in, families and educators should connect and share what they’re seeing. Talk about the classroom policies and routines around homework like: 

  • Late work policies 

  • Where and when kids turn in homework 

  • Online options — can kids turn in homework online, like on Google Classroom? Can they email homework? 

Then use the information to find strategies to try. 

Parents and caregivers: It’s important to talk with your child, too. Ask specific questions about how school is going. For example, does your child feel uncomfortable handing in homework? Is something going on with the teacher? Talk about what’s going on and let them know you’ll work together to find solutions. 

Related topics

Staying organized School struggles Signs and symptoms Following instructions

Tell us what interests you

See your recommendations

Tell us what interests you

Select the topics you want to learn more about

See your recommendations

Share

Did you know we have a community app for parents?

Download Wunder on the App Store

Share Why kids don’t hand in their work (even if they did it)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom

Share Why kids don’t hand in their work (even if they did it)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom