Help! My Teen Refuses to Do Her School Work!

Teen Refusing to do schoolwork

As I field questions from homeschool moms who are seeking my advice, one question comes up rather frequently. “My teen refuses to do her course work. What can I do?” I’d like to share 5 suggestions from my experience as a consultant and former homeschool mom.

First, please don’t think you are the only one with a teen who refuses to do his schoolwork. I receive phone calls and emails from other parents who are dealing with this issue and who have concerns for their child. Realize this is primarily not an academic or school issue, but your teen’s reluctance to complete school work is a matter of the heart. His attitude towards his school work, towards you as his parents, and towards the Lord, is ultimately what needs to change. This change is done supernaturally by the Lord, and only by Him. I say this to relieve some of the burden and responsibility from you. You can entrust your teen to the Lord in faith, knowing that the Lord loves your teen tremendously and has good plans for his future.

Secondly, I know you are already praying for your teen. Please don’t stop—even when you don’t see many results!  Keep praying, day in and day out. The Lord hears your prayers on behalf of your child, and He is working out His purposes. Encourage your heart by reading verses from Scripture that remind you of the Lord’s steadfast love and faithfulness – for both your teen and for you. His faithfulness reaches to the heavens!

Third, I encourage you to always keep a tender heart towards your teen. I remember some difficult days with my children during the high school years, and my tendency would be to harden my heart towards my children. They were making my life difficult! I could see so many of their faults daily—and I, sadly, would be quick to remind them of those areas. The Lord brought conviction to my heart with Galatians 6:1 as He reminded me to gently correct with grace – and without any form of superiority. That struck me to the core—I asked the Lord to give me a heart of mercy for my children and to help me to correct and approach them with gentleness and kindness. The Lord used my response in turn to speak to their hearts.

Fourth, on a practical level, help your teen to see the connection between her school work and her future plans. Whatever she would like to do after high school graduation—go directly into the workforce, enlist in the military, or go on to trade school or college—reaching all of these goals will be dependent on your teen doing a good job with her school work. Not doing a good job in school work may actually prohibit her from reaching future goals. This sounds pretty basic, but sometimes teens have not made this connection and need to be reminded of it. As difficult as it may be, you may need to let your teen suffer the consequences of not doing his school work. This may result in poor grades or at worst, not graduating from high school. These consequences will have many ramifications in his life. Perhaps taking time to discuss the ramifications will speak to his heart.


Fifth and most important of all: never give up HOPE! HSLDA members may want to reread several of these encouragement newsletters. They may lift your spirits.

The Lord is able and He is good, powerful, and wise. He will be your strength and your joy as you seek to train and educate your son for His glory. Your son is blessed to have parents who care for him.

Cheering you on,


Photo Credit: Graphic design by Anna Soltis

2 thoughts on “Help! My Teen Refuses to Do Her School Work!

  1. Needed to read every word of this today. My son is 16 and this year has been especially hard with homeschooling. I have him in a coop twice a week and he’s not even taking a full load. He has been unmotivated an undisciplined. He does not have a bad attitude towards us, quite the contrary he’s very tender towards us. However when it comes to school she puts it off till the very last minute if he gets anything accomplished at all. We are praying for him and feel quite helpless at this point. We need help and God’s intervention.


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