Create an Environment Geared Toward Your Teen.
Some teens need privacy, others, prefer people around them. Find the place in your home that your teen is comfortable to do his work. Have the tools they need to get the work done. Teens are a lot like us... they get aggravated. After a full day at school the last thing they want to do is homework. After they get themselves to the table, all ready to go, what they don't need is to have to search for a piece of construction paper. It will be the straw that broke the camels back, and they will give up. We all know how this feels, so try and have what they need available.
Pick a Time and Stick To It.
Routine, routine, routine! Routines make your teen feel safe and secure. When teens feel safe and secure, they are at their best. Get rid of the, 'Did you do your homework yet?' question. Know that from this time to this time, they are working on it. Be available at that time should they have questions.
Let your teen be the one to come up with his daily routine. They are more apt to stick with it this way. Set up a consequence if they are unable to stick to the routine, beforehand. An example of what I use is if the time is 7:00 pm, and they can't get to the table until 7:05, then no TV, (stereo, going out with friends, ...pick one), for the rest of the night. Use an Action Plan at the beginning of September to help keep up the schedule throughout the school year.
Don't Let Them Overwhelm Themselves.
When children enter High School, they are offered many, different activities. Some teens try and do it all. This is a good time to explain to your teen that there is such a thing as 'too much of a good thing'. See how they handle the responsibility of an activity before allowing them something else. A great article I found is Sports vs School, How to find the right mix of schoolwork and other activities.
Get On Top of the Situation... Before There Is a Problem.
The first week, call or make an appointment to meet their teachers. Get to know them, make them feel comfortable to get in touch with you. This, of course is something your teen isn't going to like, even if they are a good student. But, I have found over the years, that teachers you have called to introduce yourself to, are much more conscious of your teen in their class. So, not only does your teen know that you care about their education, the teachers do also. I have somne articles that will help. You can find them in the Back To School link library page.
The World Wide Web is an amazing place, we all know that. But, did you know that if your 9th grader is having problems with Pi, you can help her by going to the Dr. Math site? For this and other places to go to get help, try About.com's Homework Tips site. Also see my article, How To Find a Tutor for Your Teen.
Now DROP IT!
What kinda tip is that???
Well, let me tell ya, it is the one tip that is going to keep your sanity in check. Parents of teens often have trouble figuring out where to hold up the responsibilities our teens have and when to back off. With school, our teens need to 'hold the bag'. What grades they earn are the grades they have earned, and in no way should these grades reflex on us as parents. After we have given them the time, the space, and the tools, they need to do the learning.
I am in no way implying that I didn't worry about it, I never said that handing over this responsibility is an easy thing to do. But, there are worse things in life than bad grades, and a young adult that doesn't know how to take responsibility for themselves is one of them. So teach your teen now, while you can.