I tried something this morning. It was a little risky, and I knew it could backfire. But I had a plan if it did backfire. J had orchestra this morning. I pick him up (at N's school) and transfer him back to our neighborhood school. This all coincides with the morning bell. I try to get N to school a few minutes early and J is usually late (this is how it worked last year).
Anyway, I informed N this morning that I would only be making one trip to his school this morning. I told him that if he wasn't ready by the time I left, that he wouldn't be going to school. He was really surprised, but boy did he hurry. He got to school on time and there were no battles. I knew that I could try that tactic today because he was excited about a street-ball game and he had already picked his clothes. I also knew that if he called my bluff, I could keep him busy working on a new list of late work (that he brought home yesterday -- he's still getting all Ns -- the equivalent of an F). But it worked.