What To Do When Your Child Forgets To Bring Home Their Homework: Free Printable Checklist | Occasionally Crafty: What To Do When Your Child Forgets To Bring Home Their Homework: Free Printable Checklist

Wednesday, September 24

What To Do When Your Child Forgets To Bring Home Their Homework: Free Printable Checklist

We've been in school now for almost two months.  I know a lot of you started at the end of August or beginning of September.  Have you settled into a routine yet?  How are your kids handling a new year?
I have a daughter in 4th grade, and every year we have an "adjustment period" with her as she gets used to new classroom rules and higher expectations.  First quarter is always a little difficult.  Now, this year, we have a new challenge.  At least once a week, and often more than that, she forgets to bring something home that she needs for homework.
Homework at school - YES I HAVE HOMEWORK, BUT I LEFT IT AT SCHOOL. Confession kid
She might bring home the worksheet but forget the textbook she needs to complete it.  Or, she might bring home a book to read but not the study guide she's supposed to fill out.
I probably don't have to tell you that she is driving me a little nuts!  At our school a late assignment drops your grade 20% the first day it's late, so to see her grades drop simply because she forgets really upsets me as a parent.
I've turned to her teacher as well as some of my teacher friends for ideas on how to help her.  If this happens to you too, maybe you'll benefit from some of their suggestions. 
1. Use a planner- and make sure they fill it out!
Our school provides an agenda/planner.  We are required to sign it as parents each night, regardless of whether the child fills it out or not.  That's been really helpful until this year.  Now half the time my daughter hasn't written her assignments down, which of course defeats the purpose.  I asked the teacher to go over her planner with her at the end of the day during pack-up time, and so far this week it has been working great!  I hope that helps her re-establish this habit.
2.  Ask the teacher for help
As a former teacher myself, I welcomed parents' concerns, especially if stated thoughtfully and calmly. Teachers are there to help your child succeed- and though they are busy, they will certainly do what they can to make sure that happens.  But with large classrooms and heavy workloads, they may not always know why your child is struggling unless you tell them what you see at home.  My daughter got a detention for missing too many assignments before I finally asked the teacher for ideas.  Having seen this often, she was quick to offer her help making sure Emma has all the items she needs at the end of the day until she can start doing better on her own.
3.  Use rewards and consequences
My daughter responds really well to both.  When she forgets something and won't be able to complete an assignment, she loses "screen time"-- no video games, no computer, no TV.
Now for rewards, I know that she "should" be bringing her homework home.  We expect her to have it.  But since she is struggling, I don't want to just punish, but also correct the behavior.  I want to reward improvement.  So, when she meets the expectation for an entire week, she will earn a special reward on Saturday- go out for ice cream, do a fun activity, etc.
4.  Have a homework buddy
If your child has a friend in the same class she or he can call when she/he forgets something, then you can probably get the homework done anyway.  I would still enact a consequence for forgetting something, but at least his/her grade wouldn't suffer.
5.  Don't stress too much.
I've been told that this is developmentally normal.  Many children go through this around this age. It certainly helped me feel better to know that we are not alone in this struggle!
6.  Use my backpack checklist!
I created this for my daughter so she has a visual reminder each day of what she needs to put in her backpack at pack up time.  I printed it out, laminated it, and attached it to her backpack with safety pins.  I thought someone else might benefit from this as well.
I have a more girly one and one more neutral.  You can also download a blank one and write your own items on the checklist as well.

Download Pink and Purple Checklist
Download Black and Green Checklist

Download Black and Green Blank Checklist

Download Pink and Purple Blank Checklist

What is your biggest struggle with school, and how are you handling it? Join the conversation below!

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  1. If my kids turn out anything like me, they are definitely going to need checklists like this! I cannot remember anything unless I write it down and then basically tape the list to my face ;-)

    1. Oh, me too. Hmmm- maybe she's just taking after me! :\

  2. Ha! Sounds like me when I was that age, I too needed to have the list taped to my face! :) My step-kids mom is a teacher so lucky for us we have not been through this yet but ya never know! Thanks for the cute printable. Pinning.

  3. My son used to do this. And I had no support from the teacher. He just thought that my son did it out of irresponsability. No matter how many times I have explained that he has ADHD. This year his teacher seems to be a bit more understanding *crossing fingers and knocking wood*

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