Has this problem just started this year, or has it happened in prior years? If this is a new problem, I would have my child write out his homework and the date in a small tablet, (if the school does not require a specific binder), and keep the tablet on his desk as a reminder to check it daily as he is packing up.
There could be other factors affecting him for not bringing the proper books home. Perhaps he has more than one teacher, and is having difficulty keeping assignments straight. Fourth grade is a very demanding year and is difficult for many students. I taught school for 36 years, the last 16 as a fourth grade teacher. When all else fails, ask the teacher(s) for a conference and see what is suggested to help your child with his problem. Have you son sit in at the conference, so he knows everyone is on his side. Good Luck!
He sounds just like a 4th grader. Really, both of my kids did the same thing around the 4th grade. What I did was if they brought the book home, and if my child couldn't remember what assignment they had, I would make them do all the problems on the subject. Like in math, if the assignment was for them to do problems 1-6, and my child "forgot which ones to do", then he would do all of the problems on that page and the following page. For one of my children it took two times for him to catch on. For the second child it only took 1 time for him to learn to write down his assignments. Hope this helps.
Our kids had what was called an agenda like a calendar to write down the assignments in and they had to bring it home and have it signed by parents and then back for teacher to sign. It teaches them responsiblity and you also know assignments and if they didn't do it they would loose recess. Talk to the teacher!
Is your child forgetful about other things? I ask this because, like the other poster, he may be "forgetting" on purpose. I would make him go back to school and get the homework. If the distance is too great, you could have "homework" on hand that he has to do even if stuff is forgotten, such as working on memorizing multiplication facts, extra math pages, little stories to read with questions to answer, so that he learns that forgetting is not very profitable. I would not make this stuff that is punishment, like writing lines, but things that are educational, but not assigned by the school.
What sort of homework is he forgetting? Is it a daily math assignment, stories to read?? Can you phone someone else who has a child in that class and get the work? For example, if it was spelling words to study, this would work.
Is your child forgetting because he is disorganized, and doesn't put it in his bookbag right away? You could have a talk with the teacher and see if there is something she could do on her end. As a teacher, I used to INSIST that students put their math assignments DIRECTLY in their bookbags IMMEDIATELY at the end of math period. This is a big help. Of course, some kids just stuffed these in their lockers and so the books didn't get home, but these were either very careless children, or children who were deliberately not taking the work home, but only pretending to do so.
Are there organizational things you can do at home that will help your son remember, such as making him take his homework out as soon as he gets home from school. Having him put completed homework back in the bag as soon as it is done. Having him organize his school things the night before so he is ready in the morning. Training him at home to be organized will ensure that he will carry over those good habits to school.
My son had the same problem. I would remind him in the morning to make sure he brought his homework home that night. Then, when I would pick him up I would ask if he had his homework. My constant reminders annoyed him but eventually he got into a habit of getting his homework.
Also, make sure you are keeping in touch with his teacher. Usually, he/she let you know what your child is missing and you two can find a solution that works.
Most teachers will send you the homwork assignments via e-mail if you ask. We had this problem with our daughter and so we checked in with the teacher a lot to make sure the assignments were being done. Taking phone privlages and MP3 player worked too.
Our son however we take video games/TV away. It depends on the child as to what you can use for leverage to make them remember.
If I were a teacher, I would create a "buddy system" of kids, pairing the very responsible kids with those who need it the most, but having everyone participate. They can check each other's back pack at the end of the day, saving the teacher having to check the whole class. When one child is sick, the teacher can fill in for the sick child, since he or she might have to prepare work for the sick child anyway. This way, the absent minded child is helped and may develop habits that will help him or her throughout their school days. The ADHD child may need this throughout his or her school life, and it may be a stress reliever, coming from a school mate, rather than the authority figure, whom they probably hear enough from, already!
Be sure he really is forgetting his homework. As a kid, I often "forgot" my homework. My dad got sick of hearing this excuse for not doing my assignments and gave me some homework of his own. I had to write "I will not forget my homework assignments" about a million times over(it seemed that many to me, anyhow). I never forgot my homework again!!
When my son was in thrid grade he had a terrible time remembering to bring his homework home. Because we lived about a 10 minute walk from school (and the teacher was very cooperative) the solution was that he had to walk back to school to pick it up. Making him responsible and requiring HIM to do the work helped him remember to bring it home the first time.
If your child uses a bus, obviously this won't work, but if he's at a neighborhood school, it might. Also, my children have a school binder that goes home every single day. In it is a folder with holes punched so it stays in the binder. All homework comes home in that folder and goes back in it. You could do that with or without the binder. Get the teacher onboard though.
I feel fairly sure the teacher DOES remind the kids again and again to pack homework. I know because I've been there - both as a teacher and as a mother of some very forgetful kids. If the teacher had time (and if this is a problem for several) he/she could require them to have assignments written in a notebook and necessary books laid out for teacher to see before school is out.
When I had a real problem with one son I enlisted teacher help by asking her to take a couple of seconds to view my child's notebook and initial it so I would know he showed it to her. If there was no homework this was noted in the book. No initial, no TV-for the first night. Next time no TV and no dessert. Next time no TV, no dessert and a very early bed time. This got the book home to me EVERY night. Teachers want kids to do well.
Hmmm; you might want to enlist the teacher's help on this one. (In fact, I am rather surprised he/she does not remind the children.) In our elementary schools, the teachers post the assignments on a chalkboard or dry-erase board every day in the same spot, so that the children can never say they didn't know. And if some kids needed extra help with organization, the teachers would remind them to check the board and be sure to pack up their homework at the end of the day, when everyone was packing up for the bus lines, etc.
Hopefully your son's teacher is approachable--I would send a note, or call and ask if you might get together (or talk on the phone) to strategize ways to help your son improve his "organizational skills".
(This seems less likely to make the teacher think you're expecting him/her to do the remembering.)
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