Oops I Forgot My Homework

Empty lunch bag, complete with half-eaten peanut butter sandwich? Check. Dirt-and-grass-stained gym clothes? Check. Tonight’s homework? Oops. Forgotten again. Shortly after he starts grade school, your tot's homework will likely start rolling in — unless, of course, he's lucky enough to be enrolled in a school that forbids it.

Whether it’s reading, math, science or Spanish, chances are that on a nightly basis, your little learner will be asked to complete some type of schoolwork at home. If your child seems to have the memory of a goldfish when it comes to remembering to bring his homework, well, home, you'll want to try out following tips and tricks.

Planners, Agendas and Folders

Just like adults, children can feel overwhelmed by their “to-do” lists. This is why purchasing a kid-friendly planner or agenda book can be especially helpful. Julie Hazlett, a fourth grade math teacher of over 21 years from Lower Burrell, PA, says that all of her students are required to use a planner or agenda in her classroom.

"All homework assignments are gone over together at the end of the day, which students record in the planners," she says. She then instructs her students to organize all of the materials they'll need to complete the night's homework. "Parents then sign the planners that night, and I check for signatures the next morning," she says. Signing the planner, she says, lets the student know that his parents and teachers are communicating.

If your child is a habitual homework-forgetter, talk to his teacher about implementing a similar process, even if it's on an individual basis. Hazlett, who taught fourth grade for 21 years before becoming a math specialist, also suggests that parents provide their children with a special homework folder, as well as a special place to place the folder when they return home. "Parents can check that spot every day before their children leave for school to make sure homework is put in their backpacks," she suggests.

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Incentives and Rewards

Hazlett also employs an incentive-based reward system in her classroom. She issues each child in her class a punch card, and each time the students return their homework over the course of a two-week period, they earn a hole punch in the card. "Once you have 10 punches, you pick a prize from the prize box and start on a new card," she says.

This system could easily be adapted at home for younger children. Simply create a colorful "I Remembered My Homework" card or sticker chart, and then, each time your child remembers to bring home his homework (and completes it), you could either hole-punch the card, stamp it, or add a sticker. Once the child has collected 10 stickers or stamps, he can choose a reward, such as a small toy, a trip to the ice cream store, or staying up a little later to watch TV or play a video game.

Homework Buddies

If the planner and incentives aren't working — or, even if they are and you want to add an additional layer of accountability — you may want to have your child pick a "homework buddy." This is a method that Hazlett uses in her own classroom, and she finds it effective.

According to Hazlett, a homework buddy is when "a student is paired up with another student and they remind each other to take homework home and check with them the next day to see if it was returned." Even if this isn't a system that your child's teacher uses in the classroom, talk to your teacher about using it for your child, and involve yourself in the process of helping your child choose a buddy.

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Communication Is Key

While all of these tactics will hopefully help your child learn to remember to bring his homework home, there is no substitution for ongoing communication with your child's teacher. "Don't hesitate to contact the teacher if you as a parent feel that you aren't seeing homework or if you have a question about it. Communication between teacher and parent is important and will prevent a lot of problems," Hazlett says. In addition, your child's teacher may post upcoming assignments on a website, and your school may provide online parental access to your child's grades and assignments through a website like PowerSchool or Edline.

Parents also must inform a teacher if their children are having problems at home. "If students are consistently forgetting homework, there may be a reason at home that the teacher is not aware of," says Hazlett. "Parents need to let the teacher know if something at home may be causing the child to forget the work. Consistency between the parent and teacher is important."

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There’s a lot going on in your life. School, sports, clubs, friends, family, crushes, Netflix… they can’t all be your number one priority at the same time. Finding the time to do everything you need – not to mention want – to do can be difficult, and sometimes things fall by the wayside. You can’t always go get a milkshake with your besties, or paint your little sister’s nails, or finish the next episode of New Girl. Schoolwork is extremely important, but sometimes even with the best homework tips and latest apps, you just don’t get it done. Whether it’s because you genuinely forgot it was due, you didn’t have time, or you did it and forgot to bring it to class (the worst), it happens, and in those moments, you need a good excuse.

We’ve all been there – oops! Before you have visions of getting an F or being sent to the principal’s office, take a breath. If this is the first time you’ve forgotten to do homework for this teacher, you can almost definitely talk your way out of the repercussions. But no one falls for “the dog ate my homework” any more. Get a little more creative with one of these excuses. While we definitely don’t want to encourage you to skip schoolwork, we do want to help protect you when you make a mistake. Here are 13 excuses to give your teacher when you forget your homework:

1. The hedgehog ate it.


Hedgehogs are way more unique than dogs. Your teacher will be so surprised, they’ll just go with it—why would you make up something so weird and expect them to believe it if it weren’t true? Plus, hedgehogs are freakin’ adorable when they eat. Look at that little guy go!


2. You had to babysit last minute and the kid(s) require constant supervision.


You may not have done your homework, but it’s because you were being even more of a responsible person. While the child probably didn’t burst into flames à la The Incredibles, everyone knows you can’t leave kids alone for a moment or they’ll swallow pennies, put their fingers in electrical sockets, or simply run away. They should applaud you.


3. The WiFi is broken at your parents’ house.


How can you be blamed for this? You didn’t break it, the internet company did. And you can’t drive/don’t have your own car/don’t have someone else to drive you, so you can’t go to a coffee shop/library/friend’s house. You can do it at the school library after school today.


4. Coach kept you late at practice.


If they’re big on school spirit and want the team to get the big W at the upcoming game, they can’t get mad you skipped your assignment to practice extra hard. Then again, if they’re friends with the coach and they find out you made this up…you might be sitting the next game on the bench.


5. Your after-school job needed someone to cover a shift.


Your job needs you, and you need the money. You know homework is important for your grades, but if you can’t afford to go to college, it won’t help very much. Hit ’em again with the responsibility factor—planning for your financial future.


6. Your devious sibling played a prank that ruined it.


Siblings can be a pain in the butt. There are any myriad of things they could have done to ruin your homework—hidden it, shredded it, drawn on it, deleted it, changed all of the “and”s to “LOL.” Sibling pranks know no bounds. And don’t worry, teacher, they’ve been grounded for their shenanigans.


7. Autosave didn’t work.


We’ve all experienced the blue screen on a PC, or the spinning wheel of death on a Mac. Microsoft Word isn’t perfect, and neither are you.


8. Your computer crashed.


It’s in the shop! You’ll be able to submit your work after the IT guys figure out what’s wrong, promise.


9. There was so much traffic you didn’t get home for hours.


This, of course, is highly dependent on where you live in relation to school. But if you can get away with a traffic jam, it’s worth a shot once or twice a school year.


10. The email with your attachment didn’t go through?


That’s so weird! You submitted it following the exact instructions provided. You have no idea how the file didn’t go through, but you have it saved on your computer at home, so you’ll re-send it after all of your extracurriculars are done today, which will be a few hours after school lets out…


11. Wait, you thought it was due tomorrow!


So sorry for the mix-up, you accidentally wrote the wrong date in your planner. Total misunderstanding!


12. No excuse. Just start crying.


Hopefully they’ll just be too caught off guard to ask you what happened.


13. You forgot to do it.


Hey, sometimes, people just appreciate honesty. If this is the first time you’ve screwed up, telling the truth could be the best policy. Ask for a one-day extension, and don’t let it happen again. If it does happen again…use excuses 1-12.

Which of these homework excuses have you tried before? What did we forget to include? Let us know in the comments.


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Tags: homework, homework help, school advice


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