Daughter Does Not Bring Home Correct Materials to Do Her Homework? HELP

Updated on August 18, 2010
C.G. asks from Clarksville, TN
21 answers

My daughter has been struggling in school since she started and is now in 5th grade. She had and IEP done and it states that she has a slight learning disability. The homework her teacher gives her is not hard for her to do but i can't get her to bring home the workbooks she needs to do the homework. We went thru this everyday last year, me asking her where the book is that she needs to do her homework and her crying saying that she can't remember. Her teacher last year assigned her a "back pak buddy" to help her organize. I think this embarrassed her a little but it seemd to help. Now with the new school year starting off she is already forgetting to bring home the correct materials. I am at a loss. Some friends have suggested putting her on medication but im not sure about that. I hate to see her fail, it breaks my heart. I don't know what to do to help her!

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answers from Greensboro on

Is it possible to get another set of workbooks to keep at home? If she remembers to bring the one she needs, GREAT, if not you then would have one at home already. I just would not let her know if you do get them at home. Some kids would take advantage of that situation and get "lazy" about attempting to bring the needed supplies home if they know that there is already supplies there. (my daughter would)
Or maybe a reward chart/system for when she remembers to bring what she needs. She can get a stamp or sticker on her chart for every day she remembers then when she has X number of them or remembers her supplies for 3 days in a row, one week, whatever, then she gets the reward. The reward could be ice cream, a day in the park, extra tv or computer time, ... whatever she likes that is not too extravagant or expensive - something fairly simple. Then at the end of the semester or year if she has met a set goal then y'all can do something bigger to celebrate.
Just a thought, good luck

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answers from Washington DC on

Ask the teacher for a set of books and workbooks to keep at home.
I did that because the books were too heavy for my daughter to manage in her backpack and they gave them to me. I still ask for extra math books and she's in high school!

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answers from Nashville on

You can ask that she get the added accommodation of an extra set of text books and workbooks for home! Then they are already there. This will mean you have to amend her IEP. Some school districts have books on CD. It really makes everybody's life much happier.

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answers from Greensboro on

I am a special educator and the parent of a child with a mild learning disability and attentional difficulties. You have received some very helpful responses. First of all, let me say you are not alone. There are very intelligent children everywhere who have mild learning disabilities and difficulties with focus, attention, and organization. I teach them and I live with one. These kids have average to well above average intelligence but for some reason they do not always achieve as well as their IQ's indicate that they should. Having an IEP and specialized services at school will help this. It also requires heavy parental support...which you are giving.

It sounds like the main difficulty your daughter is having right now is with organization, memory, and attention to detail. Your description reminded me of my son around 3rd grade...he's 17 and in 11th grade now. I would tell him to go get his shoes and he'd return with something totally different. He has always needed help remembering and keeping information "sorted". When he was identified with a learning disability, I also had him tested for an attention disorder. He was never active or over active, just inattentive. Tests showed he is ADD (inattentive type). He started medication at age 9 and still takes it today. He will tell you and anyone else that the medication made a wonderful difference in his life. In his words, "When someone asked me a question or to do something, everything I had learned in my entire life was rushing through my brain while I tried to find the correct response. My medication helps me to sort information and pull from the correct place. It makes retrieval more efficient." My son, like your daughter, could handle things academically. The poor organization and inattention caused most of his difficulties in school. Once he started taking medication, the "learning disability" part seemed to go away...those gaps closed.

I have watched my son do many things on his own to compensate for this attentional problem that will be with him for life. He carries around small pieces of paper with words or notes on it so he won't forget to feed his fish or get gas. He writes on his hand. He asks us (and others) to give him one or two directions at a time. If I give him a list of jobs, he may say, "I'm taking out the trash and getting the mail. I'll come back and ask you to repeat the rest when I'm finished."

On medication: It's definitely a personal choice! People with a diagnosed attentional disability are lacking a chemical in the frontal part of the brain that the rest of us have. Just like a diabetic needs chemical regulation in order to live, folks with attention disorders need that chemical to be able to remember, attend, and focus properly. I don't see it as "drugging". I see it as medicating a health issue that is necessary....restoring a chemical that isn't in the brain that should be in the brain. I chose to give my son medication to restore the chemical to his brain...just as I would have if he was diabetic, had a heart problem, or had high blood pressure. He has thanked me many times for helping him to help himself. I'm glad I didn't watch him struggle for years because I was afraid of what others thought about me as a parent.

Sorry, back to you. Having extra books & materials at home is an excellent idea. I like the backpack buddy idea too. Can her teacher made her a buddy for someone using her strengths so your daughter can see that we all have strengths and needs and we help each other out? Does your school subscribe to online versions of text books/workbooks? If so, get the username and passwords and utilize them. In an emergency, are there other 5th graders near you/in your neighborhood who would loan her the book when they have finished their homework? Is there some kind of physical reminder (like the old string on the finger reminder) that will help her to check for homework books before she leaves?

Good luck to you. Great things are possible. I was in your shoes several years ago and now I see a bright, capable young man doing extremely well in high school and preparing to apply to college. Most of the time he's so independent that I can't believe that those earlier years even existed. Hang in there.

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answers from Nashville on

hi, my now almost 26 year old had an iep in 1-6th grade. he had a language proble. it wasn't truly discovered until 3rd grade. in his iep the teacher had to sigh his agenda at the end of the day to make sure he had everything and then we sighed it at home. no one else even new this. it only takes a minute and all the teacher have to do was to look over it binder. maybe she can have a base list of things to always bring home. if the teacher has an e-mail have her send out an e-mail so you know what is going on. if the iep say's that this is what you all are going to do then she has to do it, i guess you already know that . anyway just remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. does she have a folder just for homework? if not go out and get her a really cool looking one today and that way she can put her stuff in it right then when she is given the papers or she can write down what it is and put the book with the folder. anyway good luck and know you are not alone. i think all kids around this age do this. my 12 year old is always doing this. oh , if meds would make a real differance for her maybe you should consider them. it might make her life much easier for her and lower her stress about this stuff. i would hate to feel like that all the time. think of what it is like for you when you have a bad day and can't seem it get it together. she is having a bad day everyday. if you tried the meds and they don't make a big differance you can always stop them. talk to her and see how she feels about them. she may be wishing she could do something to stop the forgetfulness and the being so unorginised. anyway just my thoughts. wow i spelled a bunch of word wrong and don't have time to fix them. sorry. and god bless, mom of 7 R.
p.s. you might want to make it a rule that she ALWAYS brings all her books home every night wether she has home work or not. it isn't that big of a deal and that might work. my 10 year old is in 5th grade and she hasn't had a lot of homework yet.
p.s.s. if the school doesn't provide an agenda go out and buy her a neat looking day planner. maybe find one with peace signs or puppys on it what ever she is into. my 10 year old is all about peace signs, i was to 40 years ago. i just got old the other day. had my 50th. wow.

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answers from Columbus on

Request an IEP meeting right away. She needs a full set of books at home, and you need a system so that you get an email with the worksheets and assignments scanned in at the begining of every week, or your daughter should be emailing it to you with assistance every day so that she can learn this skill with a safety net. A back pack buddy is rediculous, your daughter is not going to learn organization from another student, she is supposed to be instructed by a "highly qualified" teacher, period. Peer buddies are the lazy way out, and are not effective strategies, not to mention that confidentiality is violated each and every time her teacher shares her educational need with her peers. Don't go for that again.

If your daughter has a condition that has been diagnosed by a medical professional after hours of evaluation, then consider medication. Absent that kind of diagnosis, your friends (and the school) have no business suggesting medication. Learning disablities do not generally require medication, although ADHD frequently does, and the difficulties your daughter is experienceing seem to be executive functioning and attention related, so my suggestion is that you contact a board certified child psychiatrist for treatment after you seek out a neuropsychological evaluation to identify what is going on here. If the school did her only evaluation, then you are not really doing the best you can for your daughter. Schools would not be able to diagnose a medical condition, so that might explain why your description of her issue is so vauge. Learning disablities are not described as slight, they are modified by the kind of LD they are (reading, written expression, math calculation, spelling, etc.) You should never know less about your child than the school does. Own the evaluation that contains her diagnosis, and then log on to www.wrightslaw.com and read about how to interpret the evaluation, and how to advocate for her effectively.


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answers from Chicago on

I hope the answer to helping our children get organized is NOT drugging them! Those drugs are so dangerous!

It sounds like your daughter needs a good system. I would arrange a conference with your daughter's teacher and you can come up with a solution together. Perhaps she needs a backpack buddy again. OR, perhaps a calendar would help her. She should have a column for homework and then a column for materials needed. She should fill out the chart AS SOON AS SHE IS ASSIGNED THE WORK. You could enlist the aid of the teacher to remind the class to write down the work. I'm sure she isn't the only kid who gets mixed up or forgets.

Everyone has some kind of "disability." It's just something that they need in life that they are not good at. There are varying degrees of it. The important thing is that we learn how to cope with it. I was a scatterbrain in school too, so I needed a good system of writing down my assignments. To this day I have a long "to do" list which is a habit I got into in school. So, you see you are teaching her a lifelong skill of how to strengthen the things she is not good at.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I think that asking the school to allow a second set of workbooks at home would be very helpful. BUT, your daughter should still come up with a system to remember what she needs to bring home so she can learn to take on that responsibility. As soon as the homework is assigned, she should write it down on a list that she keeps in her backpack. At the end of the day, she should pull out the list and place each item in her bag, checking it off as she goes.

In addition, talk to the teacher. If this problem is truly related to her learning disability, then the teacher should help her fill her backpack at the end of the day, or assign a backpack buddy if that was a successful system last year.

Good luck!

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answers from Norfolk on

Get a double set of books. One set stays in school the other set stays home.
If it's workbooks, she can rip out the pages she's completed at home to turn in at school. It can go a long way to helping even the most disorganized student to stay on track.

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answers from Chicago on

Does your daughter ride the bus or walk/ride? If she walks/rides I would march her right back to school every day. I had to do it with my son. When he started riding the bus it got a little tougher lol. But if she has an assignment book then assignments should be checked by the teacher who should also be making sure she has what she needs. I know thats a lot of work for the teacher. However if your child has an iep then there will be extra help to make sure that those things are done. at your end each day you should be checking assignment book, make sure homework is done and back in the pack and any notes are taken care of. good luck

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answers from Austin on

Is she in middle school or elementary school this year?

Can she really not remember? If she is just not remembering.. like the average kid? I say let her get the real grade an 0 for the day That is what we used to do with our daughter and she learned very quickly, we were not there to "save" her, but to "assist" her. She learned to make sure she brought home what was needed no excuses.

If this is part of her learning disability consider asking the school if you can keep an entire set of the books at your home for the school year. But still encourage her to bring home what she is supposed to so she will learn a system that works for her.

I have known my husband since we were 13. He has always been ADHD and his parents did not want him to be on medication. He still refuses, because he says he is afraid it will change his personality.. This is not something he will ever out grow.. As a matter of fact, it is getting worse. If he would take the medication, his mind would be so organized, he would be amazed.

He works 4 times harder than everyone else and I feel so bad for him, he was raised to think there was something wrong with learning differences.

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answers from San Francisco on

How about a small chart with boxes to check mark for the books that go with the homework each day---maybe teacher could check it off and your daughter could use it to pack her stuff.

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answers from New York on

I would talk to the teacher to find out if your daughter is having trouble getting ready at the end of the school day. Does she need a few extra minutes? Does she have a homework notebook with all the assignments? The teacher, you and your daughter might be able to come up with a checklist that your daughter tapes on her desk. At the end of the day, your daughter has to look at the list and put each thing in her bag. Then the teacher (or a buddy) can take a minute to check the bag. If your daughter remembers everything, give her a reward at home, again, something you and she agree on.

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answers from Dallas on

I know my answer probably won't help at all, but I thought I would share it with you.

Way back in the day, I used to be horrible with my school work. I would either forget to bring my work home or I would forget I had homework. I can remember having lots of trouble from 2nd grade through 6th grade. During my 5th and 6th grade years I can remember spending recess by myself on the curb because I had so many stars next to my name from not turning in homework. Then, all of a sudden in 7th grade I became a straight A honor student. It was like it all just clicked.

So, sorry it's not advice, but there is hope :-)

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answers from Sarasota on

Have u thought about another school ??? Like charter school's

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answers from Asheville on

Your sincere desire to help and support your daughter comes through loud and clear. Don't give up!!!! Ever!!! She needs you and she's probably doing her very best. The following link is to a website that I highly!!! recommend. It's a system of tools and techniques that are making a huge difference for people whether in education, sports, corporations, health care.....http://www.heartmath.org/education/overview.html -- She's so fortunate to have you as her advocate. Best...

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answers from Topeka on

I think the first thing you need to determine is whether she is just "forgetting" or if she is really have legitimate issues with the learning disability that is making it virtually impossible for her to remember to bring everything home.
You need to talk with the teacher ( or teachers...is she in elementary school or a middle school setting) and coordinate with them on this on a daily basis. It is really important because within the next year or so she is going to be in a middle school setting, if she isn't already.
The most important thing is that you have to help HER find a way to do this, because if it truly is a learning disability then this is something she is going to have to deal with for the rest of her life.
I would not rush to put her on medication unless this learning disability is really have a negative impact on her school experience.
I like the idea that some one suggested about having an entire 2nd set of books at home for her to use if she "forgets". I wonder if the teacher has the school papers on pdf or some sort of file that she could email them to you so that you could print them off at home if need be.
YOu will need to be creative to come up with a solution...but hopefull it can be something that builds up her self confidence and security in her ability.

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answers from Johnson City on

My daughter had the same problem in 4th grade. I gave her a notebook and told her that every time a teacher said something was homework that she was to write it in that notebook and at the end of the day all she had to do was look in the notebook to see what books she needed. Didn't have many problems after that. We lived pretty close to her school then and she always did her homework right after school so I would take her back to school to get her books. I had to fuss a little to get her to be more organized but she caught on pretty fast.

You might try a reward system too... sometimes that helps them to get organized.



answers from Memphis on

I am sorry to hear that she is still having troubles with school. Has she been evaluated by a medical professional for her learning disability and inattentiveness? That would be a good step to identify exactly what the problem is so that any major decisions on how to go about helping her in the long run can be made. For the short term I would talk with her when everything is relatively calm (so not a school night). Ask what is going on, what is she feeling, what might help. She probably has more insight than we give her credit for. My guess is the backpack buddy was more than a little embarrassing even if it did help. Having an extra set of books at home is a short term solution in my mind. Yes she needs to learn the material and at this point that is slightly more important than the bigger lesson of responsibilty for ones "job". But I would have the conversation with her, maybe show her some of the answers here, and have a full evaluation by a medical professional to get the details about her learning diasbility.



answers from Raleigh on

I would get an extra set of workbooks to keep at home. We went through this and the added stress for our son on top of his disability was not worth it. Sometimes the school can provide you with an extra, especially if you make it part of the IEP. Sometimes we had to buy them.



answers from Nashville on

Tell her that if she does not remember you will get her a backpack buddy again! Talk to this years teacher and see what she suggests. Maybe she needs to just bring everything home since she can't remember what to bring home. Do you pick her up daily or does she take the bus? If you pick her up, walk in and pack up with her until she gets in the habit. Have the teacher remind her, put a note on her folder to remind her, have the teacher tell her to put it in her backpack as soon as they are done with it for the day....other ideas maybe the teacher has some insight.

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