When your child has missing or late work

Missing WOrkWe all have dealt with schoolwork that suddenly has gone missing.  Some children just can’t understand what happened to the paper they were working on; it simply disappeared.  Here are some ideas for parents to help their children locate those mysteriously missing papers:

Your child’s missing assignments are most likely in her desk at school.  You would be amazed how many children begin assignments only to shove them in their desk, never to be seen again.  Some children go so far as to finish the work before shoving it in their desk.  If the task of cleaning out her desk overwhelms your child, help her with ways to deal with the materials in her desk: a box for pencils and scissors, folders for papers, and a sturdy bag to bring home everything else.  I bet you will be surprised at what your child brings home in that bag!

Check your child’s backpack.  This can be a repository of half finished assignments, untouched homework, and letters home about a project assigned a month ago that is due tomorrow.  You may even get lucky and find the work completely finished.  Many children do homework, but forget to turn it in.  For parents of children in primary grades, checking backpacks should be a daily task.  Young children don’t feel their privacy is violated if you check their backpack daily.  A daily backpack check makes your life and your child’s life easier by eliminating last-minute assignment scrambles and other homework headaches.

A good place to look is the no-name pile.  Many teachers simply place papers with no names in a pile so students can retrieve their work, put their name on it, and turn it in for a grade.  (Note to teachers: I find this to be an administrative nightmare.  I collect all work in number order, so when I hit a no-name paper, I know who it belongs to.  I grade the paper, then assign the child to practice writing his name and number fifty times.)

Sometimes, the student will have to do the work again.  Before contacting the teacher to ask for another copy of a worksheet, tell your child look in the extras pile.  Every elementary school teacher I have ever met has an extras pile.   In addition to learning a “life lesson” about handing in the work she has finished, your child can learn a valuable lesson about solving her own problems before asking you or her teacher for help.

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Posted in Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Jan 17, 2010


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