Lost Homework

How many times have you heard the phrase, "lost homework?"

Managing the shuffle of papers to and from school is difficult, and usually results in a lot of additional stress. Having a system of organization in place, probably designed by you, will help everyone learn how to keep track of their things.

In our house, backpacks are emptied, cleaned out, and checked for notes while the girls do their homework at the kitchen bar. At this time, I sign and return papers THE SAME DAY. This saves me the worry of remembering if I signed or returned them! It’s my part of the routine. After the girls are done, everything goes back into the backpacks and they are set by the door, ready to go in the morning. As long as everyone follows this routine, it works.

As the leader of this pack, I have to have a system in place for MY things too! To keep myself organized, I use a tote bag system.


The procedure doesn’t always work for a certain member of the family. She frequently has lost homework despite having a procedure in place. Guess what?

That’s great! This is a golden opportunity to practice organization and responsibility. School has consequences, just like real life. Some children need to learn through repetition and practice. They have to learn to do it WITHOUT YOUR HELP.

Don’t rescue them.

Instead, revisit the procedures for bringing the assignments home, including how to get it into the house, where to work on it, and where to put it when they are done. Be their cheerleader! Tell them they can do it, and tomorrow is another day to practice.

Every time you bring lost homework to school, you are rescuing them and reinforcing helpless behavior. Are you going to bring their projects to work when they are adults? The goal is for them to learn to function independently.

Allow them to experience the same consequences that you do when you forget something! Give them lots of empathy, then have them try again.

The younger they learn this lesson, the smaller the price tag will be. A late paper for an eighth grader could mean a drop in grade. A late paper in first grade could mean standing on the wall at recess.

If you establish simple routines at home and use them consistently, you will find that most lost homework is eliminated. Your children become more responsible and independent, and you have a little less stress in your day!