Tips for helping (particularly older kids) remember their stuff! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My children who attend school (ages 12 and 15) forget stuff all.the.time.

 

Examples from yesterday:

 

Ds forgot his binder which has his homework instructions at school.  He did not do his homework.  We tried to look online and see if his homework was posted online - no dice. The teachers do not have to post homework online.  

 

While looking for his binder, he did discover an assignment from over a week ago that he did not hand in.  I am uncertain whether he forgot to hand it in, or, if (as he said) he was absent the day he was supposed to hand in the assignment so did not bother!?!????

 

He has also lost a green duotang, and was late handing in another assignment because he "forgot to."  Once again, an absence might have been at play.  duh.gif

 

DD is better, although she left an assignment she was working at on the kitchen table.  Yes, it is due today.  I did think of bringing it in, but it does not look complete.  She was worse last year - her first year of school - so maybe there is hope for DS (this is his first year of school after being HSed for numerous years).  I am not sure though, he has always been a little forgetful and disorganised.

 

So - do you have kids who forget things and how have you helped them learn to remember?  

 

I suggested (yesterday) that he stick at note up in his locker that says "assignments?  Homeowrk? "  as a way for him to nudge himself, but he says he does not think he needs to - that he now has it "under control".

 

In any event, I am turning into a nag, which seems to help a little, but there has to be a better solution.

 

 

 

 

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#2 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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You could probably find suggestions by searching for executive function.

 

Executive Function

 

You may also find this book helpful. One idea that comes up often is having a family meeting about a problem where everyone 1) comes to an agreement on what the problem is, 2) agrees on solutions to a problem, and 3) an individual specifies how they would like to be reminded and will not get angry if they are reminded in the agreed upon way.


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#3 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!  I think I have seen the second book at the library.

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#4 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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My DD is not as old as your children, Kathy, but there is a lot of stuff going back and forth every day.  We manage to function pretty well by doing the following (and I know it sounds overly simplistic, but it is the only thing that works for us).

 

1.  Weekly planner.  We are fortunate that her teacher gives her an outline of all assignments for the following week on Fridays.  I sit down with her on the weekend and enter everything into her planner - including trips, special events, homework, days off, what forms are due when, etc.  The planner also is a good reference for me because I can just look to it each night and make sure we're ready to get out the door the next morning without panic and despair!

 

2.  Homework folder.  All homework goes in at school (teacher assists with this a bit) and all homework goes back in when completed.

 

3.  Notices folder.  All notices from the school or my communications to the school/teacher goes in this folder.

 

4.  To make this all work, there is a designated spot for her back pack (both at home and school) and all three items must go in there before travelling to and from. 

 

DD was a little reluctant at first about all this, but now it has become routine and it has greatly reduced stress.  Maybe it is my personality type, but I have to have systems in place to function properly.  There are too many things going on and too many things to remember. 

 

Good luck, Kathy, I feel your frustration!  I think it also helps for us to have an organized teacher who gives us advance notice on homework.  Do any of your kids' teachers provide a syllabus? 


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#5 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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When you figure it out, let me know. My youngest (10) has all the best intentions. He comes straight home and does his homework independently with no complaint. The problem is, there is so much he forgets in a day. He can put it in his planner but that only works if he remembers to LOOK at his planner. He's had 7 missing assignments this year so far (thank goodness for online grades) and all but 2 were completed but at the bottom of his backpack. If the teacher doesn't specifically say "turn in your work" then it just doesn't occur to him to do so. Being in middle school, he doesn't get many reminders. We tried all sorts of methods but they require him to remember and he just doesn't. Thank goodness they don't have lockers and all his work has to live in his backpack.... otherwise, it would never make it home. We come together and make lists but again, he cannot remember to look at it. We schedule his phone or ipod to send him alarms.... can't remember to charge it or turn it on or take it off vibrate. We did special folders... only works if you remember to use them. I tried penalties and rewards but all they did was make him feel like a total loser because he STILL couldn't remember. I tried letting him crash and burn but again, only succeeded in making a very smart boy feel like an idiot and no improvement in memory.He's always been good with routine but that stopped working in 5th grade when he stopped getting the routine homework packet of the week and started getting assignments given day-of and at random. I'm grateful a chunk of his daily homework is online because he doesn't have to physically turn that in! 

 

So, at the moment, all that works is me. I remind him daily to look online, to practice his instruments, to check his planner. So far, he takes it very well. No complaint. Jumps to do the work. Proud if he gets it in and his grades are good. I just don't know what to do long term though. I'm hoping age start to make a difference sooner or later.


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#6 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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4.  To make this all work, there is a designated spot for her back pack (both at home and school) and all three items must go in there before travelling to and from. 

 

DD was a little reluctant at first about all this, but now it has become routine and it has greatly reduced stress.  Maybe it is my personality type, but I have to have systems in place to function properly.  There are too many things going on and too many things to remember. 

 

Good luck, Kathy, I feel your frustration!  I think it also helps for us to have an organized teacher who gives us advance notice on homework.  Do any of your kids' teachers provide a syllabus? 


We do these things too (K & 2nd grade). I have a 3 shelf tower I bought at Target that their homework supplies and backpacks go in, but after that I read a tip (and the mom had older children like the OP) to use a file cabinet and toss everything (books, papers, assignments) in the drawer for each child (ex: if you find a half finished history assignment under the kitchen table, toss it in the drawer...).

 

Our school starts lockers in 4th grade, though an upside to not having buses is that I have an opportunity to make sure we have all necessary items before leaving school. It is also a college prep type school so hopefully ds will have syllabi for all his classes at that point.


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#7 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I will ask DS to ask if there is a syllabus.  Honestly, if the teacher is an organiser and has the term planned, it might be easiest to borrow the plan, make a photocopy and have one on hand at home.  It would solve one problem.  

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#8 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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When I was in Juniour High and High School I had a daily planner that I brought to each class.  Teachers used to write the homework assignments down on the board and have us copy them down at the beginning of the week so we could refer back to them and make sure we had completed them.  They also implemented a recorded phone system that teachers updated weekly at the Juniour High level right before I was done with ninth grade.  There may be some sort of system in place for kids and parents beyond the website.  I suggest calling the school to see if they have more of a system and the individual teachers if the school doesn't (because they probably do).  Even if they just have kids write the assignments in a planner you will still have them on hand to refer to if you find your kids need you more involved as they navigate school.    

 

 

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#9 of 23 Old 10-11-2011, 06:00 PM
 
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The planner is key.  In your son's situation, I would go so far as to have a trial of having one of his main teachers look it over at the end of the day to make sure that short and long term assignments are noted correctly, due dates are clear, etc.  In my experience, one of the major skills kids learn in the jr high, (or maybe high school as well), is time and task management through the use of a planner.  I know that there are some electronic ways of managing assignments/time, ie via phone, etc., but since we use a regular bound paper planner, I'm not familiar with them.

 

There are several good books such as Smart but Scattered, or The Organized Student, which address the needs of kids with executive function issues.  I'll bet that if you talked with the guidance dept. at the school, they might have ideas as well.  Or, the teachers might have a system in place that would be a jumping off point.

 

I would not drive my child's homework to school at the jr high or hs level.  What I would do, and we do this in our family, is make sure that the tools for success are available.  for us that means being clear that the planner comes home every day, and we look it over together.  On line assignments are checked.  There is a pocket portfolio organized for different class assignments.  Work is packed up the night before.  It takes a while for it to become habit, but it's worth the effort because these are life skills.

 

 

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#10 of 23 Old 10-13-2011, 07:36 AM
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My 3rd grader has an agenda that he has to write his homework in every day. If he remembers to bring it home, we're great. I've gotten in the habit of having him check his backpack when I pick him up to make sure he has it (and his homework and lunchbox). In the morning I have him check before we leave the house. 

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#11 of 23 Old 10-13-2011, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ds has proven resistant to "help" in this area.

 

I have mentioned a few ideas, and he maintains "he has it under control"   Um, I don't really think so.

 

I feel like I am battling time, somewhat.  The term runs Sept - Feb 1st.  He is going to miss 3 weeks of school for a huge trip  (Australia!).  He has told his teachers, but has not secured any homework for when he is gone, nor does he know if he is going to get homework ahead of time.  Sigh.  OTOH, school is only 6 weeks in and I do feel like I should give him more time to sort some of this out on his own, which is what he want, but if I give him too much time to sort things out (particularly with the time off for a  trip) he may not do as well as he could.  

 

 

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#12 of 23 Old 10-13-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Ds has proven resistant to "help" in this area.

 

I have mentioned a few ideas, and he maintains "he has it under control"   Um, I don't really think so.

 

I feel like I am battling time, somewhat.  The term runs Sept - Feb 1st.  He is going to miss 3 weeks of school for a huge trip  (Australia!).  He has told his teachers, but has not secured any homework for when he is gone, nor does he know if he is going to get homework ahead of time.  Sigh.  OTOH, school is only 6 weeks in and I do feel like I should give him more time to sort some of this out on his own, which is what he want, but if I give him too much time to sort things out (particularly with the time off for a  trip) he may not do as well as he could.  

 

 

 

Will he be on an independant study contract during that time? Most schools prefer kids do this for large trips. This way, he's still technically "in school" and they can get their money. Plus, the teachers give all the work in advance. We've done this a few times and it works out really well. Give the office a week or two notice. Might be worth looking into!
 

 


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#13 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It has been an eventful week.

 

He lost his binder.  He looked through the house and asked his teachers if they have it.  Nope.  He had work in it that was not handed in, so he is going to have to redo it  (it was by hand - note to him, do all work on computer, it has a "save" feature).  He did manage to ask a friend for the questions, though, and made a photocopy of the assignment he will have to redo.  

 

He also remembered to convey a message to one of his teachers that needed conveying.

 

I spoke to the school (yeah!).  I had called in for another issue, and while I had guidance on the phone I started explaining to her the issue with organisation, and the fact that DS is going to Australia for 3 weeks.  She told me she would remind the teachers and discuss alternate work assignments for trip time, so that is good.  

 

I am thinking of getting DS an electronic organiser of sort that he can carry with him.  I want one that beeps or vibrates so he remembers to look at it. I did buy him an agenda at the beginning of the year but he does not use it .  He forgets.  Something that beeps might be a reminder, and he may enjoy the techie format of it more than a paper agenda.

 

In any event, I feel a bit like we are taking 2 steps forward, one step back, but at least we are moving ahead - slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#14 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 07:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

He lost his binder. ....

 

In any event, I feel a bit like we are taking 2 steps forward, one step back, but at least we are moving ahead - slowly.

 


 

Poor kid. I feel bad for him. He must be frustrated. I'm glad the situation seems to slowly be moving forward.

 

We had organizational issues moving from homeschooling to school, too, and I don't have any advice. It's been rough, and one night this week DD#2 had a complete meltdown over a writing assignment. And my kids don't get much homework!

Hope things calm down at both our houses! redface.gif


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#15 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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Label things wellinnocent.gif, and look into insurance for anything expensive (device-wise).


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#16 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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I don't have school aged kids.  This is coming from the perspective of someone who used to be VERY forgetful and lose things all.the.time.

 

I agree with PPs about the agenda thing.  You might have to help DS get in the habit of using it.  I know my dad had to help me to remember and get in the habit, but once I did it made a huge difference for me remembering assignments, team practises, etc. 

 

One that you can also help him with (in the hopes that he'll start doing it himself when you aren't around) is to do a mental checklist before leaving the house, before bed, etc. for things that need to be remembered.  Ex. If on the weekend you are going to drop him at a team practise: "Car keys, check.  Jackets, check.  Cell phone, check. Equipment, check., etc. etc.  Then do the same when you pick him up.  I still have to do this so I don't forget stuff!

 

The post-it note idea won't work for long as pretty soon a person starts not even seeing the post-it even if it is right in front of you.

 

Good luck!


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#17 of 23 Old 10-21-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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kathymuggle, I'm just sending you hugs and commiseration. I have a child like that and he constantly sabotages his grades with forgetfulness and lost items. I don't know how to help as mine is also resistant to reminders or developing 'systems.' Let me know if you find a good method!


 
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#18 of 23 Old 10-21-2011, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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kathymuggle, I'm just sending you hugs and commiseration. I have a child like that and he constantly sabotages his grades with forgetfulness and lost items. I don't know how to help as mine is also resistant to reminders or developing 'systems.' Let me know if you find a good method!

 

he is resistant to me helping him develop a system, but has been willing to work on some things.  In our case, throwing multiple ideas at him has helped as he has been willing to try some.

 

Here is what has worked (although we are early, early days...and he still has to remember to do them).

 

1.  he writes messages on his hand or arm.  Not joking.  It usually says things like "ask about due date!"  or "hand in folder".    He has done this twice and both times it worked.

 

I heard of a woman whose child uses wristbands like these and writes notes on them. Some kids may be Ok with them, and for some it might be a source of embarrassment.

 

 http://www.eventwristbands.com/3-4-Tyvek-Wristbands/

 

2.  He has agreed to sit with me or by himself every night at 7:00 and organise himself for the next day.  While I think he is willing, we have not made this happen yet.  i work nights and have other responsibilites...we might need to tweek this idea to make it work.

 

3.  he wants to take an Omega 3-6-9 as he thinks it will help him focus.  I would like it if he ate breakfast regularly (instead of rushing out the door) got more sleep, and was consistent in organisation rather than this quick fix - but I do applaud him trying to work on it.

 

In other news, he  got a 49% on one test which he forgot to study for - and then got a 90% on an assignment in the same class  dizzy.gif  

 

He had to identify his animal identity for Native Studies and he decided he was a bear because he daydreams and does not focus (his words).  I am happy he is taking ownership of the problem (very happy!)  but do not want him to be hard on himself or define himself as unfocused.  He has so many talents - I don't just want him to only focus on his "needs work" areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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#19 of 23 Old 10-28-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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Hm.

 

My DS is  in 6th grade -- so, just starting middle school.   

 

It seems like a big part of the 6th grade teachers' team approach is working with "how to work" as well as on subject matter stuff.   So they require a big binder with folders in it, each teacher had the kids label the folder/tabs for their class.   Each kid gets a homework journal (printed in the high school's vocational-ed print shop) with spaces for each class and day, and are coached on writing down assignments.    

 

This is part of a progression from the elementary school, where most teachers had routines for homework -- a special folder that the kids bring home each day, or a "Weekly homework note" that describes the project they're working on that week.   

 

I went to school in the UK as a teenager, and was there for the first year of O-level preparation, and the teachers/homeroom instructor did something very similar -- we had small notebooks and were expected to draw out teh days with our ruler and note homework.   Our homeroom teacher checked our homework diaries weekly and we recieved grades for how well we were keeping up.

 

WIthout that level of support from the school, I'd probably institute something at home like a homework diary and ask to see it after school every day for awhile.

 

I'm not an active Flylady follower anymore, but many of her principles work for school and work as well as for housekeeping -- especially the stuff about it taking repetition to build habits, and routines enforcing habits.   The kids need to have a "end of school routine," where they have a checklist: "Go to locker.   Get coat.   Get homework diary and binder.  Get to bus."  after awhile those things do become second nature -- although with some kids, "awhile" can be a long, long, time (I'm still working on my DS developing the habit of putting his lunchbox on the counter when he gets home).  


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#20 of 23 Old 10-29-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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My oldest is only 7 so I help more than I would hope to be helping a teenager or a near-teen.  But I would take over some areas if I needed to and give them back when they prove ready.  I talk to my son and find out what he thinks is a good idea and/or tell him what I think is a good idea.  (for example, his library book from school lives in the box where I keep his school papers on top of the fridge.  This is due to the fact that he does not pick up his things consistently and he has 3 younger siblings, 2 of whom are definently still at an age where they might damage the book.  And it keeps it out of our collection of books.  Yes, he has to ask for his book.  Fortunately, this does not seem to bother him, probably because the reason--sibling destruction and not wanting to pay for books--has been discussed with him, and he agreed to this solution.)

 

I ask him what he has going on every day and help HIM think of what he needs to get together the night before.  ("oh, tomorrow is Friday?  Do you have swimming tomorrow?" if it's the first Friday, he'll run gather his trunks and towel and put them in his bag.)  I have a lunch menu on the fridge, and HE marks the days he wants sack lunch---also usually the other things he has going on, like the swimming day, etc.  I will occasionally put a reminder like 'orange snack for Family' or whatever--modeling is important.  ;)  But HE is responsible for gathering his things, putting his backpack away, book in the bag on library day etc, even though I help remind him.

 

What's the 'consequence' if they forget?  As the child of a parent who often ran in and 'saved' me, that is not something I will repeat with my kids.  It didn't help me.  So your kid gets a grade marked down because they didn't turn something in...let them learn.  Later, when they are off on their own, they will have the organizational skills they need to bring the things they need to their college classes, their job, etc.  (we hope!)

 

My son is in the 1st grade...he likes to take sack lunch on certain food days.  One week, two of them hit one Tuesday, one Thursday.  He forgot his lunchbox at school Tuesday and Wed. nights.  So when Thursday rolled around, he had to eat what he liked off the school lunch and leave the rest.  He did not starve to death, and he brought his lunchbox home Thursday night.  (to be fair, i knew the lunch was turkey--like, disliked mashed potatoes, kiwi--like and bread and milk)   I *could have* sent him a lunch in a plastic bag, but what would have been learned?  I did kind of the same thing with his glasses--he's supposed to wear them to play computer.  He forgot them at school, he didn't use the computer at home that night.  He remembers his glasses now.


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#21 of 23 Old 11-08-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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I wish I knew the answer!  My son spent over an hour working on two projects last night.  Put them in his bag, and then left the bag hanging on the door handle of the front door! 


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#22 of 23 Old 11-16-2011, 02:21 PM
 
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One tip I read in some "messy" forum was the idea of a system and labels. In one case a lady labled (literally) 3 things with the letter A B C. Like her cell phone, her purse and her keys or something. So instead of trying to remember Cell phone, purse, keys, she just had to go A B C and each thing had a lable on it. Maybe something like that would help?

 

We also have lists of 3 throughout the house: Three things to do when you come home 1) Hang up coat 2) Put away lunch bag 3)Reset backpack (which itself has 3 things - unpack, home work, library books). Three things to do before bed 1) brush teeth, put on PJS pick out clothes.

 

Then I can just say - did you do your list of 3? Rather than asking about each individually.


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#23 of 23 Old 11-21-2011, 01:20 AM
 
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You could probably find suggestions by searching for executive function.

 

Executive Function

 

You may also find this book helpful. One idea that comes up often is having a family meeting about a problem where everyone 1) comes to an agreement on what the problem is, 2) agrees on solutions to a problem, and 3) an individual specifies how they would like to be reminded and will not get angry if they are reminded in the agreed upon way.


Thanks for the link. The value of self-control, self-reliance, and self-assurance are really important skills that will last a lifetime.

 

David Young is offline  
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