forgetful help!!!!!!

mom2emallNovember 2, 2007

My stepdaughter is in 4th grade and is SO forgetful it is driving us crazy. For the first 3 weeks of school she kept telling us there were no spelling tests, though every week she would bring home one she received and F on the week before. We were upset and she would tell us she just did not know about the tests. After 2 weeks of just saying "its ok" and "just bring it home tomorrow" we finally punished her by taking something away and then all of a sudden she began knowing about the tests.

Now each week she forgets to bring things home at least 3 times a week! Last week she kept forgetting her science book and she had a test to study for. The week before that she kept forgetting to bring home her spelling words. Today she forgot her band instrument...probably because she has afterschool band on Monday and we grounded her from going since she forgot to bring home her science book for 4 days! We told he that we wanted her to just "forget" to go to band afterschool!! Other days she "forgets" homework assignments.

The funny thing is she has a wonderful memory for remembering to ask us to send money for school pictures, signing her up for field trips, and afterschool activities. She remembers which friend asked her to call her afterschool.

School does not come easy to her, and we spend a lot of time each night helping her with homework and studying for tests. So, her not bringing things home that she needs is really irritating. And we do not feel like we should try to put this on her teacher to help her get organized at the end of the day, we feel that we need to get her to get herself ready to come home!!!

We have tried to reward her on nights she brings home what she needs. We have also punished her on nights she does not bring home what she needs. But it is getting ridiculous!!!!!! We have even just come out and asked her why she is all of a sudden "forgetting" everything!!

She just says she just forgets and does not know why!

Any ideas????????????????????????

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My DD has an assignment notebook--- actually the whole school uses these. The teacher writes on the board everyday what they have to do and the kids copy that onto their notebooks. they put an X next to what they have completed and then they are supose to bring the unfinished work home. The teacher also puts up things like "read for 15 min or "study for science test" and the kids write that down. Maybe her teacher would be willing to do this.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 6:56PM
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My sd's teacher does this already. Some days she comes home with her assignment book filled out but does not have the assignments. Other times she does not fill the assignment book out at all and tells me she has no homework, but then I find unfinished work in her folder and she says "oh ya, I forgot about that!"

She is using forgetting as an excuse and we are soooooo tired of hearing "I forgot"!!!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 8:19PM
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This is what I'd do:

If she is using "forgot it" as an excuse to skip out on homework and do something more interesting, I think she needs "homework" to do for when she "doesn't have homework." Require her to read and write in a reading journal, print out some math practice sheets, get workbooks from a teacher supply store, require her to read the newspaper and write a summary... whatever you choose, but something challenging and that builds on the skills she should be learning. Make it enough to fill the alloted time (30-45 minutes, whatever you decide) doing academic work. If she has to sit down and devote that time to study anyway, no getting out of it, maybe she'll realize her real homework is better than what you'd stick her with. ;o)

Our teachers have webpages on the school's website. They post a weekly newsletter and homework schedule. I can keep tabs on everything that is going on that way. Does the teacher have something like that? Or a phone number with a recorded homework message? It doesn't make DS remember to bring the science HOME! But for that, we have a neighbor in the same grade, and of all the luck, ended up in the same class this year. My DS goes through spells when he tries the "forgot my homework" thing a few times with me. But when he realizes Mom *always* has a back-up plan, he gets better at remembering the homework. He's like you your SD, it only takes the right motivation to make his memory real sharp! ;o)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 10:18PM
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I love Stephanie's Idea..
I was also going to say to give her some kind of "homework" when she forgets.
You could also talk to the teacher about this . The teacher could have some ideas to help out on the school end.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 10:31PM
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I do give her work to do when she "forgets" hers. I make her sit down and read and practice math facts while our other kids are doing their homework. When they finish we still keep her sitting doing work for a little while.

So, she is not having fun when she does not bring her stuff home.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 11:18PM
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I think you need to meet her, at school, at the end of the day. Check to see that she has what she needs for her homework, if not, go back into school and get it.

If she can't remember herself, for whatever reason, someone has to step in (you) and give her a prod.

This will get her into the routine of remembering, because hopefully, walking back into school, in front of everyone, is not something she wants to do.

Failing that, perhaps you can meet her at the classroom door, when school is finishing.

When children are failing to do what they need to do, I prefer the "lend a hand" management technique. That is, walk beside them, and reprogram them!

Good luck with it all.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 2:53AM
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This worked for another child with the same consistant "problem of forgetting".

This was a boy who loved games, TV, or Playstation, etc type of thing.

If he forgot "anything from school" there were no electronics, period, for that day, or the next day. If he had to call a friend for homework (because he had been calling virtually everyday to a classmate), trying to get something he "forgot", there were no electronics for that day or the next.

This solved the problem. Yes, he forgot once or twice after that, but when he learned that his parents were very serious about the consequences, and were not budging on them, soon he stopped "forgetting" and now brings home what he needs.

Another child, would forget things at home. Band instruments, lunches, homework, and the mother would always run them over to the school for the child. This went on for a few years. One day, she decided to heed the advice of a friend, and she told the child who was now in the 6th grade, that if you "forget" anything at home, it will not be brought to you. You will have what ever consequences the school decides.

The kid tested her. Forgot something about two times after, calling from the school pleading why the mother "had" to bring it to school. The mother did not. She said she was sorry, but that she could not bring it.

Again, once the kid experienced that the mother was serious, and was not going to bring it, the child stopped "forgetting" and has become a better, more responsible student.

It is hard to do this with your child. You will feel like a bad mom. But responsibility is an important trait that kids must learn. The older they get, the consequences get bigger. It is better to teach it while they are young.
There is less at stake.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 6:38AM
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This was/is part of the problem that i have with my DD. She is the one that has been diagnosed with Add. However part of her problem also is that her teacher is EXTREMELY unorganized. It is like having the blind leading the blinder. You must get involved with her classroom and have very good communication with the teacher. As soon as my DD walks out of school i check her backpack. This way she can run back inside if something is not there. Also you need to communicate with the teacher the problems that you are having. My DD's teacher now checks her assignment book to make sure she wrote the homework down correctly. Its important to start communicating with the teacher. It would also let the teacher know that YOU are an involved parent.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 11:25AM
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I'm with bnicebkind! It seems that you do not doubt her attention span, memory or general intelligence ("wonderful memory for field trip money, friends' phone calls, etc). And your description of her teacher's procedures (assignments on board to be copied to assignment book) is similar to what our school does. My kids' teachers have made it VERY clear that starting in 3rd grade, homework is to be the child's responsibility and the parents are not to involve themselves, except when asked for help with a specific assignment. They encourage self-reliance, even though for many kids it will mean sacrificing their grades a bit in the short term. (Or maybe even longer - my fifth grader still has issues with "forgetting" to do his homework.)

Could it be that your rewards and punishments need adjustment? Three of my kids respond well to rewards (but the type of reward that works is different for each child). Sadly, I still struggle to find a reward that is motiviating for my fifth-grader, but he does respond to having his electronic priviledges revoked. It is so hard for me to see him leave for school, leaving his completed homework on the kitchen table. Or to stand firm and keep him home when his friends are going somewhere fun, because once again he "forgot" his homework or chores. But I really believe that the more I am involved, the less he will take on himself - he is just sort of lazy in certain areas and is willing to take some heat if he knows that eventually he will get out of his work (e.g. if he has a group project, he doesn't mind incurring the wrath of his classmates if it means they'll pick up his slack. And if I tell the four kids the basement must be clean before they go outside, guess which one purposely works at a snail's pace so as to do as little as possible?)

I do want to say that, like bnicebkind's friend, I do not ever bail my son out when he forgets something for school. But UNLIKE bnicebkind's friend, my son didn't improve after a couple of times. It's happened many times, and in general he is improving and becoming more responsible, but he still has a long way to go. So hang in there, it may take years, but I really think that you will help her become more responsible in a shorter period of time by backing away. Hopefully her teachers will be supportive of this - if not, ask for their suggestions.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 11:01AM
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Also, I didn't mean to be dismissive of popi's approach. If you really feel that she is not yet capable of managing her homework on her own, and that practicing a routine with her would help, then by all means give it a try. I've done some practice / role-playing with my son when he was having trouble with a bullying classmate, and also when he was capable of a task, but lacked confidence in his ability and needed a boost.

But if you know your child is fully capable of a task, and is "forgetting", needing "help", or is "so tired", then it may be less help, rather than more help, that will do the trick.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 11:16AM
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I don't have time just now to digest everyone else's responses so forgive me if I repeat. One thing I wasn't aware of with my first child, an intellectually precocious (but immature) child is that at 4th grade the personal responsibility expected of each child is bumped up. No longer are they fed stapled packets of material to fill in and bring back. My son had also skipped a grade earlier so he was even less ready for the sudden shift. My son forgot a lot of things. We found it helpful to have a card taped to his desk with a reminder list of the things he would need to bring home.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 12:58PM
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My SD was doing the same, she's in 3rd grade. She was having us spend up to 2 hours in the evening on homework that was to take 15-20 minutes to get done. We were going through tons of erasers and frustrated beyond belief. It finally dawned on me that she was the center of attention every night. It was negative attention but still, she was the star. I talked to her teacher that said she did good on classwork and didn't think she should have such trouble with her homework. So, we sat her down and told her she is to get it done as correctly as she can the first time and we would check it, but it was going back to school "as is" the next day. The students trade papers to be corrected and I told her that I knew she could do better but if she wants to continue to goof off, she will probably be embarrassed by whoever corrects hers. The next day, she brought it to me and only missed one. I knew she could do it and she hasn't had a problem since.

She also likes to "forget" things but remember what she WANTS to. Kids are smart and can be very manipulative if it works for them. I think the reward system is a good way to go, but finding out if she really is forgetting or seeking attention should be first. I don't know if I addressed your problem but I hope so.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 5:40PM
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