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Homework Policy

September 15, 2010

We were roughly a mile down the road this morning when Lawson paused in his mid-morning car ride ramble to slap a hand against his forehead.


“Oh, what?”

“I forgot my homework at home!”

“You mean the homework I asked you about three times in the ten minutes before we left the house?”

Long pause. “Yessss.”

“Okay.” I kept driving.

“It’s on the kitchen table! If I don’t have it I’ll lose five minutes of recess!” His voice bordered on the desperate.

I met his eyes in the rearview mirror. “If that’s the consequence for forgetting your homework, Lawson, then I think you’re going to lose five minutes of recess.”

“But–” He looked stricken, and I battled with myself. We’d only be a few minutes late to school if I turned around to pick up his homework. Recess was huge! I was a monster, a creature devoid of compassion or sensitivity.

But he needs to take responsibility, I argued. I reminded him, not once but three times. He still forgot. A consequence is a good thing.

Please don’t cry, I willed him silently. If you cry, I’m done.

“Okay?” I prodded gently.

Lawson closed his mouth, which had been gaping in protest, and settled back against the seat.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. diane permalink
    September 15, 2010 11:51 am

    ugh! ouch!!

    I have been on that end and I feel the tug just reading your post. it’s so hard to let them face the consequences sometimes, but you’re right.

    of course, I always end up returning to the school after drop-off traffic has gone, to leave forgotten homework, lunches, etc. in the office. they usually end up with the missed recess or pulled ticket for forgetting, but they don’t have to fret over it when the rest of the class is going over their answers or correcting the assignment. I’m lucky the school is within a 15 minute walking distance.

  2. September 15, 2010 1:08 pm

    Arrgh! I hate this part of parenting. It’s gotta be done but I hate hate hate it. Good on ya mate for sticking to your guns. It’s painful for both but hopefully less painful when Lawson remembers next time.

    And good on Lawson for not crying and taking the consequences like a little man. That’s worth a cookie after school I’d think. 😀

  3. September 15, 2010 2:37 pm

    i am impressed with mr. lawson. good man. good man.

  4. September 15, 2010 7:31 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    As one who is in elementary education I want to thank you again, and again for doing this. Way too many students don’t understand natural consequences to their actions because mom and/or dad have baled them out each and every time, not making them responsible for their own actions. It might have been hard on Lawson and harder on you, but today you have taught him a valuable lesson.
    Bet it won’t take three times of reminding next time ;o)

    This does remind me of a funny story (to me) of a fifth grade student who had parents who baled him out each and every time. We worked hard to get him to take responsibility for his own learning but it is a hard thing to do when mom does your homework. One day he forgot her uhm his homework and asked to go to the clinic because he was feeling sick. While in the clinic he was caught calling home, asking mom to bring to school the missing assignment. The teacher accepted the paper but still made him miss recess not only for that day but for the rest of week. Mom was more upset about this than the student!

  5. September 16, 2010 1:51 am

    Way to go! I used to be horrible about this. In some situations, I was so good at encouraging responsibility; in others I was the “Queen of Bail.” I think I must be getting better at it now though, because my kids’ responses to “no” are getting better. It is so exciting! 😀 I am not a “total looser” after all!!!! 😀 I may just start to get this thing down before the last kids leaves the nest! 😀

  6. September 16, 2010 7:33 am

    Now I like you even more than I did before! Rock on for responsibility!

    And a big ‘AMEN’ for Bonnie’s comment…

  7. Anaise permalink
    September 16, 2010 7:41 am

    Personally, I think it is a mean rule for such a young child. Kids need to run around, and taking recess away is not nice.

    But, I think you did a good job letting him experience the consequences of his own actions.

    And I think he is a brave little man for not fussing!

  8. September 16, 2010 12:42 pm

    D–I usually do the same thing…this was huge not to!

    R–a cookie for sure. He was in a great mood when he came home, so it must not have been too traumatic.

    M–thanks–I was very proud of him.

    B–I love your comment; thank you! The fifth grader story is a familiar one from my own teaching days–“forgot her um his homework–priceless!

    C–Queen of Bail! Ha! Love it…and you’re far from a loser mom. 😉

    J– 🙂 I’m glad I upped my Teachinfourth ranking…

    A–You have the sweetest, softest heart, Anaise! I’m in complete agreement–recess is so vital. I guess they have to get them where it hurts or the lesson isn’t learned. Fortunately it was only five minutes, and not the entire recess period.

  9. September 17, 2010 7:16 pm

    Hurray for you standing your ground! With us living less than 5 minutes away from the school we haven’t had to deal with this very much, but they have done their fair share of exercise running back home themselves.

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