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Write It Down

Increasingly, teachers are putting homework assignments online. At schools where teachers do not use websites or email to communicate about homework, parents and students often ask that they do. Even as our lives move more into the digital world, the humble plan book matters a great deal for student organization. Here are several reasons to encourage your child to continue to write his assignments down.

Materials organization

Many students try to minimize the weight of their backpacks by taking home only the materials they need for homework. Unfortunately, it is easy to leave necessary books behind in a desk or locker, particularly when afternoon dismissals are rushed. In the limited minutes that children have to pack up at the end of the school day, plan books can become a checklist for what needs to come home.

Easing the memory burden

When speaking about assignments in class, teachers will often give instruction about how they should be completed or share helpful hints about the work. Jotting down the homework and some notes about the directions makes it much more likely that students will remember the important details once they get to work.

As well, teachers vary in how often and how well they remind students about long-term assignments. Writing down reminders about tests, projects, and papers avoids surprises, even if the teacher does not update his website or forgets to give in-class reminders about due dates.

Long-term planning

Students need a tool for planning assignments that span more than one day. Whether studying for a test or deciding how many pages of a book need to be read each day, it is best to have a one-stop resource for all of one’s assignments. When the students whom I work with get a long-term assignment, I ask them to decide that day how they will divide their work. We also talk about what nights they tend to have a lot of homework or extracurricular commitments, and we plan to do less work on those evenings. Dividing larger assignments up helps work to feel more manageable. Writing down how assignments will be completed also creates a plan to which students can be held accountable.


Once at home the plan book can be a useful checklist for students, parents, and tutors to keep track of what work is due and what work is completed. It is much faster and easier to use than clicking between multiple Web pages or emails. Children can make tick marks next to completed work too, adding to a sense of accomplishment while ensuring that nothing important gets forgotten.

The written assignment book is still so important in student life. If your child has been struggling to remember to complete work or to keep up with long-term assignments, some plan book discipline may help. Start with regular reminders and nightly checks. A small reward, like a stick of gum, may help motivate some students to keep up with the daily task. And, if remembering to write down the work is a challenge for your child, check in at school to see what routines might be implemented to help him keep his assignments organized.


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