Survive Forgetting Your Homework at School

Have you ever sat down to complete your homework only to realize you left some important component (like a worksheet or textbook) at school? Don’t freak out! You have many options for getting ahold of what you need or finding a suitable replacement. If all else fails, you may be able to complete the assignment when you return to school.


Getting a Copy of a Worksheet

  1. Photocopy a friend’s worksheet. If you forgot some type of worksheet or essential assignment sheet, call up a friend. Ask if you can borrow their worksheet for a few minutes. Then take the worksheet to a nearby office supply store and have it photocopied.[1]
    • If you have a scanner and printer or a copy machine, you can complete this task at home.
    • Most printing places charge $0.10 for a single black and white copy.
  2. Copy a friend’s worksheet by hand. If you do not have access to a copy machine, or do not have a ride to your friend’s house, you can have him or her read you the worksheet over the phone and you can copy it down by hand. Be sure to use your best handwriting.
    • Get out a sheet of looseleaf paper and a pen.
    • Ask your friend to read you the worksheet and carefully copy down all of the details.
    • Double check the spelling of difficult words.
    • Read it back to your friend to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
  3. Look on the website for your course. Does your school use an online platform to post assignments and grades? If so, it is possible your teacher posted a copy of this worksheet to that page. Log in, look for the name of this assignment or the chapter it corresponds to, and locate the worksheet. Print it out at home.
  4. Email your teacher. Often times, your teacher will have an electronic copy of the worksheet that he or she can send to you. Email your teacher right away and request a copy of the worksheet. [2]
    • Be sure to use clear grammar, complete sentences, and good etiquette in your email.
    • You can only use this method once or twice before your teacher will become frustrated with you.
  5. Find a PDF of the worksheet online. If the worksheet was produced by the company who made your textbook, you can likely locate a copy of it online. Search by the publisher, textbook title, and subject matter or chapter you are working on. Locate a PDF of the worksheet and print it out at home.[3]

Finding a Textbook

  1. Find your book at the library. It is very likely that a copy of the book will be held at your school’s library. You may be able to search by the name of your course, the course number, or your teacher’s name.[4] If the library at your school is not open, a public library may also have the book.
    • You can search an online card catalog or call the library to see if they have your book. Then go there in person and check it out.
    • Sometimes the textbook may be “on reserve,” meaning you will have to work with it in the library.
  2. Search for the book online. You may be able to find an ebook or PDF of the book. Search by the title of the textbook, the publisher, and/or the author. Download the PDF or ebook and read it on your computer or tablet.
    • Ideally, you will want to try to find the exact same edition, but a different edition will be better than nothing.
    • If you can find out the ISBN code for your textbook, this can be a good way to search as well.
  3. Borrow a friend’s book. If you have a friend in the class, call them up and ask them to borrow their book. If they have the same assignment, you may need to wait until they are finished using the book. Another option is to go over to their house, share the book, and work on the assignment together. Be careful not to violate your teacher’s policies on completing assignments!
  4. Look for other books on the subject. If you simply need your textbook in order to answer questions, you may be able to find different books containing the information. If you need information about United States history, for example, the library will have many books that will contain the answers you need.[5]
  5. Search for alternative sources online. You may also be able to find the information you need using online sources. For example, if you need information on cell mitosis, you can probably search for an article online that will have the information you need to complete your homework.[6]

Completing the Homework Later

  1. Go to school early the next day. If there was no way for you to complete your assignment without the materials you left at school, try to go in early the next morning. If your school offers early morning study hall (or a breakfast period), you can easily get there early and work in the morning. If you need to get into your classroom, you can email your teacher to see if he or she can let you in early.
  2. Work during any free periods. If you are not able to go into school early (or if you do not finish your assignment during that time), you can work during any downtime you have during the day. If a teacher gives you time in class to work on something, you can work on the homework from last night instead. You can work during any free period, recess, or lunch in order to get the assignment done.
  3. Stay after school. If you were not able to get the assignment done during your school day, you may still be able to turn it in without getting a late grade. Talk to you teacher and find out if you can stay after school for a little bit to finish the assignment. It is likely that your teacher will need to stay for a little while anyway, and he or she may respect your initiative to get the late assignment complete as soon as possible.
  4. Email it to your teacher. A similar option is to email the assignment to your teacher. Sometimes if you can get it to your teacher the same day it is due (even in a digital format), your teacher will not mark the assignment late.[2] Talk to your teacher and find out if this is an option for you. Then complete the assignment as soon as you get home.
    • If you have multiple email accounts, use the one associated with your school.
    • Once again, use proper grammar, complete sentences, and good etiquette when you communicate with your teacher via email.
  5. Get an extension. If all else fails, talk to your teacher about getting an extension. Explain what happened, describe all the methods you tried in order to get this assignment done, and ask for permission to turn it in late. If this has never happened before, your teacher will probably appreciate your honesty and let it slide. If that happens frequently, however, you may not be as lucky.[7]


  • Exchange contact info with some people from your class ahead of time so that you can contact them in a situation like this one.
  • When searching for answers off the Internet, don't type in the direct question. Instead, type in key parts of the question. For example, if the question is “What was the population of Canada in 1900?" type in “Population of Canada 1900” instead of the full question.
  • Try making a mini bag that will carry all the supplies needed to do homework, like an extra copy of every textbook, lined paper, a ruler, a protractor, etc.
  • Be nice to your teachers. They are more likely to help you out if you are respectful and they like having you in class.


  • If you do forget the homework again you may get in serious trouble!
  • You may get in trouble because of forgetting the homework.
  • Teachers might lose their trust in you.

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Sources and Citations

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