I decided that my Table Captains would be the ones to do this clerical work for me. Now I will preface by saying that I did do the check in myself for the six weeks of school, until I could fully trust my students to do it themselves. But once I felt they were ready, about a week of training was all it took.
Click here to get a copy of the Homework Checklist I use. It is a Word Doc, which means you can edit it to suit the homework needs of your own classroom.
To expedite this process, I have all the students enter the room with their homework folders and planners in hand. They set them on their desks, open the planners to the proper page, and begin their Morning Message. The Table Captains then walk around their table, checking for completion. At this point in the year, they actually are really strict with the kids. They don't let anything slip by! I am then a second check when we are correcting the homework together. I can see how much the kids are getting or what they need to be remediated on based on the corrections the kids are making.
This system has been working well for me (I did this in 4th and 5th, but did a *modified* version in 3rd). Now that I have some time freed up, I am actually able to meet with a small group for remediation in the morning while the kids are doing their morning work. It is allowing me to get a little more differentiation into the day, and building independent workers in my class. Win-win for all in my opinion.