Back-to-School is right around the corner! It’s the perfect time to take stock and get your student organized for the new school year. Here are five sure fire tips for starting off the school year on the right track.
- Use an academic planner to help your student plan and stay on track. Whether they use a paper planner (we recommend Order Out of Chaos’ “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management” http://orderoochaos.com) or electronic calendar, make sure their planner is set up as a grid system so they can see their week at a glance. Record all their class assignments, after school activities, chores, even plans with friends. This will allow them to know what they need to do AND when they have time to PLAN to get things done.
- Simplify the supplies! As best you can, simplify the amount of supplies your student has and they will automatically get ahead of the organization. It’s easy for them to get overwhelmed by the amount of papers, homework sheets, handouts, etc. that take over their school life. Use a master binder, accordion file or individual notebooks or folders to corral papers. Even if your child’s teacher has a specific set of requirements, work with the teacher to create an organizing system that is easy to use and maintain and works best for your child.
- Set up a Launching Pad: A launching pad is a designated place in the home where your student’s stuff that goes back and forth to school is kept. It’s the place where backpacks, library books, instruments, gym sneakers, etc., should be stored. A launching pad takes the stress of packing up for the day out of the equation! Remember to pick the most trafficked area that your student uses. It could by the front door, the garage or even outside their bedroom.
- Create a School Stuff Storage Station! How many times have you seen your 10-year-old look for a pencil sharpener when it is time to do homework? Gather all the supplies they will need for homework at the beginning of the school year (think colored pencils, reinforced paper, glue, etc.) and fill a clear and portable box. Make sure to label with their name AND a list of all the supplies in the box. This easy solution takes the “I don’t know where it is” mantra out of the equation! Remember to make a box of supplies for EACH of your students. Different ages need different supplies!
- Play Homework Games! Let’s be serious. Homework isn’t fun for anyone! So to infuse some energy into the mundane, play homework games! Set up homework stations around your house and play “Hide the Homework” with your student. Wherever they find the homework is where they do it! Think English in the bathtub (no water!), Math under the kitchen table. Or play Beat the Clock. Set up homework stations around your kitchen table. Place a timer in the middle. When the timer goes off, your student moves to the next station. By adding energy and fun into their daily routine you will keep them motivated and on-task.
Images: Leslie Josel
About Leslie Josel
Leslie Josel is the Principal of Order Out of Chaos, an organizing consulting firm specializing in student organizing and chronic disorganization. She is has her ADHD Coaching certification from JST coach training and is a member of NAPO and ICD. Leslie is known as a respected resource on ADHD and Executive Functioning in students and has been featured in national broadcast and print media on these subjects. She also speaks nationally to parent and educator groups on a variety of issues and topics facing students today. Leslie is the creator of the award winning “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management” (a student planner that helps teach middle and high schoolers time management). Connect with Leslie at www.orderoochaos.com.