Child School Organizational Skills

Tips to organize both you and your child for school. These are strategies that have been helpful to me as a parent.

You are probably only reading this if your child is having problems with grades, missing papers or homework assignments that were lost (your child doesn't have a clue to what happened to them).

All of the above have happened to my child and I have spent 2 years working with him and his teachers trying to find a system that works. These are the results. Please take this information and customize it for yourself. Remember, be creative!

1. Supplies

· Does your child need a planner for multiple classes? If she has 5-7 different classes during the day, with assignments and upcoming tests, this is necessary. This can be as simple as a spiral notebook to the elaborate store bought day planner. The essential part in this is the ability of the child to record daily homework assignments and future deadlines (for example: Book report due Oct. 9).

· You can make your own planner if you have office management software. We did this using a weekly calendar. I printed August through December in advance and bound the whole document with a spiral binding. If you do not have a binder, a printing shop will do this for a small price. This makes a portable planner that is easily adapted.

· Binders can hold all the necessary supplies. This is much like an attaché case for a student. A binder should be large and should have a 3-ring holder. This part will hold loose-leaf paper and pocket folders with 3-ring holes. Another great feature is the pencil container. We found a binder with two sections so it could contain index cards and a planner. Search for a good one. Don't be stuck with a small one just because it has a cute character, this is an important part of the organization.

· Folders with pockets with 3-ring holes are necessary in my opinion. Keeping all of those loose-leaf papers contained, until their due date, is a nightmare. Folders usually have two pockets, so label each side with a subject (for example: Math and English).

· Backpacks are good for carrying loose books and supplies, but watch out for the black hole syndrome. Loose papers have a way of getting lost down there, and you'll never see them again.

· Every thing should have a place and everything should return to its place.

2. Consider your child's personality.

· Does he remember things unprompted? Does she need to see something to remember? Where is the best place to place a reminder? Think sticky notes. Is a verbal reminder better? Ask your child what would help them.

· What works best, rewards or punishments? Or both? Make a list of rewards for good behavior (i.e. turning in assignments on time). This could be extra television time, special food treat, time playing a game with you or whatever is important to your child. Decide punishments in advance, not just because you're angry about a bad grade. A list of these could include: losing telephone privileges, no friends for a determined amount of time, extra chores, and even extra studying time can be helpful.

· Habits are a great thing to use to your advantage. Every day after school, get into the habit of going over your child's day with them. Did they have assignments? Homework? Tests? Don't forget to look at their planner; also, this is a good time to go through folders to get rid of trash.

· Have your child develop the habit of getting his stuff arranged the night before. This is an old trick, but there is never enough time in the morning to find the lost shoe. The exit door is a good place to use for this.

3. Your child, the teacher, and you.

· Have meetings with the teacher(s). Remember to be polite. Having a friendly but assertive attitude goes a long way towards you relationship with this valuable person. Work with them, and say only positive things about them in front of your child.

· Never assume it is the teacher's fault. Rushing in to confront a teacher about an alleged wrong, then finding out the paper is actually in your son's locker doesn't help your relationship.

· How much help is a teacher capable of doing? Will she sign the planner to confirm assignments? Will he make a list of test dates or assignments for the week/month? How much feedback can you get from them about work that is not completed?

· Remember that ultimately your child is responsible for his/her own work. His grades are not a reflection of you.

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