Tips for getting child organized for school

oogiegirl22August 17, 2006

My daughter will be entering 6th grade in a few weeks. She is in the middle school and they move each period throughout the day. She has a problem with oranization and I'm wondering if any of you have any tips on methods we can try to keep her together this year. Last year we started with a large 3 ring zippered binder with individual pocket folders for each class. This was fine at first but a few weeks into the year it proved to be a nightmare in that she would just throw the work into any folder and we had to spend a lot of time sorting through everything at home in order to do homework. We then switched to an expandable folder with individual sections for each class. This worked about as well as the 3 ring binder. THis year I'm thinking of skipping the "all inclusive" idea and just giving her a seperate folder for each subject and color coding it with a notebook and book cover for her text. The problem I see with this is that I AM QUITE CERTAIN she will "forget" to bring something home at the end of the day and her homework will not get done.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions that I can use to help her get organized? She is very forgetful and I have had discussions with the school about this. They have granted her permission to keep a set of textbooks at home which was a great help. However, just getting her to bring home the necessary handouts, etc. is still a problem.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Our school did the same folder/notebook same color for the kids, never knew why until you wrote this, I bet it was to help them get organized.

I am truely a big believer in letting a child suffer the consequences and learnign from them. If she forgets homework a failed grade is a great teacher to learn to bring the homework home. Then let them learn what works best for them how to remember to bring the work home.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 1:38PM
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Letting them suffer the consequences is a good strategy if the root problem is laziness, and a "kick in the pants" approach would be effective. For some kids, it's just 'getting kicked' and makes them feel worse, less-motivated even, without changing anything.

If the root problem is poor organization skills, then learning or developing them is going to be the answer. You'll probably need to work with your DD to find a system that works and feels natural for her, keeping in mind that what works or seems 'organized' to you may make absolutely no sense to her. Different organization strategies work for different people. I bet you could find a bunch of different possibilities by Googling, then discuss with your DD to see what she thinks will work for her.

What about, in addition to folders for each class, adding a single 'TODAY' folder that's sturdy, visible, and easy to slip in and out of a backpack. It would be especially handy if her backpack has a side slot that could hold the folder. All of Today's new papers and assignments go into the Today folder, then get removed at home and either completed, or refiled in the proper class's folder. (Nothing is allowed to 'live' in the Today folder.)

A system that works well for me is a large bulletin board, with little 'header cards' for each client (for your DD, each Class). Then assignments and notes get push-pinned onto the bulletin board under each header. That way, it's all visible in front of me. Anything critical or time-sensitive gets highlighted, and the space for each class/client can expand or contract simply by moving a few push-pins. To manage my time, I need to have my tasks visible in front of me. Filing them neatly away would result in "Out of sight, Out of mind."

Good luck with this! My son started school yesterday, so we're going through the same thing...

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 2:15PM
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My oldest son, 13, also has a problem with organization. He is in the 8th grade. We also have tried different methods to help him get organized. The thing is, if you back out on kids who truly have trouble getting organized, they will fall flat on their face and grades will suffer because of missed assignments and lowered test scores because they forgot to bring home books before a test. Then what to you do? You scold them for forgetting but this doesn't teach them the skills they need. Our school gives the kids an assignment notebook at the beginning of each year. Sit down with your daughter and discuss with her the importance of using this tool each day to write down upcoming tests, assignments, lunch money, a friend's phone number, anything. We, have done the big binders. I think they help in that they can always have paper, pencils, pens, rulers, ect. in one place. But with my son, they started out great then things just ended up shoved in there. He didn't clean out the old stuff and shoved new papers in. Even though they were labeled. It works best for my son to have pocket folders for each class/book for the corresponding papers to go into. Then he keeps the binder full of paper, pencils, and the assignment book. And most importantly, sit with your daughter and discuss whichever system she decides to use. She has to take ownership of the system. Where classes are located from each other can determine what she needs to take to each class. She may not have time between classes to go back to her locker and she needs to have a plan for these things. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 3:21PM
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