How to Organize for School Success

How many times has your child told you that night that they need a poster for a project that is due tomorrow and you have to run to the store at 7pm? What about the permission slip for a field trip that "forgot" to get signed the night before and now you find yourself rushing to the school that morning to sign it? Don't worry. You are not the only parent going through this! The biggest problem most students have is a lack of organizational skills. Here are some strategies that might help make this your student's best year yet! Issue: The homework gets finished nightly, but not handed in the next day. The homework gets haphazardly tossed into the backpack but then lost in a sea of papers by the next day.

Solution? In a two pocket folder, designated just for homework, the left hand side becomes the "assignments to do" side and the right side becomes the "work to turn in" side. For the early grades you can check with your student to see that the left side is empty and the right side is full. This will help train them for the later grades when they should be doing this on their own. This strategy also gives them the feelings of accomplishment thus helping to reinforce their self-confidence. Issue: A large project is "suddenly" due tomorrow! Solution? On the family calendar have each child mark long-term projects in a signature marker color along with important tests and anything else that needs to be prepared for in advance.

Each night that can be looked at and short term goals can be attained over the long run rather than one BIG push to get it done the night before! Issue: School news and activities are over before you ever hear about them. Solution? Although older students need to be somewhat independent, parents still need to know what is going on with their school. Instead of snooping and having to go through the backpack when you student gets home, be in the habit of asking for all papers that require you to look at them when he/she is doing homework or at dinnertime.

You might also have a pocket designated in their back pack that is only "papers for mom" so that they won't feel that you are constantly questioning them or going through the rest of their backpack. Starting now with good habits will help them through the rest of their school career and putting these into practice will eventually result in habits that are formed to help them with their organizational skills throughout their lifetimes. An organized adult will be a decided asset for any job or career.

Jane Saeman runs an In-Home Tutoring service called Aim High Tutors. Find out about how to help your student reach their full potential at

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