How many times have you had to go back to school to find a homework paper or try to find school papers at home? This has happened several times in the past for our family. I am going to share a few tips with that will keep your kid's schoolwork organized so that your evenings run a little smoother.
It is time for school to start again. That means back to school shopping which includes school supplies. We received the registration packet for my son who is going into seventh grade along with the dreaded school supply list. Not only do I see major dollar signs but the list is a bit overwhelming.
Don't get me wrong. I do not mind purchasing class supplies such as hand sanitizer and tissue. However, the part of the list for everyday learning is a bit much. My son's 7th grade school supply list includes: 7 spiral notebook, 6 folders, 1 composition notebook, 2 one inch binders , 1 pack of loose leaf paper, 2 packs of index cards, 1 pack of colored pencils, 1 highlighter, 1 ruler, 1 pair scissors, 1 box fine tip markers, 24 pencils, Pens- Blue, black, and red, 1 flash drive, and 1 Texas instrument calculator. Students with organization and attention problems (a.k.a most seventh grade boys) can find organizing all of this class material and finding it for the correct class a bit overwhelming.
Backpacks are left in lockers at my son's school and the kids carry their books and supplies in their arms during the day. They can go to their locker between classes but have a very short time frame to do so. This means kids carry too much and drop much of it in the hall.
When my son was much younger we searched for ways to simplify his school supplies because it was all too much for him (and us) to keep up with. There were lost papers, books and notebooks left at school, papers that were crumbled up in the abyss of his backpack, and notes that never made it home. We took weekly trips back to school hoping that the door was still unlocked so that my son could retrieve what he needed.
I have done my research on organizing children and their school work. One of the best books that I have come across is The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg with Jennifer Zwiebel. This book has great suggestions for everyone. Below are are a few tips from this book and some of my own.
1. Use one binder.
The most useful advice from The Organized Student for my son was to simplify everything into one binder. You heard that right. Instead of notebooks, composition books, folders, and all that jazz, just get one large binder that zips. Use dividers with pockets and tabs to separate subjects. The pockets within each subject can hold completed homework. Some binders have a small accordion file in the front. Use this area to store graded papers until you get them home, parent and teacher communication, blank loose leaf paper, and even a composition book. Donna Goldberg also recommends using loose paper with reinforced holes. This is great for my son who had a problem with tearing his paper. When they use a single binder for multiple subjects your child only has ONE thing to keep up with!
Goldberg mentions that this method does not work for everyone. Binders may not work for left-handed people. There are other options listed in this book and other books for organizing students. The point is to find the simple method that works for your child.
2. Choose a home for your children's backpacks. Put hooks by the door, use a cubby holder, or put the backpacks in a closet. Just pick a spot and have your children start storing the backpacks there. No more running around looking for the backpack as the bus pulls up to the door.
3. The binder and other material immediately go back in the backpack when your child is done with their homework. You will have to drill this into you children and your husband for a very long time but eventually they will do it.
4. Does your child have a hard time picking out clothes in the morning? Or, does he change what you pick for him to wear? This shirt is itchy and another has an annoying tag. Have your child pick out his own clothes for the following week and put them together in a place you have marked for outfits.
My my son came up with his own solution to his clothes problem. He wears his clothes to bed. When my son was in second grade he asked if he could wear his school clothes to bed instead of pajamas. Don't judge! This small change has saved us thousands of minutes on school mornings. A smooth morning far outweighs a few wrinkled clothes in my book.
5. A second set of textbooks at home is very helpful for some children. The school custodian will miss you but you can ask the school to supply an extra set of texbooks if they have any. Or, you can purchase many textbooks online.
6. Homework is done immediately. I am a mean mamma, I know. My son would like to relax, eat a snack, and play Minecraft for a couple of hours (not happening) when he gets home from school. The problem with this scenario is that he does not want to go back to school mode. We have played this game before and no one wins. My son dallies around complaining and whining about doing homework until all hours of the night. My husband and I are frustrated with him because it would not take long if he would just DO the homework. So, when my son gets off the bus from school he does eat a snack. Then, it is time for homework. Guess what? He usually has his homework done in a few minutes with no hassle. Then my son has plenty of time to play outside with the neighbors, read a book, play a game for a little while, or whatever he wants to do before bedtime.
The Organized Student has other simple but great ideas for filing school papers, planning for project due dates and much more. Click on this link to purchase The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg . It is available in paperback and Kindle. I am not being paid by the author to include her book in my blog post. I am only sharing a great resource with the author's permission.
I hope that you can benefit from our family's school of hard knocks when it comes to all things related to organizing school work! If you implement any of these tips into your routine please send me a message to let me know how it works for you.
Keep it Simple Series :Part 3