Want to avoid just another manic Monday as we draw closer to the beginning of a new school year? Get organized! Beginnings are an exciting time, because they allow us to get a fresh start. While New Year’s resolutions are typically made on December 31st, why not set up some beginning of the school year resolutions with your child? For many children, organization is a big issue when it comes to school. Everything from missing homework assignments to forgotten project deadlines can be prevented with a little forethought and a dedication to organization. The following are some tips to help your child (and you!) get prepared for this upcoming school year.
Buy a Planner (Heck, Buy Two!)
Planners are so important that some schools will give your child a planner at the beginning of the year! A really good planner should be easy to read, with plenty of room on each day to write down things that have to be done. While having the planner is the first step, what’s really important is actually using the planner. Have your child write down school assignments as they come up, taking care to put down both the day they were assigned as well as making a note of when the project is due. One way to draw attention to looming deadlines is to use a highlighter and make it really stand out. The most efficient planners are used on a regular basis, so get your child into the habit of using it every day. Is missing work a huge issue for your child? Talk to his or her teachers about setting up a system of planner signing, and make sure to discuss the planner every night with your child. The best part about using a planner is being able to cross off items as you finish them! As a parent or guardian, you can support the lessons you’re teaching your child by having a large planner present in a prominent place in your home. Whether it’s a large whiteboard calendar or a good old-fashioned paper calendar, make sure to write up important events to help you stay organized! While iCal is nice, it helps to have a constant visual present as a reminder as well, and it will reinforce the importance of planning and organization to your child.
Set Up Paperwork Bins
Sometimes, the amount of paperwork that kids bring home from school can be overwhelming, not to mention all the extra-curricular activities that involve plenty of papers. In between permission slips and projects, make sure that all papers coming home are kept in order! One easy way to accomplish this is to have a set of bins for each child. Label the bins Incomplete Homework, Completed Homework, Projects, Unsigned Permission Slips, and Signed Permission Slips. Get into the habit of checking these bins every night and in the morning. It may sound like a hassle, but it only takes a few seconds to check the bins as part of your routine versus running around ten minutes after you were supposed to leave searching for that one missing paper. These bins can also help to strike up conversations between you and your child about what they’ve been doing in school and what’s coming up.
If your child is using separate folders for each subject, have him or her get into a routine of making sure everything is securely in the folder and should be there on Sunday nights. If your child is already using binders, set up a tab system to separate tests, homework, and notes. Having a messy notebook is a recipe for disaster, so watch out for notebooks that have notes sticking out of them every which way. Also, make sure all notebooks are clearly labeled regarding what they should be used for!
Corral Writing Utensils
Put everything your child might need for the school year as far as supplies (glue sticks, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, etc.) into a pencil box or a bag to carry around in his or her backpack, and prepare an extra one for the locker. Nothing says disorganized like being unable to find a pen or a pencil when you need one!
Beautify Your Desktop
So much of schoolwork today is completed on the computer. To make sure that assignments are being kept in their proper place on a family computer, set up a folder just for your child, and insert folders for each subject into that folder. Make sure your child saves all typed work in the appropriate folder. Another way to prevent a crisis is to have your child constantly back up his or her work. Get into the habit of working with a USB drive in the computer, and periodically save the assignment to both the computer and the USB.
What are some other tips you have for avoiding weekday morning disasters?