One key to academic success is organization.
Organized students are in control of their learning experience. They efficiently keep track of homework assignments, notes, and books. They know how to schedule and budget their time. They meet deadlines, complete projects, and earn good grades.
However, many students lack basic organizational skills. Their backpacks are filled with stray assignments, lost homework sheets, and old school-newsletters. Their homework time is disorganized. They approach long-term assignments haphazardly, lose track of due dates, and fail to complete projects.
By helping your child to become a better organizer, you can help your child to master important skills for school and for life.
Tips to help your child:
- Make sure that your child always has sufficient school supplies (paper, pens, pencils, sharpeners, rulers, markers, etc.).
- Buy colored notebooks / folders / binders and assign each school subject its own color. Also, buy an extra folder (“home folder”) to be used for communications between home and school (newsletters, report cards, announcements).
- Teach your child that each piece of paper (hand-out, homework assignment, quiz) should be filed in the appropriate folder or binder.
- Buy your child a small academic-year planner. (Many stores carry calendars specifically intended for students.)
- Teach your child to write down project due dates, future assignments, and personal commitments in this calendar.
- Each night review with your child his / her list of homework assignments and review upcoming due dates in the calendar. Also, check the “home folder.”
- Have your child decide, with your guidance, how long he or she will need to spend on each topic (and decide what to do if a subject is not completed in the allocated amount of time).
A Few, Final Words of Advice:
- The aim is for your child to learn to organize his or her school-work and time. If you do all of the organizational work, you will not be teaching your child the requisite skills.
- If your child does not have enough time to complete all of his or her homework, examine the root-causes: Does your child need extra organizational help? Are the time-requirements of his / her extracurricular commitments (sports, acting, etc.) excessive? Does your child need help mastering one or more of his / her school subjects?
- Be patient. Change takes time. If you maintain a positive attitude about school and school-work, your child will feel more enthusiastic and confident.