Homework and the Disorganized Student

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 26,280
    Education Expert Ann Dolin discusses homework and the disorganized student.

    Ann Dolin: I am Ann Dolin. Today we are talking about how to help your child with homework. But specifically now let's discuss the disorganize child.

    Kids with organization, difficulties are really at a disadvantage during school because they are not just having to memorize content material but they are also having to remember where they put their last assignment, actually phishing out their last assignment and remembering to turn it in. Kids that are disorganized are impacted academically often with lower grades. However, as parents we can do a couple of things to really help our kids, become more organized.

    The first thing we need to do is to set aside about an hour of time and talk to our child about working on more specific skills that may not be taught in school. Often teachers don't have the time to discuss organization, they don't setup systems with kids. However, during this hour time what I would recommend is that you have your child take out their binder and their bag pack, remove everything from the bag pack and sort it into piles according to subject areas.

    You are probably going to find a lot of crunched up papers and long lost missing assignments in the bottom of the bag pack. But do not fear the objective, don't say anything about it. Work with your child to sort through everything, put them in piles according to subject Social Studies, English, Math and then in the next step is to also go through the binder, pull out any loose materials and also sort them. And finally when you have all of that done, you need to then work on the binder system with your child.

    Many kids keep a three ring binder which is perfectly fine but some kids have quite a bit of difficulty with that. So you may actually want to consider a system that has an accordion folder build into the binder, so they don't have to whole punch everything and put everything into the three rings, each time they need to file, they can simply put their papers behind a tab in the accordion folder.

    Disorganized kids also need a place to keep their materials in the home so they are not constantly getting up looking for materials, probably the easiest system is to just simply put a label with their name on it and have them put their supplies into a shoe box. However, other kids like a more portable upright system like a shower catty. It has compartments for pencils, pens, upright folders and paper and if they do homework in the kitchen one night but perhaps you have a meeting in there and they need to do it in the dining room, the next night, they can simply move their materials with them.

    Also the key to organization with students is constant maintenance. It's just not simply enough to setup and clean out a binder or a bag pack or even the child's room and expect it that they are going to keep in that state from there on out. They need to have regular what we called binder bag pack maintenance night, so take one evening during the week usually Sundays worthwhile because they are on a lot of demands with schedules on that evening.

    Set aside time, put it on your family calendar and work with your child to clean out their binder, their bag pack, even restock materials into their shower catty and use that as in overall maintenance time, not only for your child but incorporates some maintenance that you can do as well, so that your child sees you working on organization too.

    A family calendar is a great way to keep track of all of your kids after school commitments as well as establish regular binder bag pack maintenance time. The family calendar can even be color coded, in each color represents a different member of the family. So, for example, if your youngest child has soccer practice on Wednesday and his color is orange, it would be written in orange on Wednesdays noting that he has soccer practice. Plays, doctors appointments anything else that occurs after school will be on the family calendar. And I found that kids absolutely love, the love surety of being able to see what they have after school. They like structure, they like knowing what's coming next and this enables them to have control over their after school activities.

    Many of the order students are worked with have long term exams. They have cumulative finals and midterms and those kids have to access materials early in their semester to study for exams. The problem is that disorganized child has either has thrown away the materials or cannot find them. A simple solution is to create an accordion folder, a separate folder that's kept at home or hanging file box and have each tab representing the subject. At the end of each quarter, work with your child to take out all tests and quizzes because those are usually important for studying for cumulative exams and file them behind the subject area. That way when a cumulative exam comes up, they will have all the necessary materials needed to study.

    Hopefully those tips will help your child be a little bit more organized, next we are going to talk about the rusher and how you can help your child who works too quickly when doing homework after school.