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Showing posts from September, 2009

Back to School Post #7 of 7- Conclusion-Help Them Find Their Own Method

Help Them Find Their Own Method



I have learned from my own experience that what works for me and works for my son and works for my husband doesn’t work for my daughter. If your method of organization isn’t working for your student, help her brainstorm a different method that will work for her. If she can come up with her own solution, she will have more ownership of it and be more successful as a result.

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Back to School Post #6 of 7 - Teach Project Management

Teach Project Management

Planners are essential for managing large school projects and papers. I suggest students subtract two days from the project’s due date for each week they have to work on it. (For a three-week assignment, for example, subtract six days and consider the new date as the due date.) This gives the student a buffer if anything comes up to throw him off schedule. 

From there, help your student work backward in his planner to create shorter term goals, such as “purchase materials,” “complete outline,” “finish first draft,” etc. This helps them manage their progress along the way and avoid a frantic rush to finish at the end.

Back to School Post #5 of 7 - Teach Time Management

Teach Time Management

It is a rare middle school student who can gauge how much time an assignment will take. Suggest your student use a timer to develop the skill. If they time themselves reading a fifteen-page chapter, for example, they’ll have a good idea how long to allocate when they have to read thirty pages, sixty pages, or more.

Plan their week every Sunday night or sometime over the weekend. Instruct the student to write in their planner any known commitments and assignments. Also, review what materials might be needed for projects during the week.

Back to School Post #4 of 7 - Use Tools Wisely

Use Tools Wisely Photo from Order Out of Chaos
Most middle school students use binders and planners, but many don’t use them effectively. Help them to choose a binder with several pockets, then designate the pockets as follows: 

one for each subject, to hold all completed assignments the teacher has returnedone for all homework to complete, so it’s easy to see what needs to be done one for homework to turn in, which should be empty at the end of each day.

With planners, suggest finding one like Order out of Chaos's academic planner shown above.  A planner that includes a week-at-a glance, with blank headings for columns and rows. Designate each column as a day of the week and each row as a subject area or class. Include a row for extracurricular activities as well. This way, students can see everything they have to do on each day. If one day looks heavy and another light (no assignments in one class or no extracurricular activities, for example), help your student determine how to use…

Back to School Post #3 of 7 - Make Homework Routine

Make Homework Routine

You can help by making sure your student has a suitable space to work without distractions and with homework supplies nearby. Find a place that’s comfortable but not so comfortable he’ll fall asleep.

Create a routine of setting aside a specific time for doing homework, not just “sometime tonight.” Have a really specific time so that gets developed into their routine and becomes a habit also.

Back to School Post #2 of 7 - Parents Need to Stay Involved

Parents Stay Involved

While middle school is a time of burgeoning independence, parents need to stay involved, at least until their student shows he can manage his own workload. Help your student by creating a routine and habit of the parent checking in with their child each day to review their homework and their projects.

Have them check daily to ensure their child has completed his work and packed it in his backpack or binder. When the student returns from school, make sure he’s turned it in.

For most kids, these daily checks will become habits before long and the parent will be able to relinquish the responsibility.

Back to School Post #1 of 7 - Transitions

I took the month of August off, but now I'm gearing up to send my kids back to school next week. I'm devoting the month of September blog posts to tips on transitioning back to school.

Parents need help organizing their children's school activities and their homework (typically middle school students who have ADD). The challenges of transitioning from one teacher in elementary school to many teachers in middle school often takes students and parents by surprise. 

Many students lack the organizational tools necessary to handle the multiple classes, assignments, projects, teaching methods, and expectations. This all leads to a breakdown in study skills, lower grades, and increased tension between parents and children.

What’s a parent to do? Don’t panic! In my upcoming blog posts I will offer simple tips to help your student develop the organizational skills he’ll need to succeed in middle school, and in life. 

Updated - August 2015
For more back to school organizing tips see:
pos…