Q: What suggestions do you have for helping my son become more organized about his schoolwork?
A: I have several! Here are some ideas to try.
Set up a homework/study calendar. Look for one that has a lot of space for writing. Encourage your son to use a red pen to mark the dates of tests or due dates for important projects. Then have him use a green pen for activities leading up to the due date. For example, spelling test may be entered on Friday and the spelling homework activities leading up to the test may be entered in green.
Make a home-study kit. A lot of homework time is wasted looking for pencils and paper. Having materials on hand makes being organized much easier, so put the necessary tools in place. A shoebox will do, and I recently made a model home study kit using an easy-to-put-together box from a discount store. Keep the following in your son's kit (let him help you shop for these items if he's interested):
- paper: lined, blank, and graphing
- pencils and pens
- marking pens
File fix-up. Have your son set up a file folder for each of his academic subjects. He can do this with regular office-supply folders or make his own folders with construction paper. He can then label each folder and only keep important papers. For example, it is a good idea to look at old spelling tests to prepare for comprehensive tests at the end of the semester. Also, it is helpful to keep adding all the research for a paper to a folder so everything he needs will be in one place when he starts to write.
Teach him a 5-minute focus exercise. Before your son starts his schoolwork, encourage him to take 5 minutes to focus on what he needs to do. This can take the form of writing down what he will do. For example:
1. Math problems __
2. Look up information for report __
3. Study spelling words __
4. Read __
Then he can check off each task as completed. It feels great to check off items on a to-do list.