The new school year is less than a week away. Is your child ready to embrace the new challenges? When I speak to parents about the struggles their child is having during the school year, a commonality I find is poor organization. So today, I'm giving away our number one strategy and trade secret for helping a student be successful. Get organized! Each student that starts at Engaged Academics goes through an organization phase. This simply means, we find an organizational strategy that works for them and help them stick with it over time. Below is what the teachers at Engaged Academics recommend for students.
1. Make sure that you create a study space in your home. A study space is a special place that your child can complete the work they are assigned each day. This space should be different from their relaxation or comfort zone. Many times we find students are trying to do their homework or study in their room while listening to music, browsing social media, watching TV, or texting their friends. Separate these spaces so that your student can be as productive as possible without distractions. And, power down the mobile device.
2. You and your child should make a habit of doing weekly backpack checks and clean outs. Many times, the backpack becomes the catch-all for everything needed and not needed. When meeting with students, I ask them to take everything out of their backpack and put it on the table. If I'm satisfied with the cleanliness and organization, I have them restock it. If not, we go through materials and purge what is no longer needed. It's like cleaning out your car. It just seems to drive better when it's clean and organized.
3. Utilize a three-ring binder to separate classes, folders, and paper and label each section. I love binders. It's the perfect tool to organize folders for each of your classes as well as to-do and done work. I like to think of it as everything has it's own little home to live. Within a few seconds, your child should be able to locate old tests, upcoming assignments, completed homework, etc. If they can't, help them put together the arrangement of materials. Personally, I like to arrange binders by 1) class schedule, 2) homework to do, 3) complete homework, 4) old tests and quizzes, and 5) extra loose leaf paper.
4) Lastly, utilize mechanical pencils to save yourself a trip to the pencil sharpener. A break in concentration, even to sharpen your pencil, can cause you to miss valuable information in class. Mechanical pencils are inexpensive, and they never get dull. It may seem like a trivial thing, but its an excellent tool for staying "in the zone" of learning. They're also reusable and good for the environment.
One of the most significant benefits of being organized outside of helping keep the GPA up is reducing stress. When a child knows where their materials are at and can quickly locate them, it changes their stress tolerance. Being organized will not only raise the GPA, but it will improve their attitude about school work.