Since families across the US are thinking about getting back to school this month, I’ve asked my friend Anna to share a few more ideas about how she organizes her family for academic success for this week’s organization post. I know her thoughts will inspire you to organize your family for a productive and organized school year! Thanks Anna. – Jessica Johnson
Anna Macfarlane is a mother of four, freelance writer, and has written on her personal blog, ahhnna.com, since way back in January 2008.
“Has anyone seen my homework?”
I fully expect to hear those words at least twice a week once school starts up again. The hardest thing, for me, is not in helping my kids find their homework, but in trying to respond without sarcasm.
It’s all about teaching your child to fish (you know, “Give a man a fish…”) so that they are responsible, organized, and calm throughout their school years.
Starting with younger kids, have a large calendar in a common area in your home with all of the family’s activities and due dates written on it. We use post-it notes on a grid so that we can change days easily (without big black lines everywhere—dates get changed a lot). White board calendars are a nice and crisp option, too.
As soon as announcements, reminders, and projects are assigned, write it up on your calendar. In our home on Sunday night, we meet at the calendar and remind everyone what is happening and what projects are going on.
As your kids get older, give them charge of their own calendar system (notebook, planner, mobile device) and sit down with them the first few months as they learn to fill in their dates and set reminders. Teach them any tips or tricks you have, but let them also figure out their own.
More often than not, homework is shoved into the bottom of a backpack on the way home from school or slips underneath the bed sometime in the middle of the night before it is due. And yet, it is still difficult to find.
Get your kids a simple folder and teach them to use it. every. single. time. If their teacher gives them a paper to bring home, slip it in the folder. When they finish their homework, immediately slip it back into the folder. This simple trick is a huge time saver when children learn to employ it.
Now they just need to remember to put the folder back into their book bag or backpack. One undertaking at a time.
Wake Up Earlier
Ten minutes. Have everyone wake up ten minutes earlier to help your kids get ready for the day and make sure everyone is prepared. It is amazing that something this simple can help children to be more successful in an entire day of school.
Let Them Have the Responsibility
As a mother, I never want to see my children hurt or frustrated. Sometimes that ol’ “Mama Bear” part of me is just scratching to surface and take over for them during the hard parts of childhood. That is precisely when I need to back off and let them fall a little.
When your kids are late with an assignment or forget something in school, they need to feel the effects of failure. Then with proper encouragement, they can get back and try harder the next time.
Every child is unique and will react differently—even within the same family. Be adaptable as your child figures out what works best for them and help them along as they set up their habits.
Have you tried any of these school-time suggestions to help your kids be more successful? What are some tips and tricks you have used in your home?