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Some students have good organization skills and some do not.  Managing time and materials efficiently are skills students need  in order to do their best in school.  Parents can help students do their best by helping them develop efficient time and materials management skills.

To help students develop efficient time management and materials management skills, I encourage parents to

  1. Create several calendars with all the important events at school such as due dates for assignments, quizzes, tests and exam dates, field trips, after school practices etc, and post these calendars in prominent places where the students are most likely to see them- their room, the kitchen, inside the front door etc. Students can also set things up so that they get email messages to remind themselves of due dates etc.
  2. Negotiate a time to do homework. School is important, but it’s not the only important thing in students’ lives so flexibility is in order when working out a homework schedule.
  3. Encourage students to complete homework, and if no homework was assigned then to review the day’s lessons, work on major projects or spend the time reading. Reading for just 20 minutes a day can improve students’ vocabulary and grammar skills. It’s amazing how so little can do so much- just like exercise.
  4. Establish a routine time for things like dinner, television watching, computer use and bedtime. Following routines helps reduces stress on students’ attention and memory controls and enables them to be better rested the next day so they are better able to meet the demands of school.
  5. Establish a homework and study area for students away from the distractions of TV, computers, phones, computer games etc. The reason is obvious- too much temptation.
  6. Suggest that students tell their friends that they are not available to talk to them on the phone during the time set aside for homework. Homework time is for homework, not for socializing.
  7. Store school supplies and materials in a specific place. A place for everything and everything in its place enables students to find things easily when they need them.
  8. Have students pack their school bags with all the things they’ll need the next day. This    helps ensure students have what they need for school that day. It also reduces the stress of running around looking for things the last minute.
  9. Clean out students’ backpacks at the end of the week, file assignments and old tests in the appropriate spot and throw out any unnecessary things.

These are some of the strategies I suggest parents use to help their kids develop efficient time management and materials management skills.  Parents can help their children who struggle with organization  strategies by modeling organization  strategies for their children.  After a while, the behaviors will become a habit and children will do them automatically.

I’m sure there are other strategies that are also helpful that I haven’t thought of.  What else could teachers suggest parents do to help their kids be better organized?

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3 Responses to “Nine things parents can do to help students develop good organization skills so students can do their best at school.”

  1. Teachermom on February 14th, 2011 11:06 am

    This is great! Thank you for posting it. I cannot tell you how many parents of kids I tutor ask that question (what can I do to help my kid stay organized?).

    Quick question for you – this is parent focused. What would you say to the actual kid about what they can do to stay organized at school (with their binders, locker, etc). When I glimpse into many of the lockers only to see papers literally STUFFED in them, I wonder how those kids are ever going to make it with such a lack of basic organization skills.

  2. Michelle Adler on February 14th, 2011 1:57 pm

    I have to agree with you on all 9 of these things. Most of the time, parents want to help their children, but they don’t know what they should be doing. That, and let’s face it, households are busier today than what they were 20 years ago. I know that I tell most of these things to my students but the parents should be hearing it too.

  3. Laura on August 27th, 2011 4:39 pm

    Aren’t numbers 1 and 9 the student’s responsibility? I have 3 children, and making a separate calendar for each one each mont is really a lot of work. I think it is their responsibility to know what their assignments are and when they are due. I think they need to learn to make their own calendar of tests and assignments and clean out their own backpacks(and lockers and desks). No one will do these things for them when they get to college or start working!

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