By the time a child reaches middle school, they have already fallen into a homework habit. Good students study, do their homework and turn it in. Many children start to fail school at this age. One main reason kids begin to do badly at this age and beyond is their organization skills. Lost homework assignments and zeros for missing work plague students. Even children with learning disabilities will benefit from organizational skills. Middle school is the stage when children need to be taught good organization skills so they are successful throughout the rest of their educational careers.
1. Homework Box
Purchase two sets of supplies during Back-to-School sales in the fall. Send one set of school supplies to school and place the other set in a box for at home use. Whenever your child brings home assignments, use the supplies in the homework box. This alleviates the time spent in finding sharpened pencils, pens and paper. Keep the main school supplies either at school or in the backpack. This way your child does not accidentally leave the supplies at home. Some schools send children to in-house detention for not being prepared for class especially when they forget their pencils. Make it a policy that homework time does not end until the supplies are put back into the homework box.
2. Assignment Book
Place 30 sheets of paper in a two-pocket folder with three-prongs. Each page represents one school day. Have your child date the page and create a table. The table has a row for each class and three columns. The class period goes in the first column, homework assignments or daily work goes in the second column and the last column is for a teacher’s signature. If your child has an exam that day, then have her write test in the assignment column and have the teacher sign it. Most teachers will be happy to sign the page every day if your child has already filled the table out. As the parent, make it a point to look at the book each evening. The assignment book increases communication between you and the teacher. After 12 weeks, writing down the homework assignments will be a habit for your child.
3. In and Out Folder
Print out a calendar page for each month. Place these pages in the front of a three-ring binder. This page is for assignment due dates, which are filled at the end of class time. Place five to seven two-pocket folders in the binder. Label each folder with the class name. The left pocket is for homework needing to be finished and the right pocket is for homework needing to be turned into the teacher. When your child comes home, all the papers should be on the left side of the folder and the right side should be empty. After the evening’s homework is finished, all the papers should be on the right ready to turn in. Remember to look through the folders every evening. Cross the assignments off the due date calendar with a highlighter as the assignments are finished.
4. Schoolwork Tracker
Label one three-ring binder for each class and make space for them on a bookshelf. Place a piece of paper in each one. As graded schoolwork comes home, have your child list the schoolwork and grade on the paper in the binder. Punch holes in the assignment paper and place it in the binder. This allows the parent to be able to look at their child’s grades. It also protects the student from missed assignments in the teacher’s gradebook. If a homework assignment is listed as missing on a progress report, then look in the three-ring binder especially if the child says they already did that assignment. Recycle the papers after the final grade for the class has been given.
Using one or all of these methods will keep your child organized. Start these strategies at the beginning of the school year. There should be no stray papers in the backpack or locker. Forgotten homework assignments will be a thing of the past. Assignments wadded up in pockets or tossed in the recycle bins at school will cease being a cause for lost work. Each and every paper has a home. Organized children spend less time finding their homework assignments and tend to turn in their assignments more often.
The key to success for any of these systems is parent involvement. It only takes a couple of minutes a day to check each of these systems. Ask your child questions if you do not understand their notes. Do not be afraid to have your child rewrite the assignments out again so you can read them. If children do this enough times, then it will become second nature to them. The formation of good habits takes six to 12 weeks to form. These are habits that will last into college.