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Top 5 Things To Do This Week To Get Organized for School (2)

Top 5 Things To Do This Week To Get Organized for School (2)

Don’t wait until school starts to think about getting organized. Do you remember how you felt during the last school year? Is there anything you would like to change for this year? Let’s reduce the stress and make sure you start this school year off organized and ready for anything. 1. Since this is the last week before most schools start, plan a special “end of summer” celebration. It could be a special all day fun event, or a dinner out. Whatever it is, celebrate the end of the summer and the beginning of a great school year. Talk with your child about the positives of going back to school and be honest with them if they have concerns. Having fun together is a great way to keep those communication lines open. 2. Hold a family meeting. A family meeting allows everyone to voice their opinions and concerns in a nonjudgmental setting. You might want to have an agenda the first time so that you stay on track but some topics typically covered are: responsibilities, routines for school, sport schedules, what’s coming up and any complaints anyone might have. Let only one person speak at a time and let the youngest be in charge now and then. Use this time for updating the calendar for the next week and be sure kids put their responsibilities into their agendas each week as well. 3. Use one family calendar. Whether you prefer electronic or paper calendars there should be one family (paper or whiteboard) calendar that is posted where all can see it. Update it during your family meetings to show...

Family Calendars

How do I keep track of my kid’s schedule and my own? Having one main calendar for the entire family to use to post appointments, practices, project due dates, and special events helps avoid overbooking and/or missed appointments. Let each family member use a different color marker or post it note on the calendar. Place the calendar in an obvious place so that it is frequently seen. I recommend the refrigerator. Yes, it’s nice to have all those pictures on there, but not if you are missing appointments and forgetting things. Pick one day a week to review and plan the upcoming week with the family. Sundays work well for many busy families. If you use an electronic or paper planner also, then be sure to input the new information so that you are up to date. For students, make sure they enter their information directly into their school agenda. Ordinarily I suggest one calendar, but if multiple people are involved then there needs to be something that is constantly visible to all. Click on the calendar link above to see various sizes of planet safe planners that are wet, dry and sticky note compatible. Or simply print out a month or a week at a time calendar from Microsoft Word or Publisher. For those that prefer an electronic version, try a shared Google calendar provided everyone has easy access to...

Six Tips for Making the Most of Study Time

September is back to school and that means studying and homework for many children and some adults.  To start the year off on a positive note here are six tips for making the most of your study time: 1. Clear off the top of the desk to provide enough space to fit an open book and a notebook. Remove unnecessary objects to eliminate visual distractions. 2. Keep all frequently used supplies within arm’s reach either on top of the desk in an organized holder or in a nearby drawer. Keep pencils sharpened and ready to go. 3. Set a daily study time and make it a habit. 4. Use a quiet timer (analog for young children or use a time timer) and set it for 30 minutes of working time. Then take a 5-10 minute break. This helps the brain process information, maintains motivation and improves the ability to focus. Most adults can only focus for 90 minutes without a break.  Work smarter not harder. 5.  Check to be sure the desk and chair are ergonomically correct for the user. If a child’s feet do not touch the floor when the chair is raised to the appropriate height then add a footstool for support. Also be sure to check for proper lighting to reduce eye strain. The light should not be coming from behind as it casts a shadow. 6.  When all work is completed be sure to put back all items that were used. Put books and homework into backpack or briefcase and set it by the door. By cleaning off the desk and putting everything away, you...

Organizing the Backpack

            Did you catch me on Channel 7 (whdh.com) on Friday, the 11th? Here’s what they didn’t tell you about organizing the backpack.             Children need a backpack, supplies and a study area that are organized to keep them on track with their school work. The backpack is often seen as a big black hole where things seem to disappear. Help your child organize it by naming each pocket and deciding what belongs there. Create a little “map” of what the inside looks like and use it to see where things belong until it becomes a habit or label each pocket. Check to make sure the backpack opens wide and that the zipper moves smoothly.             Using clear poly folders with bright colored end tabs makes it easy to find homework papers. Teach your child to put books and notebooks in according to size. It is very easy for a small book to get lost between two big notebooks. Color code subjects so that notebooks and textbooks are easy to locate. Use zippered pockets in bright colors to keep little things from getting lost at the bottom of the bag and clip it to the key ring.             Check the fit of the backpack and the weight when packed. It should not hang more than four inches below the waistline when both padded straps are used. The weight of the backpack fully packed for homework (which does not mean everything in the locker) should not exceed 10% of the child’s weight.              Each week sit with your child while they clean out and “reorganize” the backpack. Sundays are a great...

Conquering the Summer Reading List

“Connecting a child and a book is like dropping a pebble into the water. You never know where the ripples will end up.” Ronald Jobe   Summer’s ½ over! That means along with camp, sports practice and summer fun, children and teens also need to find time for reading. Many schools provide a summer reading list beginning in the fourth or fifth grades requesting that students read two or more books from a selection. Requirements vary from one to five books and students may be asked to either write something about each book or take a “test” on them once they are back at school. If your child has a list and has not started it here is a way to create a plan and avoid the last minute rush. First figure out how many books are required and either borrow them from the library or buy them. Look at the calendar and divide the number of weeks left by the number of pages in the book. For example, if you have two books to read and each is 200 pages then your child would need to read 400/4=100 pages a week (based on 4 weeks left of summer) to finish both books. That would mean reading about 20 pages a day five days a week. A reality check with a calendar and the books required will help your child develop a better sense of time management. Or you can divide the book by its chapters and figure out how long it would take to finish if your child read a chapter a day. To encourage children to read,...