Now that you have set up a system for handling incoming and outgoing papers, a landing pad area and a central calendar (see last week’s blog), you are ready to organize the study area and backpack.
4. The study space should be away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. Yes, it is convenient for children to work on the kitchen table, but the noise of dinner preparation and other siblings really makes it difficult for children to focus on their homework. Ever wonder why it seems to take them so long to finish? Set up a quiet place away from others for your child to work. Give the child a timer so that they can “see” how long they have been working. Depending on their age children should work in blocks of 15 minutes to 40 minutes and then should take a 10 minute break. Doing something active will help stimulate the brain, making learning easier. Instead of saving the most difficult subject for last, it should be done first while the brain is the most energized. After that, take a short break and the rest of the homework will seem much easier. Check on your child now and then to see how they are doing. For those with ADD, set the timer for 15 minutes and have them come to you and tell you what they are working on. Keep a list of their subjects and have them check off each one as they complete it.
5. Make sure all the supplies that your child needs for their homework are within an easy reach of the study area. Using a whiteboard for calculations saves paper. Check to be sure that the chair is comfortable and ergonomically correct. Feet should be flat on the floor and not dangling above it. Lighting is another key factor. It should not be behind the child casting a shadow or too bright and glaring. Consider this-would you want to work in their space?
If your child prefers the floor or the bed to work on, provide a clipboard or hard surface for writing, but do not insist they sit at the desk. Set up a desk top file to hold returned papers for each subject area. That way when tests are coming up your child has all previous homework and papers to study from.
6. 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. 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 things separate. 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 should not exceed 10% of your child’s weight. Encourage your child to bring home only what he needs and not just load the entire locker into the backpack, “just in case.” Next blog is organizing for the week and creating routines to keep you and the kids on track.
What is your favorite tip for keeping your child organized? Please comment below. Thanks for reading!