Monday, August 6, 2012

Getting Organized Early in the Year

When we get organized and get our kids organized, the school year goes more smoothly. In the busyness of the school year, supervising homework, helping the kids study for tests, returning forms, and keeping up with all of the events and extra-curriculars can be overwhelming. Here are a few keys to smooth out the ebb and flow of the school year and stay organized:

  1.  Learn the scheduling cycles. Almost everything on a school campus runs on a strict schedule. There is a certain time of the week or quarter that everything is made available: Lunch menus, test folders, grade reports, etc. There are also deadlines and requirements for returning forms, ordering products, and, especially, arriving to school on time.
  2. Learn how the teacher likes to communicate. There are many ways to communicate – email, written notes, phone messages – with the teacher, but the best way to communicate to specific teachers will vary. Most teachers will announce to parents or students, depending upon their age group, the most effective way to communicate with them.
  3. Learn where to find the information you need. For example, if you want to know what your elementary student has for homework, you should be able find it in the student’s planner. Teachers develop routines and procedures for almost every task; it’s important to find out their plan so you can get the information you need. Another example is your student’s current grades. Elementary classes send home weekly test folders; secondary classes send home grade reports every three weeks. But you can always get the most current grades on (there is a link to it on our school’s website). The school office sends out announcement emails almost every week. Make sure you don’t dismiss and delete them as junk mail.
  4.  Organize a place at home for school stuff. Where will forms be placed so they are properly returned on time? Where will completed homework be stored so it will be turned in the next day? Think about the regular school-related tasks your kids will have at home, and develop a plan to keep “the dog from eating it.”
  5. Develop an organizational plan for home, and teach it to your kids. When will they complete homework immediately after school? How will they study for the test? How will you make sure school work get done in a time efficient manner?

Organizing a plan is only half of the task; it must be implemented. Begin building habits early, make follow-through a priority, and your family will soon be in a routine that makes every school task time efficient.