Many really smart kids cruise through elementary school and then start having problems in middle school due to a lack of organization. They can finagle most things when they are younger just because they are smart and capable, but the work load and information overload in middle school finally stops them in their tracks. Kids used to being able to figure most things out in their heads don’t know how to organize, file information, take notes, keep track of assignments, and find all those books and papers they need for their different classes. The answer is not to discipline or punish or yell or sigh in despair. The answer is to get organized! Here are our top five tips and a list of books to help you accomplish this task!
- Keep an assignment notebook. Most schools provide one, but if they don’t you can easily make one. Check it every night and cross off each assignment as it is completed. For bigger projects, write out a daily “to-do” list to make sure you aren’t cramming right before the assignment is due.
- Keep a work area at home. Drop your books and materials off at that area as soon as you come home so you are ready when it is time to do homework. The work area should be quite, well-lit, and stocked with all the supplies you might need.
- Have a regular homework time. It might be before dinner, after an hour of play, or right before bed. Finish everything and then pack up your bag so it is ready to go in the morning.
- Make sure you have a place for materials from each class. Have a folder where you can fit loose papers, notebooks, or anything that might come home. Always put papers in the correct place the first time you touch them. Don’t ever just throw things into your backpack, make sure everything has a place. The key is to set up the organization system before you are faced with materials or information.
- Keep a calendar next to your work space. Record all upcoming assignments, trips, vacations, etc. You can also keep a “to-do” list that you review atQuickly review the calendar before you study to make sure that you know of everything that you need to do. Once you have finished a project or assignment, cross it off!
The following books have lots of additional suggestions to help you get organized at school and at home.
- The Organized Student, Donna Goldberg
- That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week, Ana Homayoun
- The Middle School Student’s Guide to Ruling the World, Susan Mulcaire
- Where’s My Stuff? Samantha Moss
- Get Organized without Losing It, Janet S. Fox
Organization skills help throughout life in so many things. Learning how to be organized sooner rather than later will make your life easier, happier, and calmer! If you have any additional suggestions for getting organized, please post them below! Happy Holidays!