It's fairly easy for elementary aged students to stay organized during the school year
. But once a child enters middle school, schedules can become overwhelming and students can loose control fairly quickly. Here's how to help your middle schooler establish strong organizational skills, to last throughout the middle school years.
Stay Organized Through Middle School
Keep A Weekly Calendar: Calendars are key for staying on top of assignments, projects and other deadlines. Your child will likely have a calendar in one of his notebooks or agenda, but it's also important for him to keep a calendar at home. Having a visual reminder whenever he walks into his room or the kitchen, will help prompt him to tackle assignments and work on projects ahead of time. Be sure you help your middle schooler estimate how much time he'll need for daily homework assignments, as well as for research papers, or special projects that require additional attention and time commitments.
Keep the Locker Organized: Papers, homework, books and handouts can get lost easily in a messy school locker. Encourage your tween to clean out his locker once a week, getting rid of old papers, filing away quizzes and tests, and chucking snacks, empty water bottles and other debris. An organized locker will help your child locate much needed items quickly, and prevent him from loosing important items and supplies.
Watch His Schedule: Children who aren't organized or who have trouble keeping up with their assignments may have schedules that are overbooked. If your child struggles to stay on top of things, it could be that he has too much to do in the course of a day. Be honest about your child's commitments, and if necessary, help him decide whether or not an activity or two should be dropped. Helping your child prioritize his schedule will benefit him now and later in life.
Develop a Homework Schedule: It might be a good idea to help your tween establish a daily homework schedule. For example, your child might want to begin homework everyday as soon as he gets home and has a snack. Or, it might be best that he tackle homework in the evenings after dinner. Figure out what schedule works best for him, and encourage him to stick to it.
Stock His Locker: Your tween's locker should have a few backup supplies such as a folder, an extra notebook, a few extra pencils, and some loose leaf paper. In addition, make sure your child has a few dollars in his locker in case he needs to purchase something from the school store at the last minute. Having extra supplies on hand will help keep him organized and get him through unexpected challenges.
Check the Web: Teachers are posting assignments online more and more, and that can give parents a lot of insight on homework, projects, etc. If your child's teachers post online, be sure to check their boards frequently to see what your child should be working on. You might even be able to tell if your tween has been turning assignments in on time, or has missed an assignment or two.
Keep the Conversation Going: Be sure to ask your child how school is going from time to time, and be sure to ask about assignments, projects, etc. Getting your tween to talk about school, and offering up non-judgmental advice on tackling projects and mastering time management, might be enough to help keep him on top of things. Also, be sure to share any organizational tips that work for you either at home or work.