Note: This is the next installment in a series based on the book, Organizing The Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies To Succeed In School by Martin L. Kutscher and Marcella Moran.
Following the paper trail once you have your child’s supplies and study space at home in new order is next on the list. With the basics in place, all that is really left is the actual work…thus, the paper trail begins!
The paper trail starts with getting the correct assignments and materials or resources home first. It continues with the child planning and doing the work and ends with the work being returned to school or filed for later. As with missing socks in my washer and dryer at home, this begs the question: “Where exactly DO all those papers go that never seem to make it safely from school to home and back again?”
If you’re like me, you’ve tried multiple methods to secure items for travel. The authors talk about a basic game plan (or what I call the Baker’s 1/2 Dozen) as you follow the mysterious paper trail:
- Have your child write down the assignment using a planner, post-it note wallet (clever idea), or electronic device document; this reminds the child what to do and puts the responsibility on her–now she knows what to do.
- Have the child double-check the assignment by asking the teacher or a study-buddy peer to check what was written down. Now he really knows what to do.
- The child should place all materials touched that day in the Take-Home section of the folder or binder. Now the correct materials are ready to be used at home.
- Daily, papers from the Take-Home section are filed or put into the day’s work pile. Now she knows where her papers are, especially if this is done under the watchful parent eye (at least at the beginning and then spot-checked periodically).
- Have your child plan out projects on a calendar, marking completion dates for each step of the process. Doing this visually assists the child in chunking the work into a series of little projects and keeps it from being completely overwhelming!
- When work is completed, it goes immediately into the Take-To-School side of the folder with a parent checking this step (at least at first and periodically afterwards).
- Weekly, the backpack and binders (known previously as “the black holes”) are purged of papers and items no longer needed at school or home. This helps keeps backpacks lighter and study notes or papers are filed for any future tests.
There…we just reduced 33 pages of the book concisely into a few sentences! WHEW! This is actually a technique the authors share in the next chapter for reducing information to the key concepts of reading, note-taking, and studying methods…but we’ll save this for Part VI next week. 🙂
Note: We had another smooth day of state assessment testing in our building; thanks for everyone’s continued patience!