Posted by: Sara Carbone on: January 24, 2012
Kids don’t organize their school stuff very often. Most do it once when they first set things up and then maybe do a big dump mid-year when the rubber band securing the main notebook gives out from the strain. Helping your kid keep her binders, folders and notebooks organized can mean a big weight off her mind (and shoulders).
Clear off a table to give yourselves a good amount of space. Taking it one subject at a time, create three piles together:
Place the first pile in a manila or accordion folder. Do this with all the binders and folders, putting each subject in a separate folder or section and labeling it. Then together, put the files in a designated file drawer or shelf.
Make sure to organize the second pile before sticking it back in her binders/folders. If she has a homework folder, check that only the current homework is in there. If she uses divided sections in a binder, make sure to hole punch things that need it and put them in the appropriate sections. Verify that all binders have enough blank loose-leaf for notes and tape up or replace any fraying notebooks and folders.
Seeing her stuff organized and her load lightened (those backpacks can reach into the tons) can feel quite satisfying for her. Also, she is acquiring a skill to take with her next year.
Things to keep in mind: Restrain yourself from grabbing the stuff and whipping through it, no matter how overgrown (one of my students had an entire year’s worth of loose papers smashed into his backpack). Let her be the one to pull out the binder and handle it or ask if you can take a look. My students trust me more when I show them that I respect their ownership of their property. Also, this can be an overwhelming process, which is part of why they avoid it. If she is reluctant try offering the idea that this way she can get to stuff more easily and will be less likely to misplace things. Start small, maybe one binder or subject, and add to it over time. The more she sees that it can be done quickly, the more willing she’ll be to to do it again. And organize periodically together – monthly is good, biweekly even better (but take what you can get!).
And now, if she’ll let you tackle that hairy looking desk of hers…
Note: Check out this good article on filing systems for kids with learning disabilities/ADHD. The author hits on many things I’ve found to be effective with my students, ones with or without LD.