Organization includes keeping things straight in your mind, your backpack, your locker, your notebooks, and your study area. For some of us, it’s super hard. Here’s some ways to start to win the battle:
1. Have a place to study.
It doesn’t have to be a desk in a room all by yourself. A kitchen counter is a great place, especially if there is someone nearby who can help you. The table should be big enough so that you can spread out papers and books. Have supplies such as pens, paper and calculator are close by and easy to get. At our house, we have a roller cart like this (again, not advertising) in the kitchen. We have pencils, pens, rulers, staplers, tape, and a calculator on the top and extra paper, a dictionary, and a thesaurus on the bottom. The cart can be easily rolled over to the kitchen table when it’s time to get homework done.
2. Develop a system to keep track of important papers.
Have a binder with a folder in the front for all completed work ready to be turned in (all classes) and a folder in the back for papers returned by the teacher (all classes). Many teachers want different kinds of notebooks for their classes but one binder that you carry to each class for papers to turn in and returned papers will benefit you.
Have a place at home to keep papers that have been returned but that you don’t need to take to class everyday. We have a filling cabinet where all returned papers are placed into the correct class file. The bottom drawer contains a file folder for each subject (English, history, science, math, music, foreign language, health).
It really doesn’t matter what your system is. What matters is that you stick to it. Do the same thing each day with your papers.
3. Use a planner to keep track of assignments.
I say USE because many students have a planner but never use it. Get in the habit of writing down each daily assignment in each subject and checking it off when it’s complete. Checking it off is the best part. It gives you that sense of accomplishment and keeps you going (try it).
4. Estimate how long each assignment will take
This will let you plan a realistic schedule. Remember to get the harder subjects done first and build in study breaks. Read my post on Time Management. There is some helpful advice on creating schedules.
Remember the time you need for things like soccer games and band practice. If you notice that you are spending too much time on a subject you might need extra help or tutoring.
5. Break big projects into smaller ones.
If you have a big research project or a paper, it will seem less overwhelming if it’s done in manageable chunks, each with its own deadline. If you have a big project due in two weeks, write on your schedule what you will do for it each day and follow your plan.
6. Communicate with your teachers
This is a big important one. Your teachers are there to help you. If you feel that you are struggling in a subject, the homework is taking much longer for you than it should, or you have questions please, please, please talk to your teachers. It is better to talk to them about your troubles with the assignments than keep struggling, get bad grades, and have your teachers think you just don’t care.