Middle school is a time of transition for students. They are expected to leave behind the supports of elementary school and grow into the challenges of high school. One common area of concern is organizational skills. Middle school students are expected to be more independent with school assignments, meaning that they need to know what is due and when, bring home appropriate supplies, and then get the work turned back in to the proper teacher on time. Helping your middle school child become more organized can set the stage for greater success.
Set the Stage for Success at Home
Set up a homework area supplied with common items such as paper, pens, white-out and so forth. Pick an area that is visible to the main area of the house but away from distractions, such as television or high traffic areas.
Create a routine for homework that is followed each night. Enforce a minimum amount of time spent on schoolwork on a schedule that suits your family's lifestyle. When no school assignments are available, have your student practice important skills, do some reading or complete a writing project.
Get a large calendar. Post it in a visible spot. Use it to make notes about appointments, assignments and intermediate steps for large projects.
Set up a specific place to put completed assignments and other supplies for the next day. Make sure your student gathers everything needed for the coming day before going to bed.
Set Up Success at School
Help your student set up a filing system using folders or notebooks for each class. Teach him to put all notes, papers, worksheets, graded tests and other materials into the filing system when finished with them.
Create a folder for current assignments, worksheets and study guides. Encourage your student to put each day's work in it for transport home and completed assignments in it for transport back to school.
Help your student organize her locker. Use extra shelves, magnetic accessories and pencil holders to keep track of small items and supplies.
Provide Parental Guidance
Check the student's planner frequently. Make sure assignments are written down. Look for teacher signatures if that tool is being used.
Monitor the filing system. Check your student's backpack, locker and room for misplaced papers that should be filed. Have your child file them correctly before indulging in recreational activities.
Keep an eye on grades for each class. Watch for missing assignments or consistently low test scores. Consult with the child's teacher to develop strategies to deal with problems before the report card shows a failing grade.
Develop a step-by-step plan to complete large projects with due dates for each step before the project is due at school. Monitor progress on the project and follow through on the plan frequently.
Things You'll Need
Planner or assignment notebook
Folder or notebook for each class
Optional storage system for class folders
Backpack or book bag
Common school supplies
Locker accessories such as shelves, magnetic bins, etc.
Make your child's organizational efforts pay off quickly by offering rewards or privileges for compliance.
Beware of supporting your child in unhealthy ways. Help the student build sound habits, then increase his or her responsibility for maintaining them.