FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- “My daughter tries very hard, but being overwhelmed with lots of materials is her biggest obstacle in studying effectively.” We hear this often from parents: Students’ disorganization of their stuff gets in the way of their success. Physical clutter can clutter the mind and prevent us from working effectively.
This summer, get students in the habit of keeping materials logically organized; that will prepare them for the onslaught of school stuff in the fall.
Here are some tips for helping your student to get stuff under control over the summer break.
- Organize last year’s materials. Assuming your student has not shredded all of last year’s schoolwork, go through the papers and decide what’s worth keeping. Math notes and tests or study guides can be good review material for the next level of math. A term paper filled with notes from a teacher can be a good reminder of areas where your student may need to work on his or her writing. Organize what you’re keeping in a binder with dividers separating the material by subject, or scan it and organize in digital files.
- Reassess your containers. A container is any item that holds the tools your student uses: a backpack, a planner, a desk, a computer. Ask your student what has bugged him or her most about these spaces: Was it hard to find pens in a backpack, a charger on the desk, or documents on the computer? Decide whether you want to work with the system in a different way (such as buying smaller pouches and dividers for a backpack) or use a different system altogether (buying a backpack with more pockets).
- Physically organize a space. Engage the family in an organize-a-thon. Each family member can choose a space (e.g., bedroom, closet, pantry) that seriously needs reorganization. Spend a weekend tackling those spaces. At the end, decide who made the best use of their space, and discuss why. After about a week, check back in: How does it feel to live and work in a space that’s organized? That’s a lesson you can take right through the school year.
Michelle Sagalyn is founder and president of Successful Study Skills 4 Students, LLC .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.