Back to school could mean back to old habits. If you want to give your child the best possible opportunity for academic success, teach them fundamental organizational skills.
In most cases, you can be sure that the student earning the highest grades is an organized one. It starts as early as Kindergarten. As a parent, you can only provide them with the necessary tools, but you must also encourage them to be accountable for their own organization. Guide but don’t hover. Create a positive and dedicated workspace for which they can do their homework (not in front of the TV or on their bed). There’s nothing wrong with having a workspace in the kitchen, so perhaps you can keep an eye on them while you are preparing dinner. Being supportive from a distance can still be very effective.
It is important to designate special homework time and set guidelines. Implement good study habits early in their schooling. Particularly, at the Elementary School level, be there to check their assignments and aid them in completing the tasks. Assign them their own consistent drop off zone to unload their knapsack, (it could be a cubby, shelf, or hook) so you can supervise its contents; fill in particular forms, return signed permission slips for school trips, etc.
Make it fun to organize their school stuff with them, and reward them for knowing where all their stuff is. You will be surprised how much more pride they will take in their work, when it is indeed theirs. When they are in control and once they succeed and see results, the lesson has been learned. Be their motivator, not their drill sergeant.
By the Middle School level, they will need to be prepared each day and be on top of all their schoolwork and long term projects, without your direct involvement. They cannot achieve these goals if they are disorganized. Submitting homework on time, learning how to study well, and participating in quality work can only be possible with some sense of paper organization.
Keeping a tidy notebook and organized file folders is paramount. It is most helpful to create a timeline and a visual calendar board so they can see, at a glance, what is on their to do list. By the time they get to the challenges of High School, they are fully developed as the student they are, and will most likely become, throughout college and beyond. So plant those good habit seeds early, they will blossom well.
The goal is to nurture your child, the “student”, yet foster independence and self-esteem. Teach them well….and they will thrive.