It’s August, so that means time to get ready to go back to school. Sorry, I mean remote learning. No, wait, hybrid. Or maybe a pod?
Wow! And I thought annual school-supply shopping was hard (Why are the supply lists so long?!). Now, we have to contend with shifting school start dates and 11th-hour plan changes.
This year, every decision we have to make around getting our children back to school seems fraught with frightening complications.
What’s a parent to do? Get organized!
Many things are out of our control right now, but we can take charge of our home environment and use organization to set our children up for success, no matter the school situation.
I recently spoke with renowned student coach Leslie Josel of Order Out of Chaos. Her first piece of advice was, “Whatever you choose to do for your family is the right decision.” Phew.
Once I’d absorbed those calming words, Leslie went on to detail her wonderfully practical, often outside-the-box tips to help students do their best. Get the whole scoop by watching my interview with Leslie which you can watch on Facebook or YouTube. Leslie had some practical and surprising tips to share and I hope they will help you feel confident about your back-to-school plans.
The most surprising thing she told me? Do NOT set up just one single area as your child’s at-home study spot.
What?! I thought that if I set up a study space, then my child would learn to associate that place with studying and be better able to concentrate.
Wrong! Children need to MOVE. If they stay in one spot for too long, the law of diminishing returns kicks in: they get bored, and their minds start to wander.
Just as I advise looking at classrooms for ideas on organizing toys and supplies, Leslie says to model your home learning environment on schools.
For supplies, think beyond #2 pencils and put Leslie’s top tools on your school supply list.
Timers: Sand timers and analog timers are great tools for helping kids learn time management.
Page protectors: Pop go-to info (e.g., the periodic table for chemistry class) into a page protector at the front of your binder.
Reinforced loose-leaf paper: Skip the cheap kind and go for the heavy-duty paper that will hold up all semester.
Tri-fold presentation board: Use this as a privacy shield to help your child concentrate on work and prevent family members from crashing the virtual classroom. Bonus: Tape a page protector to the back and use it as a dry erase board so kids can let you know when a serious study session is in progress.
An all-in-one accordion binder such as Leslie’s favorite Samsill DUO or the Case It Dual zippered binder. When everything lives in one place, there's no more, "I can't remember where I put it!"
And the #1 school supply that I recommend to every student? Leslie’s patented Academic Planner: A Tool For Time Management®. A digital planner may tempt students, but writing assignments longhand is actually faster* and helps the information sink in better. With plenty of room to write down every assignment and extracurricular activity, plus space for long-range projects and strategizing, this planner is the best!
No matter what the 2020-21 school year throws at us, these organizational tips and tools will help your student succeed while keeping you sane!
NOTE: Use my affiliate link, http://products.orderoochaos.com/?aff=110, to get Leslie Josel’s patented planner and check out all of the other excellent tools at Order Out of Chaos, and I’ll get a small commission at no additional charge to you. While you’re there, preview her upcoming book, How to Do It Now.
*Josel, Leslie. How to Do It Now Because It’s Not Going Away. Zest Books, 2020, page 73.