Aug 012013

Homework Planners can Keep Your Kid BETTER organized

Many children with ADHD, ADD, or executive functioning disorder have a horrible time keeping track of their homework. Assignments get completed, but lost. Parents are dismayed about how to help their child become organized, but sometimes homework planners and organizershomework planners and organizers are the answer.

In order to have good organization skills, your child must have the tools. The “Trapper Keeper” type of homework planners and organizers are among my favorites. They have pockets and sections for homework assignments. There is a checklist with all subjects where “completed” and “turned in” can be checked off for each school day. These lists can be made and printed monthly.

We have a free, downloadable weekly form at: ../downloadablepdfs/homeworkorganizer.pdf

The most helpful way to develop organizational skills is to establish a repeatable routine that is ‘enforced’ initially. After awhile the skills can be applied naturally as your child becomes accustomed to the routine.

For example, every day at the conclusion of homework.. Your child physically checks off a list of subjects, physically looking to see if he had an assignment, then physically putting the assignment in his homework planners. Nothing gets checked off until physically verified AND placed into the Trapper Keeper.

You have to train your child NOT to check off something because he “thinks” he didn’t have homework or thinks the assignment is in there. He must physically lay eyes on his assignment. It must be in his Trapper Keeper before he makes the check-off.

You will have to do this side-by-side with your child for several weeks before he has the process memorized and can handle it independently. Most importantly understand the necessity of this physical verification.

At the school end is often where you run into the most difficulty. Teachers are sometimes not willing to provide oversight. They may think your child “needs to learn”, except your child can’t learn without direct instruction and being taught. He needs oversight until the routine of using homework planners becomes firmly established. If you can, get your child’s teacher(s) to agree to a daily prompting routine, your child will learn how to use homework planners sooner.

You can have the teachers ask .. “Check your homework list.. Did you have homework in this class?”.. “If you did, it should be in your homework planners. You can turn it in now and check it off when you hand it to me”. The teacher would have to be willing to take on TEACHING responsibility to prompt your child directly, if needed, until the routine is established. This needs to be done in every subject, EVERY day, whether there is homework or not. The key is to establish a routine of looking for and turning in homework. This is a critical routine to establish in order for the disorganized child to become organized.

The child has to be taught to do the routine everyday in every class in order to be able to do it independently as he grows older. Unfortunately, getting ALL teachers to cooperate in this matter is often more difficult than moving mountains!!

There is usually at least one who thinks they shouldn’t have to do this. Some will outright refuse this area of teaching. (Somehow they expect the child to learn how to use homework planners and organizers without teaching!) :-/

If this routine can be started in elementary school when your child generally only has one teacher, it may be possible to establish the routine earlier on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t generally become a significant issue until the child starts changing classes & teachers. Having multiple teachers leads to the one or two teachers refusing to help teach the child. 🙁 But, if you can get most of your child’s teachers to cooperate, you should be well on the way to helping your child establish good organizational skills for homework. Using homework planners throughout his schooling career will help your child be better organized.