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Tips for DS for personal organisation when he starts senior school please?

(15 Posts)
fluffyhamster Tue 07-Jun-11 22:26:19

DS is a lovely boy, but is absolutely HOPELESS at taking care of his possessions and organising himself sad

I have no idea how he will cope with the move to senior school in Sept when he will need to be organised, independent, more self-motivated.

I can already picture the scene of carnage... forgotten books/ homework... lost belongings.... missed events & activities....

Can anyone give me some ideas/ tips of how I can train/ coach/ help him get into good routines from the beginning?

things I'm thinking about are e.g.

- school 'diary' to record all homework etc
- shelves/ files for managing homework / books etc
- how to ensure I also find out what's going on!

If your DS/DD isvery organised, can you tell me how/ what they do??!

cat64 Tue 07-Jun-11 22:37:01

Message withdrawn

fluffyhamster Tue 07-Jun-11 23:06:37

Thanks cat64 - that all sounds good commonsense! I know the school have a lost property list which they post on the school website!

I know I alreday do too much stuff for him (getting his sports gear/ musical instruments together etc) but when I don't he just misses stuff (like lessons which I have paid for angry )

mummytime Tue 07-Jun-11 23:08:12

Talk to the SENCo!!! My son has a tag on his planner (so does my dd) which means teachers are supposed to write his homework in for him; I know other schools attach stickers.

I let my son sink for the first few weeks, then when he asked for help, I got him to bring home his stuff and help him sort it out each day. We have a shelf for his books at home, lots of copies of his timetable, and used to use a tray for homework. We also used different plastic folders to hold the books for different segments of the day. (This worked for us as I let him be independent before, helping, so didn't get the rebellion some other parents did; but you know your son best.)

Make sure if he has a key it doesn't have his name or your address on (but one of those patterned ones might be useful). See if they have cashless catering (the best is by thumb print, as it can't be lost). See if they send most letters home by parentmail, also request they post the really important stuff DCs school does this for SEN pupils.

fluffyhamster Tue 07-Jun-11 23:21:41

Mummytime - I think he would be mortified by any sort of special sticker?
He doesn't have any special needs - he is just completely detached, in a sort of 'mad professorial' way grin - brilliant, academic brain, but would forget his head if it wasn't screwed on!
I really just want to give him some tools/strategies for organising himself.

twinklypearls Tue 07-Jun-11 23:25:00

Let his head of year or tutor know this is an issue so they can start helping him straight away. The SEN department may also get involved.

Make a checklist of things that he must have each day and laminate it so it stays intact. Blue tac it somewhere visible - where he will see it every day in the morning- perhaps inside of the front door. He can use it to check that he has what he needs for that day.

Give him a foolscap folder to keep pieces of paper that he needs, this could be letters he receives from school, homework that is on loose worksheets or pieces of paper. He needs to get into the habit of putting things into the folder as soon as he gets them, both at home and in school. You can ask to check the folder.

When he gets his school diary/ planner make him sit down with you and fill in the dates at the top of each page. This will make it easier for him to fill in the correct week. Often disorganised students record their homework on whatever page they open their planner on, meaning they never know what is due. Many of my students have a sticky post it note/bookmark thing that they use so they can go straight to their current week.

When you get his homework timetable fill in the subjects that will be setting homework on each day, all he needs to do then is fill it in as he gets the homework. You can then check his planner daily and say "DS you were supposed to have science homework where is it"

Encourage him to highlight, tick, cross out homework tasks as he has completed them in his planner. This makes it easier to see what he has done and what needs to be done.

Reward him for using his planner successfully and clearly. This is a skill he needs to learn. I have photocopies of students planners that are organised and up to date. Ask if his tutor can show him a well used planner. Even give him a photcopy to use as a template.

Ask for two extra copies of his timetable - or photocopy them yourself. If he has a locker put one on the inside door of his locker. Put the other one somewhere visible at home. If he leaves his planner in school you can still check what lessons he has.

Make him a mini timetable - double sided as small as is legible. Laminate it and stick it on a key ring. He can keep it with his locker key so he can check what lessons he has even if he has left his planner somewhere. I sometimes make a laminated reminder for students that is the size of a credit card that says " Take to every lesson my exercise books, pencil case and planner" Or you could make on which reminds him of eqiuipment he will need on different days. e.g Monday and Friday PE Kit, Wednesday D&T apron, Thursday flute. They keep these on their keyring.

Check what is available on the school website, I always put on spare copies of homework instructions for my students, there may also be important notices and perhaps his timetable.

fluffyhamster Tue 07-Jun-11 23:36:14

Thanks Twinkly - some great ideas there! Perhaps he isn't as bad as I think - his current school already have him doing some of those things.

The thing which seems so different from my schooldays is that there seem to be so many bits of paper floating around his folder - a Maths sheet, a Geography worksheet, a drama poem etc - they don't seem to have a clear 'home' and when I ask him 'where should this go?' he just doesn't know.
I guess I need to wait to see what systems the school use, and then invest in some files etc, if necessary.

I suppose the bit that pains me most is the idea that I'm going to need to sit with him painstakingly for weeks and months to try to get him into the habit of doing this stuff...

twinklypearls Tue 07-Jun-11 23:43:30

Not a problem fluffy.

There does seem to be more paper which is where the folders come in handy. Ideally each sheet should go into an exercise book eventually. His own pritt stick may be useful so he can stick things into his exercise book as he needs to.

I only see some of my students once a week, as they need homework every lesson but I also like to mark their books once a fortnight it means that there are times when they have to take home a sheet to do homework so I can keep their books in school. As I hand them their books they are supposed to stick their homework in straightaway so it does not get lost. I have about half a dozen little bug staplers so things can be stapled in very quicky into exercise books although some students prefer to use glue. Some students seem to really struggle with this small thing - taking their homework sheet to class and then sticking it in their book straight away so their book remains in chronological order.

Some of my students have one of those multi files and they have a section for each subject. I think that is a little excessive, but maybe something that would be useful at GCSE and beyond when fewer subjects are being studied.

twinklypearls Tue 07-Jun-11 23:45:49

You can try giving him a lot of support for the first few weeks and then gradually withdrawing and seeing how he copes. A little like teaching him to ride a bike.

It is so important. I am not naturally organised and no one took the time to help me. It was only as an adult in a job after a few fuck ups that I managed to find ways to organise myself. I wish someone had stepped in when I was your son's age.

mummytime Wed 08-Jun-11 06:07:54

At my DCs school it has got to the stage where a lot (a third maybe?) of kids in year 7 have tags, some have multiple ones. Which is great. (There are: Allergy ones, Health ones, Write in homework, Reduced homework, Young carer, Allow to leave the classroom etc.)
They do tend to be less prevalent as they go up the school.

bigTillyMint Wed 08-Jun-11 07:14:33

Start now giving him much more responsibility for himself.

Stop doing all that stuff for him. You are teaching him to rely on you. You need to teach him to be more independant!

cat64 Wed 08-Jun-11 18:42:23

Message withdrawn

twinklypearls Wed 08-Jun-11 19:04:32

I agree totally about getting him to do make the timetable, checklist etc.

exoticfruits Wed 08-Jun-11 19:05:52

I made it a rule that he had to look at his timetable and pack his bag the night before so that there were no last minute panics for football boots etc.
I got filing trays for his desk-each labelled with a different subject, any books not in use went in a tray.
He is sure to get a planner for homework.
We also had a copy of the timetable on the study wall.
I did the system-he did the work.

AMumInScotland Wed 08-Jun-11 19:19:08

What helped DS was a set of 5 magazine-rack type folders (we got plain plywood ones from IKEA) - one each for Monday to Friday. When he took things out of his bag at night, he put each one in the folder for when he would need it next. Then he could put the right stack into his bag for next morning.

He could also have a note, or something, to put in to show that he also needs to pack PE kit for a particular day, or any other extras which don't fit in the folder.

If possible, doing the homework the night he gets it is also a good practice to get into, but it can depend how evenly-spread it is through the week, if teachers tend to give big pieces on the same night that's less possible.

And I'd second (third, whatever) the fact that he needs to have a system - you can help him set it up, but he needs to feel it is his responsibility to make it work, or he will continue in his dream-world indefinitely. You'd be amazed what they are capable of when they have to be.

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