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Any resources to help a new yr 7 with disastrous organisational skills?

(21 Posts)
AuntyEntropy Sun 13-Oct-13 16:25:45

Just got first set of feedback from DD's teacher. Apparently she's happy, likeable and dealing very comfortably with the academic requirements, which is what we were expecting to hear, and is obviously the most important thing.

However her organisation is truly awful. By constant pushing and occasional yelling she gets into school on time in the morning, and her homework is more or less up to date. But once she's at school then she's constantly late for lessons, wrong books come home for homework etc. As far as the teachers can tell it's just procrastinating, faffing about, getting lost in a book, and poor prioritising.

Unfortunately my own timekeeping and organisation is pretty crap as well (not missing flights and getting the electric cut off levels of bad, but definitely sub par) and DH isn't great, so there's a limit to our ability to help advise her - even if she realised it was a real problem, which she doesn't. It's in danger of damaging her relationship with us and her teachers.

Can anyone suggest any good self-help books aimed at teens that might help? I am unwillingly prepared to acknowledge that I might have to read it with her and do a life-overhaul together, in the spirit of role modelling.


TheArticFunky Sun 13-Oct-13 16:55:22

I don't know about specific books but I find that lists help. I'm disorganised and have to work extra hard to ensure that I stay on the ball. Ds1 appears to be taking after me much to dh's dismay.

I have a planner in the kitchen that I write everything in. Ds has a planner in the bedroom that I remind him about every day. Ds has a school planner that I write in to remind him of his lunchtime clubs. He has to write his homework tasks in it.

Ds is still at primary school however a lot of secondary schools put all the homework info online. Does your dd's school not do the same? I make regular checks on the school website just in case there is any important info that ds has not told me about.

I don't necessarily think a book will help your dd. I have got more organised by being more organised iyswim? I try to avoid procrastinating and I am constantly checking my to do list. I have daily lists, weekly lists, monthly lists, and annual lists.

AuntyEntropy Sun 13-Oct-13 17:08:20

It's procrastination rather than disorganisation per se - I think it's different habits of mind she needs. She's got a planning diary, so AFAIK all her homework is listed in that, day by day with deadlines.

It's just the mindset of "I have five minutes to get to my next class, so I should go to my locker, change my books, and then go to the next class, rather than finish my chapter first" or "Ballet starts in 15 minutes, so I should get my tights on and clean my teeth rather than putting one leg of my tights on and then start playing Super Mario"

TheArticFunky Sun 13-Oct-13 19:42:37

Your dd sounds exactly like my ds. He leaves for school at the last possible minute, is constantly being told to get up, go to bed, eat his dinner etc. He leaves everything until the last minute which means that a small homework task becomes a stressful exercise.

TeenAndTween Sun 13-Oct-13 20:26:00

Don't let her take a book to school?

Has she got a friend who can chivvy her along at school?

All books for day packed in bag so doesn't need to change them between lessons.

Read her the riot act every day until she has learned it's better to be on time than late? Or reward her for no lateness? Similar for hw. If she starts getting detentions for not doing hw as she didn't bring home books maybe it will focus her mind?

Viviennemary Sun 13-Oct-13 20:35:22

She sounds like me when I was at school. I think the key is to support her in being more orderly at home. My room was always chaos and I just got told to tidy it up but no help given. I think some sort of order at home and containers and shelves labelled at home will be a start. and then routine for getting ready in the morning or chart on the wall saying what she needs to remember that day. And then things she must do the night before ready for school in the morning.

I always got read the riot act and it never did any good!

AuntyEntropy Tue 15-Oct-13 07:06:43

Thanks all thanks.

We had a friend over the other day and when I said "pizza will be ready in 30 minutes, do you have any homework due tomorrow that you could do?" she immediately said "ooh, yes", got out her geography book and did it straight away shock envy. And DD copied her shock shock.

Does anyone have any other brilliant ideas, short of adopting Perfect Good Influence Mate?

brass Tue 15-Oct-13 12:05:22

ok marking my spot.

We have always had issues with DS1 and now just had phone call to say DS2 has forgotten PE kit and this is the nth time this term.

I don't understand. I AM organised, lots of storage and containers provided at home, lots of guidance as to being organised. Also remind them every night to pack their bags. They even look like they're doing it so I can't fathom how the hell they manage to get it wrong.

Tonight will be - empty your bags and pack them from scratch right in front of me!

"Ballet starts in 15 minutes, so I should get my tights on and clean my teeth rather than putting one leg of my tights on and then start playing Super Mario"

This is EXACTLY the sort of digression DS1 suffers from. Just cannot focus. Academically off the scale but no common sense whatsoever.

This may not be relevant but have you considered that she might be Dyspraxic

paulapantsdown Tue 15-Oct-13 12:48:35

I feel your pain. My (mildly dyslexic) DS has been a nightmare since day one at High School. I cannot understand how it can take him 45 mminutes to shower and dress one skinny boy. I tell him to double check the bag, fill his water bottle etc BEFORE spending 10 minutes in front of the mirror fading about with 3 gallons of hair gel, but he cannot seem to prioritise time at all, and is rhen running out the door in flappy panic.

I often find him staring out the window at some random dog going for a walk with one sock on (him not the dog).

He's had one detention so far for forgetting to hand in homework he had actually done. The teacher gave him a days grace, and he forgot it again! The detention however was apparently great fun sharpening the pencils in the art room.

If however they are getting on we'll in lessons, making friends and being generally happy, does any of this really matter? Maybe we should just leave them to it, and they might find their own way.

Both my children are younger but mildly dyslexic so I feel your pain. I use sandtimers in the morning to minimise daydreaming e.g. 10 mins to eat your breakfast with the timer on the table where they can see it.

Would an actual timeable in the morning help
7.20 - get up - wash face / clean teeth/ shower
7.40-7.50 - get dressed
7.50 -8.05 - breakfast

booksteensandmagazines Tue 15-Oct-13 14:20:36

I got my son a whiteboard and he writes his homework on it (with prompting) when he gets home - which helps him cope with remembering homework that isn't in for the next day or upcoming tests

All bags get packed the night before and I found these canvas folders on amazon and he has one per subject so he keeps all text books, exercise book and papers in them and so just picks up the correct folder for the day - we've had a lot less lost stuff. They do them in blue and pink.

I give a copy of his timetable and extra-curricular things in the kitchen which we both see before we leave the house

Also reading book stays home unless it's library lesson - I once got left behind on a trip at school because I was so lost in a book I forgot to follow the class -so I although I love reading and think its great he reads, I remember how I was and I realise he just gets too wrapped up in his stories and imagination at the moment

brass Tue 15-Oct-13 15:40:23

yep we have a whiteboard for writing h/work on. They also have a clear folder each for loose papers, letters etc so they don't get dog eared or lost. When they come home they are supposed to deal with them, stick them in the right book, give to me or whatever.

They still manage to distribute everything around the house. I am staring at a pile of books and papers on the kitchen table from the weekend. I have asked DS1 to tidy them away a number of times but not happened yet. I know there is another pile in the front room where they pack their bags.sigh

booksteensandmagazines Tue 15-Oct-13 18:11:00

Brass - I made it sound so easy. Truth is, with the whiteboard etc it is better but its still exhausting: homework being printed out as I sit in the car ready to drive to school, taking in pe bag but forgetting to put stuff in it....I have had to accept that my son is just disorganised and maybe he will get better and maybe he won't. I just give him whatever things I think will reduce the chaos and try to restrict pulling my hair out to to just once every now and again!

JohnnyUtah Tue 15-Oct-13 18:18:27

An evening routine might help - eg home, snack, relax. Dinner then an hour homework straight away. If not enough homework to fill the hour, no screens until an hour is up. Bags packed about 8.30/9.00.

Also a morning routine. Do you have one for yourself?

brass Wed 16-Oct-13 09:38:25

well we have those routines as well.

come in from school, change, snack, homework til dinner. Then clear up and finish h/work if not completed, otherwise pack bags for next day. They go to bed 8.30 but may not necessarily fall sleep straight away. No games, screens during the week.

In the morning they should only need to get dressed, have breakfast, do packed lunch and leave.

I personally love routine.

QuintessentialShadows Thu 17-Oct-13 13:23:50

Can you ensure she keeps a pencil, a ruler and an eraser on her person ? wink

My son sits next to a girl in French, who has terrible organisational skills. She constantly gets him into trouble by pleading with him to lend her a pencil, an eraser, or to let her borrow his books. She has had detention 5-6 times already. My son gets comments in his planner "poor behaviour in French class" because they are not allowed to talk in class, and he silly boy is stupid enough to let her borrow his ruler/pencil/eraser, etc. I have told him to talk to the teacher about this, get himself moved to elsewhere, but no. He wont rock the boat. I have told him STOP LENDING HER YOUR STUFF. But he says "but she will get into trouble" well tough. Better her than you.

I feel for you though.

AuntyEntropy Thu 17-Oct-13 18:44:08

Thanks all. A lot of this we do do to some extent - a big problem is her behaviour at school though, where we can't intervene, which is why I really want some kind of Flylady for teens book to help her help herself.

I will digest specific suggestions when I have a mo. Heartened to hear others suffering the same way, but unrealistically disappointed to hear that none of you have a magic bullet.

Try this for starters

It doesn't matter is your DD isn't dyspraxic the ideas might help. There is a section on organisation.

fisharefriendsnotfoood Thu 17-Oct-13 19:09:20

i'm going to go out on a limb here, but i think secondary school is all about learning organisation skills. The fact that she is late to lessons has the wrong books etc, it part of being a kid and growing up. Getting into trouble a few detentions etc is how the first couple of years of secondary teaches you about organisation.

She sounds like a very normal kid in year 7 to me - doing well in everything but disorganised.

All her school life lessons have come to her and the environment in more protected. She will be fine.

AuntyEntropy Thu 17-Oct-13 19:14:47

I hope so fish, and much of what you say is clearly true. But her teachers all feel strongly that she is much worse than her peer group (who are mostly 6 months older than her I grant you, but that's not a big difference at age 11/12).

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