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Helping chronically disorganised year 7 boy

(21 Posts)
Portabella24 Fri 16-Jan-15 14:09:02

Posting this in the hope that someone has experienced similar and found something that works.
My DS (11) is bright but massively scatty. At primary school I knew the routine, the teachers, what homework was set and when it was due. A bit of chasing required but nothing serious.
Since starting secondary school, DS has had frequent detentions for forgetting equipment and most annoyingly for not doing or not remembering his homework. This week I have had three texts from the school about missing homework, the last of which was today about homework I know he did because I printed it out this morning!
I have bought folders, encouraged, reminded but all to no avail it seems and the problem is getting worse. He is lovely, happy and enjoys school but I worry that he is getting into trouble more often. Most of all being organised is a life skill. I am super-organised in life and have probably been guilty of back-stopping for him too often. Any ideas how I can help him as punishment isn't teaching him anything it seems.
Thanks very much smile

ChippyMinton Fri 16-Jan-15 14:23:15

Does he have a homework diary and a homework timetable? If so, get a copy and stick it up where he can see it (and you can ask about homework and have a pretty good idea of what he should have).
Ditto with the timetable, highlight days when he needs to take extra kit in and stick it on the fridge where you both can see it.
He has to take responsibility though.
Bags packed and uniform laid out the night before works for us.

chocoluvva Fri 16-Jan-15 14:33:09

My 15YO DS is very similar. You're right - punishments don't work.

Now that he's 15 he's a bit more organised - I say this by way of hope for you. He packs his bag the night before school without being asked now. but still forgets/loses things

Perhaps you could ask his teachers to check/remind him at the end of lessons. (though DS' teachers are meant to do this but don't have the time/inclination and DS wouldn't welcome it either)

chocoluvva Fri 16-Jan-15 14:38:16

Now I come to think about it more.... two years ago DS got very cross with himself for missing a train that his mates were on. He discovered for himself that being scatterbrained has unwanted consequences. (He was so annoyed with himself and down on himself that I took pity and drove him into town....)

Is it just school stuff that your DS forgets?

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Fri 16-Jan-15 14:57:06

Is he the same at home or is it something specific to school?

DS1 also Yr7 has a homework timetable plus a homework diary. Every night the homework diary and timetable are checked before work starts and bags are packed once everything is finished. DS1 runs through his lesson timetable for the next day too as he is packing his bag.

We have a chart on the fridge with the days sports kit is required (also have a younger child) so they can double check for themselves.

anothernumberone Fri 16-Jan-15 15:01:03

Dd is like this she suffers from dyslexia though. I am dreading secondary school. A suggestion that was out to us was getting a second set of text books to reduce some of the demands. I am going to do it next year but here secondary school books cost a fortune, we pay for all of them, so I will have to take a wait and see approach to them.

A folder and maybe a phone app organiser might help too like google tasks.

Portabella24 Fri 16-Jan-15 16:19:38

Thanks very much for your replies - he does have a homework diary so I'll go with the chart on the fridge idea. He has been staying in the library after school to get his homework done so I know he isn't just not doing it and making excuses.
I'm going to get his timetable photocopied and enlarged too. Good idea.
In year 4 his teacher thought he was mildly dyspraxic but mainly because his handwriting was so terrible! He is a really disorganised person in life (he'll put his jumper on back to front and not notice) but he is a charmer and very polite and so gets away with it.
I feel like I need to address this now before a - he gets into more trouble and starts dreading school and b - before he turns into a teenager and I won't be able to talk to him without it turning into a huge battle.
Thanks all!

mychildrenarebarmy Fri 16-Jan-15 18:28:31

Blank calendar chart on the wall (something like this. At the end of each day any subject she has been given homework for gets written on the day it is due in.

Box for things that are not needed every day.

List of what to pack in her bag each day, and what to check for - when it comes to things like homework and exercise books this is checked further by referring to:
Timetable stuck on wall above box that books are kept in.
Homework due in chart.

Bag is packed at night, and then double checked in the morning when she adds last minute things like lunch, drinks.

Post it notes are used if she needs to remember to do something at break/lunch. This is made easier by the fact that she has a bulldog clip in her pocket that she tends to fiddle with so they get put in that and she notices them.

Quitethewoodsman Fri 16-Jan-15 20:05:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

itsveryyou Fri 16-Jan-15 20:15:55

To help us all remember stuff, including 11yo disorganized DS. I've created a simple chart for the fridge, which I have laminated so I can write on it with dry erase marker and wipe off, ready for the next week. It just has days of the week as a title, seven columns, and then we can fill it in as things come up. It's definitely helped us all, esp DS.

skylark2 Fri 16-Jan-15 20:24:45

Homework diaries are the best thing since sliced bread for kids like this (I have one).

When my DS had a complete meltdown to the point that he didn't seem capable of any level of organisation at all, not even writing in the homework diary when the teacher said what the homework was, we had a couple of weeks of the teachers filling it in for him and me ticking it off at home as he did it and telling him what to do next. Once he'd had a decent period without disaster, they and we backed off very gently in terms of him organising himself.

He's now y11 and disasters are thankfully rare (and also he knows he can go to his tutor and say "it's all falling apart, I need help" and he'll get help to catch up rather than detentions and shouted at).

gymboywalton Fri 16-Jan-15 20:33:22

My year seven has a laminated checklist on the fridge which he has to look at every night. It asks him if he has laid out all his clothes for the following day, if he has done his any homework due in and put it in his bag, if has got p.e , if his journal is in his pocket etc .having this has made a big difference .

MilkRunningOutAgain Fri 16-Jan-15 21:46:35

Don't know if this will be relevant but at DS's school their tutor signs off their homework diaries weekly. dS says he spends a lot of time with the less organised ones making sure they are getting it right. So perhaps recruiting a tutor to help might be possible. And a mum I know says her son's tutor helps him too. I dread DD going to secondary, unless she has a personality change she will be getting detentions for certain, she is totally scatterbrained.

Portabella24 Sat 17-Jan-15 18:59:45

Thanks for all the replies and special thanks to mychildrenarebarmy for the link. I've been printing and laminating today!

zipzap Sat 17-Jan-15 19:27:31

I have younger dc but I have a big jute bag for each of them (the sort you get from tesco etc as a reusable shopping bag - you can also get them to print a picture on the front - if your ds chose one he might buy into it more).

Anyhow, anything for either child for school goes in their bag, plus there's a pen and couple of envelopes in each bag, a comb, lipsalve, their scarf, gloves and hat, games kit, anything that's useful for school really, and anything that goes into school some days but not all.

Then it keeps everything together at home, if you find anything left around at home you can pop it in and so on. Then when it comes to packing their bags everything is ready and together, along with anything they need to pick up in the morning last minute.

mychildrenarebarmy Sun 18-Jan-15 09:31:28

No problem Portabella24 It is working for DD and best of all (for me) she is using it without me prompting her!

PastSellByDate Sun 18-Jan-15 11:05:23

Hi mychildren:

Does he have a phone or an ipod? Have you thought of downloading a to do list app - which will text him (with annoying sounds perhaps?) to remind him to do things and remind him of due dates?

for example:

There are lots out there - and as yet DD1 is just using her task planner from school so we haven't gone digital - but if your DS is into his phone/ ipod - this may be a solution - as it will interrupt games/ etc... to remind him of work/ deadlines/ things to do that day.


mychildrenarebarmy Tue 20-Jan-15 19:32:56

DD's phone is a cheap £10 thing which I had to force upon her. She has to have an ipad for school but she uses it as little as possible. grin

Alsoflamingo Wed 21-Jan-15 13:15:38

Quick question - has he ever had an ed psych report done? If he is v. disorganised he may be dyspraxic (or suffer from slow processing speeds - people can label it in many ways). My DD is extremely bright, but has this problem and actually it is quite useful to know because then teachers can stop coming down on them so hard for coming poorly prepared for class etc. Clearly you have to help them get better at it - and there are some superb ideas upthread, but just wondering as it doesn't seem fair for them to be 'punished' when it is genuinely something that a child with SPS can't really help. I have been told that 10% of boys have it to some degree but often goes unrecognised.

savvyblanc Wed 21-Jan-15 17:06:25

A4/3 plastic zip folders in different colours clearly marked with subject top and bottom - so inside the school bag or upside down its easy to see. All books for that subject inside the zippy folder together with its own pen/pencil/ruler.
Duplicate set of text books at home. bookshelf separated by days of the week.
School timetable in bedroom and kitchen fridge ,my office and school locker
2 sets PE kit with 1 always packed.
Always hv DC pack their own bags at night before bed.
sticking to the same routine & methods it does finally stick.

ContentedSidewinder Wed 21-Jan-15 18:14:22

Ds1 is in year 7 and I helped him get organised but he does everything himself.

He has a noticeboard/pin board in his bedroom next to his desk with days of the week on, every time he gets homework he writes the homework ie "maths, finish mymaths online" on a slip of paper I pre-cut and pins it against the day it is due in. That way he can see at a glance what he has to do. If it is a long project he writes the date on. He has a school planner and all their homework is written into that so I can cross reference if needed.

He has a wooden magazine files with days of the week on, he unpacks his bag, the books go into the day when he next needs that book. His timetable is pinned onto his noticeboard.

2 pencil cases, one for day to day stuff one for pencil crayons, maths equipment etc and they stay in his bag, he has duplicates on his desk. In his pencil case a laminated timetable.

As I love laminating, he has a what to do today list (it is also spiral bound, gotta love a spiral binding machine) so it has a morning list, including tidy room, open curtains, phone into bag, watch on your wrist. And an evening list so music book into bag, games kit out for tomorrow etc. He packs his bag the night before.

This works for us, I have put into place the tools he needs, he uses them and refers to the list every single day.

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