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How can I help DD1 get organised?

(16 Posts)
UneBelleCerise Mon 27-May-13 10:38:32

DD1 is 15, and currently doing her GCSEs. She's dangerously disorganised, and when revising for her GCSEs has had to rely solely on revision guides and her textbooks because her class nots were all over the place.

Luckily, she sees the problem and wants to sort it out before starting sixth form this September.

I'm going to help her to get systems in place over the summer, but I was wondering - what tips do you have for DD1 to get organised? Have any of you helped DCs get organised, or have DCs who are organised and could share what works for them?

Thanks in advance! smile

UneBelleCerise Mon 27-May-13 10:39:19

Oh whoops! That should read notes not nots...

Ilikecandy Mon 27-May-13 14:46:55

Just marking my spot when somebody comes along with real advice. Have similar situation with same age ds. Clearly bright, very lazy, thinks chaos=cool.

cluelessnchaos Mon 27-May-13 15:11:21

Place marking too, I could have written your post

Olbasoil Mon 27-May-13 16:25:07

Folders for every subjects, loose notes to be put into the correct subject folder every night.
Write up bullet points for her subjects on her pc

I am having this battle with ds1......... I am going to lose !

monikar Mon 27-May-13 16:40:59

My DD is in year 12 and has found the jump to AS level enormous both in terms of the difficulty of the subjects and also the amount of work that is required. She has found that whereas at GCSE she could get by with comparatively little in the way of revision (and achieved all A*/A grades), at AS she has had to really work hard. She is naturally an organised person but has struggled at times with the sheer quantity of information she has to learn.

What we did was to buy a large lever-arch file for each of her AS subjects - you can get these quite cheaply in Tesco or Staples. You will need lots of subject dividers - divide each folder into classwork notes, homeworks, handout sheets (there are loads of these), revision notes and past papers. DD finds the clear plastic pouches (buy 50 or 100) very useful as then several sheets that go together can be filed in one place. These large folders stay at home and she takes a small folder to school each day with similar divisions and then empties it when it is getting a bit full.

They seem to do less on the computer than at GCSE but there is some work. DD copies anything saved on her memory stick onto the computer and if it is homework prints two copies - one to hand in and one for her home file as a spare in case the first gets lost. For any coursework I would advise taking spare hard copies of everything before handing it in.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to encourage your DD to keep up with everything. It is so difficult because they have so much work to do, but it really helps to review all classwork that evening/weekend as so much depends on having understood what has gone on before. If she has time, it might be helpful for her to re-write these and ensure she fully understands the content.

Good luck, hope that helps.

UneBelleCerise Mon 27-May-13 17:02:44

Ilikecandy, DD is bright too, and could do even better if she was organised! I'm trying to get her to see that as it would give her motivation to be organised; I know she does want to do well in school.

Thanks monikar for taking the time to write such a lengthy and helpful post! I've just had a chat with DD about the way you said to separate notes, and she does like the idea, but is toying between that and splitting notes into dividers per module. She's taking Biology, Chemistry, Maths and German at AS, and they are very note-heavy subjects.

She feels as though splitting class notes, homeworks and handouts would be great, but does each module then not get muddled up?

To all the others whose DCs are like my DD1, I've ben doing a little research (with a brew to keep me sane) and found a great looking book which I ordered second hand off Amazon. It's called Organising from the Inside Out for Teenagers. Sorry about the US link - it has more reviews than on the UK Amazon page. It's due to arrive sometime this week, and if as good as it is said to be, I'll recommend it to you!

monikar Mon 27-May-13 17:31:03

I've just asked DD about the modules getting muddled up - she puts another divider in each section for each module. So you need a lot of dividers! She does Maths and 3 Sciences and the science folders are very full.

You may find that your DD naturally rises to the challenge more easily than you are expecting once she is in the sixth form. My DD seemed to grow up quite suddenly in year 12. The school naturally expects a higher level of responsibility and organisation as they are the oldest in the school, so some of it may just happen. They get a lot more freedom (free periods and being able to leave school at lunchtime) which emphasises their new grown-up status. Also, some of the lack of organisation at GCSE can be due to having to take such a lot of subjects, many of which don't really interest them.

Isthiscorrect Tue 28-May-13 03:49:03

Also vital is that your child names correctly their USB. I can't tell you how many get left behind and even after going through the documents we quite often can't find an owner for them.

And get your students / dc to add automatic headers and footers to all their applications they use, like word etc, it helps to keep work and notes in date order and also version numbers when they have revised and revised a draft.

I work in a school library and the quantity of papers left loose that we find is heartbreaking. Ds is in year 12 and he has folders for each subject, on folder is not enough. In the front he has a copy of the index from the text books, including the sub heading it helps when it comes to revision to see that these were ticked off when the subject was covered.

Date every class handout because by the end of the week she will have forgotten. It really is routine and I agree with the previous poster who says schools just expect a higher standard and it pays off. Work at it from day 1 because the workload is huge and she really doesn't want to get behind BUT don't let it become overwhelming so she starts to procrastinate. You will be surprised. Currently our family room floor is covered with piles of books like stepping stones. Ds has finished exams but is deeply immersed in a essay for a competition so he is using all his books and notes for this subject and in between sorting all his work to store for next year.

sashh Tue 28-May-13 08:13:08

Get those pukka projecct pads so she only takes one pad to VI form with her, it is already divided and the dividers can be moved.

Once home notes can go into folders which stay home on shelves. May be best to only transfer the notes to a folder after a particular topic.

Use the 'cornell' system of note taking. lsc.cornell.edu/LSC_Resources/cornellsystem.pdf

If she is writing up notes on a word processor put the date in reverse order first so today would be 130528 - this means that all notes are in order of the day they were typed, obviously you add something else to the title.

Email notes to an online email account so if a memory stick is lost or the computer blows up notes are still there.

seeker Tue 28-May-13 08:18:52

My dd bought hard backed notebooks for each major bit of each subject which she kept at home. She then had a smaller books she took to school to take notes in- then wrote up her notes into the hard backed books, sticking in any hand outs as she went along. When revision time came, she had her notes all written up and ready. It was hard at first, but she isnsoooooo pleased she stuck to it, and will do the same next year.

seeker Tue 28-May-13 08:20:54

And obviously you need loads of coloured pens, highlighters, page tabs......grin

UneBelleCerise Tue 28-May-13 14:08:00

monikar I can definitely see an element of her rising to the challenge already, as she's very enthusiastic about organising herself. I think she's learnt the error of her ways too - especially because of the difficulty she's had revising this year. Hopefully she'll stay that way and not go back to her old ways... hmm

Isthiscorrect she really does need to get into the habit of putting dates on each sheet - her GCSE notes are such a jumble, it's awful!

And seeker that does sound like a good idea, though I think she wants to stick to lever-arch files and home and ringbinders to and from school with the current topic's work in it. It's also very true about the coloured pens and things - we've arranged to go on a stationery shopping date to buy a fresh set of supplies and I think it'll motivate her, not to mention that I'm a bit of a stationery geek too grin.

sashh, the Cornell system of note taking looks fab! I'll discuss that with her and see what she thinks. We're sort of formulating a battle plan for her organisation and we'll put it into plan this summer.

UneBelleCerise Tue 28-May-13 14:09:47

Oh, and I forgot to mention sashh, do you think it's worth word processing her notes each evening?

mathanxiety Thu 30-May-13 06:43:07

Get remote memory for your computer and scan notes. Stick to a consistent date system for your scanned notes and do it daily to avoid having a huge block of notes dated 1 May 2013. You can keep the originals if you want.

If you use the Cornell system as you go along you will have predigested what you need for revision at a later point. It's a great habit to get into as it keeps you really on top of the material as you go along.

sashh Thu 30-May-13 08:06:37

Word processing notes.

Well it's up to her really, I did in uni when I didn't have a note taker, for me it helps refresh what has been said but it really is an individual thing.

It would mean she had a second copy and it will be legible when she comes back to revise.

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