Author Topic: Staying on top of homework  (Read 1178 times)

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Just Lori

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Staying on top of homework
« on: August 11, 2010, 11:29:04 AM »
I have an incoming eighth grader who really struggles with staying organized and on top of assignments.  Now that she's in eighth grade, she must be especially careful about finishing assignments on time and handing them in.  She struggles in both areas.  She'll start a project and quit halfway.  Her binder is a mess of crammed in notes, worksheets and half-finished assignments.  We've bought individual binders for each class, but she hates lugging a bunch of things home each night.  Her grades last year were abysmal.

Has anyone else been through this, either personally or through their child?  What has worked for you?  I'm open to any suggestions, as we're really trying to start the year as we mean to go on.  What has worked for you?

Thanks!

guihong

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2010, 11:45:42 AM »
I think we have the same child  ::).

I'm assuming this isn't something like ADHD, which I'm not qualified to say anything about, and she's just an...wait for it...adolescent ;).

*Does your school have a website that allows you to keep up with her homework assignments, upcoming tests, and long-term projects?  Ours is a godsend.  It also covers things like permission slips that have to come back in, standardized testing dates and deadlines, and school lunch money accounts.

*Is she required by the school to buy an agenda, or assignment book.  My daughter's book must have each assignment written in it and signed off by the teacher when complete.

*When you meet the teacher(s) at the meet-and-greet (this is usually a couple days before school),or ASAP, ask them if they would mind you calling every Friday to make sure she's caught up and on track.  At least if she does get disorganized, it's only a weeks' work and not a semester.

*Some schools have after-school programs that also involve a "study hall" or tutoring, to finish homework. 

*I've made a rule that all homework has to be completed and signed off by me before any after-school fooling around.  Obviously, if there's sports or band practice, that's an exception.

*I know she has to take "core" classes, but is there a field she's interested in yet?  When she reaches high school, she might have more leeway in her classes and might organize herself if she has a goal.

Good luck!  It's a challenge.  I contrast her with my son, who alphabetizes his folders in his backpack.

gui 



Squeaks

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2010, 12:05:07 PM »
I was similar. 

And you wanna know what worked for me?  When i stopped listening to everyone's advice on how to organize and did what worked for me.  What worked for me was just putting everything in one folder/binder. It it is all in once place, it does not get lost or misplaced.  Counter intuitive perhaps, but that is what worked for me to stop loosing things. Sometimes simpler is just easier.

When i got to college i would use one three ring binder with dividers for all my classes.  Yes all my syllabuses when in there as well.  I had a zipper pouch with pens, etc. and that was it, and i was happy. 

If she does not want to lug too much back and forth, don't push her, it likely will not work out.




Elphaba

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2010, 12:45:06 PM »
I was similar.  

And you wanna know what worked for me?  When i stopped listening to everyone's advice on how to organize and did what worked for me.  What worked for me was just putting everything in one folder/binder. It it is all in once place, it does not get lost or misplaced.  Counter intuitive perhaps, but that is what worked for me to stop loosing things. Sometimes simpler is just easier.

When i got to college i would use one three ring binder with dividers for all my classes.  Yes all my syllabuses when in there as well.  I had a zipper pouch with pens, etc. and that was it, and i was happy.  

If she does not want to lug too much back and forth, don't push her, it likely will not work out.

POD POD POD POD POD POD. Did I say POD? I was very much the same, and struggled with organization until I was in college. I think one of the big problems for me was that everyone (especially teachers) would say, "No, you need to organize your stuff THIS WAY, MY way is the BEST way to organize things and if it's not organized this way, it's wrong! You must be using [very specific binder setup] and [rediculously specific tabs], etc" I had such a hard time trying to follow these organizational rules in addition to actually doing the homework that it was just crazy. I wish it hadn't taken me so long, but once I was able to figure out the way that worked for ME, I was much better.

For example - I just can't handle looseleaf paper. I dont know what it is, but 3 ring binders were always a hassle, things tear out, they're too big and all that. Once I was "allowed" to get spirals, I was much better off. There are more things that I do, but my point is, you need to help your daughter find what system works for her. Tell her you dont care WHAT system she uses as long as she can find what she needs when she needs it.

Oh, and though I know this may not be an option for everyone, one thing my parents did for me when I was in 6th? 7th? grade helped a lot. I was atrocious at forgetting my books at school. I didn't want to carry them around all day, so after Math I'd just stick that book in my locker and then forget to get it before I went home (there was a big rush to get to the bus after last period too, which didn't help). So I'd have Math homework one night and not beable to do it w/o the book. So my mom went to the school supply store and bought duplicates of my books. I know, I know, it does seem a little rediculous, but I can't tell you how appreciative I was and how much it reduced my stress level to not have to worry about my books and everything.  It was also really nice that she was able to sell the books back to the seller at the end of my school year. She hadn't really expected to be able to do that, so it was a nice surprise even though she didn't get the full price back.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 12:46:54 PM by Elphaba »

rose red

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2010, 12:53:21 PM »
I was the same way.  All that homework overwhelmed me.  I had to learn to stop looking at the big picture and do one subject at a time.  Stick to one until finished and move on to the next.  Don't think about the rest of the stuff waiting in the wings while you are doing the current one.  If there is an ongoing project, the same idea applies.  Finish the part needed done for that day and move on; don't think about the future parts of that project until the time comes.

eta: Like others said, each person has to find their own organization skills.  My method works best for those who need things broken down to one thing at a time.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 12:58:55 PM by rose red »

Red1979

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2010, 01:04:32 PM »
I'd set up the binder with dividers for each subject to be her main notebook.  

Then I would purchase one multi-pocketed folder.  I'd label the front of the folder "Assignments" and each pocket of the folder with a different class (i.e. Math, English, etc).  

Every time your daughter gets an assignment it should go into the corresponding pocket of that one folder.  When its finished and graded she can put it into the binder.  This way she has one item only to organize all of her current assignments and she's only taking one folder to class.  

Here's an example of the type of folder I'm talking about:
http://www.officemax.com/catalog/sku.jsp?productId=prod2870026&history=06n2elve|prodPage~15^freeText~folder^paramValue~true^refine~1^region~1^param~return_skus@wigmxaqx|prodPage~15^paramValue~true^refine~1^region~1^categoryName~Binders+%26+Accessories^param~return_skus^categoryId~515^return_skus~Y^parentCategoryID~cat_10003


She could leave a blank sheet in the first pocket to write down the assignments as they come and their due dates.   She can cross them out as they are completed.  Or you she could put in a blank calendar and write in the due dates acrosss the month (Microsoft Publisher lets you create calendars as do other printing type PC programs). You could also slip in a package or two of post-it notes she can stick to the different folder compartments for any notes she  might need on a particular assignment.

If she doesn't like using a binder to take notes, she could have a separate notebook with easy tear off sheets to write the days notes in and then just transfer those over to her binder each night when she does her homework.
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Bexx27

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2010, 01:08:01 PM »
What worked for me at that age was sitting down and doing my homework immediately when I got home. I didn't allow myself to do anything "fun" until I had finished all my homework. I'm not sure how well that would have worked if it had been my parents' rule rather than self-imposed, though.
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kitty-cat

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2010, 01:11:20 PM »
Wow, I didn't know you were my mother. Or that I was back in 8th grade :P

What worked for me (sorta, mom kept interfering) was being left alone to handle it myself. That and the planner that my school gave out at orentaion each year.

(8th grade was the last year I didn't really have homework though...)




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Aggiesque

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 01:33:22 PM »
At that age...

Our homework has to be done before any activities/dinner. The exception was "projects" if we had been working on it for 2-3 hours (school was out at 4, we ate at 6 or 7). Then it was assessed if we needed to work on it more, or were good for the day. All our sports, etc, were in the evening, at 6 or later, so that worked out well for us, too.

I'd ask her how SHE wants to organize it. If she doesn't know, then give her some ideas with PP's suggestions. Help her to figure out what will work for her. I always did well with folders + spirals in college, but a binder w/tabs (one per subject) worked extremely well for me in middle and high school. I can't stand spiral paper- I don't like "stuff" on it when it's ripped out, so that was great in college, when you don't turn any of your homework/notes in, but middle/HS I had to have college ruled (HATE that wide stuff, and no teachers ever seemed to care) looseleaf.
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Squeaks

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2010, 01:48:17 PM »
As far as the no fun till the work is done.  Be careful with that.  I was (still am) and huge Star Trek nerd, and growing up it was on everyday at 4.  that does not give a lot of time to get work done between school and Star Trek.  Trying to enforce a no TV till work is done rule would just have resulting in my making sure the work looked done prior to 4 with no care for accuracy.  You don't want something like that.  There may well be logical reasons to do something else between school and work, and I think it best to not rule them out.  Listen to your child.  They might make more sense than your expect.


faithlessone

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 03:17:38 PM »
Ditto to the idea of getting her to come up with an organisation plan. My brain works totally differently to my mother's, and what works for her (in terms of organisation) rarely works for me.

If she doesn't like the individual binders, get her one big one with plenty of dividers.

One thing I will agree is a godsend is a diary/planner. Something funky, week-to-view style, so she can keep track of deadlines and other commitments. I know that I had a lot of trouble remembering when things had to be handed in, but getting a planner really helped, as I could tick off the assignments that had been done. Plus, this way she can be in control, but you can still check easily if she's behind.

artk2002

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 03:26:42 PM »
Sounds just like my 8th grader last year.  No real advice -- it was a bumpy year for us.
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camlan

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2010, 03:57:03 PM »
In high school, I like one three ring binder, with dividers that had pockets, just like folders, to put handouts in. Bonus if the binder also had pockets on the inside covers. In college, I switched to small binders for each class, with three hole punched pocket pages in them for handouts and assignments. I carried one pad of three hole punched paper and took all my notes on that, then went home and put the pages in the right binders. It was easier to grab just the binder or two that I needed each day, plus the pad of paper for notes.

As to when to do homework, it's probably best to have a consistent time. For some kids, right after school works well. For others, it may be better to take a half hour to run around outside or have a snack or otherwise blow off some steam before sitting down again and hitting the books. The important thing for the disorganized person is to create a routine that works for them and to stick with it.
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Sophia

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2010, 04:08:04 PM »
This is going to sound silly. 

I did the one travelling binder method.  One thing I liked was being able to remove a section when it was completed.  So, after I took the test for Chapter 10 History, everything for Chapter 10 History went into the non-travelling History binder.  It was a personal atta-girl / relief to get that stuff gone.

Another idea would be to put all graded stuff into the appropriate non-travelling binder.  That way, keeping the travelling binder light is an atta-girl. 

In college, I was friends with a brilliant student.  We had Drafting together, which meant we talked a lot.  He said he never wrote his name on his work until he was done.  It was his personal atta-boy. 

WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Staying on top of homework
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2010, 04:21:06 PM »
When I was in high school PeeChee folders were very popular although now there are sooooo many cute folders out there I would've had a hard time choosing which ones I liked. (they also had measurement conversions and other useful information printed on the inside)

At the start of the year, I would create a "notebook" of folders. 1 folder per subject + one for blank paper and a calendar. I would bind it altogether with colorful duct tape.

The blank notebook paper was put in the front and I would write due dates on the calendar. Anything I needed for my homeowrk was put into the front folder with the blank paper. When I was finished it was put into the appropriate subject folder.


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