Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome Back

You will no doubt be receiving lots of messages about coming back to school after this long summer vacation. I hope you had a relaxing one. Some of the kids that see me have been to off to sleep-away camp, some in town with lots of one week camps like swimming, surfing, computer, dance, art - you name it, there seems to be a camp for it. Others have been traveling the globe - visiting family across the states or seeing Europe for the first time. Not one child has said his vacation was too long; a bit boring at times, but no one has actually wanted to go back to school early. They are worried about the pressure to do well, about the homework that seems to take hours, and about falling behind before things even begin.

Going back to school presents an opportunity to improve last year's ways. One of the most effective is to help your children organize before they are overwhelmed by their work. Those large poster size "month a page" calendars at Staples or Office Depot do wonders for organizing subjects and assignments. Some kids really enjoy color coding - you can color code by subject or activity. For example, each subject can have a different color (e.g. Math - green, Science - blue, English - red) or use a different color for each required activity (e.g. homework- green, tests - red, reading assignments - black). Use whatever appeals to your kids.

Then have your child write down every assignment and test the day it comes in. Depending on their age they may need more or less help from you. Then break down the requirements of the assignment and write the bits up in each daily box. If your child must read a book and then write a book report in three weeks, then ask how many pages are in the book? 250? Okay, if she wants to finish the book in two weeks so she has a week to write the report, she must read 20 pages a day. Have your child write that down in each calendar box (e.g. pgs 1-20, 21-40, etc). It's fun to cross off when you've completed a task. Want to finish the report 3 days early? Then write a first draft the first day, leave it for a day (maybe have someone read it to edit or suggestions) then she'll have another couple of days to write a second and perhaps third draft. I usually like to build in some wiggle room for emergencies (which seem to always come up). You get the idea.

Let me know how you do with this organization - what works for you, what other ideas you have, and if you would like further support.


Dr. Charlotte