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School Dazed Part 2

Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

Okay: I set up the Homework Center, the Communication Center, the Display Center, and 2 Boxes. But the paper piles are growing exponentially. How do I use these systems to be sure that I don’t have to go to detention hall?


Still School Dazed

Dear Still School Dazed:

Life moves very fast – especially during the school week. “Stuff happens” that can derail all your systems. If these systems become routine, you’ll be back on track in no time. Keep reading to find out how to use those centers you set up.

Communication Center:

Between the snack and the chat is emptying the backpack. Teach your student to put permission slips, papers needing signatures etc. into your “Inbox.” You will need to coach them at first. Help them to look through their backpack, folders, etc. for items requiring your attention.

Then, teach yourself to review the content of the “Inbox” daily. This will help you to return all permission, signature, homework papers in a timely manner. Then you won’t be surprised with a request for 10 Colonial hats for – you guessed it – tomorrow.

Your responsibility is to record all deadlines, appointments, and commitments onto the Communication Center Calendar. (If you want to earn an A+ for communication, use different colored markers for each person in the family or to indicate whether the event is school related or other.) At least once a week, review the calendar with everyone. In this way, you can look for any conflicts and teach time management skills, too.

Homework Center:

The Homework Center provides a specific place in which to do homework and in which homework “tools” are kept. Younger students need assistance to determine what has to be done that night, what tools they need to complete the work, and how long it may take. They can set a timer to signal a break during the work session. Older students should be able to create their own plan to complete their homework.

Check to be sure the completed homework is returned to the backpack to avoid those early a.m. cries for help or worse yet, a note from the teacher.

Display Center:

Amidst the detritus of the backpack, there are the special papers, projects, reports and artwork. These papers are kept in an expandable folder in their bedroom until you are ready to sort them.

Once a week (or month) review the contents of this expandable folder with your student.

Step 1: Hold up each paper. Ask them: Keep or Recycle. They decide. Place the “Keeps” back in the expandable folder.

Step 2: Next, allow your student to sort through the “Keep” folder

and select one work to be “displayed” in the refrigerator gallery.

Return the remaining “Keepers” to the folder. They will end up in the Memorabilia Box at the end of the year.

This process is another opportunity to teach decision-making skills.

Memorabilia Boxes:

The outcome of the Weekly Sort is one display paper and a stack of keepers. At the end of each year, it is time to select what goes into the Memorabilia Boxes.

It is helpful to create criteria for placing a paper or object in the Memorabilia Boxes. Usually, the items or papers retained are those that took a long time to complete or were fun to do. Sometimes you like to keep the A+ paper or an unusual project.

Try to avoid keeping the daily worksheets and practice papers with fill in the blank instructions.

For oversized projects, take a picture of it and record a little bit about the project.

Remember: At the end of the year, put the expandable folder into the Memorabilia Paper Box and the special objects or projects into the Memorabilia Object/Project box. Store these boxes.

These boxes belong to them. If there are items or papers you wish to keep, put them in YOUR memorabilia box. When your student leaves home, be sure they take THEIR boxes with them.