12 Projects for Middle School Organization: Part 1
It is no secret that middle school is a time of transition. Students are leaving the familiar for the new, dependent learning becomes increasingly more independent, and social hierarchies are magnified.
As a mother of a first year middle school boy (with ADHD to boot!), I have learned that the middle school transition also applies to parents! The homework routines that we as parents have learned to enforce seamlessly during the elementary years, often times do not smoothly evolve into successful middle school study habits.
Middle School Organization
Last Friday marked the end of the first 6 weeks of 6th grade, and upon reflection I realized that my son was not prepared for the level of organization needed in order to succeed. More importantly, I was not prepared to help him become more organized! During the last 6 weeks, there have been tears, frustration, and anxiety, as we hastily prepared for major tests. Moving forward, we must become more organized!
The following is a list of organization tips and tricks for school and chores. Some I have tried, and others I hope to implement as soon as I possibly can!
1. Homework Station
There are so many wonderful ideas on Pinterest for homework stations. So many, that I could hardly choose the best one for my family. We have had many different stations over the years. Often times they start out beautiful and seem to work wonders, then, a few months into the school year, the station resembles a junk drawer instead of a system of organization! In my opinion, the best implementation for homework, chores, and general schedule organization has been the magnetic or sticky calendars and daily planners for the refrigerator. That way, you walk past it numerous times a day!
2. Homework Caddy
The homework caddy is a brilliant idea. It takes the mess of the drawer and makes it portable! No more multiple trips to the cabinet to “get a pencil”, everything you need is all there! Determine the supplies your student needs and make sure the caddy is stocked!
3. Chore Punch Card
While this is being carried over to the middle school years, this is especially fun in the elementary years as well. This is tried and true and has made doing chores fun in our family!
4. Prepaid Debit Card / Debit Card
After reading the post “Why Using Prepaid Debit Cards for Teens is Brilliant” on mycrazygoodlife.com, I went out and got my son a debit card. I opted for a regular debit card, tied to my account, so that I could monitor what was spent and make easy (and free!) transfers from my account to his for allowance and rewards. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. No more searching for cash. No more delaying the reward. It can also work in the reverse if money needed to be taken back as a consequence (however, we tend to focus on positive rewards for positive behaviors). It also helps my son to develop a sense of responsibility and money management, as we go over the charges monthly and he transfers money into his savings as well.
5. Washi Tape Color Coding for Agendas
What can’t you do with Washi tape? Washi tape is so fun, it will make planning enjoyable for anyone! Each subject has its own color, so you can see at a glance what is due when. This is something I have been doing since I was in middle school! Except, I used highlighters!
6. Routine, Routine, Routine!
This is my own tip for the day! Routine, routine, routine. Pick a time of day either in the morning, after school, or after dinner. The timing doesn’t matter as much as consistency. Surprisingly, more than anything else, this has cut down on the amount of homework resistance! Pick a routine and stick to it (with just a smidgen of flexibility) :)