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A Pediatric Perspective

Red to Red, Blue to Blue - Homework Organization

Published August 15, 2011 1:30 AM by Wendy Hof

I can't tell you how many times my son use to come home from school, sit down to do his homework, and then realize he grabbed the wrong notebook to go with the subject he had homework in.  This would usually mean a trip back to school to get the stuff he actually needed . When you live in a small town this isn't too much of an inconvenience but eventually it does become frustrating. 

When you have a child who has challenges that cause this daily locker trip to be unsuccessful for no fault of their own you begin to wonder what can be done so they have what they need without making them stand out in front of their peers. 

One of the first thoughts that will usually come to mind is allowing the child to leave a little early so they can get to locker and not be rushed.  There is a down side to this strategy though.  Allowing them to leave early can be a problem if their last class is running late because they may not be able to leave early or may end up missing some of the lesson if they do.  In some cases this may also cause a little friction if there is another child who would like to leave early but isn't allowed to because they don't have permission to do so.  If the child is cognitively aware of how their peers perceive them then they do not want it to seem like they are getting special treatment.

One option that works well and can be shared with all the kids in the class (or rather their parents) is to color coordinate their class/subject books and their class notebooks. More often than not the school requests that for each subject the student purchase a notebook/folder to keep notes and handouts in and to have the books for each subject covered.  I can remember back when I was young my Nana use to pull out the brown grocery bags, lay them out on the table, and with a few quick swoops and clips and folds she would have the book neatly covered in no time at all.  Today we don't even have to master the brown paper bag cover because you can easily purchase the cloth covers that fit snuggly around the books or cover them with different colored paper covers that can be purchased at any number of department, office supply or even art supply stores. 

The trick is to find covers that are mainly one color and get a notebook/folder to match that predominate color.  Now when it's time for the student to go to their locker to get their homework they can quickly grab their covered book and easily find the right notebook/folder to also grab because it will be the one that is matching in color.  No more rummaging quickly through their 4 or 5 notebooks trying to see which one is the one they need.  They can look quickly at the book cover and then look for the matching notebook/folder and wah-lah, off to the bus they go in no time at all.  What's also great is that they won't need to leave early or have any attention brought to them because to any student looking their way it will appear that they are just grabbing their books just like all the other students around them. 

This may seem like a very simple solution but it is a solution that can help relieve stress and anxiety for many students, not just those who have poor organizational skills or developmental/physical challenges.  It can also help many parents hold onto those sometimes elusive strands of sanity during the beginning days and weeks of school.

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