Back to School Success
Families are constantly looking for the best practices to maximize the school year and overall learning experience for their students. Every household has a unique set of educational goals and needs; however, there are some proverbial methods that help secure a successful school year for the whole family. These methods are effective for all age groups and can be employed by both parents and students alike. The key to a successful school year is for your family to O.R.G.A.N.I.Z.E.—a simple acronym to help you remember eight action steps for the school year.
Order – A good school year begins with order. You must establish order in your daily routines and your weekly and monthly schedules. Be aware and clearly communicate to the members of your household what every student will be doing and when he or she will do it. Electronic schedules are great, but I always recommend that you post a family schedule in a common area of your home (like the kitchen) and that each student has a physical schedule and/or routine posted in his or her room. Plan a weekly “Schedule Review Meeting” (I recommend Sunday evenings) to go over everyone’s upcoming week.
Respond – Quick response times create momentum, help you stay engaged and nurture a good work ethic. Establish a standard for responding to assignments, emails and situations as early as possible by making a list of reasonable response times. An example of items on your response time list includes: Respond to emails within 24 hours Begin long-term assignments no more than two days after they are assigned Communicate with school administration within 24 hours of a positive or negative situation.
Gather – You increase your level of productivity when your supplies are handy. Gather everything you need before beginning an assignment. This includes supplies, books, information and snacks. Doing this enables you to maintain your focus and maximize your work sessions.
Ask – Smart people ask questions. Always ask questions when you are unclear or don’t understand information.
Notate – Good note-taking helps you retain information. Develop a note-taking system that is efficient and clear. Review your notes after every class (or in the evening) when the information is still fresh.
Ignite – Ignite academic motivation by establishing a rewards system for each student. The best systems include both long- and short-term rewards. Younger students benefit from having daily and weekly rewards, while older students benefit from a weekly and monthly rewards system. Rewards can be simple and inexpensive, but they must be consistent.
Zone – Establishing a zone system in your household is a great benefit to your students. A zone system simply says, “This time and space is designated for this activity.” Students need to have a homework zone, a relaxation zone and a supply zone.
Evaluate – Evaluate your system every quarter, and make adjustments as needed.
Start your winning school year by committing to the O.R.G.A.N.I.Z.E. action steps. Each step will push your family toward success and help you achieve the results you want.