Back to School Success

“How can my family have a great school year?” Families are constantly looking for the best practices to maximize the overall learning experience for their students each school year. 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. O.R.G.A.N.I.Z.E. is a simple acronym to help you remember eight action steps.

Order – A good school year begins with order. You must establish order in your daily routines, and your weekly and monthly schedules. You need to know and clearly communicate to the members of your household what every student will be doing and when they 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 their 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. Here are a few examples of items fitting for a response time list: respond to emails within 24 hrs, 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 – Increase your level of productivity when your supplies are handy. Plan to 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 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 reward system for each student. The best systems include both long and short term rewards. Younger students benefit from having daily and weekly rewards. Older students benefit from a weekly and monthly reward 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 that “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.