How To Be More Organized In Middle School (for Students & Parents)
Middle school is an important transition to high school. In middle school, students develop organization and study habits that will follow them throughout their lives.
Better organized students tend to do better in school, but not many schools teach organizational skills for middle school students. Middle schoolers need to develop good habits so that they’re set up for success.
These tips will help teach your child how to be more organized in middle school.
Organization Starts With The Right Supplies
Being organized starts with having the right tools. Before you go shopping, figure out what supplies your child will need. Unnecessary school supplies can make students more disorganized, so it’s important to limit purchases to the necessities.
Buy The Essentials
Even if the school year is part way over, it’s never too late to get your student organized. Find out what your child needs and create a supply list. Create your list based on teachers’ supply lists, if they have them. They will have the best knowledge of what is required for their courses. Below are some of the supplies your child should always have on hand.
Essential middle school supplies:
- lined paper
- writing utensils (pens, pencils, erasers)
- an agenda
- pencil cases
- locker organizer
- post-it notes
- mini whiteboard with markers
Your child should also have a good backpack. A backpack with different zippered compartments for different items is a great way to stay organized.
Pro Organization Tip:
Buy high quality and functional supplies. Binders that are falling apart will only lead to more disorganization. Sturdier products will be able to handle the abuse that middle schoolers put them through. This saves the need to buy more supplies during the school year.
Digital devices can make excellent organizational tools. They can store assignments and notes, connect students to additional resources, and help solve the problem of lost notes and assignments. These devices can also be used for research and time tracking. You can create restrictions on most of these devices to ensure that your child isn’t distracted by social media or other apps.
Technological devices are becoming more accepted in classrooms, with many classrooms moving toward Blended Learning, encouraging their use. Some classrooms still forbid them, so you will have to talk to your child’s teacher to see if this is possible.
Middle School Organization Tips
Once your child has the right supplies, he or she needs to have systems in place to stay organized. Use the following tips to learn how to build organization habits.
Tip 1: Manage Time Effectively
If work and studying are not planned in advance, it’s easy to underestimate how much time a task requires, and the to-do list can pile up. An agenda, calendar, or both help plan out time so that it’s clear when assignments are due, when tests are, and when your child will work on certain things.
Create a Weekly Schedule
Make note of the assignment on the day it was assigned, and the day it’s due in your schedule. Have your child look ahead to see when assignments are due, and plan out when he or she will work on each. Every day an assignment remains incomplete, write it down again so that it is clear what needs to be done that day.
When an assignment is finished, make a note and stop writing it on the calendar. This method helps create a daily checklist for middle school students.
Create a Daily Schedule
If the days just don’t seem long enough, plan how each hour will be spent. Consider using a Master Schedule. For example, if your child doesn’t have time for homework, he or she should write down when they will work on each subject (ex. “Math homework 4 – 5:30, Break 5:30 – 5:45, Science homework 5:45 – 6:30”). Account for any breaks and leisure time in the plan, but make sure they are not preventing homework completion.
Tip 2: Organize All Of Your School Environments
Keep workstations, lockers, and backpacks organized, and clean them regularly. This will make turning disorganization into organization easy.
Middle School Locker Organization
Use a locker organizer to divide a locker into different sections. That way, materials can be separated by subject, day of the week, or whatever makes the most sense. This is especially important if he or she only brings home the books needed each night.
A small whiteboard inside the locker can improve organization. Use it to keep track of homework and assignments so and stay on top of what needs to be brought home each night.
Binder Organization for Middle School
Keep all materials in a single place. It could be a large binder, an accordion-style folder, or a clearly labelled binder for each subject. This will prevent things from being left behind when they are needed.
Tip 3: Be Prepared With The Right Materials
Disorganization can be caused by having to transport materials between school and home. If supplies are limited, your child can be left without the proper resources when he or she needs them. Use the following tips to reduce the likelihood of losing or forgetting supplies.
Have a Place for Everything
Whether at school, at home, or on the go, make sure that everything is in its proper place. Items are much less likely to get lost if they are always kept in the same spots. This means putting all worksheets in the right folders, and always keeping pens in the same pocket of a backpack.
Have Backup Supplies
Keep extra supplies such as writing instruments and paper at a workstation at home. You can even keep copies of books at home. Teachers are often happy to provide extra books if asked. This may be in the form of an electronic access code if there are not enough physical copies.
Tip 4: Create a Homework System
Has your child ever claimed not to have homework, and then you find out later that he or she did? If students don’t have a system to keep track of homework, it’s easy to forget about assignments.
Check With the Teacher
Teachers will all have different methods of reminding students of assignments. Some write them on the board, others have assignment books. Have your child check these at the end of each day so it’s clear what materials he or she will need to take home.
Keep Tabs on Homework Progress
Have your child use coloured Post-it notes to keep track of what assignment is finished, and what still needs to be completed. Make sure the completed assignment makes it back into the binder when it’s complete! After homework has been submitted, make a note in an agenda or calendar.
Middle School Organization Tips for Parents
If you want an organized child, you need to be organized! Make getting organized a group effort. Once your child is used to the routine, he or she will be self-reliant. Remember, the habits students form in middle school will be carried forward, so creating good ones early on is important!
- Encourage Positive Routine
- Keep Track of Important Dates
- Seek Extra Help
Once something becomes a habit, it will be automatic for students. Help your child learn the strategies above to set him or her up for success. Suggest secure places to keep supplies, and create a sample daily planner. Don’t force your child into a routine that doesn’t work for him or her. The most important part is that he or she has a system to consistently follow.
Mark important dates such as tests and assignment due dates on your calendar (separate from your child’s agenda or calendar) and make sure your child is prepared for them. You may be able to check assignments on the school’s website to ensure your child knows what he or she has to do.
If a child is still having trouble staying organized after trying the above steps, seek extra help. Teachers may be able to offer personalized help after school. Chances are, if a student is unorganized, the teacher is looking for a solution as well. Tutors are also great options. Tutors can help teach study and homework skills, and this is extremely common.
Get Organized and Get Learning
With the right supplies, the right systems, and your support, your child will be better able to stay organized. Try out some of the above methods and make sure he or she has a successful, and stress-free middle school experience!
If your child needs extra help getting organized, check out our Study Skills program, which will help him or her learn time management, note taking skills, and more.