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Moderate disorganization can cost the average student precious time, lead to a lack of confidence, and ultimately contribute to a dip in grades. Thankfully, there are several strategies that we encourage our students to implement in their daily routines that keep them on top of their homework and on track academically.

Let’s take a look at some of our tried and tested methods for keeping student assignments organized.

Homework Hacks That Really Keep Students on Top of Their Assignments

Implement a Binder System

Rather than trying to keep track of a separate notebook and folder for each class, try combining notes and materials into one 3-ring binder. Utilize plastic dividers and file folders to separate each class and include loose-leaf paper for note-taking. Be sure to label each section for each subject and color code the dividers and folders for easy filing. Should your student require an additional notebook for one of their classes, buy one that matches that subject’s color in their binder.

If you really want to take things to the next level, add subdividers to each subject and designate them for things like notes, homework assignments, study materials, returned assignments, long-term projects, etc. Important and often referenced papers, like their weekly class schedule or the periodic table, can be kept in sheet protectors at the start of a section. This is a great opportunity to engage your child in the process by prompting them to decide what organization method will work best for them. Remember, every child is different and these suggestions can be tweaked to suit their specific needs.

Most binders come with front and back pockets, which are handy for things like papers that need immediate attention such as a permission slip and miscellaneous items. For some kiddos, having one two-pocket folder specifically designated for homework can be helpful. Label the left side: “Homework to be done” and the right side: “To be turned in” — this can help streamline things as they only have one folder to refer to for handing in assignments each day.

Create a Filing Routine

Now that your student’s binder is ready to be put into use, we want to make sure it stays immaculate. This part takes agency and accountability from your child. First, we suggest students take two minutes each evening to gather stray papers and place them in the proper folders or sections within their binder. We cannot stress this enough: loose papers should never be stuck straight into your child’s backpack! By taking time to get organized each night, it ensures that they are prepared for the day to follow! And if anything is missing, they can address the issue in a timely manner.

Next, we find a good rule of thumb for students is to do a clean of their binder 1-2 times per quarter. This ensures they are not hanging onto any unnecessary items and have not misplaced anything by putting it in the wrong section. It’s also a great time to refamiliarize themselves with their materials! It’s helpful to date each assignment, so your student knows exactly when the material was covered.

During the deep clean, it’s important that your child not throw anything away until they receive their final grade for that class. Old materials can be used to create comprehensive study guides and old tests and quizzes can be super helpful when studying for cumulative exams (this is especially true for high school students). This is where an at-home filing system comes into play. For this, your child can make use of a filing tote box, a designated drawer in their desk, or use a section of mom and dad’s filing cabinet!

Use a Daily Planner

In our digital age, it’s easy to forget what an impact simply getting things down on paper can have. Even with the wide range of notes, agenda, and reminder apps out there, we still believe the best method for jotting down your assignments is a daily planner. This should be seen as the official holding place of all things important! Encourage your child to fill it out each day with homework due, upcoming test dates, project due dates, after-school activities, and anything else that is crucial for them to remember each day. If you can find a planner that has a monthly calendar feature as well, even better!

It’s also critical that students learn to not only write down when their assignments are due or when tests and quizzes are occurring but to actually block off time in their planner when they’re going to complete the work or study for the exams. This is so they don’t wait until the night before to do so!

BONUS: Add a Pop of Color to Notes

Let’s face it — regular old notes in pencil or black pen on paper can be a bit dull. Adding colored pencils, highlighters, or multi-colored pens to your note-taking toolkit can really brighten things up and make studying a whole lot more interesting. Beyond the aesthetic benefits, color coding your notes can actually improve recall, help you link ideas together, and provide a big picture perspective. Be sure not to overdo it! The idea is to make specific facts and themes easier to decipher; if everything is technicolor, it sort of defeats the purpose.

Ready For a Total Confidence Transformation?

At Tutoring Club of McLean, we teach the above strategies (and more!) and work with each of our students one on one to come up with an individualized plan that will play to their unique strengths and address any challenges they might face. Contact us today to see how we can help put them on a path toward academic success!

Looking for more advice right now? Check out our previous blog on getting organized at home and at school. For even more content on parenting, education, and student life, please visit our blog.

Michelle Scott
Tutoring Club of McLean
703.237.TUTOR (8886)
Email:[email protected]