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Preparing for the New School Year

Plan for Success

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To set yourself up for a successful school year, you can establish some standards and guidelines to follow through the entire year. A great plan may start with a simple conversation with parents which will lead to clear family communication, and it could include tools like checklists, which will help you stay on track and prepare for tests and due dates.

A good plan will reduce tension in the home, free up time for extracurricular activities, and ensure that you get your homework done in time.

1. Identify a Time Management Tool

Great time management requires very little in the way of investment, but the payoff can be priceless! A few simple tools will keep students on track and on target all year long. A simple wall calendar and a few colored stickers will do the trick:

  • Simply place the big wall calendar in a prominent place near your regular study space.
  • Then come up with a color code for your classes (like green for math and yellow for history).
  • When you have a big due date or a test date, place the appropriate colored sticker on that date for all to see.

The big wall calendar is just one tool that you can use in your time management tool kit. Find a few tools that are right for you and you'll see how easy it is to stay on top of your work.

2. Preview the Expectations

It's always a good idea to preview the material that you will cover over the coming months. Take a look at the topics you'll cover in math, science, social science, and language areas--but don't get nervous or overwhelmed by what you see. The idea is simply to establish a mental framework to follow.

3. Get Organized With Color

If you're already a very organized person, you are one step ahead of many people! But many students (and parents) can use some help when it comes to staying organized. Color coding is one of the best tools for keeping homework, folders, and school supplies organized.

  • You may want to start with a pack of colored highlighters, then find folders, notes, and stickers to match them.
  • Assign a color for every school subject.
  • Use coordinated colors when highlighting notes, compiling research, and filing in folders.

You'll find that your homework are much easier to track when you stick to the color-coding method.

4. Stop the Madness With Homework Checklists

Are school mornings chaotic in your household? A checklist might cut down on the madness. The school morning checklist reminds students to finish all tasks, from brushing teeth to packing assignments into the backpack. You can use a checklist for every assignment to stay on track!

5. Consider a Homework Contract

There are lots of benefits to establishing a clear set of rules. A written contract between students and parents can clear up any potential confusion when it comes to expectations. A simple document can establish: 

  • what time of night serves as the homework deadline
  • what students must do to keep parents informed of due dates 
  • what tools and technology the student can expect and not expect parents to supply
  • what reward parents and students can expect for meeting expectations

Students can reap the benefits of weekly rewards, and parents can relax by avoiding the unexpected interruptions and arguments at night.

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