school-busIf you’re looking for some effective ways to get your kids organized this school year, there are two simple watchwords to remember:  flexibility and portability.  It’s also a good time for the growing number of us who work part time from home to optimize our organizing systems.  Flexibility and portability apply here too.

I don’t trust systems that try to hold everything in one.  They are an example of over-organizing, which is a bad idea because the more complicated a system is, the more quickly it is abandoned.With a separate notebook for every subject, the student doesn’t have to lug around all subjects for just one class. He or she has flexibility.

The less we have to carry, the less we question the need to bring it.  For this reason, I think it makes sense to limit notebooks to collecting notes.  A notebook can be used for transporting new homework, but corrected homework and tests can make notebooks unnecessarily bulky.  An easy solution to lightening the notebook load is to keep a file jacket for each subject at home for finished homework and tests.  They can be edited at the end of the semester.

For notebooks, I prefer binders because they allow for flexibility and portability in a way that spiral notebooks do not. A five subject spiral notebook is the worst, because you are lugging around more paper than you need all semester until subjects start running out.  Then you have to start shoving those ragged edge pages from the English class section into the Biology class section.  Binders are more flexible because they can be reused, upgraded, and downgraded as needed. Also, if a teacher provides handouts as notes, they can be included seamlessly.

While I do organize students, I don’t consider myself a specialist in this area.  Read this great article by an organizer who is.