Winter break is a great time to clear out clutter and organize for the remaining months of the school year. Here are four easy ways to simplify school papers, keep clutter to a minimum, and refine homework routines:
Singer Bill Harley has a great song for children called “Down in the Backpack.” Do you wonder what’s in your child’s backpack? Are you almost afraid to find out? Winter break is a perfect time to clean out and organize this important school tool. It will be much easier to transport and manage if he only carries what is needed for each day. Empty it out and clean it together. Recycle papers that are outdated. Keep treasured artwork or writing assignments by using a three-hole punch and putting them in a binder. Label the binder “Grade One Work, 2015,” for example. In a year or two it’s always fun for a child to look back and see her work from a previous grade, and realize how much she has improved!
Now is the time to refresh supplies. Stock the clean backpack with new pencils, crayons, glue sticks, erasers, etc. I’ve seen firsthand how it lifts a child’s spirits to start more challenging work with shiny new tools!
If you don’t already have one, set up a specific homework spot. Also, try to get homework done during a convenient timeframe. Make sure homework goes into the backpack when completed, before bed each night.
Use a calendar as a homework chart. When homework is done and in her bag, your child can choose a special “homework is done” sticker to put on the calendar date. At the end of the month she can earn a special treat for perfect homework stickers. Examples could be earning extra time to play before bed on the weekend, playing a special board game together, or getting to order a favorite pizza.
By showing your child how to dispose of unnecessary clutter and become well-organized with school work, you are subtly teaching him valuable habits that will last a lifetime.
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.