Set Up School Routines Now
Although we are in the height of summer, it's a great time to think about creating routines and getting more organized before the new school year so you and your student can start the school year off right. Many students with learning differences benefit from home routines that help them know when it is time to focus on school work and when they can relax. Think about how you would want to support your student in this way. Does it make sense to have them take a 30-minute break after school and then start on homework before dinner? Do they have sports or music right after school and so homework will happen after dinner? Think about how you can structure their time and talk with them about a routine that feels like a good fit. Then create a white board or print-out you can hang in the kitchen, the hall, or their bedroom that they can consult to know the expectations. Color code time blocks to make it visual, especially for younger students or those with reading difficulties. Make sure to build in time for play and/or relaxation. Even older students will benefit from this, especially if they have ADHD. I have noticed that my students with ADHD appreciate being able to consult schedules or calendars to know what to expect. And they often won't remember it in their head, so giving them external guides is helpful (and it helps you too!). Another thing to think about is how you could set up your house to facilitate homework time. Create a space that your student will always use to do homework, one that is quiet and free of distractions. It needs a space where they can sit and write, so a table or desk is good. Some students like bean bags, and that is fine; get them a clip board. Stock the area with pens, pencils, colored pencils, highlighters, lined and unlined paper, and make sure there is good light. Setting aside a special space for homework time helps them get into thinking mode when they enter that space and helps solidify the routines you'd like them to set for doing their homework. Also, consider creating a space in your entryway, or perhaps in their room, where your student can always store their backpack. If it always goes in the same place when he or she comes home, there is less chance of needing to search for it when it is homework time. They can grab their backpack and bring it to their homework space when it's homework time, and then when they are done with homework, the backpack goes back to it's special spot (with the homework inside!), so there is no need for a search in the morning when it's time to leave. These are just a few ideas...you may think of more after reading this. Feel free to share any tips you have for keeping organized and I'll post them on my Facebook page.