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Disorganized in School

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My eight-year-old son is very disorganized in school. He turns papers in late and is too busy socializing to pay attention. How can I help him?

A: With each year of school, more is expected of children. Your son needs help now from both you and the teacher in becoming more organized and behaving appropriately in the classroom. Close communication between home and school can provide a united front that will lead to improved behavior.

Work with your son's teacher to develop a plan that will help him become more organized and responsible about turning his papers in on time. The teacher can certainly insist that if classroom papers are not turned in promptly, there will be penalties.

It would help for you to get him a backpack. Select one with different compartments for school papers, a lunch bag, and books. Every night, set aside time for your son to empty his backpack and tell you about all his papers and other important school treasures. Then, help him repack his bag with any homework for the next day. This should definitely be done in the evening before going to bed, in case you get a late start in the morning.

Your son needs to learn the appropriate time to socialize during the school day. The teacher should definitely talk to him one-on-one to explain appropriate classroom behavior. It would be a good idea to ask for suggestions from him on how he could learn to behave better. It is also important for your son to learn to listen so that he does not miss important information that the teacher is presenting. Seating him away from other students at times could be effective in reducing his socializing and increasing his attention to what is going on in the classroom.

Your son can definitely make progress in the last four months of this school year. Eliminating these bad habits now will prevent his grades from suffering as he progresses through school.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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