Disorganization works for some students and their families. Every school day, children rush around looking for permission slips to sign at the last minute, for gym clothes and for lunch money. While the household resembles a madhouse every morning and after school too, the disorganized children still might be doing well in school.

But organization works far better for most families. It lets children leave for school from a calm environment, know that the routine every day will be the same and understand clearly what their responsibilities are. It also means no surprises. Tests are prepared for on time. Homework assignments are written down, and the necessary books and papers have been brought home. Project dates and even dental appointments are written down on calendars. Obviously, it is far easier for students in well-organized families to succeed in school.

If you are organized, more than likely your children are, too. Most families need to tweak their before- and after-school organization from time to time. Look over our list of the most essential elements of this type of organization. If you see any areas that are not as organized as they might be, make a New Year's resolution to change them. Here are some recommendations:

  • Resolve to have a routine to follow every morning. This includes definite times for getting up, eating breakfast and leaving for school.

  • Resolve to have a homework system. Your children should use assignment pads and calendars and follow a fixed homework time schedule.

  • Resolve to show your children how to keep their papers for each class in an organized fashion. Folders and binders handle this task efficiently. Schedule a weekly time to eliminate unnecessary papers.

  • Resolve to have a definite place where backpacks and book bags will be placed after school and after homework is completed.

  • Resolve to have a system for handling lunches, permission slips and notes from the school.

  • Resolve to give your children the responsibility of handling most of these tasks as soon as they are old enough to do so.