Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How to keep a kid organized (aka How to nail Jell-O to a tree)

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but I do pride myself on my organizational skills.

My son is the antithesis of that statement.

This kid has been blowing me away with his smarts, logic and pattern of thinking since before he was old enough to speak. However, at age 12, I am amazed he finds his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

I just got a friendly call from one of his teachers alerting me to the fact that he received his third write-up for forgetting his materials for class. She felt the need to call me so I would not be "shocked". HA!!!! You're kidding, right? I could have seen that detention coming from a mile away.

I have told my son from the time he started middle school that while I could not do his homework FOR him, I could help keep him organized. That is MY strength. And because I know everyone's method of madness is different, I promised we would find the best organizational system that would work for him.

So far, he's tried special planners that organize his homework by day, time, subject and priority. Then he switched to a smaller, pocket-sized notebook that he could carry around at all times. He went from having seven notebooks (one for each subject) to two - one for the morning classes and one for the afternoon. He's tabbed all his binders, post-it noted all his homework, and stuck a write-on, wipe-off board in his locker.

Fail.

Part of his problem, he says, is that there is not enough time between classes, and he finds himself rushing so he's not late. This kid HATES to be late - I think it's actually a phobia. But short of micro-managing him to the point where I send him hourly text messages reminding him to keep it together, I'm at a loss.

And yes, you may think it's time to let him "sink or swim". I tried that. He sank. And I'm the type of person who thinks that someway, somehow, there is a solution for everything, and if we just try enough different options, something at some point is going to stick.

Until then, I ask, how many detentions does it take to get through to the head of a 12-year old?

The world may never know.

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