Just because students are not venturing out into the world does not mean that they instantly become paragons of organization. Students who are learning remotely due to COVID-19 and homeschooled children both can struggle with finding that book they need, remembering that homework is due, or even what supplies they need in order to complete a task.
Many families also struggle with the balance between helping their child stay organized and the desire to see them become more independent learners. For remote-learning and homeschooled middle and high school students, having a self-motivated sense of organization is essential for success in their secondary schooling and beyond.
While many executive functioning skills are necessary for college and the workplace, creating good organizational habits is the foundation on which these other skills are built. For students who are homeschooled or are new to remote learning, organization can be the difference between struggling and succeeding. Organization goes beyond simply having a neat and tidy desk; students with strong organizational skills are better at managing their own thoughts, keeping track of their personal possessions, and knowing what tools are required before a specific task has begun. Students who are working from home might not have as much guidance from teachers about keeping track of their personal possessions and calendars, so strong organizational skills need to be modeled and practiced within the home. If students are able to grow in their organizational skills, they will find it easier to finish that English paper, complete chores on time, and even keep track of their ever-changing schedule.
While many parents are worried about the amount of time that their children are being exposed to screens, utilizing technology as a way to enhance this executive function skill can result in fewer headaches for your children and for yourself. With that in mind, here are three apps for parents and students to strengthen Organizational skills!
Homey Organizing one student’s life is hard enough, but what about keeping track of the entire family’s schedule? Having a place at home where a physical calendar is located is a good idea but more and more families are turning to calendar and planning apps to stay organized. This makes sense; with students balancing school and extracurricular activities, trying to keep track of where they need to be and when gets increasingly harder as they get older and more involved in social activities. Add to this planning family vacations, doctor appointments, days off from work, etc and your days can get complicated very quickly. Homey allows every member of the family to use the same shared calendar in order to keep track of their own schedule as well as coordinate with each other about what needs to be accomplished for the day. Students who are remote-learning may especially benefit from this as they are not accustomed to being at home and setting their own timetable for the day. A good family calendar can be the rock upon which good organizational habits are built.
My Homework Jessica Fischer, blogger and owner of the website Life As Mom stresses the need for organization within the home environment. She has great tips for managing school supplies, keeping track of school records, and color-coding your children’s school supplies and materials. She also has a student planner available for purchase on her website which is great for students who need to physically write something down in order to commit it to memory. For older students who might be more inclined to look at their phones, apps like My Homework can help them keep track of assignments, due dates, and subject matters. Apps like My Homework can be especially helpful for students who are remote learning due to COVID-19, as it can help them keep track of what teacher assigned what and when.
Google Keep As students get older, their homework gets more and more complex. Students in homeschool pods or remote learners may find themselves as a member of a project involving multiple people or a science experiment requiring multiple steps over time. Google Keep is a way for students to keep everything organized and share it easily between members of their groups remotely. Students can take notes in a variety of ways using this app; they can sketch their ideas, record themselves speaking, physically write Post-It-esque notes, or type them into the app. Google Keep then saves these notes in a convenient format where everything can be seen at once and easily edited or sent to another member of the group. For remote learning students grappling with how to coordinate without being face to face, Google Keep is a great way to communicate with project groups without resorting to emails or texts that can get lost in the shuffle. Much like having a dedicated homework area in your home, Google Keep acts as a dedicated spot for students to keep their thoughts organized.