Helping My Child in School

By Katherine Smith
Katherine Smith
Katherine Smith
is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a gifted divorce mediator in NYC. She is a former high school English teacher and college counselor with a passion for enhancing the lives of others. Additionally, Katherine has extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, family systems, and group therapy. Readers can contact her at AskKathyMFT@gmail.com.
November 4, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

     My daughter is a smart girl but she’s a poor student. She doesn’t know when her tests or quizzes are scheduled for, dates that her assignments and projects are due, let alone what topic they’re on. Her backpack is stuffed with crumpled papers and her binder is a mess. I don’t even know where to start to help her. The situation is a constant source of friction between us. How can I solve this problem?

“Doris”

 

Dear “Doris,”

     Many people struggle with organizational issues, especially in school. The first step to helping your daughter succeed academically is to declare today a new day. Start today fresh, don’t bring up the past.

     To make lasting changes, she must believe in herself. Your confidence in her abilities will enable her to adopt a “can-do” attitude. Every one of us needs to create a vision for our own success in order to achieve our goals.

     Take your daughter to an office supply store and purchase: a student planner or assignment book, a colored pocket folder for each subject, reinforced loose leaf paper, brightly colored post-it notes, and highlighters. In tandem with her, evaluate her work space at home. Make the place she does homework as comfortable, organized, and distraction-free as possible. The following tips help students of all ages get organized and stay that way:

  • Write each assignment/project below the date it is assigned
  • Break large assignments/projects into smaller, more manageable parts
  • Check off each assignment as it’s completed
  • Use a different color pocket folder for each subject
  • Keep hand-outs, assignments, returned homework, and tests/quizzes in the appropriate folder for each class
  • Never put loose worksheets, homework, or hand-outs in desk or backpack
  • At the end of each day, look at the student planner and organize everything for the next day
  • Use highlighters and post-its as memory aids

     Most importantly, catch her doing things right and praise her accordingly. Changes are difficult – be her #1 cheerleader!

All my best,

Kathy 

Readers, I look forward to your comments on this post and reading your letters at AskKathyMFT@gmail.com.

 

is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a gifted divorce mediator in NYC. She is a former high school English teacher and college counselor with a passion for enhancing the lives of others. Additionally, Katherine has extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, family systems, and group therapy. Readers can contact her at AskKathyMFT@gmail.com.