Customer Reviews: The Organized Student: Teaching Children the Skills for Success in School and Beyond
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on November 27, 2005
First a warning: I bought this planning to hand it off to my disorganized junior high school kid who gets either A+ on his homework or F- because he cannot find it in his backpack. BUT this book is written for the parent. And it is a great book. It is an easy read in the best sense. The book is very logically organized, progressing thru backpack, workspace, locker, etc... The author became a professional organizer many years ago when she had to rescue her own disorganized kid. We spend so much time and money teaching our kids English, math, foreign languages but we forget to teach them how to organize their work and thereby teach themselves. It was worth the price for me.
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on October 23, 2005
I especially like that that the author describes more than one way to get organized, and the methods are not complicated. I've observed that schools (& parents) tend to attack lack of organization with even more folders, binders, etc., as if adding to the quantity will somehow reduce chaos.

The initial thing I was looking for was advice on a workable planner for my middle school son. The author recommends one that has 2 pages for all 7 days of the week, and lists subjects down the side, so that the student can easily see patterns in assignments as well as a weekly view. The author writes over a teacher planner, as the proper layout is impossible to find. I ended up using this model to create one of our own using a page layout program (MS Word) & getting it wirebound at an office supply store ($6).

The author describes a simple yet very effective way to set up a ring binder system for keeping & filing papers & notes. However, ring binders can be awkward for some students: left-handers, those who must cope with small desks in class, or those who find binders hard to work with in general. The alternative system involves a portfolio with divided pockets to hold papers by subject; these are later filed into a binder or tote box at home. Either way, the student must "own" his system in order to make it work.

There are other very valuable chapters on organizing lockers, desks at home, and filing old papers.

This book is an extremely valuable resource for parents and students, and I discovered it just in time.

Update, 11/8/11: My now high school senior son has been using his planner & filing system every year with great success. He gets a new planner every semester for class changes & to make it a bit thinner. Even though he now takes a laptop to school for note taking & monthly calendar, the paper planner is still invaluable for schoolwork. It is faster to access, never runs out of power, & will never crash. I expect he will take a version of his planner to college.

This book is something every parent needs for helping children develop & maintain workable organization skills.
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VINE VOICEon July 31, 2006
This is an excellent book that will be helpful to most students. I checked it out at the library and found it so helpful that I am now purchasing my own copy. My 12 year old daughter doesn't have a lot of trouble with organization, but occasionally loses an assignment here or there. I have read the book - only a motivated high school student could handle this solo - and found it to have some excellent ideas. The book gives several options as far as organizing notes and assignments, individualized as to the student's personal preferences or learning styles. The book includes pictures of how binders or accordian files, assignment logs, etc... should be organized. We will put her ideas into use this Fall so that hopefully things can be found quickly, assignments can be seen as part of the "big picture" and even fewer things can be misplaced. I highly recommend this book.
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on April 28, 2006
The book is a road map in the world of disorganziation. My son and I both have ADD/ADHD and I really lacked the necessary organization skills to help my child succeed at school. I also apply the same principles to help me at work. This is not just for kids. It's also great for adults.

We finally have a tool that can help us be succesful. The examples are easy to follow. The example photos were great. This is an extremely valuable resource for any struggling parent who has children who are struggling academically. The book is empowering and so easy to read and understand. This is definitely a resource you can't afford to be without.
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on September 19, 2005
The Organized Student is a must for all parents of middle school children - especially if your child is constantly losing their schoolwork and/or forgetting their schoolbooks they need for homework at school. I am a parent of a middle school child but being that his Mom is a professional organizer, he is pretty organized but I still picked up quite a few tips. The book helps with organizing ideas for the locker and backpack. Organizing ideas for the traveling papers (back and forth to school). Organizing ideas for the papers that live at home. It touches on time management, calendars/schedules and bedroom organizing. Each topic had a list of questions to help determine the best solution for your student. I found that to be very beneficial since different kids have different issues. It really helped to pinpoint the issue and a solution for it. The back of the book contained `further reading', `resources' and `shopping lists'. All of which I found very helpful. As a professional organizer, this book is sure to help you with your middle school age clients!
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on December 22, 2005
I am an obsessively organized mom, who thought that just by being so, I would have organized children. What this book taught me is that just because I am an organized thinker, my child won't necessarily be. She really taught me to empathize with my 10 year old son; who can make straight A's when he can find his papers. Her tips were practical, and her book is so "readable" that it's a pleasure to pick up at night. I feel truly equipped to help my son get organized for the New Year, while maintaining my patience with him. The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars, was that the second half of the book didn't feel quite as helpful (cleaning the teenager's room, etc). Although, I was very impressed with her chapter regarding "winding up" projects. I realized that it is a terribly useful skill, one that I myself fail to do at times.

The most helpful chapters were on the organized backpack, travelling "office", cubby/locker, etc. I have a 12 year old who is already very organized; but there are some clever tips for her as well.
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on September 19, 2010
I found this book to be extremely easy and enjoyable to read. I read it cover to cover in two days. I am now going back to implement the ideas and find that her steps are easy to follow AND easy to relate to my child. I was loaned this book by my child's school, and I have purchased my own copy so I can refer to it in the future.

We are not far in yet, but I believe that this book may be life changing for my child (and maybe for me...and I thought I was organized!) Some of the other reviews said the techniques were too simple and you could find them on the internet. That maybe true. However, this book puts them in one place in a concise simple to follow plan that takes you through ALL of your child's daily structure. It IS simple enough for a child, because it is designed for a child. If it were high brow and esoteric your child would neither understand, embrace or be able to implement the system.

Brilliance is often simple. Remember the quote by Robert Heinlein "Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something."
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on September 19, 2006
A great find. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't need this book. My [...] year-old saw it on the table and picked it up and found it helpful--though I think it's too dense for most kids. An important feature of the authors method is to have your kids participate in the process which will help cement it. Especially helpful if you have a child entering middle-school where the big changes of multiple schedules, moving classrooms and intense homework take place for the first time.
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on October 23, 2009
This book could have been written just for my family and my son. Things I loved:
1. The book took all of the blame out of the organization process, and focused on solutions.
2. The book had several sets of questions to help us identify which of its many solutions were the right ones for us.
3. The book helped me see that it was my job to help set my son up for success and teach him how to use that set-up.
4. The book showed me that the school was dead wrong when it told me just to dump the problem in my son's lap and let him struggle.

Sure the book is mostly common sense. But not everybody has the ability to crystallize the information so succinctly or help tailor it to one's own family situation.

The school year is still young, but we're light years ahead of where we were last year thanks to this book. I've recommended it to everyone I know who is struggling with disorganized middle-schoolers.
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on August 17, 2005
I am ever so grateful for the content of this book. As a mom of a 13 year old son with ADD the school year is a constant battle of "where's this?", "when's X due?", "did you turn in X?", etc., etc. I am for once looking at the coming school year with a great sense of hope.
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