This article may contain affiliate links.

disorganized student

We’re just passed that honeymoon period of school when grades are good, students are somewhat organized, and everyone is motivated. At this time, papers start to pile up, some assignments are missing, and binders are getting fat. Parents are starting to feel the same way they did back in the spring, anxious.  If your child happens to be a disorganized student, he or she will need some assistance from you (the parent) to get more organized. If your child happens to be in the older elementary grades, they may need to save their tests, quizzes and homework.

Organize the School Work with the Disorganized Student

The best way to support the disorganized student and organize schoolwork is to buy an open file box that can be easily transported from one room to another.

Purchase hanging file folders and colored file folders.

Take two folders of the same color and use it for the same subject. Mark one for homework/classwork and the other for tests/quizzes.

I usually suggest cleaning out the folders and binders every few weeks or once a month.

To get a visual idea of how to create this open file box, take a peek at The Moffatt Girls.  They organize their papers into monthly files with the prettiest of file folders.  Get creative and set up the folders monthly, by subject, by test dates – what ever works best for you.

Hi Tech Organization Strategies

We live in a high tech world and some people prefer to use technology to organize their lives.  Fortunately, there are a few wonderful apps to help organize important school papers. 

Designed to record, store and share your child’s artwork, can also be used to store and organize important papers such as tests and homework.  It also offers a recording option for voice memos.  There is an easy share feature too so if one of those papers needs to be shared later with the teacher, it can.  Learn More


A wonderful app that allows you to scan documents and organizes the documents in a way that is easy to find.  The search feature can even search for handwritten words buried deep in the notes.  Learn More
Whether it’s text, images or documents, you keep things for a reason. That’s why Evernote makes sure the notes you’ve saved are easy to find. You can even search for handwritten words buried deep within your notes.


Canvsly was designed for parents and teachers to Capture, Organize, Share and Print Kids Artwork quickly and easily.  But you can just as easily capture notes and tests! Learn More


Like the apps above, Artkive was designed to capture artwork but can easily be used to capture important papers.  This app offers the ability to add multiple children too.  Learn More

Investigate the Weekly Planner of the Disorganized Student

During all this organization, you may want to check your child’s planner.  Some teachers request that a parent sign the planner each night to ensure parental involvement.  However, as children get into middle school and beyond, schools and teachers are expecting a bit more independence.  If you have a disorganized student, don’t assume everything is being jotted down – no matter what grade your child is in.  Investigate!

Are they writing all their homework down in it?

Do they need more room to write?

If you notice that your child needs more room in the planner, place some post-its on the weekend slots and instruct your child to use the post-it to write down the assignment if it doesn’t fit.

disorganized student When Traditional Weekly Planners Don’t Work

Nicola Daykin and Mara Berzins, co-founders of EFs 2 the Rescue share, “We teach a Grade 3 class for students with identified Learning Disabilities.  We stopped using the school agendas a long time ago. We found the process of having the children navigate the agenda, find the correct day, and then have to write down information, was causing frustration and taking a long time. Many of our kids have challenges with fine motor integration and visual spatial abilities, not to mention spelling. Once they had finally filled in the pertinent info, they would often then forget the agenda in their backpack anyway!”  Daykin and Berzins suggest some alternatives:

Cooperative Classroom Calendars

A large classroom calendar that is available for students to use, as well as, for the teacher to post important events. The class fills in the calendar together at the beginning of each month (the teacher writes), and then the calendar is reviewed at the beginning of each week.

Encourage Teacher Communication

Ask the teacher to email parents of younger or chronically disorganized students with reminders and updates.  If your school district is using the internet to pass along homework assignments, that is wonderful!

Strategically Place Small Checklists

For younger students, consider placing a small checklist in their cubby.  For older students, they can place a checklist in their locker to serve as a reminder.  We have used these before for students who often lost belongings or forgot to take lunch bags home, etc.

You could use words or pictures on a “Do You Have Your…” poster and students can earn tallies or points for remembering.

Explore More >> Kids with Isms Can Benefit from Using Lists

Send Home a Class Calendar

Teachers can send home a class calendar, both a physical copy and electronic copy.  Families can post these at home.  Very young children may enjoy having their own calendar that uses pictures to show the upcoming classes or events.

Go Technical

Older students can learn to use Google calendar or iCal.  There are a variety of apps available too!

Consider ‘stickies’ on the laptop, if they have one.

Another option is to use the voice-to-text function on their computer if writing is an issue.  Audio memos can be made as well using the audio recorder of a cell phone.  If cell phones are not permitted, request an accommodation through the school to support organizationally challenged students.  Children can also use the reminder feature to remind them of upcoming assignment due dates.  Alarms are a great resource to use as well.

Check the Binders of the Disorganized Student

Is your child using too many binders?

Should he or she be using one or two binders instead of say 4 or 5?

Some children, prefer to use the case-it binders. These are the binders that have either a velcro or a zipper around the ends so that the binder is closed.  Some schools do not permit these types of binders, however, if this option is one that will keep your disorganized child more organized, ask for an accommodation.

Always Investigate to Ensure Organization

Ask questions of your child.  Reach out and email teachers for greater clarity.  If need be, periodically take a look in your child s backpack.

The end of the first making period or trimester is here for some and coming soon for others.  Implement some of these tips and make the rest of the year more organized for your child.  The more organized your child, the less stressed your child will be when it comes to school work.