Organize Stuff School Work Executive Functioning Skills

How To Organize Your “Stuff” — A Simple Organizational System for School Work

Keep It Simple — Keep Your Sanity.

Getting organized is most challenging at the beginning of the school year.  While many students struggle with organization, it often seems chaotic for children with learning disabilities like ADD/ADHD or LD.  Many of these children struggle with executive functioning skills.

We recommend a very simple and proven organizational system.  We find that many parents begin losing sleep and pulling out their hair when school related information (like instructions, assignments, papers, notes, etc.) become lost or stuffed in backpacks and books.

Our solution is simple: put all incoming papers and completed assignments in one place.  We like to use two notebooks — one is carried back and forth to school, the other stays at home.  Every paper belongs in one of the two notebooks.  This system works well and reduces your time and frustration as a parent.  If you help your child stay organized for the first few weeks of school, it should become a regular system your child can follow.  Spend your time on the system, not on the homework.  Soon the system will take over for you.


Organize Stuff School Work Executive Functioning Skills

How to Sort School Work

Materials Needed:

For the “To School” Notebook:

  • One-    1” three-ring binder
  • Two-    2-pocket folders

For the “At Home” Notebook:

  • One-    3” three-ring binder
  • Three- 2-pocket folders (one pocket for each subject + “Assignment Notebook” pocket)

Assemble each notebook by folding the pocket folders inside out, punching three holes in them, and placing them in the binder.


Preparing the Notebooks

“To School” Notebook

Label the pockets as follows:

  • Assignment Notebook
  • Returned work
  • Complete this work
  • Turn In this work

(Write in large bold print so the learner doesn’t mix-up his/her work.)

If your school provides an assignment notebook, put it in the “Assignment Notebook” pocket.  If one is not provided by your school, buy or create an Assignment Notebook.  Print “daily planner sheets” (for assignments) and “monthly planner sheet” (for long-term assignments).  Place a week’s worth of daily planner sheets and the monthly planner sheets in the “Assignment Notebook” pocket.  Each week, replace or update the daily and monthly planner sheets in that pocket.  Save the old planner sheets in your “At Home” Notebook.


“At Home” Notebook

Label one pocket for each subject (science, English, math etc.).


Using the Notebooks:

“To School” Notebook

Assignment Notebook

On your “daily planner sheets”, write in daily assignments for each class.  If no assignment is due, write “none” next to the class.

Add long-term projects to the monthly sheet immediately as they are assigned.  With a friend, parent or tutor, schedule tasks for the project, term paper, etc.

“Returned Work” Pocket

Immediately after school, place papers from the “Returned Work Pocket” into the correct subject pocket in the “At home” Notebook.  (These will come in handy for test review.)

“Complete This Work” Pocket

Before you begin your homework, compare your assignment notebook with work in the “Complete This Work” pocket and your textbooks.  Call a friend if you are unclear about a particular assignment.  Plan your evening based on that night’s homework load.  Be sure to schedule snacks and breaks.

“Turn in This Work” Pocket

Place all completed homework in this pocket, ready to turn in at school the next day.


“At Home” notebook

The “At Home” notebook organizes returned work.  Keep all work in the appropriate subject folders.  When it is time to study for a test, all of your information is in one place.  You may even keep class notes in these folders, if your notes are not in a spiral notebook.  You may need new folders each quarter or semester.  However, keep all work until the course ends.


Staying Organized is Easy!

Now you know how to keep your child’s schoolwork organized.  After you implement this system, be sure to review the process with your student every day after school.  In a month or so, your child will be self-sufficient and able to follow the system without any assistance.


Need Some Extra Help?  Hire a Tutor!

Our trained, professional tutors will work with your child to introduce our organizational system.  As a team, they will develop a study plan for coursework, exams, and projects.  The tutor will act as a coach, helping your child develop and strengthen their executive functioning skills.

Get started today!  Call (440) 914-0200 or contact us to speak with one of our program directors.


Carole Richards is president of North Coast Education Services, president and director of the Academic Fun & Fitness Camp, and author of Richards Learning Systems®.  She is a frequent guest on radio and TV.  She can be reached at

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About the Author

Dave Hoffman