My son has been a high school pupil for a little over a month and already lost two pairs of trainers and been threatened with detention for forgetting his literacy exercise book.


Despite me asking him if he’s got everything ready and reminding him to have a look at his homework diary, there’s still something we’re scrambling around to sort out before the bus comes past.

I know that getting better at sorting himself out is a huge part of what he’ll learn at high school, but, at the moment, that level of organisation seems a very long way off.

So rather than lurch along from one stressful school-related panic to then next, I’d like to find a way to help him – and me – to deal with the increased responsibility. Here’s what I’m going to look at:

Timetable. The first real high school flap came when my son lost his printed out timetable. No trouble, we’d just refer to the one he’d copied down into his diary. Only with three French lessons on one day, there had clearly been a mistake. A quick call to school solved the problem. My son was told where he could get another copy and the school emailed a version to me. Now I’m going to print it out and pin it up on his high-school notice board.

Homework. The much feared homework deluge really hasn’t been too bad. It’s just a case of keeping on top of it. Firstly, we had to work out the system for writing it down. In our case that’s to put it in the day that it’s due to be handed in. Then, impress upon my boy that it doesn’t then mean the job can get left until the day before. Our aim is to get the homework out of the way as soon as possible.

Extra stuff. If it was only homework from the diary and preparations for the timetabled subjects, it would be fairly straightforward. However, there seems to be a flood of bits of paper with vital information about adhoc events and activities. These, so far, have included sponsored balloon releases, fun runs, school trips for next summer (some at £800!), parents’ night forms, fund-raising activities and the after-school schedule. We’re trying to get into the habit of digging these out of the bottom of the bag on the day they are issued.

Lockers. There was an option for my son to apply for a school locker, but he decided against it. He thought that it would be even harder to organise everything if some of it was in a metal box at the school and some at home. I agree, because it means we can work together on it. Maybe next year, it’ll make more sense. However, the only down side of being locker-less is that he seems to be hauling a fuller and fuller bag off to school every morning. Gym kit, text books, library books, workbooks, pencil cases and snacks mean he can hardly get his bag off the ground. Still I suppose it’s good exercise.

Over the next few days I’m going to set up a notice board for my boy to help us both – him with a system for keeping on top of it all and me so I don’t have to deal with the 8.15am panics that regularly set my day off on the wrong foot.

It’ll be a place he can keep his timetable and all the other various bits of information that seem to be cluttering up our minds. Hopefully, he’ll unload the day’s details there so we’ll know exactly what’s expected and when.

Wish us luck and, if you’ve got any ideas about ways to get school stuff straight, I’d love to hear them.

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