8 Disorganization Styles of Struggling Boys
The Overscheduled Procrastinator
Homayoun's Tip: Encourage your son to become engaged in activities that are meaningful to him. At the same time, help him to be mindful of not overcommitting himself, which means he will be unable to do anything to the degree he would like. Getting home at 9:00 or 10:00 every night is a recipe for an exhausted, low-functioning young person.
The Scattered Charmer
Homayoun's Tip: Scattered Charmers don't know how to become organized or create a system that would work (because nobody has ever shown them one), and that leads to trouble being consistent and following through on good intentions. The single most important organizational tool your son will need is an effective, organized binder, preferably one for each subject. Read more about Homayoun's organization tips.
The Tech Master
Homayoun's Tip: Tech Masters may insist that using the latest gadgets will keep them up-to-date and take up less space. I have never seen a junior high or high school student effectively keep track of homework and other activities in a PDA like an iPhone or Blackberry, for one main reason: distractions. If your child has a PDA and likes to use it, he should still use a written planner to track his homework, longterm assignments, and tests and quizzes.
The Seriously Struggling Student
Homayoun's Tip: Seriously Struggling Students may have very little self-confidence and a good amount of frustration with their academic abilities. Being a mentor for younger kids can be a rewarding and confidence-building experience. It enables them to step outside their world and look at the needs of others who look up to them.
The Creative Wonder
Homayoun's Tip: Incorporating his creative pursuits within his academic setting whenever possible – such as making a film for a class project – will help a Creative Wonder become more motivated in the classroom environment.
The Intellectual Conversationalist
Homayoun's Tip: Intellectual Conversationalists tend to think they're always right. A good technique to use is to make it seem like his idea or to use examples from his other interests – debate team prep, for instance – to show him how organization can help him become even more successful.
The Sincere Slacker
Homayoun's Tip: Sincere Slackers can be quieter kids who sometimes lack social self-confidence. Adults sometimes underestimate the wonderful life lessons that are taught through working at a summer job and earning those first few paychecks. The shift in confidence and perspective when boys have responsibility and ownership for their work can be monumental.
The Seemingly Satisfied Underachiever
Homayoun's Tip: I encourage students to keep all tests and quizzes (especially the ones with scores that were lower than ideal). The quizzes are usually the basis for the tests and the tests are usually the basis for final exams; by holding on to all of them your son can actually learn from his mistakes, save time, and make life easier (a win-win).
Ana Homayoun holds a master's degree in counseling psychology and is the founder of Green Ivy Educational Consulting. Click here to read our interview with the author.