• Organizing Notebooks/Homework:


    Executive Skills Needed:  1. Task Initiation, and 2. Organization


    Steps to take:

    1. With your child, decide on what needs to be included in the organizational system: a. A place to keep unfinished homework? b. A separate place to keep completed homework? c. A place to keep papers that need to be filed? d. Notebooks or binders to keep notes, completed assignments, handouts, worksheets, etc.? A sample list is in the checklist that follows.
    2. Once you’ve listed all these elements, decide how best to handle them, one at a time. For example, you and your child might decide on a colored folder system, with a different color for completed assignments, unfinished work and other papers. Or, you might decide to have a separate small three-ring binder for each subject or one large binder to handle all subjects. You may want to visit an office supply store to gather ideas.
    3. Gather the materials you need—from the house if you have them on hand, or from the office supply store if you don’t. Materials should include a three-hole punch, lined and unlined paper, subject dividers, and small Post-it packages your child might want to use to flange important papers.
    4. Set up the notebooks and folders, labeling everything clearly.
    5. At the beginning of each homework session, have your child take out the folders for completed assignments, unfinished work and material to be filed. Have your child make a decision about each piece of material and where it should go. Complete this process before beginning homework.
    6. When homework is completed, have your child place homework in the appropriate folder and file anything else that needs to be saved.


    Fading Supervision:

    1. Cue your child to begin homework by following the “organizing” process. Supervise each step to make sure all steps are followed and checked off on the list.
    2. Cue your child to begin homework with the organizing process and remind him/her to check off each step when done. Check in periodically & at the end to make sure the checklist is done and things filed.
    3. Last, cue to begin, check in at the end, and occasionally spot check folders, notebooks, and files.



    1. As much as possible, involve your child in the design of the organizing system.
    2. Redesign the elements that aren’t working right by asking, “How could this work better for you?”
    3. For people who are not naturally organized, it can take a long time for this process to become a habit. Keep in mind that supervision over the long haul may be necessary.


    Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2009). Smart but Scattered. New York: The Guilford  Press. P. 167-168.




    System element

    What will you use?


    Place for unfinished homework



    Place for completed assignments



    Place to keep materials for filing



    Notebooks /Binders for each subject



    Other things you might need:


















    Clean out “to be filed”  folder






    Go through notebooks and backpack for other loose papers to be filed






    Do homework






    Place all assignments (finished & unfinished) in appropriate places







    From Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare.  Copyright 2009 by The Guilford Press. P. 169