The Organized Student

Practical fixes for your child’s everyday organizational problems.

by Donna Goldberg and Jennifer Zwiebel
Simon & Schuster, $14
Purchase The Organized Student

From kindergarten through high school, students who lack organizational skills face academic and psychological challenges. The good news, brought to us by author Donna Goldberg, is that even the most hopelessly disorganized child can be taught how to keep his papers, pencils, notebooks, and schedules in order.

In The Organized Student, Goldberg tells parents how to identify a child’s unique strengths and how to work with her to develop an organizational system that she will be capable of sticking with.

“The same brain that comes up with the problems can also come up with some ingenious solutions,” writes Goldberg, a professional organizer in New York City and the mother of a formerly disorganized son. “Once you figure out what’s getting in your child’s way, you can figure out how to help her overcome it, whether it means going over, under, or around the wall.”

The Organized Student offers a range of practical solutions for everyday organizational problems, including strategies for getting the best out of the school backpack, hallway locker, notebooks, and the desk at home. Goldberg also discusses how children can benefit from the use of a time-management planner, and shares strategies for tackling long-term projects, after-school activities, and special events. Her explanations are concise, thorough, and well-illustrated by photographs.

Goldberg sets forth rules for parents. Three examples:

  • Cede control — let your child “own” the process.
  • Keep quiet — let your child figure out the “shoulds.”
  • Give positive feedback — focus on what your child has accomplished, not on what he hasn’t.

As a child, I struggled to overcome my own attention and learning disorders. I am the “scholastic Cinderella” described by Goldberg. If only my mother could have read Goldberg’s book 30 years ago, I would have avoided a lot of frustration and self-doubt.