Episode 4: Keeping Kids Organized And Accountable

We know that evenings can be hectic at home.  There always seems to be more to fit in than hours in the day.  In Episode 4, Amy Van Hoose and 1st grade teacher Lisa Patterson discuss ideas for keeping your kids organized and accountable for their own work at home.


Lisa Patterson graduated from SIU-E with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She also has her master’s degree in instructional strategies from Rockford College. For the first 11 years of her career, she taught first grade in the Collinsville district. In 2016, she decided to start a new journey in the school district she calls home. Her and her husband raise 2 precious children in Troy, and she considers it a great place to teach and learn. Her husband, Brett, is a high school math teacher at Belleville West. When she is not in her classroom, she enjoys playing games with her family, watching movies, shopping, and just relaxing. She does consider herself very lucky to spend her days with your child.


Ideas for keeping your kids accountable include:

  • Help your child make good organizational skills automatic.
    • Make organization a habit so your child doesn’t have to think about and remember what to do.  Making organization automatic saves time!
  • Have materials ready at home
    • Have a desk or homework area where your child works every day.
    • Keep work materials together so less time is used finding or gathering supplies.  Sharpened pencils, glue, markers, highlighters, pens, erasers, and paper are all good supplies to have ready.
    • Shower caddies, a special drawer, or a large 3-ring binder can be used to house all of the materials that your child may need.  
  • Encourage older students to use a calendar or assignment book to record and recall upcoming assignments.  If they have a phone, use the calendar and set digital reminders for upcoming assignments.
  • One night a week, sit down and plan for the week
      • Use a calendar, assignment book, or chalkboard
      • Start with the must-do: What is already scheduled in the evening (sports, church, family gathering, meetings)
      • Then begin to fill in the time slots.  Where does homework fit in for each night?
      • Then start to think about long term projects.  Where do they fit in?  How much time is needed to accomplish?
  • Timers are a good tool for younger age kids
    • Timers are very versatile.  Use them to let the child know how long they can play before starting their homework, how long they should read, how long they will practice math facts, etc. (These times can even be scheduled with the calendar from the suggestions above).
    • Use timers as goal setters: “We are going to get ____ done in ____amount of time”.
    • Encourage kids to pick the amount of time for the activity and even set the timer.  
  • Remember, some kids will develop organizational skills naturally, other kids need some help.  However, all of us can benefit from making good strategies automatic so can work more effectively.

No One Ever Told Us That is a series of essential life and financial lessons that every young adult needs to read before they embark upon their own life’s adventures
In Arthur’s Pet Business Arthur seeks a job taking care of pets to prove he is responsible enough to have a puppy of his own.
The Paperboy is story of a boy and his dog who rise early one morning before anyone else is awake to deliver newspapers; when his family wakes, the boy and his dog head back to bed.
In Kid President’s Guide to being Awesome, 11 year old Robby Novak tells kids “This is life, people. You got air coming through your nose; you got a heartbeat. That means it’s time to do something.”
But It’s Not My Fault is a cheery, quirky, color illustrated story about Noodle, a boy who gets into trouble but has so many excuses he can’t take responsibility for his own behavior.
Rules –  “No toys in the fish tank” is one of many rules that 12-year-old Catherine shares with her autistic younger brother, David, to help him understand his world. Lots of the rules are practical. Others are more subtle and shed light on issues in Catherine’s own life. Torn between love for her brother and impatience with the responsibilities he brings, she strives to be on her parents’ radar and to establish an identity of her own.

Ten Ways to Help Your Child get Organized

Getting your Child Organized for School

6 Tips for Raising Independent Children

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