Friday, May 30, 2014

Disorganized Student? Here's Help! {A Review}


I’m not exactly sure how I found the Leslie Josel’s website Order Out of Chaos, but it was probably in a moment of desperation.  I must’ve googled, “I need an assignment book that will help my disorganized son before I go crazy.” Or something like that.

I know it was a good thing that I did.  We used her student planner (which is practically perfect for home schoolers, if you ask me) this past year and I’ve already pre-ordered planners for each of my sons for the fall. Yes, I love them that much.

When I received her email announcing a new DVD that she’d put out, It’s 10:00PM: Don’t You Have Homework to Do? Organizing and Time Management Strategies for Academic Success 2014 Edition ($25.00) the recess of my mind said, “You’ve got disorganized boys.  You might need this.”  So I contacted Leslie and offered to review it for her.  I’m so, so glad I did!
It’s 10:00PM: Don’t You Have Homework to Do?  Organizing and Time Management Strategies for Academic Success 2014 Edition DVD - NEW UPDATED VERSION
The DVD, which records Leslie’s energetic seminar given in front of a live audience (of parents and teachers), is an hour long and includes great tips, insights, strategies and resources to help your students stay more organized.

There are two aspects of the DVD that I want to share with you:  the content of the DVD as well as the production value of the DVD.

The DVD covers the following topics:
  • What is Executive Functioning?
  • Organization products (Leslie’s favorite resource are listed on her website, but she explains how to use them and why they work in the DVD)
  • Tips on how to get homework done in a fun way (great for middle schoolers!)
  • Motivational tips
Leslie does a great job of explaining executive function.  These are skills that many teens and young adults really struggle with (even I do sometimes!).  These tasks include activation, focusing and effort.  These three skills help students (well, all of us, really) recognize when we need to get going on a project, sustain our attention appropriately on the target and not giving up (sustaining attention).  Leslie also discussed emotion/ mood regulation, memory and impulsivity.  I furiously scribbled down her suggestions on ways to ask questions and guide my kids to help them focus and attend to whatever is at hand.  She really has answers and techniques for most situations – including the frustrating answer, “I don’t know.” 

Organization – specifically for school/ homework – was the next part of her lecture.  She demonstrated some interesting organizational tools (zippered binders, clear plastic sleeves for grouping items for a single subject) and made a point to explain that we really need to do a better job of teaching organizational and study skills to our students.  At some point, my children will be on their own, and I hope that leave the house knowing how to organize a project (where it is a home improvement task, cooking task or a report for work) and themselves for success.

Backed up by research, Leslie next moved into suggestions on how teens process and attend to information to complete homework – well, that would be regular schoolwork for a home educating family. Smile   I really scribbled a lot of helpful suggestions that I know I will implement in the fall – such as the “Hide the homework” game (Luke, my 11 year old, will love this) – which I will have to rename the “Search for Schoolwork” game. I also love the idea that Leslie had for those students who ‘need’ to work with music. 

Let me say that I took 2 1/2 pages of notes from this lecture!  My husband was sitting nearby and overheard portions of the DVD.  He listened with interest and agreed with me that Leslie shared some great tips that could help more than one of our children!

I think this DVD would offer many helpful suggestions for those homeschooling (and non-homeschooling) families who struggle to find creative tools and suggestions to help their kids stay on top of work.  If your child has ADD or ADHD tendencies, I would definitely recommend this DVD if organization is a huge issue for you.

As far as the production value, the DVD records Leslie presenting to a group of people.  Very rarely was the sound quality poor, but I did have some trouble seeing a few of the slides (I was able to figure out what they said, however, as she talked).  I appreciated hearing Leslie answer questions from the audience (though I could not always hear the question).  Overall, the amount of information I learned from the DVD far outweighed any minor audio issues.

Leslie has a monthly newsletter you can sign up for here:
Don’t forget to check out here student planners, too!

Note:  I received a free copy of this DVD from the vendor in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.  This disclaimer is written in compliance with FCC regulations.

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