Answers to questions you may have.
SOA has been working with students in this capacity since 2006. Both Michelles have been Certified Professional Organizers® since the program’s inception in 2007. We have spent years researching brain function, learning styles, learning differences, and other related topics. We educate the entire family when we work in a student’s home, and we also explain the significant generational and cultural shifts associated with going to school today. By going into the student’s home, getting to know them via our thorough assessment process, and then customizing organizational solutions based on that particular child’s strengths and innate makeup, SOA sets them up for success over and beyond simply organizing their room or homework space.
Some of the typical red flags include but are not limited to: dropping grades; missing homework assignments; turning homework assignments in late; waiting until the last minute to work on larger assignments or projects; having messy and/or overloaded backpacks, desks and lockers; using study time inefficiently; showing signs of anxiety, stress, and paralysis; and overall disrupting the family’s quality of life.
While many teachers would prefer their students use the same supplies, we are more than happy to act as a child’s advocate in approaching the teacher(s) and explaining why we feel the child would do better with an alternative system. Once we explain our rationale, this conversation is met with understanding and acceptance.
The Complete Assessment involves garnering data to assess a child’s dominant quadrant of the brain, preferred learning style, sensory preference, degree of introversion/extroversion, and more. In addition to uncovering a student’s innate strengths and qualities, SOA conducts a comprehensive interview with the parents, familiarizes themselves with the family dynamics, tours the student’s homework areas and bedroom, reaches out to the child’s team of teachers, doctors, and tutors, all together in order to create the student’s unique strategies for academic success. The Abbreviated Assessment’s purpose is the same as the Complete Assessment’s, but the Abbreviated one does not include collecting data and seeking outside input. Identifying a student’s cerebral aspects is based on SOA’s intake and experience rather than on data. Both assessments result in a student guide created by SOA that contains customized solutions that will best meet the student’s needs.
Both Michelle Cooper and Michelle Grey have been Certified Professional Organizers since 2007, meaning they have met astringent Both assessments result in a student guide created by SOA that contains customized solutions that will best meet the student’s needs. list of qualifications such as understanding the contents of a core of approximately 25 industry books, as deemed necessary by the independent Board of Certified Professional Organizers. In order to sit for the exam, one needs to have had a specific number of paid client hours. Maintaining certification requires 45 hours of relevant education every three years. We take classes covering brain function, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, chronic disorganization, motivation, and other similar specialized subjects. In addition, we have both been trained to be professional ADHD coaches. Furthermore, Michelle Grey has a Master’s degree in Psychology.
Each of these professionals brings an area of expertise to the table. We consider ourselves part of a team whose mission is to help the student succeed. SOA adds the dimension of organizing expertise to the team’s professional guidance.
While some of our students do struggle with learning differences, many do not. We often say, “Disorganization does not discriminate based on intelligence, motivation, age, or gender”. One common denominator among our students is that most of them are very bright. However, organization and time management skills are not formally taught by parents or teachers. SOA teaches these concepts in ways that honor each child’s learning style.
Going to school now is a vastly different experience from when many parents were students. In summary, here are some of the many changes our students face today making organization that much more challenging for them.
- Time – it is no longer viewed on analog clocks where time can be seen moving. Rather, time is displayed as a static digital number on microwave ovens, car stereos, cell phones, computers, etc. Therefore, time has become a much more abstract concept.
- Electronics – consume students for multiple hours each day. Most of us had only a handful of TV channels to choose from, a shared household Bell telephone, and maybe an interest in music heard on the radio. Today kids are being pulled, almost to the point of addiction, into the world of smartphones, texting, social networks, the internet, gaming, and such.
- Schoolwork and subject matter – have multiplied compared to our generation’s. Studies have shown that our kids have more homework and projects today than we did at their age. Additionally, the material is being taught to our kids at younger ages. Many of us have noted that what we learned in first grade, our children are learning in Kindergarten and what we learned in 4th or 5th, they are learning in 2nd or 3rd.
- College admissions – include extremely high expectations and require students to be incredibly well-rounded. It is not enough to have good grades and SAT scores. Rather, “Johnny” needs to: have good grades, be a good athlete, be the top of his class, play a musical instrument, be an officer of a club, to name just a few qualifications. With his multiple extracurricular activities, “Johnny” is rarely home after school and must learn to do homework in chunks of time when he can find them, sometimes on the side of a soccer field or in the car on the way to an activity.
Expecting certain children to study alone in their room is in effect putting them into solitary confinement. Some students need the comfort of others’ presence to be productive and being alone in a room is rarely the best environment in which they can sustain focus. The most enlightening portion of assessing a student through our Complete Assessment is having this information available. We acknowledge that it would be easier for parents to have the ability to send all their children up to their rooms at the same time. However, while one child may flourish being alone, another might need to be near others to do so. One may need music playing to concentrate best, while another needs silence. One may complete all their homework in one marathon effort, while another may need to take frequent breaks. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to designing students’ best homework routines and practices.