Staying on Track

Keeping a 4th grade creative genius on task in remote school while also working on my own projects has been challenging at times. I am not always aware that she has an assignment due until she loudly announces, “Oh no! I was supposed to do this by [time in the past/ two minutes from the current time]!!!” Many times while I am trying to concentrate, The Child will barge in to ask questions which could have been written down and/ or Googled for later when she had time. I don’t want to ignore her, but kids at this age need to learn how to prioritize tasks on their own, and sometimes Mom just needs to finish a thought.

So we went old school. While she was sleeping last Sunday night, my co-parent installed a new 2’x3′ corkboard on the wall above her workspace. I taped cool LED lights around the edge of the board and cleaned her desk to give her a fresh start. In the morning, I gave her a stack of Post-It notes and pins. As I handed her the Post-Its, I stated they would only be used for writing down tasks, due dates, and questions related to school.

A blood oath was sworn. I retreated to work in peace, patting myself on the back for my parenting skills.

Chaos ensued. In a matter of hours, the board and her freshly organized workspace had transformed into Post-It Alley. She had perfected Origami frogs, developed an amazing new line of cartoon characters, and somehow missed even more deadlines because she was spending too much time “organizing.” To top it off, it wasn’t long before she burst into my workspace to ask this absolutely life or death question: “Mom, can I have more push-pins?”

Suffice it to say, the few remaining Post-Its were confiscated. I re-approached the drawing board, and designed a series of organizational headers and task cards for her use instead. I intentionally left a couple of blank cards in the design so she can cut out the squares and improvise as needed — ideas of projects to work on independently, plans for world domination, etc. The board looks a lot more organized, and she still has space to color and customize cards that get placed on the board.

Category headings by Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved.
PDF available for personal and educational use at no cost.
Task card samples by Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved.
PDF available for personal and educational use at no cost.

I am sharing the file for those who’d like to print it out here. It’s free for personal and educational use. If you find this kind of resource useful, you can contribute to studio expenses/ buy me a coffee here. You can also comment below with suggestions for additional cards/ themes. I’d be happy to post additional versions in the future. Please share this blog post with friends who might need it. And if you haven’t yet, please like and follow No, Mine! Studios on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

Cheers!

Suzanne

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