My husband and I have just launched School PLANit. This was not a planned venture. It all happened accidentally while we were trying to help our oldest son who was an organizational nightmare. We now want to help all the other kids who can't keep track of their stuff and all the other parents who are pulling their hair out. www.schoolplanit.com
Our oldest son was on the verge of flunking out of 8th grade, not because he didn't understand the subject matter and not because he wasn't smart. But because of lost and missing assignments. It drove me crazy. I would watch him do the homework, take it to school and then end up with a zero. This was a problem we had been dealing with for years, but by 8th grade the teachers are, understandably, less forgiving of lost assignments.
In lower grades the catchall was his desk, now it was his locker. So I went to school with a big kitchen size garbage bag to bring everything home so we could go through it together. As I walked down the hallway there was one locker that stood out. It had papers sticking out of the top, bottom and sides. I'm chanting to myself, praying to myself "please don't let that be his locker". Yep, one bag was not enough. I had to borrow another from the office.
I dragged two overflowing garbage bags of papers, coats, pens, pencils, and unidentifiable gunk through the hallway, bounced them down two flights of stairs and out to my car. Emotionally I was bouncing between annoyance to anger, then confusion to exhaustion and finally settling on determination. There had to be a way to help him keep track of his stuff.
Each of his teachers had their own way of organizing things for their class. One used a three ring binder, one used folders, one used some bizarre set of boxes. It was no wonder the kid couldn't figure out his own system. Everyone was teaching him a different way to do it, and expected him to do it their way.
I started to help him come up with his own way, something that worked for him. Then my husband made him a custom planner...and within the span of one semester he went from D's to B's. We honestly couldn't believe this simple system we came up with worked so well.
We started to get calls from school counselors and other parents asking if we'd make their child a system. Then we became overwhelmed making these 'one-off' planners and systems from stock merchandise. For the past two years we have refined the system, performed a case study at a local school, created a new custom carrying case and applied for a patent.
School PLANit is now patent pending and we've come up with an awesome system that let's each kid make modifications to fit their needs. It's flexible at every level. It will be available in the summer of 2010, just in time for next school year.