Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting Ready For School To Start

School starts around here after Labor Day, so that means it's time for me to start organizing. As a teacher, I know first hand that there is a direct relationship between how organized a child is and how well they do in school. Every day I see kids who are rushing in with no backpack, folder, or snack. Then I see the kids who are prepared, calm, and organized. I know which kid I'd rather be. (And which kid's mom I'd rather be.) Don't get me wrong, we have chaotic mornings around here too, but there are a few things I like to have in place to help fight off the craziness.

The Homework Station and Art Cubby
This week I reorganized our art area. My kids like to do their homework at the kitchen table. Our art cubby is on the backside of the kitchen cupboards so it's the perfect place to store everything they need for special projects, writing assignments, and book reports.

If you haven't noticed, there are a few school supply sales out there right now. NOW is the BEST time to stock up on school supplies for your home as well as school. I always restock my kids' home art supplies in the fall, but I also buy enough so that when the markers dry up in February, they are ready to go. Guess what, if you buy them in February they will cost 3 times as much.

I need to say one more thing about homework. The kids in my school, as well as my own kids, have a folder that they bring home every day. THAT FOLDER NEEDS TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY! It's really important and drives teachers CRAZY when kids don't have their folder. So, have kids put their folders in their backpacks as soon as they are done. Nothing screams, "My parents and I are so disorganized!" like a kid who never shows up to school prepared. (Stepping off my soapbox now.)

Entry Way Organization
That brings me to entryway organization. This week I also made sure the coats, bags, backpacks, and shoes were ready to go. I put away the swim bags that used to hang here. Sadly, they don't need to be ready to go anymore. This is the room the backpacks are hung in. Let me tell you, my daughter's folder is already in her backpack, ready to go. Yep, it's that important!

Library Books
The coat room is also the place for library books. The brown bag is filled with books ready to go back to the public library. The white bin stays there. It's for library books we are still reading or haven't started reading yet. Let me just tell you how devastating it is for a five year old when all of their classmates get to check out library books, but they can't because they couldn't find their book before school. Keeping the books in one central place helps kids have less chaos as they are heading out the door for school.


Reference Papers
Teachers send home lots of papers. With two kids in school now, I know I'll have lots to keep track of. I bought one of those magnetic, stick to the fridge, file holders at Staples. Then I bought five folders and labeled them. I have one for each kid, one for me, one for my hubby, and one that just says Home. That way when I need to know what time my son has football on a particular day, I know the schedule is right there. I also keep classlists, teacher contact info, PE days, and all that good stuff in there.


Home Management Binder
That brings me to my favorite part of my back to school organizing week.

My home management notebook has so many wonderful forms and checklists in it. I have dividers for menus, shopping lists, chores, emergency contacts, babysitter information, family birthdays, and much more.

I think I'm well on my way to an organized start to the school year. Then the Holidays will get here and everything will be thrown into a tailspin. Oh well, at least in September and October we'll be organized. I even organized my junk drawers earlier this week.

What is your best back to school organization tip? Leave your best ideas in the comment section. We can all use all the help we can get!

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