Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to School!

Whether you have a pre schooler or High School student, attend Public, Private or Home school...the back to school season is upon us. My children headed back for their first days earlier this week:

I have two NEW Freshman in High School and a new 5th and 1st graders. I think (most of us) were ready to get back to school! With busy home and activity schedules, plus myself back to work in our home. I wanted to make sure we really were ready to get back into this season.

I began probably well over a month before school began and hit Target to start the back to school shopping, new pencils, glue sticks, markers, gym shoes, etc...As well I began some in home organizing and going through current supplies and items that are used for school and studying.

I began with organizing the shared computer/work space for the children.  We have one main computer, desk and a storage unit to keep items organized.

I went through the clutter and tossed broken pens, pencils, garbage, old papers, etc and made sure we began neat and tidy! I'm not in the idea it will stay this neat all year, but starting out well organized gives you a great head start!

I had fun making new labels for everything, which has always been a plan and let's face it how many times can you answer:

"Mom, where is notebook paper?" or "Mom I need another pen..."

The cube unit above contains most of the usual needs: loose leaf paper, notebooks, file holders to store papers, resource materials, etc. As well I have a cloth bin full of markers, crayons, and colored pencils, plus a bin full of quiet/busy activities for my youngest who doesn't have as much homework as the older children. This helps her stay busy and feel important too.

In our stairwell I having hanging cloth baskets that store various extra items the children may need as replacement through the year.

We can't expect FOUR children to share a single workspace so at the beginning of the year we pre select homework stations for each child, one likes her room, another in the dining room, etc. I have little cups and bins (sorry no picture) that have basic supplies like pencils, erasers, crayons, in it for them to grab and take to their study space.

Once I get a feel for what work they will be having on a regular basis I write out "Are you Homework Ready?" chart/list. An example is

  1. Have sharpened pencil and eraser
  2. all papers out
  3. books and materials
  4. look over assignment notebook and individual assignments
  5. if listening to music, do you have your homework playlist ready?
  6. Do I understand my assignment?
  7. When is it due?
  8. when complete where does it go? in a specific folder or binder?
  9. if working on computer have I saved my Work?
  10. remember to ASK for Help and stay on TASK
A few other organizational items that can trip up your kids can be, well just getting moving...I have found visual reminders work for my kids.

I have created my own sheets and used various ones I have found online. Simple pictures and check off charts really can help and keeps you (Mom or Dad) from needing to keep rattling off the " get ready list"

Packing Lunches can be a dreadful and tedious task...but with some simple guides, it can be doable. I am of the mindset to let your kids do the packing but with example. I printed a neat Step by Step chart to help them out and put it on the fridge:

I also cleared an area and labeled it specifically for the lunch boxes/bags. The kids with help as needed prep their lunches the afternoon/night before.

The last minute shoes, coats, backpacks seems to take the longest.  I seem to hear almost every morning

" where's my backpack?"
"where are my shoes?"
To help un-complicate this task, I have designated a shoe spot for each of my four children and of course added a cute label:

Not pictured are the new designated bag hooks. During the school week they have hooks easily accessible outside the main hall closet, then they can store the school bags out of site as needed in the closet on the weekends or breaks. My son likes to keep his in the closet though at all times.

The hooks are under their school pictures in the main hallway! (I'm planning on making new crafty hooks which I will share another time)


The last fun label to share is my "Spoon full of Sugar..." medicine Reminder. The oldest children each take a few different daily med's that are kept in the kitchen and I just couldn't resist the Mary Poppins reference!

Happy organizing and crafting, thanks for reading, Julie


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