Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Staying Organized with School!

I know many of my friends have already hit the pavement running their kids back to school but we do not go back till after labor day. Even though I am basking in the last days of summer at the beach, I did want to share some strategies that work in our household to keep the school papers, schedules and items under control. I guess the first thing I will say is we have a launch pad at out front door with hooks for every backpack. We will be homeschooling this year for the twins but we have always expected our kids to immediately unpack their bags. So many parents tell me their kids will not do this......Ummmm......yes, they will. They do it everyday at school folks.  Kids are sneaky and tend to think you are not very wise at times. They like for you to believe that they just drop them randomly on the classroom floor but  they have a certain spot they must put them, just ask them about it. Teach them the routine and have consequences ready for when they do not. Stick to your guns about this. (Every teacher will confirm this and has totally got your back on this one).
Some people store them in baskets or a shelf beside the door, I have hung them on the back on dining room chairs due to lack of a foyer before. I suggest you find whatever works for you and your house but every backpack needs a home. Trust me, your mornings will go so much smoother. You will love your life after implementing this strategy.
Once our children unpack their bags they must put everything that I need to sign or
read in my mailbox. I managed to pick these up at Family Dollar a couple of years ago for $3 ea and gave them each a coat of black spray paint so that they match my decor. ( I know they need to be repainted, it was on the to-do list this summer, hmmm....not sure what happened)
Before I had these , I stacked 5 letter trays on the breakfast counter. Whatever you decide to do, the goal should be to create  a mailbox for each family member. Once they put things in my mailbox , I read and sign at my convenience (usually after they are in bed).
The rule is it will be waiting in their box to pack up in the morning. I do not sign things thrown at me in the morning. Oh.... Too bad, too sad is all I can say about that. I know it sounds harsh but my job is to teach them responsibility. Very seldom will a teacher or an employer forgive procrastination or disorganization from your child. Your child will never admit it but they would rather learn this lesson from you than another adult.
Ok I am starting to preach, time to move on........
The maiboxes hold 4 different colors of  pocket folders. Each folder contains info that we must keep for reference or projects. This works really well especially if you seem to constantly misplace things your child brings home. For example we have folders for school, sports, goals&projects, and extacurricular activities. If they bring home info about an upcoming field trip, we put that info in the school folder. Lets say they have a game schedule & a snack roster for soccer, we put that in the sports folder. The goals and projects work well for items concerning long term projects or goals that your child needs to work with over a period of time. The other thing that I do is to transpose info into my calendar colorcoded for each child as items come in such as dates and times for certain events. The hard copy is always stored in their mailboxes so all parties involved can retrieve the info as needed.
The last thing I will talk about today will be the Homework Baskets we created for each child. Our children do not do homework in their rooms. Well I take that back, my eldest son just started last year doing homework in his room at his desk. He is 14 and very organized with his homework (Of course I am sure it has everything to do with all the systems  and organization I taught him along the way *LOL*) The reason we created Homework Baskets was very simple. When they sat down to do their homework, it always seemed I was asked the same thing. I need a pencil.... where is some graph we have a sharpener... I need a stapler....can I use your scissors. Ok I believe you have got the idea. Seriously, you would have thought they were nowhere with me when we bought supplies during the tax free weekend! Well, each child got a basket with the following in it: Pencils, pens, sharpener, scissors, glue sticks, markers, crayons, graph paper, bookmarks, tags, hi-liters, clips, calculator, ruler,colored pencils, index cards, erasers, a dictionary  and notebook paper. They also have a 3 ring binder which usually contains relevant information to their grade level studies such as mathematical charts, spelling rules, maps,etc. The only thing we do now is restock it every sunday night from the supply closet.
 I have found this helps with homework a great bit. If you have more than one child doing homework, make your children some study corrals. These are very easy to do. I used science fair project boards cut in half, then spraypainted and trimmed out with duct tape. We have found them essential  for our boys. It puts the focus where it needs to be.
My desire is that these tips will help you and your child have a great year......of course now I need to still figure out how to organize some homeschool items since this is all new to me. Just when I had my systems down so well, now I must go and change them to fit this new adventure in our lives. Have fun organizing!

I will be linking to:
Someday Crafts - Whatever goes Wednsedays
733 A Creative Blog - Sugar and Spice Weekly Party

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