It’s at that point in August where the nights are getting cooler, and the school letters are rolling in. I’m trying to stay in denial, but the fact is…. the new school year is on the horizon!
After a free-wheeling, no-schedule summer, getting back into the school routine can be painful. It’s an adjustment for both me and the kids to get back into the swing of things, but here are a few ways that I help the kids (and myself) settle back into a new school year.
1. Keep Supplies Secured
Even though kids head off to school with a truckload of supplies, that stuff remains in school. In the past, I’ve wasted too much time trying to scrounge up a sharpened pencil, or to figure out where a child left the only pair of scissors.
Solution: individual supply boxes.
Since I have NO use for fancy silverware (hah!), I converted my china closet’s silverware drawers into makeshift supply holders, with one section assigned to each child, like so:
Each basket contains the basics: pens, pencils, scissors, sharpener, crayons, etc. (and yes, they’re color-coordinated, because it satisfies my latent OCD tendencies like no other!). This works well because each child is responsible for not only using their own supplies, but putting them back in their place.
The best part? It’s cheap. Almost every item in the picture above can be purchased at stores like Dollar Tree.
As far as group supplies like glue, stapler, tape: I’ve reserved another cabinet for those items, because a)- we end up needing them when we least expect them, & b)- no one wants a toddler having access to GLUE. TRUST ME.
2. Contain Class Lists
The beginning of the school year results in a massive influx of class information, especially if you have more than one child. I’ve mentioned this organizational method in a previous post, but it’s worked wonders: the household binder.
My binder has a section devoted to each child, & this is where I stow items like class phone lists, sports schedules, etc. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve needed to “phone a friend” for missing homework info, & having class lists accessible makes a huge difference.
3. Sign & Stow
Speaking of paperwork: you know how kids come home from school those first few days with a mountain of slips to fill out, sign, & return? Ever forget one of those?? The way that I keep track of papers that need to return to school is by filing bin. Each of the six kids has their own separate slot (granted, #6 won’t be using his just yet…), & when they get home, they put their school folder/papers into their slot.
I go through each slot, sign anything relevant, & put the signed sheets back into each slot. Then I remind the kids in the morning to grab their papers from their bin.
(The bins are hung just beneath my “master command center”, in my kitchen. This area includes my family calendar, dry erase board, etc. I’ve blurred the pic to conceal personal family details, but here’s a glimpse)
4. Skip The Shoe Search:
If your house is anything like mine, you’ve had those times when you’re almost out the door, only to utter the dreaded words, “Where is your SHOE?!”. And if your kids are anything like mine, they don’t know.
This was a frequent problem on school mornings, until I placed a shoe rack right by our front door. The kids keep the bulk of their shoes in their own closets, but the pair that they plan to wear the next morning is placed on the rack the night before.
Same with sports gear: cleats and shin guards are stowed under the shoe rack (dirty).
5. Backpacks On The Rack
To minimize the morning scramble, I installed a series of hooks, also by our front door. We put in 8 hooks (one for each family member), & each child hangs his or her backpack and coat on a designated hook. Like shoes, we used to have an issue with “lost” coats just as we were leaving the house.
These methods have really helped to reduce the shock factor of settling into a new school year. Not that I’ve mastered the art of showing up on time, however… that’s still a work in progress…Six Pack Mom