The summer has come and gone… and we find ourselves back into the swing of life with new school schedules, fewer sunny days and the holidays looming ahead. As we contemplate the speed at which our summer has disappeared, perhaps we can take a minute to breathe and set some goals for the new school year.
Here are some ideas that can help you have a more organized and stress-free school year:
Are your school supplies scattered throughout the house? Gather your school supplies into one location and create a homework station. For younger children, this station might consist of paper, pens, markers, crayons, rulers, scissors, tape and glue. For older kids, this station may include a computer, iPad, printer and power cords. Having these necessary items in one place makes homework time more effective and productive.
Are you ready for the onslaught of art projects and homework papers? Set up a mini intake center for all of the stuff that will appear in your kid’s backpacks. For the art and homework papers, do a quick sort (keep or not keep). Mark the keepers with the child’s name, date, age and grade. Place the keepers in one place – a file, box or drawer – one per child. At the end of the school year, ideally during the summer, have an organizing session with each of your children. Each child can pick 10 special items (homework or artwork) from among their keepers. Mom or dad can choose 10 items. These 20 items will represent your child’s work for the year. Place these items in a binder, file, or better yet, scan and make a digital book – “Kenna’s 1st Grade Year.”
Living in Houston, we live in the shadow of NASA and we are often reminded of their “Command and Control Center.” The Command and Control Center is the place where information is gathered and disseminated, where direction is given and received. We could all benefit from having a “Home Command and Control Center.” This control center is the place where we find calendars, backpacks, dance bags, lunch boxes, sports equipment, umbrellas and other necessary items. The core item is, of course, the calendar. For our visual learners, paper calendars are ideal for representing our daily schedules and appointments. By color-coding – each family member gets one color – it is easier to keep the schedule organized. White board calendars also work well and better accommodate changes to the schedule. Whichever you choose, meet weekly to map out the family calendar. From this control center, we can march into our daily lives with all of the items we need for success.