Where did the summer go? It was a blink of an eye if you ask me. Our summer was good – but not how I thought it would be…. I think the number one reason was the weather – it was colder and rainier than normal. Which lead to less time at the lake as well as pool and boat time – nonetheless it was a great summer and our greater family expanded with the addition of my nephew!
So, it is back to school time – which means getting the kids ready and organized for the year. As we enter a new stage in our family having kids now in High school (OMG) and a 2nd year middle schooler (OMG) you go about organizing your approach differently.
For me there is still a tremendous amount of paper that comes home and I find that school still uses word of mouth a lot for communication – I wish in today’s age they would text and email more – but I think that will change.
First off, we invest in really good backpacks – kids these days have to carry around so much stuff with them for their classes it is sometimes hard to go to the locker each time – so for Peter we bought Adidus. We have used Swiss Army in the past and really liked that one as well, but they are rather expensive. Emma is into Vera Bradley – though expensive as well I really like all the pockets that they offer and the cushion that it offers your back – I use their laptop case too – even though it is a bit flowery for Wall Street, when I have my meetings it is functional. What was even cooler was this backpack was 30% off when we bought it – score!
Next at home we use a couple of different workstations for the kids. Mostly the kids use the kitchen table for their homework – I am very lucky I have the kids trained that once they are home they have to do homework before anything else… When they get home I have already checked the school’s web site – which is awesome because it lists their homework assignments for the night. We find this very helpful when you forget your agenda or don’t understand a certain homework item, I make sure I have plenty of pencils and pens in the kitchen – plus I use a basket stacker that has extra supplies like glue, etc.… so that I can grab items quick for any projects that they have. What I have noticed now they are in higher grades there are more projects that require expensive items.
As you know there is a tremendous amount of paper that comes home and it is so hard to manage it all – I have created an inbox for all paper from backpacks – then I sort it and have three folders in my kitchen area – one for each child as well as one for “to be filed.” These folders are great for keeping reference materials for a project or a play they are working on – you know where it is and you can just grab it.
I also have 2 bulletin boards in the house that we leverage – one in the kitchen for party invites and letters and one in our mudroom that has the kids class schedules and sports calendar information.
We use a central calendar also in the mudroom that I highlight mostly their sport schedule. But, since we are a techie family I also use outlook to organize all other events like sport practices and games, Dr appts and tests for the kids and when projects are due.
My husband and I send invites to each other so we both have all this information on hand so we are both on the same page…This year we are going to hook up the kids to the calendar as well. Especially for my oldest who is entering High school it is going to be important for him to start managing dates.
I also get their schedules laminated – one for their locker and one for their backpack – that way it can’t get ruined and they have a reference to know where they need to go…
I make sure the house is stacked with extra supplies – paper, extra folders, 3X5 cards and thumb drives for transporting assignments back and forth to school as well as a station for their chargers so that their phones and ipads are always charged.
We try to load backpacks the night before – making sure all homework and papers that need to go back to school the following day are ready – also packing up equipment for sports as well. I try to prep lunches too so there are less things to do in the morning.
Now that they are older I also have a two organizers for them on the back of our basement door for deodorant and other hygiene items in case they forget that we can just grab as we are out the door. In this stage there are not morning folks at all – there is usually a lot of “Mom!”…or rolling of the eyes so any time-saver I can provide is very helpful!
So my advise to make it through these years – it have as much on hand as possible – there is very little time – try to think ahead, and be able to have items accessible and easy to grab and go!
Here is to a very exciting new school year! How do your keep your teenagers organized?