I invited my friend Anna to tell us how she keeps her family organized for success in the school year since the first day of school is right around the corner. I was inspired to set summer goals after reading her last post on Summer Fun and am equally impressed by how she keeps her household organized during school. I hope you enjoy the post and find some ideas to keep your family organized this year! – Jessica Johnson
Anna Macfarlane is a mother of four, freelance writer, and has written on her personal blog, ahhnna.com, since way back in January 2008.
It’s time to go back to school! (cue: kids moaning and pouting)
To make this year a success and a smooth transition, I will continue to employ my super secret school tricks. Well, not so super secret, I guess, since I am sharing them with you today. Alas!
My trick is having stations. We don’t call them “stations” because that sounds too militant for two of my kids. Except that they are stations and they don’t even realize it (evil cackle!).
Every Sunday night we pull together five outfits with socks and underwear—the whole shebang—and lay them out on their beds. Each child has a hanging clothing organizer in their closet where we the put all of the outfits. I know some people who use this method and have days assigned to each outfit. We just have five choices for the week and—barring any freak weather change—they know that these are their only choices.
I learned this one a few years ago from a blogging friend Karina. In the pantry and in the fridge, we have lunch bins. I do my best to prefill these bins with snacks, treats, and veggies that are appropriate sizes and that fit their healthy diets. The night before school, each kid takes their bento box and fills it with one item from each bin. We all make sandwiches together and then store their lunches in the fridge until morning.
Too many mornings have been spent trying to find homework, books, and even backpacks. Last year, I declared with fist held high that we would be victorious over this asinine war. I set up a coat rack specifically for their backpacks. Is it pretty? Only on the first day of school when all of the backpacks are shiny and new. Have you seen backpacks after a year of school? Yikes!
But, it works. After homework is done, all of the papers and books must be in the backpack and placed on their hook. Each child must check that it is in place before bed.
Speaking of Homework…
Yes, we also have a homework station. More like a homework drawer and basket where all of the pencils, rulers, pens, markers, extra sheets of paper, calculators, sharpeners, etcetera are stored. Homework organization is more about a place, though, and also about a time.
I have experimented with times that homework must be done. One year it was right after school that all homework must be immediately finished. Except in my neighborhood, all of the kids play right after school and my kids were missing out on playing. By the time they were done with homework, everyone else was inside doing their homework and getting ready for dinner. Last year, we tried the playing after school and then homework at 5, dinner at 6. Other than a handful of times, it worked really well for us. The kids had a well-deserved break from schoolwork, were more active, and grew some great friendships.
The best part about organizing kids for school is that adapting to your own kids’ needs is much easier when there is a system in place.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Are you ready? Have your kids started school already? What systems or stations do you employ that work to keep your family organized for school?