This is the 14th year I have had children going to school and the first one that my oldest did not head back with the rest. (He is heading to the Air Force.)
While it is weird for me to have one all done with back to school, one thing that is not changing is the list of my top 3 back-to-school organization tools. Each of these is tried and true; used each year without fail to get our (now 3) kids through another year of school and activities. And they don’t cost very much money at all!
This is one of the longest running organizational tools in our house. A family binder is a great way to keep track of those papers that you may need to refer to from time to time, but don’t want stuck all over your refrigerator.
Just like brushing and flossing your teeth before bed is a routine, you can build routines that keep you organized. In our house, that means that as soon as the kids come home we go through backpacks together. Water bottles are refilled and put into the fridge, snacks packed for the next day and anything they might need is also packed (like a permission slip or library book). If cold lunch is being taken the next day, the lunch bag is placed on the island so we don’t forget to pack it in the morning. The backpacks are hung back up in our mudroom and THEN they can have a snack and play.
Papers that need Mom’s attention go on my desk and I deal with those either that evening or the next morning. Once I put info into our calendar or fill out the form, I put it in the family binder or a folder in each backpack to return to the teacher the next day. These school routines are an important part of our day.
Our school district website contains tons of information. Our 11th grader has her entire swim schedule online and after I have entered the whole season into our calendar, I just check it each week to update any changes. We can also see all assignments and grades for the high school and middle school students, so we can coach them on how to use that to staying current with each class.
We also rely on our iCal apps on our iPhones. Similar apps for non-iPhone users are Google Calendar and Cozi. The benefit of an electronic calendar is its ability to sync across multiple devices. Before my daughter commits to something, she can check the calendar on her phone to make sure it works for us as a family. Alerts can be programmed in to remind all users of events coming up. This feature alone has saved our bacon more than once. With life so busy, it can be darn near impossible to keep it all straight in your head.
Even though there are lots of other organizational ideas out there, implementing these 3 will take you a long way to feeling organized and ready to tackle the school year.