Back to School Organization Tips for All Ages
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Summer is flying by and believe it or not, back to school is right around the corner. Here are a few back to school tips that I hope you will find useful. One thing to keep in mind is that parents or students can buy the finest school supplies but if there isn’t a schedule or organizational habits in place, students may not succeed to the best of their ability. Start this school year off with strategies in place and keep it going throughout the year!

Create a Command Centre, as it is a one stop spot for mail, family schedules, school forms, and other important information. This box should be used as a short-term filing system. Put file folders in the box, label them accordingly, and each day when you receive an item, file it (rather than putting it in a pile somewhere and forgetting about it). Don’t let the items pile up. Go through them at least twice a week. Take out what is needed, action the items, and if needed, put them in a larger filing system, for example, a filing cabinet in your office.

command centre

Source – http://lovelycraftyhome.com/2011/01/19/new-year-new-organization/

Create a homework space that is quiet and where you will feel relaxed, but not too relaxed that you will fall asleep!
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The next few tips are for Elementary School Age Children (Young Children)

• Go through your children’s dresser drawers and closet and let go of clothes, shoes and jackets that are too small or worn. Make a list of items that are needed and donate any items that are not too worn. Shop for what is needed.

• Make sure to get the list of school supplies from your child’s school ahead of time. Go through the list and see what you already have and what you need to purchase. Go shopping early. Don’t leave it until a few days before school starts. You may not find what you are looking for, and you may be able to avoid those crazy line-ups.

• Have your children go to bed earlier at least a week before school starts so they can get used to the routine of going to bed earlier. Also, start waking your child up earlier so they can get used to the earlier morning routine.

• Do a practice run of all the things you would like them to do before they go to school. Getting dressed, making bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth etc. It will give you an idea of how long it will take your children in the morning to get ready for school.

Plan ahead lunches and snacks – Make up a schedule if you wish, make lunches ahead of time, or prepare snacks in zip lock bags. Do what works for you, but you will find it less stressful and such a time saver in the long run.

lunchbag

Enquire about school bus stops and times, immunizations, and any identification that may be required.

• Make a note to update the school with any changes of information – change of address, phone numbers, emergency contact etc.

Label – Be sure to label all your children’s belongings with their name to help prevent them from being lost – lunch bag, backpack, shoes, jacket, mitts, hats etc.

The following are tips for Middle School Age Children and Older

• Depending on the school, they may require the purchase of binders or duotangs. When purchasing binders, I recommend purchasing the 1 or 1.5 inch and one per subject, rather than the larger ones that you can put several subjects in. The larger ones get too heavy to carry. In each binder, divide into 4 sections and each section should be labeled with the following:
Notes
•Homework
•Handouts
•Tests/Quizzes

When the student is no longer working on a section of study and the test has been given, clear that section out of the binder. It will leave room for next section and won’t be too heavy to carry. If the notes are needed for final exam, put in a safe place to study later. Make sure to label the file!

• Buy a Daytimer – And I am talking about the old fashioned hard copy daytimer. Yes, you can still schedule important dates on your electronic planners if you wish, but having a day planner that you carry with you at all times is great. You can grab it and write down assignment due dates, when tests are held, and you can make a plan on what homework you will cover each day of the week. It is easy to use and it works!
dayplanner

School Supplies – I am not going to list what school supplies are needed in this blog, but will mention a few items that you should always have on hand.
Box of pencils – if they are not sharpened, sharpen ahead of time, so they are ready to go
Erasers
Box of pens
Coloured pens/markers/pencils
Highlighters
Hole punch
Hole reinforcement stickers
– Pages get lost when the holes rip. Always have these on hand
Ruler – Not just for measuring – Underline important words or heading – Looks nicer and is a memory enhancer

I have many more tips for back to school, including homework organization, how to organize school supplies, study tips and more. Feel free to contact me for a free telephone consultation, I would be more than happy to help.

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer, a member of the Professional Organizers in Canada, and the proud owner of Second Set of Hands . She helps reduce her clients stress level and gives them more free time by coaching, organizing, decluttering and helping her clients in many different ways! Need a helping hand? Contact Kathy!

Kathy Second Set of Hands

Second Set of Hands

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