It’s all in the organizing…
We just have a few more days of summer vacation. I know at this point some parents are singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Personally, I enjoy summers with my kids and always hate for them to return to school.
I also enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of summer, even though we often still have commitments to activities, we still get to be more relaxed about routines.
Nevertheless, school is about to start so I have to get back in the swing of things and since time becomes a precious commodity I have to be very careful how I spend it. I have discovered that if I use my time wisely our home runs much smoother.
First of all, plan ahead. That may sound like a no brainer, but seriously. We have a main family calendar on the wall of our kitchen, we also have a weekly schedule on our refrigerator, and John, Kat, Adri and I all have our individual planners that keep us on track.
Kat and Adri’s include their school assignments. John, of course, includes his work projects and mine also has everything that affects me directly.
For example, if John is going out of town then that is in everyone’s planner, because it affects the entire family.
However, if he just has a 9 a.m. meeting it is only in his planner. Another example is if Kat has a project due and she needs me to take it to school on a certain day, then that is in my planner as well as her own.
My junior high student has her own school planner that mostly just has school assignments.
However, I sometimes have them include things such as dad being out of town, or if she has a doctor’s appointment. It is just a good habit to get into and begins to teach them to plan and be organized.
Speaking of being organized. I am not one of those naturally organized people. I have to work very hard at it!
One of the things that drives me to distraction is the amount of papers that come home from school! I know it’s necessary, and honestly when it is just one or two the paper is not bad, but when you have three or four children it gets a little overwhelming at times. Several years ago, when I had five children in school all at one time, I decided I had to do something. I found an incredible idea on line at organized home.com called a Home Notebook.
The best thing about it was I could personalize it to exactly what I needed. Organizedhome.com also has about 40 pages that can be printed for just about everything. There are planner pages, shopping lists, menu planners, inventory lists, check lists for parties, yard sales, camping, traveling, and first aid kits just to name a few. It also has pages for a family/friends directory and restaurant directory.
I expanded on the idea and also put a divider in for each child that held important information for school and I update it each year. I include their current class schedule along with school schedule, home room teacher, supply lists, course syllabus (for older ones), Room Mother (for younger ones), and as they bring home information about field trips or important activities I add it to the notebook by using a three hole punch.
We have also discovered that since I substitute teach now, it works better if we just assume I’m going to go to work each day. Of course, that is not what happens, but if we assume it is then everything is ready to go in case I get called in. I usually get up and get ready, except for my clothes which are hanging in the closet ready to go.
That way if I am called in all I have to do is change clothes, grab my “sub” bag and walk out the door. In my “sub” bag, I keep enough money for lunch, my folder that I use to write notes to the teacher, a list of ideas for time fillers (if necessary), and a granola bar.
I have also found that by using little bits of time I accomplish more.
For example, while waiting in a doctor’s office I clip and sort coupons, make menus, update planner, write to do lists, and, if nothing else, I work on a favorite hobby like needlework.
I knew a foster mom in Kentucky that took her scrap booking every where she went. She had a light weight TV tray and small case that went everywhere she did.
For those of you who know me you know my biggest vice is TV. I love to watch TV. However, I cannot just sit still and watch. I have to be busy. So that’s when I fold my laundry, sort socks, or organize something. My Mom sent me a bunch of magazines that had recipes in them.
So my daughter, my friend, and I sat down while watching a movie and went through them and cut out the recipes we liked. Now my daughter is slowly going through them and organizing them into categories.
I hope these ideas make the start of the school year a little bit better for you to have a great week! Please share with me your favorite “Back-to-School” tip at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you have a great week!!