Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Homework Organizer and Other Tips to Keep you Sane!

For the first time ever I have all of my children in grade school. Once I got over the initial sting of melancholy,  I was already running to keep up with three sets of homework, three teachers' announcements, two separate elementary school drop-offs,  and a flurry of emails. On top of having to keep up with it all, I am a firm believer in volunteering in my children's classrooms. This means carving out time in my workday to be in each of the their classrooms once a month, for some grade levels, even more!

As homework assignments began to flood my virtual and "living room inbox" I began to get myself organized which is the KEY to keeping everyone sane. First things first, for only a few bucks you can buy wall hooks, multicolor maniela folders and a large dry erase wall calendar. Next, dedicate any corner of your home to hang backpacks using wall hooks and empty out backpacks. Then use the folders to have you (or your children) engage in the daily ritual of sorting paperwork. Quite easily you or child should get in the habit of ensuring whatever paperwork is homework is placed in the urgent red folder with their name written in big bold letters or announcements such as picture day order forms are placed in yellow folder (again with their name on it if you have more than one kiddo in school). You can also use a green folder to store all completed work that comes home. For even a few more bucks you can install hanging wall files (one per child)  to store folders, but that's not absolutely necessary.

Next, take time to visually map out important due dates and commitments on a dry erase calendar placed in the same homework sorting corner. How easy is it to on the spot write due dates on a calendar as you read notices? My three children have gotten to the point of having daily assignments and larger one-time due dates that are scattered through the week, which means we have to write it down for all to see or we will all it forget.

This sounds simple enough but having these simple rituals unfold in one centralized place of your home makes everything feel smoother in the mornings and organized through the week.

Other tips to staying organized?

• Create email inbox folders per child or a color coded flagging email system (you'll thank me later). Teachers are great with email these days but so are principals, classroom parents, and so on.  With so much to keep track of feel free to sort that system, too! I have so many school emails to sort every single day. I am sure you do too.

• Create a sharable calendar on google! I know you've written down due dates on your written calendar if you're folllowing along, but what about school commitments such as extra-curricular functions or meetings. To keep your household in the know set up a family calendar that's shared and make sure to set up a default reminder warning you of important commitments beforehand. Multiple children means multiple picture days, award assemblies, and so on! Don't miss an important commitment and use this system with built-in reminders to keep more than one important family member in the loop!

Share your best tips too!

Use the comment section below and let us know what's keeping you organized.

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