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It’s at that point in August where the school letters are rolling in, & summer is fading fast. I’m trying to stay in denial, but the fact is…. the new school year is on the horizon!

After a free-wheeling, no-schedule summer, getting back into the school routine can be painful, to say the least. It’s an adjustment for both me and the kids to get back into the swing of things, but here are a few ways that I help everyone settle successfully into a new school year.

1. Keep Supplies Secured

Even though kids head off to school with a truckload of new school supplies, they still need basic materials to work with at home. In the past, I’ve wasted too much time trying to scrounge up a sharpened pencil, or to figure out where a child left the only pair of scissors.

Solution: individual supply boxes.

Since I have NO use for fancy silverware (hah!), I converted my china closet’s silverware drawers into makeshift supply holders, with one section assigned to each child, like so:

Each basket contains the basics: pens, pencils, scissors, sharpener, crayons, etc. (and yes, they’re color-coordinated, because it satisfies my former teacher tendencies like no other!  This works well because each child is responsible for not only using their own supplies, but putting them back in their place.

The best part? It’s cheap. Almost every item pictured above can be purchased at stores like Dollar Tree.

As far as group supplies like glue, stapler, tape: I’ve reserved another cabinet for those items, because a)- we end up needing them when we least expect them, & b)- no one wants a toddler having access to GLUE. Trust me…

2. Contain Class Lists

The beginning of the school year generates a massive influx of class information, especially if you have more than one child. My method of tackling relevant school correspondence: the household binder.

My binder has a separate labeled section that is devoted to each child, & this is where I file items like class phone lists, sports schedules, etc. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve needed to “phone a friend” for missing homework info, & having class lists readily accessible makes a huge difference.

3. Sign ‘Em & Stow ‘Em

Speaking of paperwork: you know how kids come home from school those first few days with a mountain of slips to fill out, sign, & return? Ever forget one of those?? I ensure that these papers actually make it back to school through the use of hanging file bins. Each of my six kids has their own separate slot, & when they first get home from school, they put their school folder/papers into their designated slot.

In the evening, I review the papers in each slot, sign anything relevant, & put the signed sheets back into each slot. I remind the kids in the morning to grab their papers from their bin. This saves on those infamous unexpected permission slip drop-offs that we’ve all experienced.

The bins are hung just beneath my “master command center”, in my kitchen. This area also contains a dry erase board for various lists, a bulletin board for pinning invitations & notices, and a color-coded calendar that tracks each family member’s weekly activities.

4. Skip The Shoe Search:

If your house is anything like mine, you’ve had those times when you’re almost out the door, only to utter the dreaded words, “Where is your SHOE?!”.  And if your kids are anything like mine, they don’t know.

This was a frequent problem on school mornings, until I placed a shoe rack right by our front door. The kids keep the bulk of their shoes in their own closets, but the pair that they plan to wear the next morning is placed on the rack the night before.

Same with sports gear: anything caked with dirt, i.e. cleats and shin guards, are stowed under the shoe rack.

5. Backpacks On The Rack

To minimize the morning scramble, I installed a series of hooks, also by our front door. We put in 8 hooks (one for each family member), & each child hangs his or her backpack and coat on a designated hook. Like shoes, we used to have an issue with “lost” coats just as we were leaving the house.

These methods have really helped to reduce the shock factor of settling into a new school year. Not that I’ve mastered the art of showing up ON TIME, however… that’s still a work in progress…

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