Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home Living: Keeping the School Year on the Right Track

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home Living: Keeping the School Year on the Right Track

Article excerpt

With the school year underway, I find myself swimming in piles of homework papers, forms, and reminder notices, tripping over kicked- off shoes, and bending over every few feet to pick up discarded jackets. It also seems that life has gone from zero to 60 overnight, and keeping track of who has to be driven where at what time is suddenly a full-time job. If the school year rush has you pulling your hair out, here are a few suggestions for helping your family stay organized while keeping your sanity.

Taming the paper trail

Stick to the "only touch a piece of paper once" principle when it comes to permission slips, homework folders, lunch forms, and the like. Check backpacks each evening, and take care of any necessary paperwork before returning it to school with your children the next day. Save sentimental or exceptional homework papers and recycle the rest.

For papers that you will need in the short-term, such as reminders to bring snacks for the classroom party, have a magnet or bulletin board in a visible location where you can pin them. For items you need to save, buy an over-the-door pocket organizer from a school supply specialty store for around $15, and hang it in an easily accessible spot. Create and label folders for each of your family members where you can store spelling lists, report cards, athletic schedules, unpaid bills, and coupons.

Create a family calendar

There are many options on the market for large, reusable calendars. Whether you choose a wipe erase variety or get creative with chalkboard paint on the wall, having a central location for the activities and obligations of each family member is essential to getting everyone where they need to be on time.

Assign everyone a different colored marker or chalk, and write appointments, practices, fundraisers, and meetings on the calendar each month. At the end of the month, have a family calendar night where everyone comes together to create the calendar for the next month.

Avoid the morning rush

Have kids pick out outfits for the next day to avoid "what to wear" struggles in the morning. …

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