As the papers start rolling in, I keep all important school documents in this hanging file such as progress reports, report cards, national test scores, the school’s parent handbook, etc. Anything of importance related to my child’s school goes in that folder for safe keeping.
At the end of the year, I go through the file and toss any paperwork that is no longer needed or outdated. I then place the report cards, national test scores, awards, and certificates in their individual scrapbooks.
Create a Dumping Place for Their Paperwork: For everyday paperwork that I need to see or sign, I have a flat basket on my kitchen counter. My kids know to put anything that needs a signature or review in that basket. At the end of the night after everyone's in bed, I’ll review and sign anything in the basket.
This way I don't have school papers floating all over my counter tops or jumbled with my other paperwork.
No Last Minute Surprises: My kids know I don’t like last minute surprises, which invariably happen. For instance, on the way out the door to school, my daughter will say, “Could you sign this right now? It’s important and I need to turn it in today!” My answer is always, “No, no last minute surprises, put it in the basket for me to look at.” This is usually met with crying, and may seem harsh on my part. But, life is so fast and in order to know what’s going on with our kid’s school, we need to take the time to organize ourselves and review their paper work.
Backpack Dump: Every kid is different and if I notice that after a while, I’m not getting notes from the teacher, grades are falling, or there are a lot of last minute requests to sign something, we’ll do what I call the backpack dump.
This is pretty basic stuff and if you keep the three principles or organizing in mind (declutter, categorize, and create a place for everything that's left), it will go quick.
Before I do the backpack dump I always say a prayer for patience and get started. My child and I go through their backpack and dump it all out on the floor. We go through every binder, folder, pencil case, and books. Take the books out and open them. Then turn them upside down and shake to see if papers are hidden in there.
Ask questions about everything from pencils to papers. I ask questions about every piece of paper helping them work through what should be kept and what can be tossed.
My daughter didn't want to throw anything out and used her teacher as an excuse. She said her teacher said to save this paper or that paper. I had her file these papers under "teacher told me to keep" on the left side of her binder. She could then ask her teacher if she needed to keep them for anything.
Lo and behold, her teacher said she could throw out those papers that were sitting there for months.
After you've determined what needs to stay, then put everything into categories, and ask your child what really needs to go into that backpack. If they have a locker then tell them to give their back a break and store heavy things like books in there.
So, somewhere between the empty Skittles bags and crumpled up papers, they become liberated and are happy to have the weight of a messy, unorganized backpack off their shoulders.
Planner: At the beginning of the school year when we’re buying school supplies, I include a daily planner for each kid. They keep sports practices and games, school tests, and assignment due dates written in the planner. This way there is no excuse for late homework or “I forgot about the test today” excuses.
Family Calendar: I keep a big white board family calendar in the laundry room that keeps everyone up to date. It is up to my kids to put all test dates on the calendar for me to keep up on. I can quickly glance at the calendar on the way out the door and ask them how they did on a test that day or remind them to study for an upcoming test.
These are some quick and easy school work help tips that I use to keep all my kid’s school work organized and up to date. They not only help me, but are teaching my kids the valuable life skill of being organized.
As my kids get older school work help grows with them making them more self sufficient, which frees my time! These school work help tips have worked wonders to keep me sane and organized in an otherwise insane and unorganized world and I know they will work wonders for you too.
As a parting note, yes, my kids have gotten a lot better about keeping themselves organized. But, every kid is different and some just need more reminders than others. So, keep the faith, keep at it, and keep reminding them, I do...
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