by Nicole Loughan
I learned this summer that my family is now completely dependent on school for structure. I started the summer with scheduled enrichments, summer camps, vacations and bible school. But all of that has wrapped up, and I have had weeks of unscheduled nothing. It was relaxing and amazing, for about two days. We have all begun to get a bit twitchy. Now it’s time to get back to business.
Depending on where you are you may be back to school already, but if you are in my area, you have a few weeks left to go. With a four-year-old and six-year-old things are getting serious. Forms to fill out, bulky supply lists to fulfill (don’t get my started on the amount of pencils required) and back to school activities to attend.
Read on to see what we are doing to get ready for another year of school.
Get up early – I learned my lesson last year. Start the routine of waking up early ASAP and for the first few weeks carry it through the weekends. For us this means waking up when we would have to for school, eating breakfast early and getting dressed. If we are especially motivated, we will even make the beds. The day before school, we walk out to the bus stop at the allotted time and make sure we have timed everything properly.
Get organized – I talked to a professional organizer and author of the book Real Value, John Odalen, about getting ready for school. His strongest piece of advice was to set up designated areas around the house for everything that comes home. I live in a townhouse, a little short on closets and spare room. So we had to get creative and make the most of our space by buying $50 to $100 Rubbermaid closet organizers. We are also installing low hanging coat hooks near the door which are in a good position for the kids to reach. It’s my hope that if bags and coats are there after school, it will be easy to find them in the morning. But, you will probably read about my frustrations with lost things and my near constant Lego induced foot injuries in about six months, but I digress. In short, I plan to start the year with shiny new organizational items, even if it all falls by the wayside mid-year.
Merge schedules – I used to keep a separate work calendar and home calendar, but I would constantly forget one thing or another under that system. I would think I had a morning off, go to Zumba only to find when I got back to my phone that I had missed an appointment. Now we keep a calendar in the kitchen, with both schedules, even my husband’s work schedule. I know you are wondering why not my I-Phone? I do use that, too, but transfer all data to the main kitchen calendar as technological glitches and lost phones have made a fool of me before. It is imperative that you get a calendar you like looking at. Last year my husband bought what he thought was a funny calendar that I hated. It had pictures of babies saying crass things. For example, one of the babies had a dirty face and over the picture it said, “It’s not chocolate.” I hated that calendar so much I would make sure there were always flyers and invitations taped over it. This year he bought me a Longwood Gardens calendar with different floral scenes each month, I smile every time I look at it.
Buy supplies now – If you haven’t already done so, go get the supplies on your school list now. Last year I waited until just a few days before school, and it was like a sea of vultures picking over bones to find what I needed. The list would say get a yellow folder and there would be green, blue and orange with polka dots but not a yellow folder to be found. I contemplated coloring my own white folder yellow, but then I found a back to school display and hit the jackpot. You can easily walk into any store and see what was on the school supply list in that area by which shelves are empty at the start of September
That’s how we are getting ready to make a come-back. Share your tips for getting ready for a new school year.