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Organizing Tricks for the New School Year

Posted By Jessica Fisher On August 15, 2014 @ 5:36 pm In BTS Inspiration,Home Management,Homekeeping,Homeschooling,Learning,Public Schooling,Time Management | 13 Comments

With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let’s get set up for success!

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

I am not a schedule-y type person. I’ve been more of a go-with-the-flow type person; despite all my lists and organizing things, it’s true. Being organized actually helps me be a little more go-with-the-flow. If I’ve done the important, time-sensitive things, then I can enjoy whatever happens in the moment without worrying that the world will stop spinning, or whatever anxiety I can dream up in that moment.

This year, my 13th in formal homeschooling, is one that sees me more organized than I have ever been. I’ve surprised even myself. See that paper above. I finally figured out why we have paper all over the place and I’m going to do something about it. Or die trying.

I have six weeks of lesson plans (times six kids) written. I have almost all worksheets and tests for those six weeks printed out. I have not deluded myself into thinking that I will actually follow all those plans to the letter, but at least I’ve got a fighting chance.

To be honest, the last few years my go-with-the-flow-ness has caused my kids to wait for me to write their to-do lists or print that science test, wasting precious school time and disrespecting them and their willingness to do their part. I’m hoping to turn over a new leaf in that department. I’m going to do more than just write it down. I’m going to set us up for success — in all areas, if possible.

Here’s how I am trying to be better organized for the new year:

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

Create a master calendar.

I love google calendar. I am able to coordinate our family events, my work obligations, and personal appointments and sync it between my phone, ipad, and computer. I’m also able to sync events with my husband and older kids and with my assistant, making sure that everyone knows what’s what.

I also printed out the calendar pages from Organizing Life as MOM [4] to keep in our homeschool binder so that everyone has access to pertinent information.

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

Create a time budget or schedule.

Past experience has shown me that I have to budget my time as well as my money. If I don’t give every minute or hour a name or a purpose, I won’t get done the things that I need to go. Like I said, I’m trying to make peace with this busy season and can’t wait for January when things start to slow down a bit.

I’ve got my weekly calendar set up (I use this planning grid [5]) so that I can keep some rhythm and equilibrium in my days. I’m not filling up every minute with something to do. Rather I’m trying to draw boundaries for the things that I need to do and not let them creep in on down time or family time.

For instance I’m hoping to reclaim bedtimes in the new school year. I want the after dinner hours NOT to be about computer time, but about stories and games, family nights and decent hour bedtimes. We’ll see how it goes, but there’s no way it can’t happen if I don’t try.

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

Get the meal plans and grocery lists going.

Since the days will be pretty full, I need my kids to be able to feed themselves and/or have many meals already prepped. I’m building breakfast and lunch meal plans — watch for them! — with ready-to-go grocery lists so that I can just print them off and let my husband do the shopping for me.

Check out these grab and go dinner plans [6] that come with the pre-prepped grocery lists.

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

Plan for school lunches.

Even though we homeschool, I plan to pack lunches the night before [7] — or have kids do it, so that each can just grab his lunch when he’s ready for a break. My day will be pretty full with teaching the kids, so I don’t really have the time to stop and make meals. If we’ve got an abundance of leftovers at dinner, my plan is to package it in individual servings so each kid can reheat as needed. In the end I think we’ll even save on dishes.

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

Stock the freezer.

Freezer cooking [12] is a miracle activity to bridge the gap between your time and a homecooked meal. It has saved my bacon on a number of occasions. I had a couple boys help me precook a bunch of meats this past week so that we have easy proteins ready to go. See this free printable Protein Power in an Hour cooking plan [13] to see what we did. I’m hoping to knock out this breakfast freezer plan [14] this weekend.

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

Plan for school.

This year finds me the most organized for school, and I’m really amazed. I’ve got file folders full of stuff ready to go. I’ve ordered all the books. It took me the better part of two weeks to make that happen, printing off my homeschool binder pages [15] and getting the kids’ notebooks set up. But we’re set! Yay!

(If you want to see what we’re studying, you can check out our curricula [16].)

Not all of you need to plan lesson plans for six kids. If your kids attend schools outside the home, then you still have lots of responsibilities to manage. I’m amazed at what my ps friends have to do: buy uniforms, purchase school supplies, pay extra fees, attend meetings, and what not. In the same way some look at me and say, “I could never….” Well, right back atcha, sister. It makes me tired to think of public schooling.

I think that’s pretty funny, actually. To each her own, eh? ;)

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

Clean the workspaces.

I spent some heavy duty time cleaning my office this past week and overhauled the school room [17] over the summer. I’m making it a goal to clear off my desk and the school table every afternoon or evening. This would add so much peace to our home and my life in general. Here’s hoping I can pull it off. I might have to report back into you on a weekly basis. ;)

Organizing Tricks for the New School Year - With the new school year comes a chance at a fresh start. Let's get set up for success!

Set up your daily do’s.

I am currently using a storage clipboard to cart around with me during the day. It holds my different lists as well as my daily/weekly/monthly Post-it Note to do list [18]. It’s still in the tweaking phase, but I’m hopeful it will help keep me on track.

I truly want to make the best of this new year. It’s FishBoy17′s last year of school under my tutelage. It’s been a great ride. He’s getting on another road eventually. I hope this year the rest of us can establish some better habits, that I’ll have more down time and more peace, that their time won’t be squandered, and that we can make the most of the time we have together.

What are YOU doing to set your school year up for success?


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[3] my free seasonal newsletter: http://eepurl.com/q47Vb

[4] the calendar pages from Organizing Life as MOM: http://lifeasmom.com/organizing-life-as-mom-redesigned-and-updated-ebook

[5] this planning grid: http://lifeasmom.com/?attachment_id=38197

[6] grab and go dinner plans: http://lifeasmom.com/free-printable-meal-plans-grocery-lists

[7] pack lunches the night before: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/08/urs-lunchbox-ideas-and-inspiration.html

[8] 5 Packable Lunches and a Grocery List: http://lifeasmom.com/2013/09/5-packable-lunches-a-printable-grocery-list.html

[9] Make-Ahead School Lunches and Free Printable Lunchbox Love Notes: http://lifeasmom.com/2012/08/make-ahead-school-lunches-a-free-printable-for-lunch-box-love-notes.html

[10] Tips for Packing Affordable School Lunches: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/08/tips-for-packing-affordable-school-lunches-eat-well-spend-less.html

[11] 5 Cheap and Easy, Packable School Lunches: http://goodcheapeats.com/2014/08/5-cheap-and-easy-packable-lunches/

[12] Freezer cooking: http://lifeasmom.com/2014/02/the-ultimate-freezer-cooking-collection-of-recipes-and-tips.html

[13] this free printable Protein Power in an Hour cooking plan: http://lifeasmom.com/2014/01/freezer-cooking-protein-power-in-an-hour.html

[14] this breakfast freezer plan: http://lifeasmom.com/2013/01/cozy-winter-breakfasts-for-freezer-cooking-free-downloadable-cooking-plan.html

[15] my homeschool binder pages: http://lifeasmom.com/2013/08/putting-together-a-homeschool-binder.html

[16] check out our curricula: http://lifeasmom.com/category/learning/homeschooling/curricula

[17] overhauled the school room: http://lifeasmom.com/2014/06/zone-defense-check-in-kid-stuff.html

[18] Post-it Note to do list: http://lifeasmom.com/2014/07/my-new-post-it-note-to-do-list-system.html

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