Introducing the Homework Station . . . And Other Back to School Tips
I'm pretty strict with my kids about completing their schoolwork, but I also harass them just as much about keeping their backpacks organized and sticking to routine during the school year. I run a business from home (The Fairy Paintbox, an online boutique specializing in custom wall letters for nurseries and children's rooms), and during the summer things can get chaotic with five kids in the house while I'm trying to work. I don't exactly set the best example when it comes to staying organized, since I'm being pulled in a dozen different direction at once. Let's just say that when school time rolls around, I've pulled most of my hair out and I'm a tad too excited to buy school supplies and get those backpacks ready and by the door.
Since four of our five monsters are in school this year, I decided to get superorganized ahead of time and set up a homework station for everyone to use. I realized that with so many kids bringing home so many papers and permission slips and assignments, I was going probably going to mess up big if I didn't figure out a system.
I found a 27-pocketed wall assignment holder at Wal-Mart and I divided the pockets between the four kids. For my third grader, she has a pocket for general class info to keep on hand throughout the year, like the teacher's email address, class introduction letter, school calender, etc. Then I made a pocket for any paperwork that would need to be signed and returned to school. I followed with a pocket for each of her subjects and extracurricular activities. I did similar pockets for the other kids based on their individual class needs. This thing is totally going to save my butt this year.
I also put up a dry erase board to write up a general homework schedule for each child. For instance, our third grader has homework on Mon-Thurs while our Kindergarten student has written homework on Tues. and Thurs. It's hard to keep this straight in my brain, so having having a schedule in front of me is super.
Finally, I put together a homework bin, which consists of three drawers, one for college-ruled paper, construction paper, notepads, etc. Another drawer holds a calculator, crayons, markers, highlighters and other drawing supplies. The third drawer has pencils, pens, a ruler, pencil sharpener, scissors, glue, etc. So anytime any child might need certain supplies for homework, they come to the homework bin.
Three days into the school year, the school and homework station is keeping things running pretty smoothly. I'm pretty impressed with myself, I must say. Now I just have to keep it stocked throughout the year.
EJ Curran is a Delaware mom. This post is adapted from her blog, Four Little Monsters, at FourLittleMonsters.com.