Tag Archive for: back to school

5 Tips to Get Ready for Back to School

Back to school


Getting ready for back to school feels like a sprint and a marathon. It’s a myriad of details, appointments, and preparation.  What makes it easier to get ready for back to school?  Here’s five tips that prep you for being back to school.

Have your calendar and your check book ready

At back to school time, there’s two very important tools to have at your fingertips. Your calendar is where all the new dates for school, athletics, worship and more belong. It’s your guide for each day of the next 9 months.  Gather all the dates and times each day and then each evening scribe these.  You want to get ahead of the game by getting all the dates in this early.  Over the next few weeks be sure to have a weekly family  meeting to keep your calendar up to date. Your checkbook is the age old money holder, however now it’s your credit card, Venmo or other financial transaction method.  Back to school is when you register for new activities, pay for books, or pay for supplies.  Be ready and track your expenses.


Make appointments and shop early

Here’s a quick list of some of the appointments you might need before school starts.

  • Well check doctors’ or chiropractors appointments
  • Personal care such as haircuts and manicures

Start by assessing what’s in your kids’ drawers and fits. Get caught up on laundry to know what you have and what you need to purchase.  Set aside a time to shop with your kids just for basics to get the year started. There’s easy ways to shop online, however be sure to return what you don’t need and doesn’t fit.


Make a lunch, dinner and snack plan

Food makes us all smile! Breakfast can be a quick start or something to take on the road with you. Dinner time is when we gather to share our stories each day.   Make yourself and everyone happy with mindful appreciation for food.  There’s lots of ways to get meals organized, so pick one or a few that are easy for you and your family. Don’t forget healthy snacks too!  Back to school requires lots of energy and food is one of the major ways to fuel ourselves.


Set up family routines that work

The best types of organization require routines. It’s what we do repeatedly,  almost automatically.  These are morning, homework, and evening routines.  Morning routines are hopefully minimal and focus on getting out of the house on time.  By creating Homework routines, you are simplifiying getting homework complete and back to school.  In the evening, the goal is to gather for a meal and to get a great night’s rest.  Review your family routines during a family meeting and be sure everyone agrees.  If needed, create a check lis to insure everyone is on board.


Ready, set, tech

There’s tech tools that help you with back to school too.  Use a good old fashioned alarm clock to wake each person each morning.  Hang an analog clock where you can see it in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.  Set reminders on  your smart phone to leave early for school in the morning and end your day at work.  Both Quizlet and Studyblue help your student learn more effectively. Use a bank app to deposit checks or check balances to pay bills. All these small tools add up when you are getting ready for back to school.


Back to school is an adventure waiting! Jump in with optimism and positivity for a great start for the new school year.


More back to school ideas here!


Back to School Rules for your ADHD Family


back to school rules


The nightly homework battle starts as soon as school opens.  It’s a daily chore to keep up with papers for both parents and kids. There’s too much to do, not enough time, and not enough rest.  The unending cycle of tension and anxiety takes  a toll quickly for families.  Here’s back to school rules for your ADHD family that can help your school year run smoother.


Back to school successful systems

Set up stations in your home which as dedicated to what’s important.  A specific “home” for items keeps them easy to access and keeps your home uncluttered.

  • Have a landing spot near the door for charging devices, hanging keys, and hosting backpacks.  This is where all these items go at the beginning and end of the day.
  • Create a command center, which is an action spot for papers.  A simple command center includes either wall pockets, a desk top sorter or baskets for papers. Kids drop papers here and it’s where the mail goes.
  • Centralize school and office supplies.  Pull all the supplies together and see what you have.  Now it’s time to go shopping!  Contain and label the supplies so everyone can use these.
  • Decide on a homework station or stations.  Research shows that kids can benefit from more than one location for homework.  Be sure these stations are as distraction free as possible.  Set up supplies to travel to each station. The dining room is an excellent spot for a homework station since it’s just a few steps away from the action in your home and there’s few visual distractions.

To get started setting up your successful systems, start with the command center.  Assign a spot for this center, decide what system is going to fit best in that location, and set up the station with labels.  Next, work on your supplies.  Finally, set up your landing spot and then decide on the homework station.  It will take you an hour or two to set up each system.


Back to school rules

  1. Wake up. Be awesome.  Go to bed. Have a morning and evening routine.  At your family meeting, create a list of what is a great start to the day including what it takes to head off to school and work.  Discuss each individuals role, as well as how long each responsibility will take.  Set a time for everyone to get up, with an alarm clock.  Some parents choose to get up earlier in order to get more done first.  For the evening routine, start with a set time to begin and end homework. A good start begins with a snack and a good end is when all the papers are packed away and the backpack is in the landing strip with all technology plugged in.   A chart can reinforce these decisions so everyone knows the agreements for the day.
  2. Plan your work and work your plan.  Everyone must have and use a planner. No matter the grade in school, everyone needs a planner.  It’s where all assignments, family events and other information is written. An additional family calendar, located centrally or digitally, can also keep everyone on track.  A completed planner includes notes about every class, including a note saying “no homework.” Using a planner may require some incentives and regular accountability. It’s the one rule that must always be reinforced regularly. More ADHD homework rules here from parents in the homework trenches.
  3. Be the best we can be. Host a family meeting once a week.  Family communication and collaboration is what life is all about and here’s where it happens.  A family meeting gives everyone a chance to share what’s gong on, what’s coming up, and share family values.  Sharing why school is important, what’s behind all that work, and other values helps you and your kids connect. Start with a complement. move on to the calendar and end with fun.
  4. TEAM – together we accomplish more. Partner with your kiddos to help them accomplish goals. Set standards that can be accomplished together.  Track the successes and use “not successes” as learning opportunities by reflecting back with your child what has happened.  Be available as a body double, in their space while they do homework and work alongside them. Create a reminder system to add to, check off and complete homework.  The partnership you build will have long lasting positive impact on your kiddos self esteem and successes.

Back to school rules for your ADHD family


Want more ideas for you and your family?  Join my newsletter for more ADHD information.


Student success: Apps and more

student success apps and more


Student success depends on organization.  That organization includes recording, planning and executing assignments.  It requires attention and focus during school and after school. In the 21st century, education has moved beyond paper and pencil to technology in and out of the classroom.  Apps are a great way to add organization to your student’s work.


 Get social

When I was in school, we huddled around the television on snowy mornings, eager for a closing announcement. Today, many school districts share this information via the web and social media. Get yourself in the loop this school year and visit your district’s website to find the following information:

  • Your school’s and/or district’s Twitter feed
  • Any associated Facebook accounts
  • Classroom-specific websites
  • Classroom Blackboard accounts and mobile applications
  • Teacher blogs

Check these weekly to be sure you are up to date.


Student apps

Getting your homework done is a matter of consolidating information.  Students have to look on the board, check the teacher’s website and often look at other online spots.   Using a homework app can help you capture it all in one spot.

  • MyHomework  syncs across devices so you can easily access your classes and assignments anytime and anywhere.
  • Skoach has an integrated task-list and calendar for student’s to coordinate classes, tasks and extracurricular activities.
  • Just taking a photo with your smart phone of the assignments listed on the board and then recapping these on your paper planner can work too!


Paperless in school

Schools are starting to use technology primarily for assignments.  In a recent Time article, textbooks and worksheets are stored in the cloud.  Your student should be familiar with these apps to use at home and school to consolidate where they store their work.

  • In Dropbox, students have access to documents on their computers, phones, or tablets. They can edit docs, automatically add photos, and work with videos.
  • Evernote: Take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders and makes notes searchable.

Study apps

Studying has taken on new options with apps.  These apps are outstanding ways for students to use their learning styles.  With not only visual, auditory and kinesthetic cues, apps make studying more focused, collaborative and interesting.

  • StudyBlue is a collaborative tool for learning vocabulary and concepts.
  • Quizlet helps students learn vocabulary.
  • Essentials by AccelaStudy helps students learn a language.
  • KhanAcademy has math and science tutorials.

Have an app that has worked well for your student?


More ideas for successful student strategies here.





3 Back to School Tips for Busy Parents

back to school tips for busy parents


The school year starts off in a few weeks. It’s a mad dash from August to June with dates, activities, homework, dinner and more.  As parents we are striving for a level of organization and sanity.  These three back to school tips will make your year more organized and less chaotic.

Weekly planning time

Most of your kids invitations and information comes in through email and websites.  It’s hard to consolidate it.  Weekly planning time gives you the opportunity to search through email, school sites, teacher sites and other spots where that information is shared.  Gather up your family calendar and task list, as well as a beverage of choice, and spend an  hour gleaning information. It’s also helpful to sit with your middle and early high school students and make a weekly grid of their homework and after school activities.


Choose your calendar that works best for you.  If  you love paper planners, use a paper planner. You can always shoot a photo and share it with your family.  Cozi and Google calendar offer online real time access for everyone in your family.  If you like auditory reminders, set your online calendar and “invite” your family for them to receive alerts too.  Use what works best for you!



Family meeting

There may be some eye rolling, especially from your spouse, when you mention a family meeting. You can call it the family huddle, gathering time or whatever you prefer.  Hosting a time when everyone shares calendar events and family activities makes family efforts run smoother.   There are always last minute things like baking cupcakes and purchasing poster board. But there will be fewer emergencies when you share during a family time.


It’s hard to find a good time to meet after you are back to school. It’s in finding what works for your family that will make hosting your family meeting happen.  Some families sit together after church on Sunday. Some families meet at 5 pm each Sunday.  Decide when you can consistently meet and get started. It’s good to make this pay day for allowances too.


Family dinner

Family time together can never be undervalued.  A shared meal is the time for us to share our thoughts and feelings.  But how to overcome all those distractions?   Be realistic about your options.  Even if there is only one time a week, set that expectation.  Dinner time should be a no tech time for everyone, including parents.


family dinner conversations

Try something new this year for family dinner conversations. This  dinner conversation jar is filled conversation starters.  It’s a fresh take on that same old conversation.


Wishing you and your family the best start to the best back to school ever!


More tips for back to school here.


Quick Start Back to School Healthy Meals

quick start back to school healthy meals

Your kids just got out of school and it is already time for Back To School.  It’s hard to get started, so I have created this series Quick Start Back to School to get everyone going!   The next post is about Back To School healthy meals and snacks. 

Back to school is the time when healthy meals and snacks for our family are most important.  We want everyone to feel energized and focused as they get back into the school groove.  There are lots of glitches in getting healthy meals on the table, but streamlining and simplifying make dinner time easier.



Snack, dinner, and lunch ideas

Often we get stuck at the first step – that being what to make! We feel overwhelmed by choices, by complicated recipes, too many different tastes in our family and by a lack of prep time.

  • Poll your family first.  They know what they like.   No need to reinvent the wheel.  Simplifying with consistency.
  • Use lists.  It’s easier than pulling ideas from your head.  Post the list where you and your family can see it.  The list can be a weekly, Monday – Friday list of dinner ideas.  It can also be a list with days of the week assigned to a category, like Monday is breakfast for dinner, and Tuesday is Italian night.  It can also be a list of what’s already in your freezer, such as proteins and veggies.
  • Allow for options for picky eaters. If one child only eats hot dogs, keep a quantity on hand.
  • Gather ideas by looking online at pinterest.  It’s a fun way to try easy new recipes with lots of basic instructions.




We never seem to have enough time.  Planning in prep time and grocery shopping make it easier.  Having a day of the week that is grocery day helps you save time and energy all week, rather than running out at the last minute for milk or eating out.  Even if you shop twice a week, you are planning better!

  • Include kids in prepping food.  It’s more fun with everyone in the kitchen together.  If your kids are younger, ask them to set the table or empty the silverware in the dishwasher.  All kids love to help when food is around.
  • Prep lunches the night before to avoid the morning scramble.  It’s easy with lunch boxes ready to go.  Have your kids help with this too.
  • Work in bulk.  When prepping for lunch, double up your recipe and bag it up. Set aside one shelf in your refrigerator for lunches.


Reap the rewards

Over and over I see the value of family dinner. If your schedule does not permit it nightly, plan on one night a week.  Your family fun quotient will go sky high!



Not sure what to make for dinner?  Ideas for dinner on my Dinner’s Ready pinterest board.



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Routines make Back To School So Easy!

back to school routines


Back to school so soon! Get in the Back to School Groove with these simple routines. This article is featured on Organize to Revitalize.


Back To School Organize your Homework Station


back to school homework station

Back to school means time for homework time! It’s the least favorite time of day for moms, dads, and kids.  Having a great spot organized for homework makes it easier to get this job done. Easy to access supplies helps your child stay focused and on task.   Will one of these stations will help you and your child be more efficient and effective?

  • Remember when you were in school and did your homework in your room? How much did you accomplish? Have an honest discussion with your child about doing homework in this space and assess if this works well.  Stock a small sterilite 3 drawer desk top container with supplies like tape, scissors, and mini stapler in one drawer, pens and highlighters in one drawer, and pencils and colored pencils in a drawer.  
  • Dining rooms are a great place for homework.  It is just one step away when you are making dinner if you need to answer a question. Your child can hear the sounds around the house but still work in a quiet environment.  Stock a small utensil caddy with supplies. The caddy can be moved during dinner time.
  • Multiple kids doing homework at the same time? Place a long table against an available wall, place cork boards on the wall facing each child’s place, and place a shoebox with supplies for each child with each chair.
  • Have a starting time for homework.  A little time off and a protein based snack are a good break before getting started.  The earlier your child starts, the easier it is to get homework done.
  • Timers help kids get started on their homework.  Help your child get started or get finished using a clock faced timer.  Set the timer for 15 – 20 minutes.  If your child is working when the timer rings, then just keep going with homework. If not, have your child take a 5 minute break, walk around, get a drink, and then reset the timer and work again.
  • After homework is complete, be sure you see your child return the homework to a homework folder and pack the backpack.  This prevents losing completed homework!


homework and organizing

Back to School Checklists


back to school check lists

I love checklists! Back to school can be stressful and often we forget some of the most important, simple items.  Here are a few sample back to school checklists to cover your back to school needs.

Real simple back to school checklist

Real Simple Back to School Checklist

Real Simple Back to School Checklist


mom agenda back to school check list

Mom Agenda Back to School Checklist

MomAgenda Back to School Checklist


Container Store College products

Container Store Back to College Checklist

Container Store College Checklist


professional-organizer.com back to school checklist

Professional-Organizer.com Back to School Checklist

Professional-Organizer.com Back to School Checklist



ABC13 Back to School

Thanks to ABC13 for the opportunity to make a difference this fall for Back To School.

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Best Lunch Boxes for your Money


Back to School Family Organizing


Back To School: Tips to Organize Your Home

Back to school time brings backpacks by the back door, papers flying in from kids, and upcoming activities, back to school night and more.  Create a command center and landing strip that helps you control the information and stuff.

  • Establish a command center with a slot of your kids’ papers and the mail.  The slots can be a wall pocket, basket or cube, labelled with their names and your name.  If you use a desk, the command center can be a desktop sorter with hanging files also labelled with names.
  • Choose a spot for your kids’ backpacks.  Hooks should hold up to 40 pounds since backpacks are heavy! One hook per backpack please, also labelled with their names.  Baskets and bins are also great options.  Keeping items corralled is the key. 
  • Post your family calendar, a dry erase board and a bulletin board in this area.   The calendar is to keep all the upcoming dates.  The bulletin board and dry erase boards are for reminders, invitations, and appointments.  Chalkboards are popular too.  Don’t forget a pencil attached by a string just so it is handy too. 
  • Your family chore chart can be added too. 
  • Host a family meeting and talk about where the backpacks and papers go each day.  Empty the papers out and put in the mom or dad’s slot, hang backpack back after homework, parent replaces paper each evening, and everyone is ready for the next day.

Do you have a family command center idea to share? What works for you? 

Need more ideas?  Visit my pinterest board Back to School.  http://pinterest.com/EllenDelap/back-to-school/