Now that the kids are back in school, have you had any issues with organizing school paperwork? In September, you’re likely to receive a lot of school notes, calendars, and forms – all to be either filed away, kept handy for reference, or filled out and returned.
If you have more than one school-aged child in your household, your school paperwork organizating will be even more important. Here are 5 ideas for keeping organized during the school year.
Organizing School Paperwork
1. Sign up for online
Many schools now have paperwork available online, instead of sending it home with your child. Consider signing up for email lists and newsletters to be sent to your inbox. It will save you a lot of time searching through papers, and will also save a lot of trees, as well as your school will save a lot of money. Win win win!
Of course, it’s important to organize these papers into files on your computer once you receive them. Often, one folder for each child and one general school folder is more then enough.
Even only one folder may suffice, if you have a teacher that does not send out much paperwork. If everything is being emailed to you, you may be able to simply create an email folder.
2. Use one calendar
In our house, my husband and I both work for the school board, we have one school-aged daughter, and 2 kids in a home-based daycare, part time. This means that at any given time, we have 4 school calendars on the go. Last year I decided to print off calendar templates and have only one “master” calendar.
It worked so well, and required a ridiculously little amount of time – and no more Mama guilt for forgetting Pyjama Day! At the beginning of each month, I simply took each calendar and transferred all the important dates onto the Master Calendar. It took me maybe 30 minutes, once each month, and it kept me so organized.
3. File folder
My mom’s method for organizing paper work was beyond simple and beyond effective. It was called “The School File”. At the beginning of each September, my mom would empty out her file folder from the “school drawer”. Any papers that came home from school – notes, permission forms, picture information – was handled immediately.
Either it was filled out and returned, or filed in “The School File”. My mom has 4 children within 8 years of each other. This was her method for keeping all of the important information organized. Sometimes it would take her a few minutes to find the exact sheet she needed, but she knew exactly where the sheet was – in the school file.
4. Cork board
I love the idea of using a cork board to organize the papers that need to be filled in and returned to school. When my daughter comes home from school with notes or forms that need to go back, I generally wait to fill them in until the kids are asleep – but I need to keep these forms safe from spills and little hands and also remember to fill them in.
Putting them on the fridge was my method last year, but some forms were too thick to stay up with magnets. This year, I will be using a cork board. I (or my daughter) can pin the forms up easily, keep them safe and in sight, and send them back to school right away.
This board would also be great for pinning reminders for the kids about after school chores and activities.
5. Child responsibility
Once your child hits about Grade 3 (if not earlier), it’s a great idea to start giving them the responsibility of making sure paperwork gets filled out and returned, planners get signed, and notes get put safely in a file.
My daughter needed her planner signed each day last year. She brought it to me after dinner when my littler ones were in bed, with a pen and any other notes or forms. I would initial the planner, fill in any forms (or have her put them on the cork board for later), and have her file the other notes once I read them.
She would then put the planner back safely into her backpack. It worked very nicely and taught her to be responsible for her own things.
Organization is such an important skill. It’s something that teachers work very hard to teach at school, and that many parents work with their children on at home. For many children, it doesn’t come easily. It can take patience, routines, and consistency to make organizational skills more concrete.
Organizing school paperwork is an excellent place to start.
Your child will watch how you handle these papers right from Kindergarten! By the time your child gets to grade 2 or 3, he or she can take a more active role in organizing, since they have watched you for years.