An Organised Home – School Work Organisation – Part 3

 

Congratulations! You have made it to the final installment of my Back To School Series. I have absolutely loved teaming up with Nikki and sharing this series with you all. There have been so many ideas and organisational systems to help organise your family and school clutter this last few weeks. I hope you have found it all very helpful while preparing for the new school year. Today I am joined by Nikki from An Organised Home for the final time as she shares part 3 – organising school work. Its been such a pleasure having Nikki guest post and share her ideas and systems this month. So I will now hand over to Nikki, enjoy guys!


Well here it is. My last instalment of the Back To School Series. And it is all about how I organise school work.

This little system of ours has been working famously for about 3 years now, and I would love to show you what we have done.

It has been so much fun sharing how both Hailey and I organise everything school related, but all good things must come to an end, so enjoy this last instalment on for our Back to School Series.

Back to School 3 Part Series - Landscape Header

Earlier Hailey took a look back at what we have covered so far in terms of school organisation. If you missed any of these posts click the links below to jump back and take a peek.

Organise It All – Back To School Part 1

Back To School Part 1 – An Organised Home

Organise It All – Back to School Part 2

Back to School Part 2 – An Organised Home

Organise It All – Back to School Part 3

Today I will be showing you how I organise and keep track of my son’s school work. This has been working for us for about 3 years now, and we are continuing on with this again in 2017.

Since starting high school, Zac has been bringing home a little less of the artwork that was very prevalent in primary school, and he now brings home a lot more notes. Handouts from class, notes written in class, and a bit of homework also.

Keeping track of this work was a priority for me. Zac is not the most motivated child when it comes to organisation. If it was up to him, his English notes would end up with Science, the History notes would be nowhere to be found, and he would never, ever have homework. Of course.

So we needed a system that was easy to access. If it wasn’t easy to access, he wouldn’t use it. It needed to be simple to use. Again, the harder to use the less it gets used. And fast. Lets face it, teenage boys have far more important things to do than keep track of their school and homework.

So we came up with a simple system using a suspension file box, and suspension files.

It was really quick and easy to set up, and of course, there was plenty of room to expand as the year went on and more and more notes came home. It also sat perfectly on my washing machine so accessibility wasn’t an issue either.

How I created this system

We started with a file box like this one.

File Storage Box - Store'N'Oder Crate

I had a bit of trouble finding where you could buy one of these now. But luckily located it at Australia Post which you can find here. Originally I started with a file storage box that I borrowed from my dad, which had a lid. I loved the idea of everything being hidden away and looking nice and tidy, however Zac was stacking everything on top of the lid rather than putting it away. So it had to go.

I then added a suspension file for each subject. There is also one for his diary and timetables, which as it turns out, the school is still using this year after all.

J Burrows Suspension Files Blue

I loved the J. Burrows coloured suspension files from Officeworks, which you can find here.

And lastly we pulled out our trusty labeller and added the name tags for each subject, as well as a name label on each of his folders.

Note:

This year our old labeller died! Although we haven’t re-labelled the tabs for his file box, we used this new one that we purchased to label everything else. It is fantastic. And while it was a little more expensive than the regular one we had, it was well worth the money. It does two lined labels, lots of different fonts, frames and so much more. I know that this labeller is going to be doing a lot of work this year. You can find this here.

Brother-P-Touch-Labeller

So this is what we ended up with.

School File Box

Every afternoon when Zac comes home from school, he removes all items from his school bag. His lunchbox and drink bottle go to the kitchen. Dirty sport clothes go in the laundry basket. And all schoolwork is put on the table. From there, we determine if he has any homework. This is usually written in his diary, but I always ask as well, just in case he forgot to write it in. It happens!

If he does have homework, we leave those notebooks out until the homework is completed. The rest of his notes are sorted into the suspension files that correspond with that subject. Any loose notes or worksheets are dropped straight in the file folder too. At the end of each week, I ask Zac to go through and tidy his notes. Loose pages are stuck into books, notes that were completed on his computer can stay there, however I do like to see that he is completing his work.

And that is pretty much it. Simple, effective and easy to use.

The best part.

For me, the best part about this system, is at the end of the year, when I am sorting through his notes deciding what to keep and what to toss, everything is already grouped in its subject.

School Work Toss

The pile at the back is what is going from 2016, and the small pile in front, is what I am keeping. I have to be happy with that.

Now, I have to confess here, I am not up to date with sorting all of Zac’s schoolwork for every year. In fact, I have only sorted the notes from the past 3 years, since using this system. The rest are in a plastic box, labelled with the year, the teacher and the class, and put away in my buffet and hutch. I can honestly say it was only this year that I was able to be so ruthless, in what I kept. I literally threw everything out apart from certificates, reports, and one or two of his assessment tasks that he had created a product for that was really innovative. The rest was trashed.

In all seriousness, there is no way Zac is ever going to want 15 years of schoolwork. So by being ruthless, I was able to eliminate a world of angst and only keep the best of the best. And the goal is, to do the same with all of his previous years work.

I hope this helps when deciding how you might want to keep your child’s school work organised. It really has been a successful way for us to stay on top of it all.

Thanks again for joining Nikki and I on our Back to School journey, and stay tuned for lots more ways that I am Organising It All.

Pinterest Pin

An Organised Home – Back To School Organisation – Part 2

 

Hi everyone you may have noticed that it has been extremely quiet around here the last few days. It has been crazy busy around here this week. My little man had his 5th birthday party followed by two other birthday parties the following two days. I can’t remember the last time I was this exhausted. But as party season draws to a close and we are less than two weeks away from the school term starting, we are very much looking forward to some serious down time.

Today I am joined by Nikki from An Organised Home for Part 2 of our Back To School Series. So without further ado I will hand over to Nikki, as she shares how she organises school clutter in her home.


Well, as my holiday is drawing to a close, my thoughts are slowly moving back to reality, and while I am glad that I have put quite a few things in place for the coming year, there is still lots to be done as far as school organisation goes.

Having a high school student definitely has its benefits. He is old enough to unpack his school bag, he knows where his school notes go, and if I can get him to put down his phone long enough, he gets through what little homework he has in a reasonable amount of time.

However, teenagers tend to have to be told 5 times before they do anything!!!

You know how it goes. You have probably seen that meme on Facebook…

The one that goes a little something like this…

Mum: "Could you please pick up your stuff?" 

Child: No response. 

Mum: "Could you please pick up your stuff?" 

Child : No response. 

Mum: "Could you please pick up your stuff?" 

Child: No response. 

Mum: Yelling "Would you turn off the damn TV, get up off your butt and put your stuff away!!!" 

Child: "Geez, why are you so angry?" 

Well, welcome to being a parent of a teenager.

16143888_10154213301673244_642518178_n

Image Credit

While the teenage breed is pretty self sufficient, they conveniently lack a certain ability to “remember” to do those things required of them. At least that is what happens in my home.

In this second instalment of school organisation I will delve a little further into how we keep the school clutter organised in a way that makes it convenient to access, as well as out of the school bag and put away.

We live in a small two-story town house. The two bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs, and the lounge, kitchen and dining rooms are downstairs. We don’t have a laundry, we have a cupboard in the dining room. Yes, you read that right. A cupboard in the dining room.

So as far as storage space goes, we are extremely limited.

It would be pointless for Zac to store his school items in his room, as it would mean dragging things up and down the stairs, which would undoubtedly lead to lost and misplaced items. Add to that the fact that I want him doing his homework at the dining room table, so that I can monitor how much homework is actually being done, and you can understand why the laundry became our designated “school” area. And of course, me being me, I can’t stand things to be left out, so they do need to go away for me to keep my sanity. Or what is left of it.

Basically there are four areas that need to be addressed.

  • Uniforms
  • Lunch Boxes
  • School Papers
  • Shoes and School Bag
Uniforms

With no laundry, and only one dirty clothes basket in the entire house, I need to wash quite regularly. To take a little step sideways, my laundry routine is pretty much wash when there is enough to do that load, with the exception of sheets, bath mats and towels. My towels and bath mats are done every Monday, and sheets get done on Fridays. Other than those items, I just keep an eye on the basket and I can see when there is enough to put on a black load or a coloured load. And to make things easier on myself, I hang all shirts on hangers, and any pants with a pleat down the front by the pant cuffs already folded along the pleats. It does make ironing a breeze.

Now, getting back to uniforms, as Zac goes to a private school, their uniform policy is quite strict. Summer uniform consists of long navy pants and a white shirt that has the school logo on it, and a blazer if it is a bit cooler. Winter uniform is the long navy pants, long sleeved white shirt, school tie, woolen jumper and blazer. The jumper cannot be worn without the blazer, and the children are not to arrive or leave the school in anything other than that uniform. Including their sports uniform, even if sport is the first or last class of the day.

There have been instances where children receive detention for not adhering to these policies, which personally, I really like. The policies that is, not the detention. And with such a strong emphasis on presentation, I do iron all of Zac’s uniforms. I just feel that it is more respectful of the schools policies and of course, I do love that crisp line in the sleeves of the shirts and the legs of the pants. I know, crazy right?

Having said that, I am not afraid to tell you that there have been times that he has gone to school with an un-ironed shirt and pants that still have peg marks on them! Alas, life goes on.

So uniforms are obviously in his wardrobe, and as I am pretty organised with the washing schedule, 99% of the time his uniforms are there ready to go. Zac has enough shirts and pants that, even if I did no washing during the week, as long as it was all completed on the weekend, he would be fine. No further organisation is necessary. When it comes to his sports uniform though, I keep that in a seperate satchel ready to put in his school bag on sports day. Every time his sport uniform is worn, it is washed and folded and put back in the bag in the laundry where the rest of his school stuff goes. There is no point in keeping that in his room, as he never changes into it to go to school, and if it was upstairs, it would mean it was either forgotten or Zac is looking for it at the last minute. I will go more into his school items in the laundry next week.

Lunch Boxes

When it comes to lunch boxes, we are pretty easy. My husband has had the same lunch box for 30 years. Yep, 30 years. They just don’t make them like they used to! Zac and I take which ever lunch box suits what we are taking for lunch.

My biggest problem with lunch boxes is what to put in them. Zac will not take a sandwich for lunch, as it isn’t “fresh” by lunch time. I have tried freezing them, putting ice bricks in with them, and it doesn’t make a difference. Usually he will take a cold meat such as corned silverside, roast pork, roast lamb, chicken, even sweet and sour chicken or a beef stir fry with rice or salad.

For the past couple of years I have been using a lunch box that has a freezable lid which keeps his lunch cold, right up until his break. However, the lid broke a while back and I had a lot of trouble finding these.

16144021_10154213301103244_1709185152_n

I finally found them here, but browsing the website I came across another lunch box that I really liked also.

This neat expandable lunch box, has a centre tray that can be frozen. When I looked at this, I actually liked it better than the previous one, as I think with food on top and below the frozen tray, his lunch will stay cooler still. The lunchbox is called an Ez-Freeze Expandable Salad Kit, and has an expandable bowl, freezable tray and a dressing container. Check it out here.

16215496_10154213300718244_883775922_n

And lastly, from Howard’s Storage World, I found this thermos. Since going on our cruise, Zac has started to try a lot of different foods, and I figured that this would be a great option for soups, pastas, spaghetti bolognaise or casseroles. You can find this thermos here.

16144801_10154213300553244_1380080754_n

School Papers

High school students really don’t need a lot of help when it comes to storing schoolwork and papers. However when it comes to permission slips or photo forms etc, my son needs to have as little as possible to do with those. This is why I actually keep his schoolwork and anything he needs in the laundry, easily accessible to him, but anything that I need to deal with comes straight to my little command centre file.

I spoke in a bit more detail about this last week, so I won’t elaborate to much more, but depending on the type of note, I take one of three actions;

  1. I complete the form immediately and put it straight back into his school bag to be returned the next day. These are forms such as updated medical information or a note required for his panadol.
  2. I diarise the date of any upcoming events. For example, at the beginning of each new year, there is always a breakfast meeting to go over what to expect for the year. I also do this for excursions, however I usually complete the permission slip immediately and then keep a copy in my school file so that I have all the details needed.
  3. If it is a reference type document like a canteen menu, I will just file it in the school folder. No further action is required.

I also have a really great system that has worked so well for storing schoolwork, however I am going to go into more detail about that next week. We have been doing this for two years now, this will be our third, and it has been an absolute lifesaver. No more lost notes, or “I can’t find my English Assessment Task”.

Shoes and Schoolbag

This one is an easy one for us. Shoes are taken off at the front door. Not only does this mean that we know exactly where to find them the next day, but it also stops anything on the bottom of our shoes being traipsed through onto the carpet. Which in turn means less work for me.

The school bag is quite large, and while I would love to have an entry way like Hailey’s we just don’t have the space. In the dining room on either side of the buffet and hutch is a little space just big enough to hold a bag on either side. Zac keeps his at one end, and my husband keeps his at the other. This keeps the bags out of site (mostly) and out of the way. It is also right where it needs to be each evening when it is packed for the following day.

I hope that helps a little more when it comes to organising your kids for school. Be sure to check back next week, where I show you how I organise the school work itself. Until then, make the most of these last few days with your children before they embark on the next big step in their lives.

Nikki – An Organised Home

An Organised Home – Back to School Series Part 1

bts part 1

We are back again today with another instalment in my Back To School Series Part 1.

I’m so excited to have Nikki from An Organised Home guest posting today and sharing how she organises her family’s schedules and routines throughout the school year. If you aren’t familiar with An Organised Home, be sure to check out Nikki’s blog  and also click here to browse her facebook page.

So I will now hand you over to Nikki from An Organised Home.


Where on earth did 2016 go?

I swear it only feels like November still, yet here we are in mid way through January already. Right now, while I am writing this, I am off sailing around the South Pacific Islands enjoying a well earned holiday. But not before I have put a few things in place so that the back to school transition runs smoothly when we return.

This post is the first of a three part series that I was asked to participate in. I would like to thank Hailey from Organise It All for asking me to take part in her back to school series.

15942402_10154186240188244_257549535_n

Our systems and needs will be very different from each other, simply because of the differing ages of our children. But this in no way means that either of us will be less organised than the other.

A few simple steps taken in advance can really save all of the hassle of the last minute run around the day before school goes back.

Scheduling & Routines

The first part of this series is how we organise our family’s schedules and routines, and I must say for me, this is becoming a little easier to organise, but a lot more hectic to keep up with.

My son, Zac, is starting Year 10 this year. YEAR 10!!! It just doesn’t seem possible. He attends a school where his main course of study, outside of the core subjects, is in the field of Technical Production, Sound and Lighting. He is very fortunate to have already found himself a job at a well known and highly respected lighting company during the holidays, and is quite often required to work on school shows both at school and outside of school.

For us, this requires a high level of organisation and communication to ensure that he is able to be where he needs to be, when he needs to be there. Add to that already busy mix, a HSC course that he is starting a year early, and offsite at a TAFE Campus, and I am thinking that we are not going to have time to scratch ourselves this year.

Moving towards digital organisation.

Our household is very quickly becoming a digital household. Both Zac and I are very computer literate and both of us spend way too much time on computers. And whilst this is something that we need to work on, it is actually a blessing in disguise when it comes to organisation. For us, a digital calendar is a much better approach to our planning and scheduling. We always have it on us, (neither of us would ever be caught out without our phones!) and we can quickly add, edit or remove appointments, etc, on the run.

15978797_10154186170673244_1942436924_n

I still use my calendars at home on my fridge, and mostly this is for a quick glance at upcoming commitments and for my husband who is not quite as digitally reliant as us. You can download my calendar here.

Digital Diary

The school is starting this year with a digital diary, that the parents can access so we can see any homework that has been set, upcoming assessment tasks or exams, and any other notes or changes that are being made. For example, Zac is quite often pulled out of his Tech class to do the set up for assemblies, shows, open days, etc, which of course all forms part of that class, but this is noted in the diary. If a teacher wants to let us know that he didn’t complete his homework, that is noted in the diary also. And Zac himself, sets up events for anything he has upcoming and sends me an invitation. That’s right… he sends me an invitation to drive him to a show an hour from home, wait around for four hours, then drive him home again. Very considerate, isn’t he?? LOL.

15979041_10154186243413244_1230136402_n

So, with all of the calendars now covered, that leaves the rest of my scheduling to share.

On the Agenda Today

My to do list will remain the same. I really like using the “What’s on the Agenda Today” sheet that I designed, and possibly in the future I will digitise this. But right now the hard copy works for me. It has space for my to-do’s, things to do while I am out, things to pick up and more. You can download my printable here.

Cleaning Schedules

My cleaning schedules are also still working for me. Though right now, I must say I am absolutely loving having Ryan come to my stateroom and make beds, wash towels and run the vacuum through daily, however he is not too keen to come home with us to continue. I designed a very simple sheet that I laminate and keep handy.

Up the top are my daily tasks and down the bottom are weekly tasks. There are checkboxes for a week at a time in the daily section and a month at a time in the weekly section. Each Sunday after I have filled in the daily section I simply wipe it clean and start over on Monday. And likewise once I have finished using the weekly section.

cleaning-schedule-daily-weekly-copy

This eliminates the need to keep printing new sheets each week, and if you happen to miss a task one day / week, you know that is the first place to start the next day / week.

Command Centre

The last part of my scheduling and routines is my little Command Centre. It has been an absolute lifesaver when it comes to bills and paperwork.

I am not going to go into too much detail here, as I will be doing a post on this in the future. But I will give you a quick run through of how I use it.

This is a very simple desk organiser that I have folders in to keep track of all important documents.

15970005_10154186238688244_140749622_n

There are folders for:

  • To pay
  • To Do
  • To File
  • To Scan
  • To Shred
  • Reference

There is also one file for each family member and one for school, along with one for each of the bigger projects that are happening at that time. For example, there was one for the cruise, and one for my dance competitions.

As bills come in I diarise when they are due and set a reminder on my digital calendar. They are then put in the To Pay folder until that time comes. Once a bill has been paid it goes in either the To File, To Scan or To Shred folders. If it is important enough to scan, it is then filed in my Dropbox folder with password protection and the physical bill goes in the To Shred folder. I have very little now that I deem to be important enough to actually keep a hard copy. Only things like mortgage documents, immunization records, house deeds, etc have made it to the file box.

Things that need to be done, something like following up on a incorrect bill or paperwork to be completed, goes in my to do file. Again, once completed, it is either scanned, filed or shred.

The individual files we have is pretty much for paperwork that doesn’t necessarily require action but isn’t ready to go away. Or more realistically, paperwork I want off my desk that the husband and son have not finished with!!!

And lastly the school folder is for upcoming events, permission slips, canteen menus, etc. anything school related that isn’t schoolwork, that I have to deal with or diarise. I also include a copy of Zac’s assessments and exam notifications here so I can keep an eye on the due dates. He has a terrible habit of leaving everything until the night before!

Once a week I go through each of the folders and complete as much as I can. I scan, file and shred and get ready to start the new week with a clean slate.

So that is pretty much it. I have so much more to share with you, so make sure you check back next week for Part 2.

Nikki – An Organised Home