Four back to school tips to stay organized

By Alexandra Kerr

When it's time to send the kids back to school, make sure they're as prepared as possible, and ready to take on the year's assignments. Create a well-stocked and properly organized area in your home perfect for studying. Creating a clean, well designed space for your children to find everything they need for schoolwork can improve their concentration, prevent lost homework and maybe even make study time a little less challenging.

Homework Area

The first step to creating the perfect environment for your kids to study in is to designate a homework area. If you have a spare bedroom, den or any other free room, establish this as the study room. If you don't have an entire room to donate to the kids' schoolwork, pick a quiet corner of the den, living room, study or their bedrooms. Once you've chosen the area, you can begin the set-up. Here is what you'll need to build a great homework station:

- A desk appropriately sized for your child. When seated, they should be able to comfortably reach the back of the desk.

- A comfortable chair, preferably that slides and rotates. Moveable chairs mean fewer excuses to stand up and walk away.

- At least one lamp for proper lighting. Make sure to test how much heat the lamp gives off. Prevent potential injuries by using cloth lampshades rather than metal, as the metal can dangerously heat up during extended use.

- Make sure the desk has drawers, and each drawer has an organizer. Spaces for notebooks, textbooks, tape, scissors, staplers, rulers and more will allow your children to quickly and easily find what they need, then neatly place it back where it belongs once they're done using it.

- Place a decorative cup on the desk filled with pens, sharpened pencils, highlighters and erasers to ensure homework can always be completed without interruption from dull pencils or empty pens.

- Install shelving along the wall above the desk, or place a small bookcase next to it. Simply stacking books on the desk can be messy or dangerous, especially for younger children. Bookends and bookshelf dividers can help organize and secure the textbooks as well.

Filing Systems For School And Home

Once you've established and designed the study area, keeping homework, papers and reports neatly organized becomes key. Assignments can't be completed if they can't be found. Create an organization system for home and school to ensure your child always knows where to find permission slips, book reports, worksheets and more.

Home: Use an open filing system at the homework desk to neatly and clearly display homework needing to be completed, homework already completed, and anything that requires the attention of a parent or guardian. Having a tray for permission slips, informational sheets, parent contact information, etc. will mean fewer forgotten papers that never reached Mom or Dad. Use stacked paper shelves for homework, and an open tray for any papers designated for parents.

School: If your child prefers using a large binder, be sure to include filing tabs that easily hook inside the binder's rings. Keep assignments, notes and returned homework from different classes separated to ensure they can easily be found again at home. Buy binder dividers with pockets for loose papers, or purchase separate folders to clip inside each section of the binder. If your child prefers a file folder, purchase one with several sections in a fun color to easily store all assignments, notes and papers in their appropriate subject-divided categories.


A well-organized homework filing system won't mean much if your child's assignments aren't turned in on time. To make sure all you and your child's hard work pays off, purchase a day planner to be kept and updated by your child, and a white board calendar to hang at home for parents.

- Hang an easily erasable white board calendar over the homework desk.

- Have your child update it with everything from daily homework assignments to major tests, reports and deadlines.

- Use the calendar to keep track of field trips, parent-teacher meetings, dances and important school events.

- Mark any of your events that you would like your children to know about on the calendar to ensure they are aware of your important schedule changes.

- Have your children keep the day planner with them to mark down all homework assignments, reports, exams, etc. while they are at school.

- At least once a week, verify the day planner and white board calendar match up to prevent any misunderstandings.


One of the easiest ways to make sure your child creates and maintains an effective study schedule is to stick to a routine. Having certain areas and times to complete homework will instill a sense of normalcy, and encourage kids to finish assignments on time and before they play or do other things.

- Pick a time of day that homework should be done. Whether it's immediately after school, or just after dinner, make sure your children stick to studying at that time.

- Choose a time during the week to check in with your kids, ask about upcoming tests, field trips or other events parents should know about. Having a specific day to share information will help prevent anything being forgotten or overlooked.

- If your child receives tutoring for any schoolwork, be sure to schedule the tutoring sessions at the same time every week.

Getting ready for the back to school rush doesn't have to be hard. Designating a special spot for your child to read, write and study will ensure they have everything they need to come to school prepared. Using organizational tools like binders, file folders and dividers provides the perfect spot for every note, assignment and permission slip, creating a hassle free student-to-parent flow of communication. Finally, using calendars, day planners and specifically timed study sessions will stabilize the study process, giving your child a structure to complete assignments around.

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