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Do you feel like you have papers, emails, and school stuff coming at you fast and furious? The schedules come at us on paper, websites, Remind 101, text messages, phone calendars, Twitter, and “Didn’t you check the Facebook page?” (Um, no?).  It’s enough to make the most sane parents long for the old days of a purple mimeograph still warm from the roll press.  But there is hope! Over the years I’ve learned helpful strategies to stay on top of the rush. Here are 5 tips for organizing your kids school papers and schedules.

With 5 kids in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, I’ve been managing school calendars and homework for almost 20 years. I know what’s it’s like to be drowning in paper and constantly forgetting appointments.

Here is what I’ve found that works.

5 Helpful Tips for Organizing Kids’ School Papers and Schedules

Tip 1: A Centralized Calendar

Even if you do a digital calendar, there’s something about seeing the month in print that is incredibly helpful, especially for kids.

I gather together all the papers the kids receive in the first week of school with dates and events like class parties and concerts. I put them into a calendar for the coming year with the kids initial and location.

I have found pencil works best for me so I can make necessary changes. I’ve tried color coding per child but that does not work for me because I ended up needing to carry around 5 different colored markers — not going to happen.

Wall calendar:

We don’t use one on a regular basis, because my family knows my calendar is open for the looking. Large wall calendars or dry erase calendars are a great option.

Printable or Paper Calendars:

I am old school and use a paper planner. I love the Erin Condren brand planner.

Digital Calendar:

Google Calendar is one of the tops because it can be colored coded, various family members can add to it and it sends out reminders a couple hours before. My husband uses Google calendar. A second app I see recommended the most is Cozi. I have tried both but ultimately keep coming back to good old fashioned paper.

Tip 2: A File for Each Child

After I mark all the important dates on my calendar, I put all the necessary papers to be kept in the child’s folder. This way I can reference it throughout the year or until the upcoming event. I also stick papers in there as they come, such as upcoming field trip information that sometimes comes several weeks in advance.

Note: Keep up with this! This has to be kept up with on a regular basis in order for this to work. Once you get your hands on a paper from a backpack, mark it on your calendar and stick it in the right kids’ folder, or at the very least in the box where the folders are located, and once a week put the papers in the right child’s folder.

Tip 3: Kids’ school work gets hung up on these nifty picture hanging lines in our Family Room.

Once every couple months we take a photo of the collage per child (for the younger kids especially).

Tip 4: Throw Stuff OUT

Then, we keep the papers we really want and toss the rest — yes, really toss them.

I keep one large Rubbermaid box per child, which holds several years worth of school papers. This is a great system. You still have the photos of the items, and you’re not stuck with box upon box of one sheet of paper with a massive glob of glitter glue. Only keep the super-special items.

Along with this we use a digital paperless system for important documents for our kids. Check out yesterday’s post in this series for how to start one if you haven’t yet. This has been invaluable, especially for our children with special needs, to share documents back and forth and with specialists and teachers.

Tip 5: Don’t do it all

Don’t feel like you need to do all the school activities.

It’s okay to say, “This Friday night, we are staying home and having a Family Movie Night”.

If you forget a School Spirit Day or the blue t-shirt isn’t washed, OH WELL. I don’t sign up to always make the cupcakes or go on all the field trips. I try to do some of the activities, but I certainly don’t do them all. Sometimes, the kids out the door and (mostly) clean is victory claimed.

While not easy, it is possible to stay organized with the kids’ school papers and schedules.

What have you found helpful to stay organized during the school year?

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