School Organization Tips: what about all those permission slips?

When kids are in elementary school, there are SO MANY little pieces of paper that need to go back and forth.  Permission slips.  Homework.  Graded tests.  Artwork.  Report cards.  Progress reports.  Lunch menus.  School supply lists.  Photo signup sheets.  Class fundraiser materials.  So many things!

taming the backpack

There’s a definite workflow involved here.  Your child comes home with a backpack stuffed with papers.  You need to empty it, sort through it, figure out when everything is due, and put it somewhere safe.  Then, when the time is right, you need to send it back with signatures, money, or whatever else is required.  Lots of steps there, for certain.

Like most thorny organizational issues, this can be solved with two things:

-a routine, and
-a system for managing the physical stuff and deadlines.

Forming habits is hard, no lie, and so is designing a system that works for you and making it stick.  One thing at a time!  Today, let’s just talk about the routine, and we’ll leave the system for tomorrow.

Your child needs a folder for papers that need to shuttle back and forth between school and home.  Without a folder, the papers tend to end up in little sticky ragged balls at the bottom of the backpack, which makes them pretty hard to deal with.  Folders definitely help.  Many people like to use a two-pocket folder, one side for the school to put things in, and one side for the parents to put things in.

The first thing that needs to happen when your kids get home is to get the papers into your hot little hands.  Take the folder out and empty it!  Easy enough.

If it needs a quick turnaround, sign them, put them with whatever else it needs, and stick them in the “Back to school” side of the folder.  Put it back in the backpack, and breathe easy!  You did your part!

What happens if it’s something that doesn’t need to go back right away?  Good question!  Let’s talk about that tomorrow.

If you need a little solidarity, it might help to know that teachers have a hard time with this stuff, too.  Tips for Teachers: Getting Organized.

How do you manage the stream of correspondence at your house?  I’d love to hear it!