This year I have 5 children in FIVE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS.
Yes, that is correct, 5 different schools. If your head is spinning a bit at this notion, I understand because mine is too. However, with kids spanning in age from 6 – 19 years old, we’ve had kids across several schools for a number of years now, and juggling various calendars and age levels is not new to me.
There are some tricks of the trade I’ve found very useful over the years. While it’s certainly not easy, it is possible to balance and maintain some level of sanity, and how to stay organized when you have kids in different schools.
How to Stay Organized When You Have Kids in Different Schools
- Don’t push the panic button during the first week. You are guaranteed to have a moment of extreme freak-out during the first week when the calendars, schedules, and lists come flooding in. You WILL get through this, and you will find a way to manage it all. I promise.
- Develop a plan for when schedules don’t match. Hopefully your kids’ (or your schedule if you are a teacher) schedules will mostly match as far as breaks and times off, but if not, consider your game plan ahead of time. Will you use those days as special one-on-one time with one child individually? Will you line up childcare? This doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem if you account for it ahead of time. How about the nights when your son’s band concert is at the same time as your daughter’s Fall carnival? Will you attend one and your husband the other? Are there grandparents in town who can lend a hand? Maybe — gasp — you’ll skip an event? That is actually okay to do once in awhile.
- Develop a system for all the papers, emails, and calendars. The papers that come flooding in will surely drown a mother’s desk. These days, more is done via email, which is awesome but sometimes stuff can be lost in spam world if we aren’t careful. The sooner I know about dates and events, the sooner I can make necessary plans.
How to keep track of schedules and school papers. **Helpful Organizing Tips!!!**
Step 1: I gather together all the papers the kids receive in the first week 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. If you are into color coding, go for it. I have found pencil works best for me so I can make necessary changes. I LOVE the Erin Condren calendar system and have been using it for several years now. (Click this link to get a $10 coupon.)
Step 2: Each of my children has a file. After I mark all the important dates on my calendar, I put all the necessary papers in their folder. This way I can reference it throughout the year. I also stick papers in there as they come, such as upcoming field trip information that sometimes comes several weeks in advance. My children who have IEPs or medical needs have more than one folder because there’s so much paperwork.
Step 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).
Step 4: 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.
While not easy, it is possible to stay organized with kids in different schools. God will strengthen you for this important task!
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7
What have you found helpful to stay organized during the school year?