I was contacted recently on behalf of Office Max and Peter Walsh to see if I would be interested in attending a Back to School Organizational Blogcast. Being the unorganized mess that I am, I figured it would be perfect. After all, being a homeschooling mom, I have to be even more organized than other moms. I have to figure out how to maintain a household and keep the schoolwork organized and put away differently than kids that are “mobile offices.” (That how Peter Walsh referred to them, and I love that term!)
When it comes to Back to School, there are 3 areas that need organization:
- The Home
- The Kids
- The Classroom
I’m going to give you Peter’s tips for organizing these 3 areas, and my thoughts on each of them.
First, The Home.
- Find the Vision You Have For a Space.
- Make Organization a Family Value.
- Use the Right Tools for Great Organization.
One idea that Peter put out there was that Clutter makes it tough to study well and stresses parents out too! By starting with a clean slate, and getting the entire family excited about (and accepting of) organization, your home will be a much better place for kids to study and work hard. As a homeschooling mom, I fear that this is my downfall. I have never been good at organization, and our teeny-tiny cluttered house definitely shows that. I’ve got some ideas in mind, though, and I’ll be talking about that with you soon!
Second, The Kids.
- Show that YOU Value Organization.
- Establish Clear Limits and Routines.
- Always Finish the Cycle and Complete a Task.
By creating organization with your kids’ lives, you will relieve stress and create confidence. Be sure to set ground rules for organization and expect everyone to follow them. Use labels and purge often. Color coding is another great way to keep kids’ work separated and easy to find. And in the mornings, give yourself adequate time. Now, this was one area where I actually do well when it comes to the kids. On days that we are homeschooling, the kids are up at a certain time, we have breakfast, and start our day. We follow a routine as strictly as possible. Everything takes place in the kitchen, and we have our set times for everything. I do my best to stick to that routine and I’ve noticed that it really does help the kids.
Lastly, The Classroom
- Establish Clear Routines (getting work to and from school properly, etc.)
- Involve the Kids with Classroom Organization.
- Use Words, Pictures, and Colors to Help Organize.
This is one area that I really need help in. Because our classroom is our home, I don’t have many options. When I asked for some tips to help homeschoolers with this, Peter Walsh deferred to @tweenteacher for an answer. She suggested that we separate school and home. Well, honey, while that’s a fabulous idea, it just isn’t going to happen in my teeny-tiny 600 sq foot home. Luckily, @MyFourMonkeys has the same problem. (Not lucky that she has the same problem, but lucky that she knew the next question to ask!) She asked:
@Peter_Walsh There are many homeschoolers that don’t have the space available to have a separate school space. Suggestions? #OMX_Blogcast
What a fantastic question! Peter’s response was to take advantage of vertical space… bookshelves, etc will really help out. And, again, Routines and Purging are critical. I’m so glad Angie took the time to ask him that! I love the tips!
The entire blogcast was awesome. Chock full of tips for any mom who is gearing up for back-to-school. Whether you’re homeschooling or sending your kids back to school for the year, you could learn something from this blogcast. If you didn’t get to see the blogcast, you can view it here:
If that doesn’t work, you can click here.
Oh, and definitely head to twitter and search the hashtag #OMX_Blogcast. You’ll find more great organizational tips and more fantastic people you must meet while you’re searching! (@bonggamom is an excellent one to follow!)
If you want to connect with any of the blogcast host & panelists, use these links:
- Peter Walsh: Twitter.com/Peter_Walsh and Peter’s Facebook Page
- OfficeMax: Twitter.com/OfficeMax and School Supplies Deals
- Heather Wolpert-Gawron: Tween Teacher blog
- Ana Picazo: Finding Bonggamom
I’ll post my review of some fantastic new back-to-school supplies from Office Max shortly. AND, because of this blogcast, I’m going to be taking on my own organizational challenge and get my house ready for another year of homeschooling. Anyone else care to join me? There will be before and after pictures, and I will be doing a *lot* of throwing away. Who’s up for the challenge?