Monday, November 21, 2011

Organizing our schoolbooks

"Schoolbooks."  "Organizing."

Ah.  Yes, that.  If you are anything like me you may want to run screaming when those two words find themselves together.

See, as you probably noticed when I posted the picture of the master bedroom, I'm not really the "born organized" type.  Any organization I possess is by virtue of sheer necessity of survival.

In this case, even with only two in school, we had constant issues with misplaced notebooks, books, pencils, you name it.  It was a hugely frustrating time waster.  What drives any parent more insane than to endure one's own flaws replicated over and over in one's children??  I mean, how can I harp on my 12 year old for losing her notebook nearly every day, when I frequently lose equally important items?  See my problem?

So this year, with Kid #3 coming up into first grade, I decided it was time to try something new.  For many years, this was our school shelf.  It held all schoolbooks, notebooks, teacher manuals, pencils boxes, and all for the current year.  The problem was, one child rummaging through for her things would move someone else's.  Or one child would forget to put her books away, and someone else would put them in the wrong place, either on or off the shelf.

This year we are trying this:

Each child of school age has their own basket.  Everyone knows to whom each basket belongs.  The only items permitted in school baskets are books, notebooks, and planners that are in current use.  That means, not just this year, but this week!  That keeps the baskets from getting overloaded.

Other materials, like books needed later in the year, teacher's manuals, test books, answer keys, dictionaries, pencil boxes, etc, still go on the old friendly school shelf.  The school shelf is located near the kitchen, so I commandeered the top shelf for cookbooks.  I didn't clean it up totally for the picture; you can see some cooking magazines trying to escape. 

Notice the pencil sharpener bolted to the school shelf - after electric ones breaking and little hand ones going missing, I bought an old public-school style sharpener on ebay and bolted it right to the shelf.  I love it. It never breaks and it never gets lost.

So far the baskets have worked great.  Everyone knows where their own things go, and they know where other people's things go, too, so at the frenzied evening cleanup, things mostly end up in the right place.  We have had much less lost-book frustration this year - which makes for happier and more effective school days.

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