Stomp, STOMP, STOMP! ROOOOOAAAAAAR! Everyone watch out because Momzilla is on the loose! Nothing brings her out faster than when everyone’s school stuff magically goes missing. Unfortunately, homeschool organization has always been my nemesis. Then I figured out the ‘backpack method’ and it has saved my sanity!
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The good new is, the backpack method can keep Momzilla from visiting your family, too! It’s just 3 simple steps.
The Backpack Method
- Get your backpacks
- Sort your supplies
- Create a routine
Get Your Backpacks
I know this seems pretty self-explanatory, and it kind of is. Buying your backpacks is the first step. There are a few things to consider, though.
First, you want to make sure the backpack is a relatively good size for your child. An 8 year old is going to have a hard time with a backpack that would fit a teenager. At the same time, those adorably tiny Minnie Mouse backpacks might be a bit snug on your 16 year old (even though that would make for a hilarious ‘back to school’ picture).
Fitting your child isn’t the only size consideration. You also need to make sure it fits the kinds of things you’ll be putting in it. For example, my kids can still easily fit those smaller backpacks. The cute ones that kindergartners tend to use can fit their bodies just fine. What they can’t fit is a standard-sized clipboard. When you read my post on homeschooling with a chronic illness you’ll see that I’m a big fan of Netflix school. Clipboards are an integral part of those days, so any backpack we get needs to fit them. Whatever it is you use for school, be sure it can fit into your backpack.
Nobody wants to have to repurchase their homeschool organization system every year simply because the backpack has died. The good news is that these backpacks aren’t going to get kicked around a school bus or shoved into a locker. That means they won’t get the same wear and tear that normally happen. Even so, you’re going to want something sturdy.
While you can go ‘high end’ (aka, high price), you can get durable backpacks that won’t break the bank. Here are a few of my favorites.
Raise your hand if you loved picking out new school supplies as a kid. *shamelessly raises hand* It was seriously the BEST part of each school year. Somehow it felt like choosing just the right color and design would set the right tone for the whole year!
This is a great chance to let your kids have a bit of fun! Have them choose a backpack that fits their personalities. Whether you have a budding artist or an extraordinary Minecrafter there is a backpack that is perfect for them! It’s also a great chance to give them a bit of control over their school year.
While you’re helping your kids choose backpacks, be sure to pick one up for yourself. It’s a great way to keep your own homeschooling supplies contained and organized. Plus, you get to pick out fun new supplies, too!
Sort Your Supplies
As a homeschooler there are the key things you use on a daily or weekly basis, and those things that you only need from time to time (or that you won’t be ready for till later in the year). The backpack is not for occasional or future supplies. So, the next step is to sort through your supplies and curriculum to figure out what will go in the backpack.
What kinds of things should go into your kids’ backpacks?
- The basics– crayons, pens, pencils, paper, glue, etc.
- Workbooks & Notebooks– Whatever you use in your school.
- Books– Novels, textbooks, and research materials that you use frequently.
For your own backpack influde things like:
- Read aloud books
- Bible/Story Bible
- Teacher’s guides
- Pens and pencils
- Secret stash of chocolate (I swear this is an essential daily supply, trust me)
Anything else store away until you need it.
Create A Routine
Starting an organization system without creating a plan to maintain it is setting yourself up for frustration. Routines are a key part of keeping your homeschool organization on track. Start by getting your own backpack in order. If you’re like a lot of us homeschoolers your current system includes piles of things on various pieces of furniture, most of which are precariously close to an avalanche! Now is the chance to set a good example by organizing your part of the supplies.
Once your backpack is situated help your kids organize theirs. Decide together what things go in the backpack, where to put them in the bag, and where to store their backpacks. Once you’ve got a plan in place it’s time to practice. Practice, practice, and more practice is how you create a routine (especially if organization isn’t your natural style).
Checklists are the best way to reinforce a routine. They give you a visual reminder of what needs to be done. Make a checklist for your children of what should go into their backpacks. Keep it pretty general with items like ‘reading book’ and ‘workbooks’. Protect your checklist by laminating it. Then it won’t die a quick and painful death int he depths of the backpack! 😀
Maintaining Your Routine
Organizing your backpack is only half the battle. The real test is keeping it organized! Making it part of your daily routine will take care of that.
At the end of last school year my kids were STRUGGLING with keeping their supplies organized and their rooms tidy. They were overwhelmed and couldn’t seem to figure out where to start or what to do. In an act of pure desperation and frustration I hopped on my computer and made them an easy to follow checklist. It worked! Suddenly they knew exactly what was expected. The small steps made the process manageable. Including a step to put their school things in their backpacks ensured that they always knew where their supplies were. Homeschool organization stopped being my nemesis and all was right with the world again (okay, maybe not EVERYTHING, I’m not a magician)!
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Homeschool Organization The Easy Way
I have found that there are two types of people in the world. The first is the ‘Martha Stewart Type’. They are naturally organized and tend to say things like, “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Then there are the rest of us. We tend to construct our world out of piles and slightly controlled chaos. The people in the first group often have amazing, elaborate organization systems. For people in the second group, trying to keep up with the Martha Stewarts of the world is just going to leave you feeling overwhelmed.
If you’re not a naturally organized person, don’t make yourself crazy trying to use a complicated system. Keep it simple! Homeschool organization shouldn’t leave you feeling like a failure! The backpack method is perfect because keeping everything contained in one bag will save space and save your sanity. Momzilla can go away (and STAY away), because everyone will know exactly where their stuff is!
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