Back to school – getting organised for the Autumn Term

Finally the Summer Holidays are over and it’s time to get organised for the Autumn Term ahead.   Here’s some of the things that have helped me.

Your diary is your friend

The first thing I did when I got the school calendar was to work my way through it with the house diary in front of me.  I made a note under the appropriate day of all events for Year 7 (yes, my daughter has started secondary school this week..) such as Parents Evening.  I also emailed my husband with the dates so that he could add them to his work calendar. This means that I know not to book a Girls Night Out when we are meant to be at the Christmas Concert for example.  I usually add anything required for that day as well eg for the mouthguard fitting, I am going to send in a copy of the mouthguard company’s confirmation email so I have made a note of that.

Timetable

I usually try and make a copy of my children’s school timetables just so that I can remind them eg about PE kit.  It is a very good idea to get a copy of the homework timetable as well to try and stop the first thing in the morning ‘I forgot to do my Maths homework’ panic!  I do think children should learn to be responsible for organising themselves but the odd parental nudge does help to avoid some of the stress.

Pack the schoolbag the night before

I try and make sure that the children pack their school bags for the next day the night before and then leave them in the hall ready for the morning dash.  There still always seems to be a missing item that is only thought of as we are going out the front door but at least we are most of the way there.

Get uniform ready the night before

We try and remember to hang up the next day’s uniform the night before.  And I mean all the uniform including socks or tights so that I know in good time if I need to do a quick wash and dry of any item. It also means you will notice if anything is missing and can remind your child to go to lost property to see if it has been handed in.

Clubs and other extra-curricular activities

I have tried various ways of keeping track of what needs to be taken in on what day for any activities outside normal lessons.  For several years, I put together a day chart with a list for each day but as mentioned in an earlier post, it was too complicated.   I made a simpler one and will probably use it again this term depending on how many clubs etc my daughter signs up for as it is a good reminder.  Or I may just write it all in the diary even though it is a bit boring writing ‘7:45 Netball Club’ every Thursday.  This worked well last year as I could see at a glance what was on every day and plan around whatever I needed to do that day.

School notes

Notes seem to start as soon as they get back!  As soon as you get the note, fill in any forms required and put in their school bag or give to them to do it.  I have found that ‘leaving until later’ means ‘out of sight, completely out of mind’.  I file the info part of the note in a transparent plastic folder with the date written on top and in date order (oldest to newest).   I then put the event in the house diary together with any key info eg for Jeans for Genes day, I add a note ‘needs £1’.  I usually also check the filed note a few days before to see if there is anything else needed.

Once the event has been and gone, I recycle the note and the next one in date order is then at the top.  (Thanks to my sister, Jane, for this – it works brilliantly).

And that’s it for now.  Happy Autumn Term!

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Half-term – get ahead!

I don’t know about you but it feels like the term has hardly started when suddenly the children are off again!

I am really looking forward to having no school run and to spending some relaxing time with the kids but I also want to make sure I am ready for Monday week.

Here is my, thankfully, very short checklist for half-term -

1) Wash uniform and sports kit NOW at the beginning of the holiday rather than at the end.  It means you can check that it is all there and prevents that ‘oh why won’t this sports kit dry?’ moment on the Sunday evening before the kids go back.

2) Check that everything still fits – if you bought new shoes and trainers in September, your children may already have outgrown them if they are having a growth spurt. Better to get to the shoe shops now than in the going back to school rush the weekend before.

3) Homework –  personally I think that primary school children shouldn’t be given homework in the holidays but some schools do set projects or expect them to catch up on missed or unfinished work. When asking about homework, it is usually worth checking homework books as well.  I find that the answer ‘not much’ can actually mean a project to construct a working volcano or something equally time-consuming.  Better to get the homework out of the way at the beginning rather than the last minute panic on Sunday afternoon.

4) Revision – some teenagers may have (mock) exams after half-term.  You need to check that they have some kind of revision plan and are actually revising – although this can mean bracing yourself for a lot of moaning and groaning !

If you are looking for somewhere to go with the children, try your local Mumsnet or NetMums.

Whatever you do, have fun!!!

 

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Back to school – 4 ways to get ahead

So, here is a quick list of things to think about:

1.            Uniform/sports kit – wash it

I got round to washing uniform and sports kit yesterday which felt a bit odd as it was so near Christmas but now it is done.  Hurrah.

2.            Uniform/sports kit – does it fit?

My daughter has had a real growth spurt over the last year, I have had to replace virtually her whole wardrobe every 3 or 4 months which is a bit disheartening.  But, much as I would like to avoid any post-Christmas spending (!), I will be making her try on shoes and trainers tomorrow as well as checking whether her uniform still fits.  That gives us a week then to buy new ones as required.

And if you have a child in years 12 or 13, you probably need to get their suit dry-cleaned (and buy yet another replacement pair of trousers – aaaggh!  He played basketball at lunchtime in his suit…

3.            Day chart

I did put together a daily chart for ‘everything that we need to remember for school’ for each day but it didn’t really work as I made it too complicated.  So, before my children go back this term, I am going to create a much simpler chart and USE IT!   I do write everything in our house diary so mostly we did remember most things but I think any help in avoiding that dash back to school with PE Kit is worth doing.

4.            Homework/revision

They may not have mentioned it but it is worth checking with your children (and, depending on their age, going through their bookbag to check) whether they had any homework set for the holidays.  My daughter missed a few days of school in the last 2 weeks of term and she has to complete a comprehension that she missed out on. I know she has forgotten about it so am going to pick my moment to ensure it is done before she returns to school.

Older children may have mocks or other exams in January so a bit of revision may be needed.  Good luck with that one!

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