Around the country, families are sharpening number two pencils, buying backpacks and getting fresh haircuts for the annual return to school. With two busy high schoolers in my home, I’ve been examining ways to help get myself and my boys more organized.
This week, I thought I’d brainstorm a few ideas for using technology and other organizational tools help me get our family’s act together. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Establish a family calendar at Google Calendar. I have the ability to set up a family calendar and “share” it with my husband Greg and sons Eric and Adam. Since all of us use Gmail, this calendar will be easily accessible every time we’re online. Greg and I can also access the family calendar from our iPhones.
- Simplify family finances. I’m looking for ways to reduce paper in our lives, so I’m paying as many bills as possible with online banking. Our almost 18 year old Eric now has a student debit card that we can closely monitor during this, his last year at home before heading off to college. Since our accounts are linked together, I can oversee and help manage Eric’s account from one centralized location. This will also help him gain budgeting skills prior to departing for college.
- Purchase school supplies online. I’ve been searching for bargains on some of the many supplies the boys will need this year. I’ll also be purchasing some used books on Amazon once we receive their syllabi and reading lists from teachers.
- Spice up school lunches. Teens can be almost as choosy as toddlers, and coming up with creative lunch ideas is tricky for children of any age. I love the article “Beyond Peanut Butter and Jelly” at Faith & Family Live and the article School Lunches at KidsHealth.org for information on nutrition and safety.
- Get connected. I’ve added my sons’ school website to my favorites, downloaded the annual calendar, and added the principal, high school counselor and a few selected teachers to my email contacts. I’m also prepared to closely monitor the boys’ grades and attendance on “Power School” and have set myself a weekly reminder alert to make this a regular routine. I have configured the system to notify me if the boys are late or tardy, or if their grades drop by a certain percentage.
- Learn with the Library. We love our public library system and are frequent users. With online account access, we can quickly and easily reserve books, renew items we’ve checked out, or research events that are coming up at our local library branches.
My brainstorming list is certainly not complete, but I’m off to a great start towards being more organized this school year. What tools help you prepare for the school year ahead, whether your children are homeschooled or attend traditional schools? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for making the “Back to School” transition a more sane and happier time of the year.