Create a designated study space.
An essential component of setting up your child for a successful academic year is creating a dedicated study space inside your home that reflects your child's personality and learning style. Giving your child ownership in the design process will make the space much more likely to be used on a consistent basis and appreciated as a special place for studying. Note that although bedrooms are often easy solutions, they don't always make the best solutions, especially if there are distractions present like a TV, toy chest, doll collection, etc.
Start with basics like a desk, chair, bookcase, and lamp, and then let your child's interests and imagination take the lead. Make sure to include a unique bulletin board, fun desk accessories, and storage containers. Provide guidance, but be careful not to take over the process. Even the tiniest students have opinions about what they like, if only just a color preference.
If you don't have room for a desk, consider making a homemade study center like the one above to create the same focused atmosphere using any table in the house.
If your child doesn't like sitting still and prefers to move around to different parts of the house to study, a portable desktop that includes a place to store supplies is a smart option that's very easy to create.
Set up a family command center.
This is one of my favorite organization tips. Put this in your entryway and designate a spot where your kids can hang their backpacks and drop off things like permission slips or notices from school. One way to ensure that notices actually make it home to you is to label a brightly colored folder with something like "Papers for Mom" and put it in your child's backpack. You can also use your command center to post important family reminders and things that need to be returned to school with the kids.
Post a family calendar.
School-year organization is as much about calendar management as it is about every other physical organization system that you create in your home. Keep track of your family's individual and collective schedules by posting a large calendar in the entryway or kitchen. Color-coding by family member is a great way to keep track of who's doing what and when. If you prefer a digital option, however, try the popular Cozi.com app designed for busy families.
Super Organization Tip: As soon as the school calendar and extracurricular activity schedules are published (generally before the start of the school year), add important dates to the calendar so that you can start planning around them accordingly.
Organize (and ration) school supplies.
Back-to-school season is the time to take advantage of great sales and buy school supplies in bulk. One way to keep a good handle on your stock throughout the year is not to put everything you buy out all at once. It's amazing how that box of 500 pencils you buy in August can dwindle down to single digits by winter break if you're not careful. Put out a rationed amount each month and keep the rest in your secret stash until it's time to replenish.
For a fun DIY project that you can do with your child, try making these kid-friendly desk organizers from old cereal boxes.
Create a kid-friendly filing system.
Get ahead of the avalanche of papers that's heading your way soon by setting up a filing system with your child now. A good place to start is to make separate files for each subject and sub-folders within each one for classwork, homework, tests/quizzes and projects. Color-coded accordion files are a perfect way to get the job done and add a nice aesthetic touch at the same time.
Encourage your child to put subjects, dates, and page numbers on all school papers to make them easier to organize at home, and set a goal to update the files together each week. Filing is hardly fun for kids, but you can try to make it at least a little less painful by playing music in the background and/or competing to see who can finish faster. It's worth a try to get it done!
Once the school year ends, organize mementos like report cards, school pictures, and special projects in a binder to document this time in your child's life. You can download special templates by grade level here.
Plan your family meals in advance.
Cooking for your family can be a daunting task once the school year begins, but you can stay on top of it all by following the ten golden rules of family meal planning.
Above all, it's important to remember that if you are calm, organized, and optimistic about school, you can expect that he or she will follow suit.