Whether school is starting soon or a few months from now, it is important for us to be on our game and always be planning ahead. Planning ahead preps us for what's to come and allows us to flow into that season with ease rather than coming in hot feeling stressed.
In one moment I am sad to see summer leave. The freedom my kids have in their days, the laughing I hear while I am working and oh yeah....sleeping in! I really don't want that to go away for any of us. However, I don't think I'm alone on this one. I am ok with routines and school schedules to be back on our radar. There is something to be said about a schedule, it gives me so much peace when the calendar has things written on it. Now, don't get me wrong, I cringe when I see a full week of things scheduled. I like a little here and a little there. A little bit of events and a little bit of open spaces so we can have the freedom to do things that make us happy. So when I say I love structure. I am basically meaning, medium structure. I love having the freedom to fill in the white spaces with whatever we want to fill it with. "Structure is Freedom."
When my daughter first started school, I felt clueless. I'm sure like many mom's right? I had no idea what to expect, and felt like I had to get my kiddo all brand new things and basically make sure she had everything on that school supply list and then some. I mean, it's not completely out of the norm to be like this right? Well let me tell you, I would panic if we couldn't find the dry eraser for the marker board because they would all be gone already, and I already waited until last minute to go school supply shopping. I would think to myself, what will my daughter do if she is the only one who didn't have an eraser? Will she get teased? Will I get a note home from the teacher?
The next year, I felt like if she was missing 1 crayon from the box of 24 I would have to buy a brand new box so she had all the colors. Please tell me i'm not alone.
In all honesty, she was fine. No note was ever sent home and she made it through the year just fine. The next few years, the panic was less and less as the years went on and I learned to just go with it. If your kiddo needed more supplies throughout the year, they would tell you but It's not the end of the world. As Americans I feel like we over consume. So, anytime I have a chance to reuse something until it's no longer in use then that is what I will do.
However, the whole point of this blog is to teach you how to start taking control of your own school supplies by teaching you my back to school system. Are you ready for it? Eek....me too!
Side note: If you haven't started any kind of system for back to school yet, do not stress! There is still plenty of time for you to get started. We will start backwards and then move to the beginning so you can get the clear picture.
End of the School Year
I go through my kids backpacks, and trapper keepers. We go through everything, even notebooks and save anything we can for the next school year. So anything that is reusable, we will hang onto. Notebooks, tear out all the pages that have writing on them.
Pencils, pens, markers and highlighters, if it's broken or doesn't work any longer, throw it. If it is still usable, keep it. Sort out all the pens, pencils, markers and highlighters into separate piles, then store them into separate ziplock
bags or containers. This will make
searching for 2 red pens and 4 highlighters a whole lot easier next year. If their backpacks can be used again another year, throw them in the washer and call it good. Here are the totes I like to use when storing school supplies.
Beginning of the School Year
When it's time to start back to school shopping, I print off my school list and grab my totes. The kids will start picking things out they want to use and I check off the boxes. You wouldn't believe some of the memories that pop up
in their head while going through their own school supplies. I absolutely love sitting on the sidelines watching and listening to their stories. If there is anything on the list that we need, I highlight it.
This year going through the lists, my son who is going into 3rd grade only needed 3 things. My daughter who is going into 8th grade, only needed 3 things as well. I did the math and I saved over 175 dollars!! Mind you, that is for school supplies only, but hey, I consider that a HUGE win!
I have one more piece of advice for you mama. Stop stressing over all the supplies and things your kids have or don't have. Get what they need and let the rest go. I too, remember school and being picked on for things I didn't have or who had the coolest pens and scrunchies. But I also remember a lot of the good parts of school and I try to keep my focus on that instead of all the things I wish I had. We as parents can only do so much with our kids, but let's be honest, we can't fight their battles for them at school. So just like anything else we prep our kids for, prep them to be kind to everyone but stand up for themselves. Prep them to be happy with what they already have and work for things they want. We will not only stay on budget, but we will also teach our kids how things can hold value with more than one use. Teaching our kids to reuse things rather than throwing them away is teaching them about recycling in a hands on kind of way.
So there you go, you now have a back to school system that you can use and move forward with to calm your own back to school chaos. I would love to know how this blog touched your heart. I'd love for you to leave me a comment.