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Back to School Strategies

I've spent the last two weeks getting ready for school. Not for me to go to school, but for my two girls. Of course, there was the requisite new school clothes shopping. Not only do I have girls who like clothes, but my older daughter grew six feet this summer, or so it seems! Nothing fits!

Then, there's the whole school supplies issue. "No, you can't have a new backpack. This one is only two years old and in good shape." "Yes, you can have a new lunchbox as your old one is falling apart." "No, Kathryn, YOU do not need a new lunchbox; yours is fine." Oh, and then the REAL school supplies!

We spent the day before school doing all this and more. I find that I do a kind of nesting thing and get my house in order before school starts. Some of what I did to get ready for the start of school:

-Went through last year's school papers and culled the ones I wanted to keep. I then put those in 2-gallon Ziploc baggies (they're big and just the perfect size for this), and labeled them with each child's name, year, and grade. Sigh. Now the collecting starts all over. (Note: I don't save every paper, just the ones I think I want to keep. Then I go through those and select the very best ones.)

-Retyped my emergency numbers list and my frequently called numbers list. With people moving and cell phone changes, it was looking pretty messy.

-Cleared the family bulletin board of last year's ribbons, notes, pictures, and more. We start the new school year with a clean slate 'as clean as we can get.

-Updated the weekly family calendar. This is a paper calendar I print out each week. It has space to put what we're eating for dinner (for those rare nights that I actually cook 'isn't that a hoot? I produce a great snacks book, but I hate to cook dinner. It's because it's not nearly as much fun to cook dinner as it is to create after school snacks!), reminders for piano practice, who is responsible for taking the kids to their activities, etc.

-Because I think it might help some other moms and dads out there, I've added our weekly calendar and instructions on how I use it on my site at Feel free to download it and customize it for your own family's use.

So, we started school with a bang 'and an organized environment (at least as it relates to school. Don't look in my closets!). We're ready!

About the Author
Dawn Goldberg is a Certified Virtual Assistant, COO of Assist University, mother, community leader, and former teacher. Her vision is to create a resource that helps parents find ways to enjoy valuable, constructive time with their children every day. Contact her at or visit


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