How We Organize for Back-to-School with 5 Kids

I'll admit it; I'm not the most organized person.  I try "plans" all the time, but - unless they are super simple and require very little follow-up - I'm not likely to follow through.  After working with the kids all summer on ways to coordinate a half-time school schedule, busy summer chores, and the preparation of adding a 6th child to our household, however, I think I have a few methods that work really well for us.

Here is how I organize our home, homeschool, and work with everyone under one roof!

1. Maintain a Family Calendar.

Everyone has their own individual planners, but I require a large monthly calendar for everyone to mark events that would affect the whole family.  Conference calls that require my husband to take the kids outside, doctor's appointments, trips, or holidays all go on this calendar.  It doesn't have to be fancy; you can get an affordable wall calendar to hang in a common area for under $10.

2.  Assign Individual Goals for the Kids.

Kids need to have expectations set daily, and they need to be consistent from day to day.  I assign each child a set of chores/tasks that need to be done each day, as well as a few extra tasks that would help the family as a whole, but don't have to be done.  I use simple chore charts found online, or some tear-out pages from a chore chart workbook.  If the kids get a certain number checked off each week, we do something special as a family (like an ice-cream outing!)

3. User Binders.

Each child in the 4th grade and up gets their own binder.  Here, I put their weekly assignment sheets, blank book report forms, notebooks, and worksheets for the week.  It's easy for them to have everything they need for an entire week's worth of work, and they can take it with them wherever they go (like in the car or their room.)  This keeps them working when they can, and helps them learn to be responsible for their own school work and schedule.  These Five Star zipper binders are a hit with my son (and includes a pouch for pencils, pens, sharpeners, etc.)

4.  Keep Books Organized.

We own a lot of books.  It's important, when you have over 12 books per child per school year, that they have a method to how they are stored.  We have one "textbook shelf" for the current year's books, with each shelf housing the books for each student.

Special books, like our list of bedtime reads, are stored on a smaller, special shelf (like the one shown below):

Kids are instructed to return their books when they are done with them.  No exceptions.  It saves a lot of time when you're not looking for books!

While our school year has just started, we've been through this before.  Holding kids accountable is difficult if there isn't some kind of structure put into place.  Doing just these few things is affordable, simple, and keeps things where you can find them!

As you head back to school, are there methods that work well for your family?  Whether you homeschool or send them to school, many of the items that have helped us get organized can be found at your local Walmart!

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I've received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.