Back-to-School Organization Tips

It’s that time of the year again where summer is done and our kids either groan with the thought of another school year upon them or can’t wait to get back to seeing their friends.  Regardless of how our kids feel about school, there are things we can do to help them start and stay organized for the school year.  Here are a few of the back-to-school organization tips to help your kids start the year right and ready to take on learning.

Use binders over pre-separated notepads

People love the notepads that are already separated, yet they are often highly impractical for children in school, especially older students.  The reason being that most children will (a) get a lot of handouts that they’ll need to fit in specific places and (b) will run out of space in the pre-set limits of these types of notepads.  We have experienced the hell that is trying to stay organized with my stepson using these notepads.  Sheets would fall out and get lost, new notepads would be needed for some subjects but not others and all in all it was a mess.

Instead I highly recommend the good old fashioned binder with dividers.  I know it may not seem “cool”, but it’s high time it became cool again.  With the binder, the sections needed for each subject aren’t set and can grow as much as your child needs.  Your child also has space to add handouts (and add them in the right spot).  It’s also nice to be able to use any paper you can find and add it in where you need it.  If you child runs out of paper one day in school, it’s easy to ask someone for a spare sheet and just fit it in the binder.  Not as easy with the pre-separated notepads.

Make sure your child has a day planner

Some schools provide day planners/agendas for kids, but if your school doesn’t, your child needs one and the earlier kids get used to using them, the more likely they are to use them appropriately as they get into junior high and high school where they really need to be able to organize their time.  The key to a good agenda is to make sure it has a whole week visible when open so your child can conceptualize the week as a whole.  It’s also helpful if there is a month page for each month so your child can see even more ahead as needed.

Invest in a three-hole punch

Every home with a child in school in it should have a three-hole punch.  Not a one-hole punch (unless you think you'll need it for cardboard or stock paper), but the three-hole one that means each time your child gets a handout or uses a sheet that may not have the right hold spacing, they can make sure their sheets still make it into their binders in the right spot.

I have noticed more kids deciding to invest instead in a folder to keep all handouts in.  Although it can be nice to just easily squash it in, often it becomes more difficult come study time to determine exactly which handout was covered where or, if looking at notes to study, to know if there even is a handout you should be looking at in addition to notes.  Although this is less likely a problem for a highly organized student, those that tend to suffer a bit in the organizational department will suffer particularly when it comes to this.

Date each page of work or notes

One thing all children should get used to doing is dating their notes or work.  It’s a simple thing, but can really make a difference come study time as students who haven’t dated their notes may not notice missing pages or know exactly where studying starts and ends for a particular test.  Another good reason is if the dreaded ‘everything falls out of the binder’ happens and students need to re-organize their binders.  Without dates to lead you, that can become a horrible, horrible task.  (We know.)


There you go.  A few tips to keep in mind when starting the school year.  Remember that starting out organized can make the entire year much easier!

By Tracy Cassels

September 07, 2015