In my carefree kid days, homework was often left behind—sometimes on my desk, in my unmade bed, or even under it, falling victim to the morning rush. And, yes, I usually left assignments for the last minute—when I remembered them at all.  Made my grades suffer and my mother gnash her teeth.  In fact, it got so bad she finally declared, “Young lady, this is my house, and I’ve had enough.”

There was no turning back.  She had me in her sights—no wiggle room.  And so she single-handedly remade my seventh grade self.  By organizing my life, her house looked better—and so did my grades and attitude.  Now I’m passing along the favor.

If big box stores like Target, Staples, Walmart, and Best Buy have their way, you’ll be heading to them right now. Amazon, too, of course. One of them is going with, “Forward to School,” but whether its forward or back, they’re all offering whopping sales on school supplies and electronics, even though it’s mid-July. When you do go…

  1. Along with a good backpack, purchase a sturdy 3-ring binder—no bells and whistles and not the expandable folder ones.
  2. Load up on notebook dividers–one for each minor subject and four for each major subject, so that notes, tests/quizzes, and returned homework each has a place and can be easily filed.
  3. Add a 2-pocket homework folder—and get a few extras, as they wear out quickly. Assignments collected in the left pocket throughout the day are then transferred to the right one upon completion, so that no work is ever lost or forgotten.
  4. Grab a 3-ring pencil/pen case, too.
  5. Include a specially designed hole puncher that fits on a binder’s three rings. Since teachers don’t always have time to punch holes, this eliminates loose papers.
  6. Go old school and buy a good assignment book, so much more effective than a mobile, tablet, or computer. Your best bet is a teacher’s lesson plan book, providing plenty of space for recording homework in every subject—and easy for you to glance at, too.
  7. Display an over-sized calendar for recording long-term assignments, such as projects and reports. These can then be broken down into manageable steps along the way, thus avoiding a last minute rush.
  8. Store such supplies as index cards, ink cartridges, poster board, and notebook paper in a box, basket, shelf, or drawer, so that everything is on hand. Replace items as needed
  9. Get an oversized notebook or box with labeled file folders for storing completed units of study once the school year gets rolling. These can then be easily retrieved for future assignments and exam prep.

And while you’re at and before those school bells really do start ringing, establish a “Drop Spot” for gathering all school materials at day’s end. Only exceptions: the bedtime reading book and pre-made lunch waiting in the fridge. That way, everything is hassle-free and ready to go.

And now, with my thanks, back to summer…