Yes, we’re homeschoolers.
And yes, technically, we’re back to school already. But, most of our activities or classes haven’t started yet. Soon.
Several years ago, I learned to prepare ahead of time for this season. New schedules bring their own kind of chaos until everything becomes a little more routine.
September can often be the setting for the perfect storm – cranky and tired kids, worn-out Mom, and an upside-down household. Not quite the domestic serenity I’m hoping to achieve.
10 Ways I’m Preparing for Back to School Days
So! Here’s the plan I’ve been slowly chipping away at:
1. Create new menu plans
The goal for school months is for all breakfasts and lunches to be planned monthly. That is, I take each day of the week and assign it a meal. Every Monday we have ____, every Tuesday ___ for both breakfast and lunch.
The next month, I switch it all up!
What about dinners? Well, this is where I’m eclectic – I plan these weekly based on requests from the family, my new Pinterest find, our schedule, etc.
2. Stock up on groceries
I usually purchase ahead of time ALL groceries necessary for these breakfast & lunch meals in September.
At the end of a month, I make a new plan and shop again all at once. Sometimes, the menu may be based on any sales I’ve found along the way. I also stock up on as many pantry staples as I can.
3. Lots of freezer cooking
This is my current focus – to make a list and begin the freezer cooking plan.
Again, this works well with our menu plan. For example, if I assign hamburger soup as Wednesday’s lunch, then all of the soup for the month can be made at once, and then frozen.
4. Stock up on household basics
This practice I learned to do when my husband traveled for work. Here’s a general list of what I’m stocking up on for the fall:
- all cleaning products - we make some of our own cleaners, but anything else, I make sure to buy ahead
- all toiletries - usually, I play the drugstore game and shop rock-bottom prices for personal items. This summer, I’ve been lax and am just starting. We’ve saved hundreds of dollars this way!
- all paper products
5. Stock up on school supplies
This I have already done - saving $53 on my stash! I’m happy to have one area complete.
6. Reorganize my home management binder
I love, love my home binder! For me, it’s more of a reference notebook. I keep schedules, contacts & emergency contacts, menu plans, reading lists, and many other things in there.
I wrote a gigantic post on just how to create a home management binder you love, so check it out for literally dozens of FREE printables and helps. This year, my planner needs to be cleaned out, and also divided up into other planners – such as for blogging.
I’ve gotten lots of requests to show you my personal binder, so I’ll try to get to this soon.
7. Organize our work spaces
I’ve almost completed this project!
We have designated areas for school work, though it really happens all over the house and yard. That’s fine, and exactly as it should be, but special (quiet) spaces are also nice to have.
So my desk, all of the children’s desks, our bookshelves and such, have received an overhaul and a good cleaning recently. I’ll share pictures soon.
8. Brush up my systems
My approach to home management is to establish simple systems to care for the daily needs of cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc.
Check out my post for a broader explanation; over at The Better Mom, I offer a list of systems to think of establishing. I’m organizing our calendar, marking off days where we’ll intentionally take pauses and breaks around activities. Yes – we do schedule our time for rest!
The weekly file folders have been cleaned out and organized. Lastly, I’m using the ebook Evernote for Moms to help bring order to lists I refer to often (nothing ultra-confidential, just everyday lists).
9. Evaluate our need for clothing & shoes, personal supplies
I think shoes are the only needs for the kiddos right now, so I’m starting there. But, I double-check backpacks, water bottles, sports gear, etc. and make sure it’s all in order.
Our bins of clothing are being pulled out, and we’ll do the annual ‘try on next season’s clothing’ fanfare.
Should be fun…
10. Train the children on NEW chores & responsibilities
We recently did our mid-year switcheroo of chores for the kids (happy dance! – from Mom, not the kids :)).
Each summer I bump them up to newer jobs, and I’m thrilled to be using My Job Chart this year – a new to us FREE program.
My teenager has her own plan, but the 10, 7 and 4 year old all use My Job Chart. So far, it’s a winner! With an app for the iPad, I set it all up for them to check off their own chores as they finish.
A SUPER way to establish morning and evening routines for kids!
Again, I’ve been working at this slowly over weeks – now, it’s time to head for the finish line!
What about you? Anything in particular you’re doing to prep?