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rocketship drawn on a chalkboard behind a bundle of colorful markers, crayons

Gather supplies to organize your student’s learning

It’s that time of year again; time to start the whirlwind of activity and planning to prepare for the new school year. A favorite activity of most children is shopping for school supplies. However, don’t rush to start buying before receiving a note from school with a list of supplies your child will need. Take inventory of any supplies your child didn’t use last year; check in closets and drawers to see what you have on hand. A few basics that most elementary-aged kids need are items such as poster board, markers, glue sticks, colored pencils, number 2 pencils, scissors, lined paper and erasers. Before heading out, create a shopping list to keep impulse purchases to a minimum today’s favorite new gadget or gizmo becomes tomorrow’s clutter. Look for sales; savvy shopping saves hundreds of dollars.

Now is the time to find great deals on these items:

  • Pens and markers
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Rubber bands, paper clips, glue
  • Paper, notebooks and binders
  • Scissors
  • Stapler and staples
  • Files and folders
  • Ink and toner for printers

Once you have a surplus of supplies on hand, create a supply zone in your home where your children can access things themselves. A plastic box, like a dishpan, or a wooden wine crate, placed in the bottom of the pantry or closet are great for this.

Set up a homework station

Help your student excel at school by creating an ideal study space at home.

  • Make sure their desk or work surface is large enough to hold books, a computer, and a mouse
  • Use a surge protector for the computer and printer cords
  • Situate the desk in natural light; add a bright light for evening study sessions
  • Place a trash can and recycling container next to the desk
  • Supply an adjustable chair with padding and a supportive backrest
  • Use a binder or file box, organized by subject, to help manage assignments, study guides, tests, and projects

Your student will feel more committed to the space if allowed to make it their own by personalizing it with stickers, photos, or postcards. Use a plastic or plexiglass blotter to protect the desk surface.

The folks at about.com suggest incorporating a color coding system into the homework routine:

  • Gather colored supplies, such as highlighters, folders, notes, and stickers; select a color for each class
  • Set up your system make a mental association between the color and the class
  • Use folders to keep track of homework for each class
  • Colored flags are useful for marking reading assignments in books
  • Labels or round stickers are great for marking due dates in calendars or organizers
  • Use sticky notes for writing quotes and other notes to use in research papers

For more tips on getting your student, your schedule, and your home ready for back to school, check out ideas from:

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