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Organizing Your School YearStudent Organization

I have tried many different ways to organize my school year.  The first couple of years I really didn’t set everything up for the year.  I winged the first two years and then switched to a curriculum that forced me to organize.  My oldest son, Matthew, used to be very anxious about what work he needed to get done that day.  I bought a 10 drawers organizer and put it behind his seat at the table.  I used the “Workbox System” by Sue Patrick.  I signed up for the yahoo group years ago and was able to download all the labels I needed to set up the system.  It was a lot of work (mainly because I can be a perfectionist and laminated EVERYTHING).  I even took a picture of Matthew and his brother, Joshua, and printed out an official name tag.  I color coded all 10 drawers in the workbox.  Matthew loved red and Joshua was blue.  I color coded everything!  I color coded their name tags, all their Velcro tags, and even their pencil boxes!

I will dive into how to set up a Workbox in another post.  The Workbox System did not work well for Matthew because he was too anxious about having so many boxes.  He did not care if two boxes were empty.  It was just too overwhelming for him.

Simplifying School

The next year I wanted to make something close to the Workbox System, but less overwhelming.  I came up with binders.  One of my friends told me she converted her Workbox System into a portable file box.  It gave me the idea of just using a 3” binder.  Once again I color coded my binders for each child.  Matthew continued to be red and Joshua continued to be blue.  I color coded their pencil boxes too.  One thing I have learned about my children is if I do not color code their pencil boxes (or other stuff), it will be a fight over whose pencil box it is.

I bought a standard 8 subject dividers with a single pocket for each child’s binder.  Once I got all my school subjects, I went one by one and tore out all the pages in the workbooks and hole punched them and stuck them in the binder for that subject.  I would just go one subject at a time until I was done.  I would buy them the Crayola colored crayons that roll up.  I love those because you do not have to worry about breaking the crayon or looking for a crayon sharpener.

For the last couple of years, the binder approach has been great!  The kids know where all their papers are and where to put them back too.  It is a lot less overwhelming for Matthew and Joshua to have their binders ready to go.

I put a lot of prep time every year into their binders.  Last year I took them to the lake and took school pictures of them for their binders.  Now they have a fancy front cover for their binders.  I kept their binders a secret this year.  They did not know I was going to make a fun school picture for the front of their binder.  They did not even know what colors their binders were going to be.  It was a complete surprise.  They loved it!  They were so excited to run downstairs and see all the fun stuff they got for the year.


It always amazes me the simplicity sometimes with my kids.  I didn’t do anything over the top.  But the smile on their faces and their thank you’s were memorable. If you want an easy way to set up your year, please try this.  I hope it works as well for you as it does for me!

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