Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to Get Thru the Parent Homework (i.e. back-to-school paperwork)

My desk (i.e. kitchen counter) is full of papers and calendars and reminders and notices.  All stuff that has to be read and filled out and returned for school and extra-curricular activities.  With four kids in three different schools (elementary, middle and high school) there’s quite the assortment and very few duplicates.  I’ve piled it all up and will sit with a cup of coffee, my calendars, checkbook (you know that's got to be in there), envelopes, and folders and sort it all out.  It’s all part of the back-to-school parent routine.

For all the forms required for school, a copy machine and/or scanner is one of my favorite tools for trying to keep some order.  I copy everything!
  • Health forms - At your kids' pediatrician appointments, ask for the school required paperwork then, especially the sports clearances, even if you think your child will never play a sport.  Make a copy and send this to school when requested; save the original at home.  This saves the trouble of going back to the pediatrician (and paying for another copy plus a rush fee) when needed.  Its also helpful to have one on hand when I need to know when was their last tetanus shot.
  • Emergency forms - How many times can you write your name, address, and phone number?! If you have kids in the same school with the same forms, fill in the basics – home address, parent phone number, etc. – make copies of the form, then fill in each child’s name, teacher, other personal info on his/her copy.  Make a copy of all of them and file them away, just in case it gets "lost" (middle-schoolers especially are known to lose important papers in their backpacks). 
  • Absent/tardy notes.  I have a pre-printed, fill-in absent/tardy note that I created myself, a version for each child.  Pre-printed is the child’s name, teacher’s name (for the elementary students; blank for the middle-schoolers), my name and contact information.  Then I have a check-off list of why they were absent or late, why they need to be excused early, and a blank for anything else I need to mention.  They are especially handy when we’re running late – who has time to write a note?
Dear Teacher....

And all those checks?  I probably go through a whole checkbook in the month of September - PTA dues, lunch money, early quarter field trips, payments for year-end field trips, sports uniforms, spiritwear.  I know my kids and there's no way that I can hand them a pile of checks and expect that they will get to  the correct person in the correct office.  Each check and accompanying paper goes into its own clearly marked envelope.  

Considering the mountain of paper involved in back-to-school, I do try to recycle and reduce paper uses as much as I can.  A few ways, other than putting all the stuff I don't need in the recycling bin:
  • Make 2-sided copies
  • Print the absent/tardy notes on the backs of unneeded documents (old flyers, notices from school, rough drafts of school assignments)
  • Use those payment envelopes that come with the bills to send checks back to school
  • Write any necessary responses to a note on that same paper, rather than on a separate paper
Sometime during that first week of school, I make a pile for each kid, then paperclip it, put it in an envelope or put it in their homework folder, then wish them a safe journey and assume that they will make it to the appropriate school office.

This post has been updated from a previous post I wrote a few years ago.

Click here to keep Just Piddlin' with us on Facebook.

No comments: