7 Ways to Manage the First Day Mania

By the end of summer break most of us are ready for the steady cadence of school. We’ve improvised long enough. However, we also realize that we’ll miss the relaxed routine where even our scheduled events have room to slip. School and its associated activities have a much tighter grip on our time.

So we look forward to the first day of school with eager anticipation and more than a flicker of anxiety. As we watch them climb onto the bus, we’re already planning how we’ll use our quiet time at home, yet we realize that school has tightened its grip on us as well. To a large degree, their schedule is our schedule, their homework is our homework, and no matter how good or bad their teachers are, their report cards reflect our effort.

That means that buying more time in the morning and finding pieces of time throughout the day can be the difference between a harried life and an orderly routine. You can do that from day one.

  1. Try to reduce the anxiety of the unknown by visiting the school a few days early. Let your kids find their lockers, classrooms, lunchroom, library, and the office so they aren’t stressing about that on the first day.
  2. Collect any necessary school forms, make sure you’ve read and signed them, and be sure your students know where they are so they can turn them in on time.
  3. School mornings are often rushed. Reduce the hectic pace by packing backpacks the night before, ensuring homework, school projects, and gym clothes arrive at school with your kids.
  4. Fill your fridge with lunch foods so that preparing their lunch is quick, easy, and healthy.
  5. Pick out an outfit the night before. They have plenty of things to be anxious about already, the last thing they want to do is fret over their clothes. Teach them to reduce that stress by planning ahead.
  6. Fill your car with gas. If you drive your kids to school, you don’t want to stop for gas in the morning and make them late. If you’re sending your kids to school for the first time you’ll want enough fuel in your car to follow the school bus and watch your little ones walk through the door. (Don’t tell us you don’t want to.)
  7. On that note, be sure your camera and video camera are charged and that you have plenty of room on your memory cards. The first day of school is a great photo opportunity.

Once you’ve made the effort and you’re ready for the big day, all you’ll have to do is stand ready and listen for the drum. You should have no problem staying in step. Welcome back, school routine.

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Choosing The Right Planner For A Successful School Year

Choosing a planner that will get you through the rigors of the school year is a personal decision. What works for one person will definitely not work for another. We won’t begin to prescribe the perfect planner for you. Some people find a planner that works for them and they stick with it religiously, while others like to shake things up a bit. If you’re wondering what planner will work best for you, consider your schedule and your workload, then take a look at these great options:

Academic Planners

Planner by Grade

Calendars – July Start Date

FranklinCovey Planners – July Start Date

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7 Ways to Help Your Kids Transition to Their School Routine

Summer is a great respite for your kids. It gives them an opportunity to do their own thing on their own time frame. But too much freedom can make it difficult to adjust when the new school year begins. Here are some ways you can help your children transition smoothly into their school routine.

1. Stay busy.

Sign your kids up for summer activities—dance lessons, swimming lessons, piano lessons, art class, soccer, or baseball games. Giving your kids fun activities will require them to maintain a schedule. It won’t be as busy as school, but at least they won’t stop activity completely. School activities demand a lot of their time, keeping your kids active during the summer will prepare them to comply with those demands.

2. Assign daily chores.

Daily chores may not be fun for the kids, but it gives them something to do, and helps them learn the value of stewardship. Encourage them to set an alarm so they can get an early start on their chores and have more time to enjoy themselves.

3. Maintain a weekly planning session.

Even though their schedules may be lighter during the summer, maintain a weekly planning session with your kids to address their schedules and the activities they hope to accomplish before school begins. Doing this will encourage and motivate your children to do more with the time that they have.

4. Spend time teaching your kids.

Set aside a time each day to teach your kids something new. Read with them, listen to their reading, give them writing and penmanship assignments, and create math problems for them to complete. Students lose about two months of math computational skills and a significant portion of reading and spelling ability if they are left to do nothing during the summer break. But studies show that when parents take an active role during summer the loss is greatly reduced, if it happens at all.

5. Attend the public library.

Visit the library and check out some new books. Set a goal for the number of books each child will read over the summer. Ask questions as they read to make sure they comprehend the meaning of the stories. Assign a small written report or project about one or two of the books they read. Don’t simply ask them to paraphrase the book, but encourage them to write how they felt while reading the book, how they would change the ending if they could, or have them explain the characteristics they liked most about one of the characters and why.

6. Read a book and compare the movie.

Find a movie that is based on a book and read the book with your children. When you finish reading, watch the movie together and compare the things they discovered in the movie that differ from the book. Have them explain what they like best about the book and what they liked best about the movie.

7. Help them celebrate summer.

Give them an assignment to write a narrative, shoot a video, or create a visual arts project that addresses their favorite part of summer. Give them an opportunity to share their work with the family.

Doing these small activities throughout the summer, and ramping them up as you draw nearer to the start of the school year, will make the transition back into the school routine significantly easier for your kids. Their study habits will be stronger and they will be able to start the school year running.

We hope these suggestions have sparked some ideas of your own. If so, we’d love to see them in the comments below.

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Help Your Child Discover Their Planning Style

Planning is a simple skill with enormous benefits. The sooner a person develops the habit of planning, the better they’ll perform in school and in life. Show your kids how you use your planner. Teach them some basic time-management skills to help them see the importance of taking charge of their choices. Determine together what sort of planning style your children prefer and help them pick out their own planner based on how they plan, schedule homework deadlines, and take notes. Include your children in your personal planning sessions during the summer so they can see how you plan. Help them recognize the benefits you find from planning. During the school year, treat their planning sessions like you would treat their homework. Help them become masters of their own fate.

Click here to view our 2017-2018 Academic Planners.

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Back to School Checklists for Your Planner

We’ve continued our annual tradition of back to school organization with these helpful checklists, with one for each stage of your child’s schooling. Print them out, stick them in your planner, and take them with you as you go back to school shopping. Even if your child is heading to a new school this year, you can still enjoy the peace of mind that comes from preparation.

Download the checklist according to size, and then by grade level. All checklists are in a PDF format.

Pocket

Elementary

Middle School

High School

College

Compact

Elementary

Middle School

High School

College

Classic

Elementary

Middle School

High School College

Monarch

Elementary

Middle School

High School

College

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Our Top 10 School Supplies for 2015

Here are our top picks for heading back to school:

1. Premier Agenda Academic Planner

While planning a school day is different than planning a day at the office, there are certain principles that apply in both situations. These weekly planners incorporate the 7 Habits into your children’s daily planning, helping them set priorities, achieve life goals, manage their time, and increase their potential. With space to set down assignments for each day and a daily schedule for each afternoon and evening, these planners make it easy for your kids to take charge of their own lives. Available for Elementary School, Middle School, and High School students.

2. Kate Spade Office Set

It’s a good idea to set aside a study space in a quiet corner of the house, far from distractions and interruptions. It’s an even better idea to stock that study space with fashionable desk accessories from Kate Spade New York. With a coordinating gold theme, they help make study time a little brighter. Find them all at TidyNirvana.com.

3. School.files by Buttoned Up

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This one’s for both you and your kids. Designed to hold files for three different students, this durable yet lightweight organizer features five folders in each student’s compartment: stuff to do, stuff to keep, stuff to return, fun stuff, and calendars. As your kids bring home their work each evening, you can sit down together and sort their new papers into these files, saving both your sanity and the seams in their backpacks.

4. Office Organization Set by Anna Griffin

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The world is full of blue-lined paper and yellow sticky notes. This set adds a new sense of style to the humdrum practice of note taking and studying. It includes a four-pack of notebooks, file folders, and sticky notes in fun and fresh designs, letting your students add personality to their scholarly interactions.

5. Calendar Stickers

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A picture is worth a thousand words. And since it’s awfully hard to fit a thousand words into a calendar square, these handy calendar stickers make a big difference. With stickers for study group sessions, registration dates, club meetings, tests, and more, these visual reminders let your students get a handle on their schedule in a single glance.

6. Back to School Notepad Dry Erase Wall Decals

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If their desk is a mess of sticky notes, to-do lists, and notepads, help them clear the clutter with these peel & stick dry erase wall decals. They look like notebook lined pages and give them plenty of room for all their important reminders. They stick to any smooth surface and are removable, repositionable, and reusable. A great decorating choice for their bedroom or dorm room, these wall decals are a breeze to install, move, and re-apply—and will never damage your paint or leave behind any residue.

7. School Priorities Pad

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“Is there anything you have to do?” Ask your kids this at the end of the school day, and you might get a shrug. Present them with this pad, though, and you’ll teach them to review the day, writing down the top three priorities in six categories: assignments, reading, chores, skills, home tasks, and personal tasks.

8. Ace Backpack 

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While the video-game-inspired backpack might be just the thing for an elementary school student, a student heading to college needs something a little more substantial. The Ace Backpack features a fully padded laptop compartment, an organized interior design, and ventilated back paneling. It also converts from a backpack to a messenger bag, helping your student make a good impression when class is over and job interviews start.

9. Tornado Pencil

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There’s an interesting phenomenon when it comes to writing instruments—the cheaper the pen or pencil, the more likely someone else will end up walking off with it. Your student will want to hold on to this one! The Tornado Pencil from Retro 51 features a distinctive design that incorporates Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity on its stainless steel barrel. It opens with a twist of the top, and features a large eraser for walking back those lengthy math problems.

10. Tech 4 Multifunction Pen by Cross

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Color plays a huge part in organization. It helps label, emphasize, and sort information. The Tech 4 gives your students quick and easy access to color as they use their planners. With a simple twist of the top, they can switch between three different colors of ink and a mechanical pencil, letting them plan effectively without filling their bag’s organizer pocket.

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Tips to Balance Work and Kids During the Summer

By Monica Friel 

Summer is here! If you have school-aged children, you know the havoc that can wreak on working from home or getting projects done around the house. Here are some suggestions to help you navigate between working and enjoying quality time with your kids at home.

Get work done early in the morning. Make a plan in the morning for the work that needs to get done and regularly stick to the block of time that you set aside. Work efficiently and let your kids know when your working hours will be.

Keep kids busy with age-appropriate chores. If they have a place they want to go, give them a list to complete before departure. A little perk to get the house straightened up while they’re motivated. They may not do it like you, but it’s a great way to teach them.

Share the load. Talk with other parents and see if you can coordinate a regular babysitting co-op. This way, kids will have friends to play with and the parents will share the babysitting load.

Stick to a routine. Your kids will get used to the routine if you make sure there’s something fun in it for them at some point in the day. If they can be patient and quiet while you’re on the phone with a client, you can take them to the pool in the afternoon.

Forward your calls. Smart phones, tablets and laptops make taking the kids on an adventure without “leaving” the office possible. If you have to talk with clients, allow your child to bring a friend so they can have fun even if you can’t always engage.

Of course it all depends on what age your kids are and how independent they can be. Work is important, and so is making fun summer memories for your children.

Monica Friel

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2015 Back to School Checklists

When you have students heading back to school, it can be hard to remember everything they need, especially if you have students at different stages of their education. We’ve continued our annual tradition of back to school organization with these helpful checklists, with one for each stage of your child’s schooling. Print them out, place them in your planner, and take them with you as you go back to school shopping. You’ll save yourself extra trips and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from preparation.

Elementary Checklist

Elementary Checklist

Download Elementary Checklist: JPG PDF

Middle School Checklist

Middle School Checklist

Download Middle School Checklist: JPG PDF

High School Checklist

High School Checklist

Download High School Checklist: JPG PDF

College Checklist

College Checklist

Download College Checklist: JPG PDF

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The 5 Senses: Help Your Kids Ease Back Into School Time

By Naomi Cook

Do you remember that commercial for Staples where the Dad is skipping around, gleefully tossing school supplies into a shopping cart, with his sullen kids moving sluggishly behind him, while “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” is playing?  That was aired in mid-July!  Meanwhile, the school year for your children may have ended just a month before!

So what can you do to get your children excited and motivated for the school year that is now upon us?  The simple answer is to keep it fresh and fun!  Here are some elements to focus on now to help get your kids excited about starting the school year…as excited as they can be, that is!

Sight:

  • Color and Pattern – Incorporate your child’s favorite colors and patterns into their binders and accessories.  There are many more fun options these days, versus when I was in school, when primary colors were the primary options!  Or buy the basics, which can be cheaper, and dress them up with colored and patterned duct tape.  If you have more than one child, this will help define which items belong to each of them.
  • Lighting – Make sure that the lighting is bright wherever your child sets up to do their homework.  Also, make sure that their surroundings are as clutter free as possible, to avoid distractions.  Consider keeping a closed bin nearby; to temporarily house those items that may be in the way.

Hearing:  Music can be a motivator depending on the type.  While metal hair bands may not help much aside from giving you a headache (!), some soft ballads and instrumental pieces can be soothing after a stressful day at school, or work for that matter!

Taste:  Work on creating some healthy and delicious lunches and snack ideas that are easy to pull together for that inevitable rushed morning.  Look on Pinterest for ideas and spend some afternoons with your child now, playing chef.  If a child is involved, they may be more willing to try something new.

Smell:   Scents can evoke such feelings as productivity and stress relief.  Try candles, or essential oils, in any of the following scents to help you and your kids face an evening of homework after a long day at school.

  • Lemon promotes concentration and calmness and helps when feeling angry, anxious and run down.
  • Lavender controls emotional stress and can sooth headaches as well as migraines and feelings of nervous tension and depression.
  • Jasmine calms nerves and produces feelings of confidence, optimism and energy.
  • Rosemary improves memory retention and fights exhaustion, headaches and mental fatigue.
  • Cinnamon improves concentration and focus and helps fight metal fatigue as well.
  • Peppermint is one of my favorites, especially when writing articles like this!  It helps to boost energy, invigorate the mind, promote concentration and stimulate clear thinking.

Touch:  As part of their back to school clothes shopping, have your kids pick out comfy clothes especially for the afternoon and evening hours.  There is no need for them to be restricted by a uniform or tighter fitting pants and jeans.  A soft throw would be a nice addition too on chillier nights.

By incorporating these 5 senses now, before school starts, hopefully you will be on track to an organized and fun new school year!

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Meal Planning Around the School Schedule

We’ve all seen people stopping by the grocery store on their way home from work to purchase the items they’ll need for dinner. There’s nothing wrong with that—we’ve all done that at some point. But you have to admit; last minute shopping gives you even less time to prepare your meal, and less time with the kids. We can make mealtime a bit more relaxing by simply planning ahead.

After all, the few hours of family time you have between the end of your workday and bedtime are crammed. You have sporting events to watch, play practice, dance lessons, piano lessons, and art classes to taxi, and community meetings to attend. We haven’t even mentioned the yard work and house cleaning you hope to finish before you fall into bed. Finding time to prepare a meal among the chaos can be a real challenge. Making healthy meals you and your family will love can be even harder. So what do you do?

Plan to plan. Meal planning is easier said than done. You need to schedule it into your week before it will happen. Designate a time each day to look through the coming week. Take note of after-school events and evening activities on your schedule. Those events will determine the meals you prepare. Busier days might require a simple meal, or something that you could prepare ahead and keep in a slow cooker. The days that are more open might allow you time to get really creative.

Meal plan when you’re hungry. It’s hard to think of food when your stomach is full, so plan meals when you’re feeling a little hungry. That hunger will keep your mind open to several meal options and help you keep variety in your plans. Write down your meals for each day and a list of ingredients you’ll need to buy. Try to think of everything so you can get it all in one trip.

Shop when you’re full. Plan to shop after a meal, for example: Saturday after breakfast, or Thursday after dinner. Shopping on a full stomach helps you resist impulse items and loading up on unhealthy snacks. Get everything you’ll need for the week (or even two), so you aren’t running back and forth to the store. Fewer trips to the store will give you more time with your family.

Don’t forget school lunches. Planning out lunches or snacks at the beginning of the week makes it easier to know what to throw into their lunch sacks.

Use a meal planner to sort out options for the week. Preparing healthy meals every day is a challenge. It can 1405025 GOMenuPrintable_Finalbe tough to provide healthy foods that you know your family will eat. Once you’ve determined meals that fit that bill, try to keep things interesting by avoiding repetition. Our free, printable meal-planning sheet can help you keep your meals interesting, nutritious, and diverse.

Take requests. If you feel like you’re stuck in a meal prep rut, ask your family for suggestions. Sometimes knowing you’re fixing someone’s favorite food is all it takes to keep you excited about dinner.

Create your food budget. If you haven’t already, take some time to assess your finances and decide what you should reasonably spend on food. If you’re really serious about it, you can keep all your receipts from grocery shopping to fast food and determine what you spend each month. Then you can decide if you need to cut back. Often the fastest way to cut down your food expenses is to eat fewer meals that are prepared outside your home. Of course, that makes meal planning even more important.

The best-laid plans are bound to fall apart, evenings will turn crazy, and your amazing kids and grandkids will keep you running from one event to the next. Knowing what’s for dinner can give you a sense of calm in the storm. Of course, even then, you will find days when you simply need to pull out sandwich fixings or grab takeout, but now those days will be an exception rather than the rule.

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Optimize Your Family Calendar

In today’s world, our kids have more options than ever before. Advanced placement classes help them get a jump on college, after-school sports 41986_lrgcaseprovide exercise and excitement, music and instrument lessons enrich their self-expression, and volunteer work teaches them respect for others. Add these all together, however, and it turns into a pretty tall order on your schedule, especially if you have many older kids.

To make it through a modern childhood, you need a well-coordinated family calendar. Here are some ideas for setting up a calendar station in your home:

  • Make it Central: Find a corner of your kitchen or another frequently used family space and put up a dry-erase calendar. Get a different color marker for each family member to write down all of his or her activities. When everything is up, then Mom, Dad, and any teenage drivers can coordinate transportation. The color-coded system also adds a layer of accountability: if an activity isn’t up there in their own color, with confirmed transportation, they can find their own last-minute transportation (or pay for someone else’s inconvenience with money or services).
  • Sync Your Calendars: With the rise of smart phones, several members of your family might have mobile calendars in their pockets. You can encourage your family to add events to their phones as they put them on the calendar, and set up reminders as needed. The physical calendar lets you coordinate your electronics without being face to face, which makes a big difference when your schedules don’t align.
  • Track Your Meals: You can use the wealth of schedule information on your calendar for more than just punctuality. On any given day, you’ll know who to expect for dinner and when, giving you a leg up on meal planning. You can also coordinate any on-the-go meals you’ll need for afternoon or weekend activities, reducing your kids’ need for vending machines or fast food.

 

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Pick the Right Bag

Do your back a favor and get the right bag for your schoolwork load. Cramming a lot of books in a messenger-style bag will pull on one shoulder,49994_lrgcase and can lead to back pain over time. Use a backpack with padded straps if you carry a lot of books. Of course, if you tend to take one book at a time, then a small tote might be a better fit, or if you use e-books for your courses, then sticking your laptop in a messenger might be just the ticket.

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Planners for Each School Grade

Teaching your kids to plan ahead is one of the best ways to ensure a successful future. They’ll learn to make and keep commitments, set goals, and work to reach them one step at a time. But learning this vital skill doesn’t just happen naturally. It takes some gentle guidance along the way.

School provides the ideal environment for setting goals and planning ahead. School gives kids deadlines and makes them commit to certain activities. They learn the consequences of being late and see the benefits of a job done right and on time. A good planner can give your kids an edge as they move through school. Of course, we have several great planners, but we’d like to focus on a few specific solutions today.

Elementary School

The Elementary School Weekly Agenda is a fun, wire-bound booklet that encourages kids to keep track of their school schedules. They can track reading and spelling assignments, test days, and class parties. Playful art on the cover and inside the book helps keep your youngster interested as they learn the process of planning.

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Middle School / Junior High

Middle School or Junior High brings a new set of challenges with lockers, after school activities, and frenetic class schedules. The Middle School Weekly Agenda teaches your children to create their own opportunities by helping them set priorities, achieve goals, and manage their time. This creative weekly planner incorporates The 7 Habits into your children’s daily planning so they can reach their personal goals.

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High School

High School is a community in and of itself—with its own culture, social structure, elected officials, events, and even its own newspaper. Young adults who can manage their schedules thrive in high school. The High School Weekly Agenda takes planning to another level, providing more space for each day of the week, a stronger emphasis on the 7 habits, space for class schedules, and plenty of room to plan for after school activities. The High School Weekly Agenda is an ideal place to keep track of school dance dates, track meet times, dance, theater, or band rehearsals, and even locker combinations.

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College

By the time your kids leave for college, keeping track of their schedules and planning ahead will be almost automatic. As they load up their car with clothes, dorm organizers, tech devices, and their favorite music, they won’t forget to include their planner. The Playlist Planner is perfect for college students. This ring-bound daily planner gives them room for appointments, a to do list, and a whole page for notes. Each spread has a small month-at-a-glance calendar for easy scheduling, plus it’s loaded with entertaining facts and trivia for 12 different music genres. It also includes two-page monthly calendars and two years worth of future planning calendars. Keeping track of class projects and credit hours has never been so fun and easy.

With all the demands school places on kids, it’s interesting to note how little time they spend teaching them how to meet those demands. These planners will help your kids do just that. With the right planner, your students can have a lifetime of guided practice that will teach them the true value of planning and goal setting from elementary school through college.

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Organized for School

With the new school year around the corner, how prepared are you?

To help you get the chance to prepare and stay a bit more organized, we are giving you the chance to win a Putnam Messenger Bag.

This classic, durable, messenger bag will last (almost) forever. The classic, never-dated style and thick, waxed cotton canvas can take years of wear and still look beautiful. The rich leather details, handle, and shoulder pad give it a touch of rustic character. But the beauty goes beyond the bag. United by Blue uses proceeds from every purchase to organize ocean and waterway cleanup projects around the country. So your attractive messenger bag will add to the beauty all around you.

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One winner will be announced on Friday, August 8. To enter simply comment below and tell us, “How do you keep school items organized all year long?”

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Managing Time

Once school starts up again, it’s back to the daily runaround. Between work schedules, homework, and extracurricular activities, there’s a lot of 63827_lrgcasepotential for schedule conflicts. Whether you’re keeping track of a once-a-week appointment or reminding yourself of the doctor’s visit you scheduled back in April, your planner is there to help you.

And to take some pressure off, you can teach your kids the same strategies you use with Premier Agenda Academic Planners. Designed for each grade, these planners help your kids keep track of their assignments and projects (so you don’t have to.)

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First Day Mania

By the end of summer break most of us are ready for the steady cadence of school. We’ve improvised long enough. However, we also realize that we’ll miss the relaxed routine where even our scheduled events have room to slip. School and its associated activities have a much tighter grip on our time.

So we look forward to the first day of school with eager anticipation and more than a flicker of anxiety. As we watch them climb onto the bus, 64204_lrgcasewe’re already planning how we’ll use our quiet time at home, yet we realize that school has tightened its grip on us as well. To a large degree, their schedule is our schedule, their homework is our homework, and no matter how good or bad their teachers are, their report cards reflect our effort.

That means that buying more time in the morning and finding pieces of time throughout the day can be the difference between a harried life and an orderly routine. You can do that from day one.

  • Try to reduce the anxiety of the unknown by visiting the school a few days early. Let your kids find their lockers, classrooms, lunchroom, library, and the office so they aren’t stressing about that on the first day.
  • Collect any necessary school forms, make sure you’ve read and signed them, and be sure your students know where they are so they can turn them in on time.
  • School mornings are often rushed. Reduce the hectic pace by packing backpacks the night before, ensuring homework, school projects, and gym clothes arrive at school with your kids.
  • Fill your fridge with lunch foods so that preparing their lunch is quick, easy, and healthy.
  • Pick out an outfit the night before. They have plenty of things to be anxious about already, the last thing they want to do is fret over their clothes. Teach them to reduce that stress by planning ahead.
  • Fill your car with gas. If you drive your kids to school, you don’t want to stop for gas in the morning and make them late. If you’re sending your kids to school for the first time you’ll want enough fuel in your car to follow the school bus and watch your little ones walk through the door. (Don’t tell us you don’t want to.)
  • On that note, be sure your camera and video camera are charged and that you have plenty of room on your memory cards. The first day of school is a great photo opportunity.

Once you’ve made the effort and you’re ready for the big day, all you’ll have to do is stand ready and listen for the drum. You should have no problem staying in step. Welcome back, school routine.

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Back to School with Sarah Pinto

Start the school year off right with an Academic Planner from Sarah Pinto.

We are here to help give you the tools to keep you and your family organized for the school year. Our Back to School catalog features school organization products that will keep papers filed and backpacks ready.

Our Sarah Pinto planners are such a great tool for school, we are giving away two of them this week. Use them to plan out activities, due dates, schedules, and more.

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To enter simply comment and tell us how you get ready for the school year. Do you or your family have a routine?

Two winners will be announced on Friday, July 18.

 

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Back to School Checklist: College

Get prepared for the semester now with this College Checklist.

Heading away to college is quite the adventure. Use this checklist to make sure you don’t forget to pack or grab anything you may need for class or for your new dorm room.

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (College)-1

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (College)-2

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Back to School Checklist: High School

Get prepared for the school year now with this High School Checklist.

Heading to high school is quite the undertaking. Use this checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (High School)

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Back to School Checklist: Middle School

Get prepared for the school year now with this Middle School Checklist.

Heading off to middle school is a big deal. Use this checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything on the big day.

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (Middle School)

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Back to School Checklist: Elementary

Get prepared for the school year now with this Elementary School Checklist.

Sending them off to elementary school is quite eventful. Use this checklist to make sure you aren’t grabbing things from the store at the last minute.

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (Elementary)

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Menu Planner

Organizing your meals and shopping lists will allow you to track how much food you are actually buying. Tracking the amount you’re buying versus the amount you’re using will save you time and money in the end.

This Menu Planner is the perfect way to help you plan out your meal for the week and track what you actually need to buy for each meal.

FranklinPlanner Menu Planner

 1405025 GOMenuPrintable_Final

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Get Organized for School Success

The more you advance in school, the more complicated it gets. By the time you reach high school and college, there are due dates to remember, 63983_lrgcaseevents to keep track of, and lectures to attend. Keeping your school life organized is the key to high achievement.

  • Plan Ahead: In college, each course hands out a syllabus at the beginning of the semester, complete with all the due dates, assignment information, and test days. Mark any projects, midterms, and final exams on your wall calendar, and set aside time in your schedule for each assignment.
  • Stay Ahead: By nature, schoolwork should stretch your mind and challenge your ideas. If your workload seems to be getting you down, schedule meetings with your teachers or professors and ask for their advice. You may also need to add extra study time to your routine.
  • Stay Engaged: During class time, avoid the temptation to multitask. Put your phone down and take notes on each small detail of what the professor or teacher is saying. Putting your notes together will give you a second run through of the material, and help solidify it in your mind.
  • Cover the Physical Aspects: If you’re sleepy, hungry, or sick, you’ll find that your attention span suffers. Eat a good meal before any early or late classes you may have to give your brain the energy it needs. Getting enough sleep helps you keep awake during lectures, and also helps keep you from getting sick.

 

 

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Your Senior Year Isn’t The End

High school is a great time to discover what makes you tick. Many kids excel during their time in high school, becoming captains of sports and dance teams, editors at the school paper, and lead actors in school plays. You develop close friendships that you never want to lose.

But now you’re a senior. All that is about to change. And it’s okay.

High school will always be a place for fond memories, but college can be even better. High school years are all about you. You can afford to try out for the play, you can take a risk and join the water polo team, or you can sign up for the auto mechanics class. These experiences help define what you like and dislike, and they extend even further in college.

In college, you decide your schedule. You determine when you’ll wake up and when you’re going to take your classes. You can experiment with even more of your interests, and, depending on your major, they may not even be considered extra-curricular activities. This few years is a valuable time to experiment and discover, so take chances.

Before you know it, you’ll be graduated, tied down to a mortgage and spending countless hours at work. If you’ve been selfish enough—if you’ve experimented enough, that time you spend at work will be fun and rewarding because you’ll have discovered what you like best.

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Getting Along With Roommates

College dorm life is great until you’ve lived it for a semester or two. It doesn’t take long to realize that the friends you’re sharing your space with might not have the same habits as you. They won’t clean the toilet or wash the dishes. It’s easy to get annoyed, but remember, chances are good you’ve bothered someone a time or two. It pays to be patient.

COMPACT 365 RING-BOUND UNDATED PLANNER BY FRANKLINCOVEYI once had a roommate who was sick of the rest of us not cleaning the kitchen after ourselves, so he wrote, “Your mother doesn’t live here” on the kitchen cabinets in permanent marker. (He thought he’d grabbed a wet-erase…oops!) Who do you think was the annoying one now? That damage was going to have to come out of all of our pocket books.

A good way to get around the hassles of sharing space and responsibility is to assign different chores to different people on different days of the week. To ensure nobody feels like they’re stuck with the worst job, be sure the jobs rotate so that everyone gets an equal chance to do each job. Write these assignments in your planner and on your wall calendar. Now if a chore gets missed you know exactly who to ask to do it. Hopefully it isn’t you too often
.

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Healthy, Delicious, and Less Expensive

Gourmet GetawayLunch can be a big waste of money. Even if you find a way to eat all of your lunches for just $20 a week, you’ll end up blowing $1,000 a year on lunch alone. For a college student, that’s insane. That expense increases if you are also buying breakfast and dinner. The fact is, we have to eat and food is expensive. But it can be cheaper if you know how to cook.

You can prepare a decent meal for you and all your roommates for less than the price of one order of Chinese take-out. If you pack up the leftovers, you’ve got a practically free lunch. Homemade food tends to have far less sodium and fewer preservatives as well, so by preparing a few meals, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also begin improving your health.

If you get the chance, ask Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Bea for all their favorite recipes, and see if they’ll be willing to help you prepare a few of them before you head out to college. If you can cook, you’ll quickly become a dorm room favorite, and you’ll have a little extra money for gas or a few dates.

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Six Back To School Items Every Student Should Have

Heading to college? You’ve got a lot to pack. Of course, some things may be more important than others. If it gets too crowded in your tiny compact car, you may need to prioritize. Here are a few things that we think should remain near the top of your list.

Backpack or Tote

College students need to haul a lot of stuff around campus—textbooks, homework, laptops, etc. Having a strong backpack or tote will make carrying it all easier. If you can find one with padded compartments for both your laptop and your tablet, you’ll worry less about your favorite devices. Take a look at our selection of trendy carriers to help you keep up with college life.

Click Here to Shop Backpacks and Totes.

Wire Basket or Crate

Sharing a bathroom with a bunch of students can be chaotic. How do you keep track of your stuff? A wire crate is a perfect way to haul your toiletries from place to place and keep them from being used by who-knows-who. Sound like a good idea? Visit TidyNirvana.com and check out LaCrate by Design Ideas. This epoxy-coated wire crate can go right into the shower with you. It holds your supplies but won’t hold water.

2013/2014 Academic Planner by Sarah PintoPlanner

With a new semester of college on the way, you’ll be busier than ever. Be sure you don’t lose track of deadlines, appointments, and fun activities by scheduling them in your planner.

Click Here to Shop for Planners.

Notebooks

Sure, every college bookstore has notebooks. We recommend you pick up a few. While you’re at it grab our Better Than A Yellow Pad—it makes it easy to take orderly notes that you can actually follow later, so you’ll remember exactly what your professor and teammates need you to do.

Cellphone And Gadget Protection

Chances are pretty good you’ve got a new smartphone, tablet, or other device that you’d hate to break during your first semester of the year. Find the perfect cases, carriers, and accessories to add protection and character to your favorite devices at Geekorize.com.

Click Here to Shop at Geekorize.com.

HamperTote by O.R.E. OriginalsA Laundry Bin That Helps Sort Your Clothes

You probably know someone who got a new dark sock mixed in with his or her white clothes on washday. If you aren’t familiar with what happens, that sock bleeds dye in the wash and will turn all those white clothes mint green. Yeah, we know through sad experience. College students are busy, but that doesn’t mean they should skip steps when they’re washing their clothes. The HamperTote by O.R.E. Originals makes sorting simple. It’s divided for colors, whites, and darks, so you’ll sort your wash each time you change your clothes. Washday will never be simpler. Find this cool hamper tote at TidyNirvana.com today.

 

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Five Smart Bags for Back to School

Choose carefully when selecting a school bag – at minimum, the relationship will last for nine months, for better or for worse. Take a look at these five Smart Bags for back to school:

Monaco Messenger by Ogio

Monaco Messenger by Ogio

With the latest advancements in modern technology, big, bulky packs are no longer required. The Monaco has a padded section for a 13” laptop, making it the perfect bag for toting e-books on an MacBook Air or iPad.

Manhattan Laptop Bag by Manhattan Portage

Manhattan Laptop Bag by Manhattan Portage

If the coming school year involves off-campus housing, then it’s helpful to pick up a bag that’s built for bikes. Developed for the bike couriers of New York City, Manhattan Portage bags have streamlined balance and protection for the bike ride to class.

Sara Tote by Amy Butler

Sara Tote by Amy Butler

School isn’t all about learning – it’s important to look nice as well. This fun tote has space for books in a pattern from award-winning designer Amy Butler.

X15 Men's Axis Duffel by Russi

X15 Men’s Axis Duffel by Russi

Whether attending school on an athletics scholarship or just taking an ultimate Frisbee course, the Axis Duffel provides stylized space for both clothing and books.

Sycamore Backpack by Timbuk2

Sycamore Backpack by Timbuk2

For the student that loves technology peripherals, the Sycamore Backpack has compartmentalized space for a 15” Laptop, iPad, and everything that goes with them.

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7 Steps To Get Ready For A New School Year

2013/2014 Academic Planner by Sarah PintoBefore you know it the kids will be heading into a new school year. Yellow buses, backpacks, and lined paper will be part of your daily routine—coupled with a little extra stress. Stress is a part of every healthy person’s life, but a little back-to-school planning can keep it to a minimum. Here are 7 ways to make the transition easier.

Find their closet. Set aside a day to help your student attack their closet. Create piles to keep, to toss out, and to donate. Purchase closet organizers, dividers, and even small crates to keep things orderly. Use small shoe boxes in their drawers to act as dividers for socks, underwear, hair bows, and jewelry.

Encourage them to plan their wardrobe. Go through their clothes with them. Older kids really don’t need you to hold their hand, but a little company can help the job go faster. Chances are they have a lot of clothes that are still in good condition. Decide which ones they still like to wear and see if they have any gaps in their wardrobe. Shopping to fill the gaps will cost less and save time. Encourage them to set aside 5 outfits for the first week of school, so they aren’t stuck staring blankly into their closet each morning.

Buy school supplies early. If you start shopping now you’ll have smaller crowds and the selection at the store won’t be picked over. You can also shop at your leisure—one store today, another tomorrow—and you won’t be stuck with a shopping marathon three days before school starts.

Create a study spot. Clear a spot in their room, in the kitchen, or family room and designate it the study area. Reduce as many distractions as possible. Load it up with pens, pencils, calculators, erasers, sharpeners, etc. Give them enough time each day to finish their work without interruptions. Be flexible. Remember that what worked last year may still need to be adjusted for this year.

Brush up. It’s easy for students to lose some knowledge over the summer break. Take some time to look over some of the concepts they studied last year. Give them a math problem from the end of last year and work through it with them until they remember how to do it. Keep them reading good books throughout summer break. Pick up a foreign language dictionary so they can look through it before their Spanish class begins.

Think through lunch. There are a lot of delicious, healthy lunch options available, but we need to purchase them ahead of time in order to pack them into the kids’ lunch boxes. Stock up the pantry now, so you aren’t rummaging at 7:00 a.m.

Set the bedtime routine couple of weeks before school starts. It isn’t easy to get to bed during the longer summer days. But inadequate sleep can be a huge problem for students. Most kids need 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Get them in the habit before school starts so they aren’t struggling with that transition at the same time that they’re learning a new locker combination and trying to remember their schedule.

Remember that managing the school year is more like running a marathon than running a sprint. Getting off to a good start is important, but there is still time to make adjustments along the way. Good luck, and happy transitioning.

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Easing Your Child’s Transition to High School

Uptown Backpack by Timbuk2
There’s a saying about being a big fish in a little pond. The best understanding of this phrase comes when your child transitions from junior high to high school – they go from being a big eighth grader to a small freshman, with new schedules, classes, and pressures. Help make the transition easier with these ideas:

1. Do a Dry Run

Before the first bell rings, see if your school district has a program that lets incoming freshmen explore their new surroundings without the pressure of missing classes. You can go through their day, from trying out their new locker combination to making their way from class to class. It’s also a good idea to explore bus schedules, especially for kids that take connecting buses.

2. Catch the Problems

Even the best office staff still makes mistakes, so double check your student’s schedule before the year starts. Even though he might enjoy taking an extra gym class instead of calculus, it won’t do his college applications any favors. Catching the mistakes early gives you time to straighten things out without your student missing out on any lessons or having to change his or her schedule.

3. Emphasize the Value of Grades

If your child has a lax attitude toward grades, she might be in for a surprise now that she’s in high school – even as a freshman, grades mean something. You can illustrate it this way: the average cost of tuition and fees for a four-year program comes out to $116,224 for a private school or $34,620 for a public university. Now, let’s say that your child earns a full tuition scholarship from getting straight A’s all through high school: eight classes multiplied by sixteen terms gives you 128 A grades, so the dollar value per A is approximately $908 if they get accepted to a private university, or $270 for a public education. Those are not small numbers!

When talking about grades, though, be sure to emphasize the reward rather than ratchet up the pressure. As long as your child is trying his or her best, they have a bright future ahead of them – even earning a half-tuition scholarship can save them hundreds of dollars per A.

4. Stop to Listen

As with many of the other changes going on in children’s lives, the best thing parents can do is stop to truly listen. With all the pressures of life stacking up on kids while their brains are still developing adult capacities, big changes like this can lead to big emotions. When you listen to your kid’s problems without interrupting and trying to fix things (or to tell them how you would do it), you’re showing your kids that they matter more than their report cards.

5. Experience Extracurricular Activities

Along with the pressure, high school can also be one of the greatest times for your child to explore new interests and activities. As you prepare for the new school year, help your child find out about the clubs, sports teams, and music programs at the high school. Not only will picking activities help enrich your child’s school experience, but they can also improve her social circle and make the difference on college applications as well.

6. Model a Positive Attitude

One thing’s for sure – when it comes to how to feel, your kids are paying less attention to what you say and more attention to what you do. Keeping positive yourself during this time will show your child that it’s going to be a fun four years, and that with the right amount of organization, he can have his valuable A’s while still having fun. So if you feel like stressing out about what the future holds, take a moment to collect yourself. Having confidence in your child can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here’s wishing the best of luck to the freshman class this coming school year!

 

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Watching Them Leave the Nest

Birds build their nests so they’re barely big enough for their eggs. It doesn’t take long for the youngsters to end up crowded out of the nest, never to return. There are times when all parents feel like the birds may be onto something. It might be nice to just force Jr. out into the world, but when the time finally comes for the kids to head off to college, we feel a little differently.

We’re excited for the opportunities that are opening up to them and nostalgic as we consider losing them. We know that our reach won’t extend to where they’re going, but we hope our influence will. We hope we’ve taught them something about navigating life in the crazy world.

The tips and suggestions for parents during this time of life are seemingly endless, but one thing to remember is to give your kids enough room to make mistakes and learn from them. We grow up awfully fast when we’re on our own. Of course, no parent wants their kids to sink as they attempt to swim, so it’s important to keep in close contact. Let them know you’re there when they need you. Send emails or text messages often, but don’t expect instant replies.

Communication is the key to a successful transition. Go ahead and express the feelings you have as you watch them go, so they understand where you’re coming from. It will also open the dialogue so they can share some of their feelings. Of course, it helps if you’ve been open with them throughout their lives, so the whole let’s-share-our-feelings thing doesn’t feel foreign.

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Leaving Things Behind When You Go To College

We often spend time thinking about what to pack for college, but it may be better to think of what to leave behind. Here are a few thoughts:

Don’t pack too many clothes. If you’re like most students and you plan to travel back home between semesters, you don’t have to pack a lot of cold-weather clothes. A few of your fall favorites will get you by until your next trip home.

Leave behind the furniture. Most college dorms supply you with a bed and a desk. Chances are good you’ll also have a mirror. If you get there and realize you’re missing something vital, you can slip to the store and pick it up.

Extra toiletries do nothing but take up space in your car. There is no reason to pack 12 rolls of toilet paper, for example. If you’re really worried you won’t have the necessities when you arrive at the dorm, a small kit of items should get you by until you can go shopping.

You’re going to buy food when you get there, don’t bother packing it. Besides, you don’t even know how much storage space will be allocated for your food. You’ll be better off to wait and shop according to the space you have.

Stay safe. Most dorms don’t allow fire hazards such as candles. If you worry you’ll need light in an emergency, you’ll want to pack flashlights and batteries instead. The same goes for that tiny BBQ grill you were planning on toting along for tailgate parties. Before you load it up, you’ll want to contact your on-campus housing authorities for a list of items they will not allow.

Decide what you can live without. The less you

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Create a Study Corner

With studying, as with so much else in life, it’s all about location, location, location. For learning outside the classroom, it helps to have a dedicated study space. Here are some ideas on how to make yours:

  • Get out of sight (and sound): make your study corner in a place that’s far from TVs, video games, or gathering places for your family or roommates. Keeping visual and audio distractions to a minimum can give you room to think.
  • Net/Paper access: if you study with your iPad or laptop, then your study space is more effective if it’s wi-fi enabled. This could be at home, or in a quiet bookstore coffee shop, or even in some outdoor places. Wherever you go, though, you’ll want a comfortable surface to put your writing materials and notebooks.
  • Comfort: you will be spending quite a bit of time in this spot, so make it a comfortable, organized one.
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