How To Organize a Homework Command Center

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As hard as this is for me to say, back to school season is here. The time to hang up the beach towels is getting closer and I find myself thinking more and more about the soon to arrive school year. There is so much to plan and prepare to ensure we are ready.

One of my priorities is our school room. As a homeschool mom I have had a lot of practice setting up desks. From kitchen table learning to permanent desks, we’ve done it all. Today I want to share how you can affordably put together a homework command center to keep you organized through the year.

1. Location, Location, Location

Location is everything. Find a spot that is close to the center of the home, but not overly distracting either. Somewhere near the kitchen is always convenient. If you don’t have an area where you can permanently set up a desk. The kitchen table has worked well for years and I have a special tip for you at the end of this post.

2. Things to Remember

A great way to remember things is to see them. An organized center will always have a calendar hanging to write down important dates and an area to hang up reminders and even accomplishments too. When things are in front of your face every day you are a lot more likely to remember them. But just in case, write them in your family planner or set a reminder on you cell phone. 

3. A paper for everything

Keeping a large variety of papers on hand and organized makes doing any project simple. From notebook paper, printer paper, card stock, construction, index cards and more. We keep a little bit of everything around.

4. Organized supplies

Have you ever tried to work on a project but you can’t find a single tool that you need to get the job done? It is frustrating, right? Homework isn’t and different. Have supplies organized and easy to find. The least thing you wan to do is waste 30 minutes of home work time looking for an eraser.

HP ContainersContainers like these can be purchased for about $1 a piece and are perfect for keeping essential organized.

5. Lighting Matters

Check the lighting in the area you have chosen. Make sure it is adequate at all times of the day. If not you can purchase a small desk lamp for around $5. to help brighten up the spot, reducing eye strain and headaches.

6. Have a great printer

Printers are an absolute must for a homework command center. Your best option is an affordable all-in-one you can count on. I recently picked up the all new HP Deskjet 3636 at Walmart and I am in printer love. I didn’t even know that was possible.

HP-Printer-Walmart
I can now print from my smart phone or tablet,  something I have never been able to do. I can’t believe I lived without this feature for this long. So often I find something while on my cell phone that I would like to be able to print right away, now I can.

HP CellWith the HP Deskjet 3636 mobile printing is made easy. You can connect your smart phone or tablet directly to your printer and easily print without accessing a network. I also downloaded the free HP All-in-One Printer Remote mobile app so I can manage printing tasks and scan on the go. 

HP Above

Another thing I love about this printer is that it comes with choices. What’s your color this back to school? This affordable AiO that comes in 3 cool colors – Vibrant Red, Dragonfly Blue, Sporty Purple. I knew my girls would love the purple and I have to admit, I am a huge fan of it too. It adds the perfect pop of color to our work space.

Not only does this printer come with an affordable price tag and all of the features I need, it gives me high-quality printing and up to twice as many pages with Original HP high-yield ink cartridges, helping to stretch the budget even further.

I can also access coloring pages, recipes, coupons and more with free HP Printables that are delivered on my schedule.

Let’s review
An organized space has…

An organized space has

*A great, well-lit, location with supplies that are organized and accessible.
*There is a board to display reminders, achievements, and a calendar to keep us on track
*And the space isn’t complete without an amazing AIO HP printer.

Sharing #howto affordably create a homework command center today. #ad #CreatWithHP #BackToSchool Click To Tweet

If space in an issue and you can’t set up something permanent here is an organization option you may want to try.

Homework-Center-Cart
This cart keeps everything I need ready to go, organized and portable. I can easily roll it from one room to the next or tuck it away when we don’t need it. 

Have you seen the New HP Deskjet 3636
What color would you choose?

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First Day of School {2015}

Last week our summer officially ended and we went back to school.
 
 

I can hardly believe how big and beautiful our girls are getting.

I often find myself asking two questions over and over again.
1) When & how did they get so big?
2) Why has God been so good to us?

We are so abundantly blessed.

Marissa is a second grader this year.

What are you most excited about this school year? // 
Learning about science and working on swimming at the indoor pool.

What are you least excited about? //
Doing speed drills in math.

2012-2015

Oh my goodness I can’t even believe how young she looked when she was Emily’s age.
 
Emily is working on Pre-K 4 this year
 
 
I asked Emily:
 
What are you most excited about this school year? // 
I am excited about writing my name and the inside pool.
 
What are you least excited about? //
Ummmm? Flashcards and…. hmmm…. tracing things! And that is all, okay mama!
 

Now for more pictures because I am a total sucker for any excuse to take a ridiculous amounts of photos :).
 
A few that make me say #OhEmily.
Her expressions are simply the best, ever.

 
 
I always take this “artsy” shot… I don’t know why I like it, but I do.
 

And of course I have to share some sister shots.

 
So excited and privileged to be starting another year of homeschooling.
Getting to not only be mom, but their teacher too has been one of my biggest joys in the journey of motherhood.
Have you went back to school yet?
 
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Back To School Blog Hop {2015}

Good Morning!

Today is all about all things back to school!

I am so excited to be teaming up with some of my favorite bloggers for a back to school blog hop.

3+ Ways to Show Love to Your Kids in School from Garay Treasures // Count Me In Giveaway from Abiding In Grace // Free Homeschool Pre-school Printables from All Kinds of Things // Back to School Tips for Moms from Our Pretty Little Girls // Back to School Boy Style from BYBMG // Tips for Using Your Local Library from Our Life on a Budget // Discovery Puzzles from Polka-Dotty Place // 10 Bible Verses to Encourage the Student Athlete from While I’m Waiting // First Day of School Printable from Morning Motivated Mom // Preparing an Anxious Child from Almond Place //Tips to Stay Organized With School from Living In This Season //

I feel like we are paving the way, we are officially on school day #3!

Three days in and we are still surviving! I was just so sure that going back to the books after a summer packed full of fun might actually kill us. 

Joking aside, I feel confident and excited about the 2015/2016 school year. Re-purposing a space into a school room was quite possibly the best decision we have ever made. I am already seeing the benefits of a designated school space and wondering why we didn’t do this sooner. I also did a lot of work to lay out, plan and organize our school year. We seem to thrive on organization in this household so I am hopeful my hard work will pay off.

Today I want to talk about getting back to school and offer a few tips to help mom out during this time of transition and change for the entire family. Simple, easy things that we can do to prepare for changes in the week leading up to and first week of school. 

Stock up// 

If your home is anything like mine your typical grocery routine has been a bit disrupted through the summer months. Taking the time to get to the store and restock your shelves before school starts can help in so many ways. As a home school mom I don’t have to worry about needing to add a store trip in for at least two weeks giving me more time to focus on our new school year. This could also greatly benefit a working mom as well.


Clear the calendar//

Anything that isn’t necessary goes. Sometimes this is easier said than done but while adjusting to a new routine clear the calendar as much as you can. 

 

Wake up early//

I know, I know! I can just feel the eye rolls, hear me out on this one. However much time you think you need, add at least 15 minutes. I can not tell you how many times I have unnecessarily stressed my kids out because I underestimated how much time we needed to do something. Once the kids adjust to the new schedule and things become more routine you can take those 15 minutes back.

You’re still Mom//

Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the teacher, homework police, schedule keeper, bed time enforcer role that the fun summer mom goes out the window and we become overly focused on rules. Going back to school and embracing a schedule doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be fun any more. Remember you’re still mom. I am all for being firm when needed but don’t be so overwhelmed by keeping things in perfect order that your kids loose sight of the real you. 

 

Be proactive//

Now is not the time to procrastinate. If you can do something right away, do it. If not make sure you right it down so it won’t be forgotten about. So many stressful situations can be avoided simply by not procrastinating. 


Keep realistic expectations//

These are the times that I think Pinterest perfect visions crush moms. Breakfasts, teacher presents, photos, back to school outfits & haircuts and looking oh so put together can be such a burden. Keep it real mom. You don’t have to nail every single thing. Focus on what is the most important & realistic for you and let the rest go.

Pray//

Lastly I would add don’t forget to pray for your kids. Back to school is such a big and exciting time in the lives of our children. Pray with them and for them often. 

What back to school tip would you like to share with other moms?

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It’s the Little Things: First Day of Pre K

It’s hard to believe that Marissa and I just started our 4th week of school! It seems like just last week we were back to hitting the books with her first day of first grade. Time has quickly passed by, labor day weekend is over and the time has come to take on the task of schooling two children.

Yesterday Emily had her first day of Pre-K.

Oh that Emily, she does NOT like to look at the camera.

We are planning to do two years of preschool so this years schedule is going to be pretty laid back. However, first thing today I discovered that I may have to step up my game a bit for this lady. Emily was begging for more school to do all day long and pouting when I said she was done for the day.

She worked on letters.

Love the wide open mouth, intense focus look on her face here. 

She was able to play on the computer, one of her favorite things to do.

Then played some games with me.

One day down and she is going on and on about how fun school is, her “special pencil” and doing more work tomorrow. 

First day success?

 I would definitely say yes!

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It’s The Little Things/ 1st Day Of 1st Grade!

Monday was our first day of school. We began our second year as a homeschooling family excited and ready to take on first grade.

First grade, seriously how did this happen guys?! I can’t believe she is old enough for this. I look at her growing into a beautiful young girl and it feels like someone is smashing my heart with a hammer.

 So big, so pretty, so forever and always my baby girl no matter how big she gets. 

2012 Pre-K

2013 Kindergarten

2014 First Grade

I couldn’t be more excited about going on this first grade journey with her. It is such a privilege to be her mom and her teacher.

Here is to a great school year!

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Ways To Make Back To School Special

Back to school is a bit different for a home-school family. We don’t receive a list of school supplies to buy. We don’t have open houses, teachers gifts or need to go back to school clothes shopping.

 Having said that, I think it is just as important for us to make the start of a new school year special even without the typical back to school routine. I don’t want Marissa to feel like she rolled out of bed one day and WHAM a huge pile of school was suddenly there. Like it just appears over night. I want her to feel prepared. So here at Newman Family Independent Christian Home-school (catchy little name isn’t it?) we go out of the way to mark the beginning of a new school year.

Here are a few things that we like to do to make the start of the new year special.


{Family Outing}

Although summer may not officially be over with, nothing seems to put a damper on summer fun like going back to school. We try and have one last summer fling of some sort. That may look like a trip to a nature or science center, the zoo, swimming pool or anywhere else your family enjoys.

Last year we hit up a nearby science center.


{Ice Cream}


Any tradition that includes ice cream is automatically a winner in my books. Last year we went out to get ice cream the night before school started. I definitely see us keeping this tradition around for many years to come.


{First Day Photos}

Some of my favorite pictures have been ones from Marissa’s first and last days of school. It is so amazing to watch how much she grows in just one year.

Every year we use these great printables from I Heart Nap Time.


Pre-K4 2012

Kindergarten 2013 
Documenting “when I grow up…” has been fun to. I wonder if she will say Mommy again this year?


{Hand Print Art}


Another easy way to track how much they grow is by hand prints.

This can be done in a creative way like this.


Or more traditional, maybe even with a cute poem.


{First Day Breakfast}


The first day of school can be a bit hectic, even as a homeschooling family. But I have found that having a special back to school breakfast is worth the time. It helps with nerves and sets the day up as something special from the start. A special breakfast will be different for every family. In our house it can be as simple as picking up the can of cinnamon rolls that I never buy. It doesn’t require much effort on my part and means a lot to the girls.


{Back To School Interview}


Guaranteed to keep you laughing for years to come here are a few of my favorites.

Positively Splendid

Giggles Galore

I hope this list gave you some ideas of how you can make the beginning of the school year special for your kids.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you do to make the new school year exciting and memorable for your family?

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