Tag Archives: school

The Runaway Mama’s Guide to Organizing Your Kid’s Schoolwork


You started the school year with a folder, bin, or paper bag to hold all of the artwork, school projects, report cards, and other stuff your kids brought home. By winter break, you made an audition video for “Hoarders.” By spring, the local fire department declared your house a fire hazard.

It didn’t end there. On Monday of the last week of school, the paper dump began. Every notebook, folder, agenda, journal, workbook, worksheet, drawing, pencil, pen, crayon, marker, eraser, glue stick, and piece of paper your kid doodled on during the year made its trek home. By the last day of school, you. couldn’t. even.

Sound familiar? Don’t panic. Follow these simple steps and I promise you’ll finish organizing your kid’s schoolwork just in time to collect it all over again in the fall.

1. Deal with it. Don’t ignore it or hide it in the basement or a closet to get it out of the way. It will never go away, and you’ll wander aimlessly through life wondering why you never reached your full potential.

2. Get rid of all of it. (Optional) This is a risky move, but it’s also completely understandable. If you can sleep at night and you aren’t concerned about having trust issues with your adult children, go for it. Also, you’re my hero.

3. Get your head in the game. Find a quiet, comfortable spot to sit. Close your eyes. Take some deep, cleansing breaths. Think about the time when your own parents cleaned out their basement and hauled several boxes filled with crap precious childhood memories to your house. Think about the rage emotion this made you feel because What the hell am I supposed to do with all of this crap?! Now open your eyes and repeat after me: I WILL BREAK THE CYCLE.

4. Pick the weeds. Throw away homework. Fractions worksheets are not priceless. Dispose of everything inside your kid’s petri dish pencil case. Remnants of every stomach bug, lice breakout, and strep throat epidemic reside on each sticky, grimy pencil stump. If you can sterilize the actual pencil case, keep it for next year. If not, dump it.

Pro Tip: When in doubt, throw it out!

5. Tear through it – all of it – Marie Kondo-style. Does it bring you joy? Keep it. If not, toss it! The things you should keep will jump out of the pile at you. If nothing leaps right away, keep digging. This is the lightning round. Be brave. Be bold. Pour yourself a cocktail. Everything’s going to be okay.

Pro Tip: Do not do the lightning round with your kids. Get rid of the toss pile immediately or run the risk of never EVER getting past step #5.

6. Take a break. Put what’s left in a neat pile and walk away from it for a few weeks. Perspective is everything. Or, time heals all wounds. You need to rest and re-energize before you tackle the second half of the project. Besides, spending oodles of intimate, unstructured quality time with your kids will give you the motivation you need to ruthlessly play the keep or toss game all over again.

7. Repeat! With fresh eyes, cut your keep pile by at least a third. You can do hard things!

Pro Tip: Do a keep or toss lightning round for the previous year’s schoolwork. You’ll be amazed what still feels worth saving (or not) a year later.

8. Prepare to archive. Write your child’s name, grade, and school year on the bottom corner or back side of everything that makes the final cut. If you think you’re going to remember these details ten years, weeks, or minutes from now, ask yourself what you ate for breakfast this morning and/or the date of your last period. Trust me. You’ll forget.

9. Choose your storage system. Consider the long view. When it’s all said and done, you’ll have at least a dozen years of schoolwork on your hands. Whether you choose boxes, bins, or bags, keep them compact so you don’t need to rent a storage pod to hang on to book reports no one cares about. I chose an extra-large artwork portfolio with expandable pockets. It’s doesn’t have a large capacity, but that’s precisely why I picked it. It forces me to choose what to keep and toss judiciously.

Pro Tip: There will be extra stuff, like yearbooks, trophies, and framed photos, that need to be stored elsewhere. Get one plastic bin for each kid and label everything.

10. Put it away! Store everything in dry place for 20-25 years, at which point it will be your turn to enrage surprise your grown kids with a U-Haul filled with priceless hand print turkeys, awkward school pictures, perfect attendance certificates, and Venn diagrams from their childhood.

You did it! You finished organizing your kid’s schoolwork! Buy yourself a new pair of shoes, a bottle of wine, or some Snoopy bandages for all of those paper cuts to celebrate your awesomeness. Just be quick about it because it’s time for back-to-school shopping. Hurry before the glue sticks are sold out!

Raising kids is hard. I’m here to help. Read more in “The Runaway Mama’s Guide to…” series here.

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Filed under list, organization, school

Don’t put your booty in anyone’s face and other school rules.

Keeping it real here.

These are the first day of school pictures I showed off on social media this morning.


Awww. Aren’t they so cute and getting so big and so happy to go back to school?

Sort of.

This was the first picture I took.


The one of the left is good to go. A little bit nervous, but in his words, “a little bit excited.” The one on the right with the pout? Not so much. Nothing’s staged here. That pout is as authentic as my cleavage wrinkles. If anything, the picture with the smile was coerced. You know, Please smile for Mommy? Just once. C’mon, please? PLEASE!? Smile or I’ll make your life a living hell!

Yesterday, when we talked about the very exciting first day of school ahead as a way to alleviate his anxiety and nerves, he cried. With tears squirting like bullets from his eyes, he begged me to homeschool him. I’m not sure he knows what homeschooling is, but I sure do, and I squirted tears just thinking about the calamity that would result from me trying to teach him anything from home.

“You know that homeschooling doesn’t involve Minecraft, right?” I said.

He was quiet after that, and this morning he walked solemnly into school like a soldier off to war. Like a dead man walking. There were no tears. There was no, “I love you, Mommy.” There was no kiss or hug. (I tried but he pushed me away.) He surrendered to his fate. First grade wasn’t a choice. It was his doom.

This was also one of our photo shoot outtakes.


There’s this dude on YouTube who makes his Minecraft characters shake their booties and sing, “I put my booty in your face, I put my booty in your face!” It’s as annoying as it sounds. While the rest of the civilized world spent the summer perfecting their “whip” and “nae nae,” my boys were busy shaking their booties in anyone’s face they could find, which was mostly mine. Now that school is upon us and our summer bubble has (finally for the love of all that is holy) burst, I’m a little bit nervous that they might put their booties in the wrong place, like in front the school librarian, which reminded me to review some basic school rules over breakfast.

  1. Have fun!
  2. Keep an open mind.
  3. Be kind.
  4. Be scared. When you feel scared, it means you’re doing something brave. Own it.
  5. If you fart, say excuse me.
  6. Be a good listener.
  7. Don’t talk when your teacher is talking.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, including “Where is the bathroom?”
  10. Don’t fear the girls. I’m a girl! Girls are awesome! That, and they usually take better notes and can tell you what you missed when you were putting your booty in someone’s face.
  11. Don’t put your booty in anyone’s face.

I haven’t received a phone call from school, so I think they’re following the rules.

What would you add to the list?


Filed under boys, rules, school