Well Hello There Strong Mamas!!
All mamas of preschool or older kids know this scene. You pick up your kids from school and the rest of the day is packed with marital arts, tutoring, dance, sports games, running a couple errands or whatever. Homework is looming over your shoulder. A couple of things usually happen: either you get the kids home late and exhausted and try to get homework done without tears (good luck!) or you try to do some of it while you are waiting in the Target line (“Read me your chapter while we walk”) or sitting at ballet. But you always hear the same thing. “I need a ruler for this math page.” or “I don’t have a pencil.” or “I left my protractor at school.”
Today I wanted to share a short(ish!) post on one of my favorite family management items in my truck. I first mentioned it in my Weekend Reset post. With 5 kids in 3 schools I am frequently on the go and sometimes we have to get homework done away from home. Not my preferred method with kids with learning differences, but it is what it is. I came up with this because trying to do homework at 7:00pm with 5 kids IS A NIGHTMARE. I had to come up with some way of having everything they needed and get the work done while we were out. For my Strong Mamas with kids with ADHD, you know that the brain only has but so much juice. Remember how you felt after you took the SAT? How fried you were? Your brain was done because it had used all its energy on FOCUSING. That’s how our ADHD kiddos feel EVERY. DAY. AFTER. SCHOOL. Telling their brain to “give it one more go” after all of that is ridiculous. So, the homework backpack was born.
I took an old backpack (this one is from Lands End that my mom bought for $6 during their after Christmas sale a few years ago).
In it are a large plastic pencil case, and each item from the case is pictured below. I also taped a list of everything that goes in it so I know what to get when things need to be replenished.
Yes, everything in the picture below fits in large school supply case! Here’s a list in case you want to cut and paste it somewhere:
Rulers, tape, pencil grips, pencil sharpener, glue sticks, markers, crayons, scissors, sharpened pencils, black/blue/red pens, stapler (and refills), hole punch (not pictured because SOMEONE FORGOT TO PUT IT BACK AAAARRRGGHHH!!!!), highlighters, calculator, protractor, notecards, erasers, paper clips, sharpie, rubber bands, dry erase markers and dry eraser.
I keep a children’s dictionary and make my kids look up words in it (instead of using my phone) because I believe it is a key skill in patience. “The World” is a dry erase board with geography activities on both sides.
Inside the “Homework Paper Supplies” accordion I have these things: construction paper, large grid graph paper (kids with learning differences, especially executive functioning disorders and dysgraphia, can have a hard time keeping their math problems/numbers properly lined up on the paper. This paper helps the brains of my LD kids just focus on math and not have to work on lining up numbers. Find it here), college-ruled and wide-ruled notebook paper and Handwriting Without Tears paper.
The backpack STAYS IN THE CAR when we aren’t using it, so I never have to be without homework materials. When my kiddos were little I had a Baby Activity Bag (You can search Pinterest for a zillion ideas, and while you’re at it you can follow me on Pinterest here, Facebook here and Instagram here).
I cannot tell you how critical this family management item has been to us over the years! We Strong Mamas ARE BUSY and most of the moms I know work outside of the home. I hope it is an encouragement and a blessing to you! If this helped you at all PLEASE SHARE IT so other Strong Mamas can be helped, too!
Stay Strong, DJ