Embassy's Tips For a Smarter School Year

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Organizing Tips for a Smarter School Year


These fun finds and simple fix-ups will help you stream line morning routines, cutback on homework stress, and turn your house into a launchpad for outstanding achievements.

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Photograph by Carl Tremblay

Back-to-School Pegboard

For a simple, inspiring homework center, pick up a pegboard (available at hardware stores), and, if needed, have it cut to fit on a door or above a desk. Stock the board with cool schooland craft supplies, and your student will be set to ace everything from division to diorama building.

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Chore folder

Photograph by Carl Tremblay

No-Nag Checklist

File this idea away! Cut back on constant reminders with a simple morning chore tracker. To make one, cut a letter-size file folder (we found this one at Staples) so that the back panel measures 11 1/2 by 5 inches, and the front panel is an inch shorter. Cut the front panel to make flaps, and stick on adhesive magnet strips as shown. With glue, attach chore icons made from clip art, drawings, or magazine clippings, plus labels reading "done." Hang it in an easy-to-reach spot.

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Photograph by Carl Tremblay


If your crew's toughest challenge is simply getting out of the house on time, these eye-catching models just might do the trick.

Cue With Color
For parents whose little ones can't yet read a clock, this rainbow dial is a lifesaver: "When the black hand hits the yellow space, we'll need to hit the road!" UltraFlat Multi-Color Clock, $55, kikkerland.com

Flip for It
Big numerals and funky robot limbs make this model a kid-pleaser, and the retro flip action provides a clear reminder that the minutes are ticking by. Maple's Table Flip Clock With Robot Legs, $52.80, amazon.com

Originally published in the September 2013 issue ofFamilyFun

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How to Choose a Backpack

How to Choose a Backpack


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metal board organizer

Photograph by Kate Sears

Get the Message

A central spot to corral reminders and papers is a must. Combined with magnets, this 36- by 25-inch oil drain pan (we got ours at Autozone for $10) makes an attractive spot for artwork and messages. Add flash cards, and it's a great place to practice math and spelling, too. Before using it, wash the pan with dish detergent and warm water. Attach two D-ring picture hangers with outdoor mounting tape or drill holes in the top corners, and suspend it with a ribbon.

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organized home entry

Photograph by Kate Sears

Create a Winning Entry

Labeled drawers give each family member a place to stash those grab-and-go necessities: mittens, bus passes, shin guards. A fun wall-hung cubby unit holds small essentials, such as lip balm and sunglasses.