Back to school, part 1: dealing with school registration forms

August, once a deliciously relaxing month of lazy summer days, has become a frantic, back-to-school flurry of school supplies, backpacks and many, many pieces of paper. Although most schools are shifting to online forms, in practice that means the burden is now on parents to print out all the paperwork and return it to school on registration day. Lots of chances for all that paper to slip between the cracks, and under the couch and behind the microwave too.

Find a nice big envelope and mark it “Registration”.  Assign one envelope per child, each marked “Registration: Cedric (or Thomasina or Harald or Wallacette).” You don’t want to be standing in line shuffling through sheafs of paper trying to find which goes with which kid if you have more than one to register.

Then print out only the papers that need to be signed. Extra points for minimal grumbling about the cost of printer ink and huge bonus points if you not only have ink in the printer, but also a spare cartridge waiting for the school year to hit.

If you don’t, add it to the list. You know, the pad of paper that always sits on the same end of the counter with a pencil right there so you can just tear off the list when you go to the store.

So, papers printed, sign them right then and there. If there are checks to write, go get your checkbook (it’s in the drawer in the kitchen) and write them now. Staple them to the right form. Put all the papers in the right envelope. Ponder the reality that you’re your kids’ secretary in addition to everything else you do for them.

And then go put the envelope(s)  on the passenger seat of your car. Very important this bit — if you give them to a child, or set them down on the kitchen table, the odds of seeing them again are slim.

Allow the envelopes to sit there on the passenger seat, annoying you yet efficiently reminding you of the task at hand. On registration day, add children to the car, and assign whoever sits in the front seat to hold the envelopes.

Sail confidently in and out of the registration arena. Murmur helpful suggestions about the possibility of scanning paperwork and emailing it back next year as you pass anyone who looks like they might be able to effect change.

Paperless society? We’ll just have to keep managing paperwork until that day comes, so best to make it as painless as possible.

Next week: how to deal with all the paperwork that comes home once school starts. Homework, completed class work, even some extra school forms — how many trees will your school district fell this year?

Do you feel like you missed the day they taught Organizing 101?

Call Lucy Kelly at (720) 526-2114. I’ll help you get organized and stay organized!

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