Back to School 2019-2020: Teacher Lesson Planner Tips

Back to school is around the corner! Planning ahead helps reduce stress so you’re at your best. Your most organized school year starts here! Get eight lesson planning tips from educators who use the teacher-approved Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner to … Continue reading

How To Set Up a Homework Station

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Ah, homework! Back to school means back in the begrudging afternoon homework routine. Some don’t mind it, for others, it can feel like pulling teeth! Never fear, proactive parents, we’ve got a few tips for creating a peaceful place where the focus can be… well… focus!  Training our young children to be efficient time managers is a daunting task, but it can certainly start with the homework station. Keeping this space organized (and helping your child maintain it) is the key component to an inviting, peaceful learning environment that they will want to come home to enjoy. Mainstreaming this process and making it a routine they don’t have to think about will make homework less painful, and hopefully lead to an easier after school routine!

First things first, find a spot in your house away from distractions. This means a room or area with no TV, no phones, no devices. If your child has a device, make sure they turn it in to you for the duration of the homework period or have them put it out of reach. If your homework is timed like ours is, then give them a separate timer, like an egg timer or kitchen timer. Do not use one on a digital device or they will be tempted to play games, or worse, ask Siri for the answer!

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The Chair! This is important, especially if you have younger school children. Because most chairs at home are suitable for adults, the place where your child will sit each day after school should be fitted to their height. Be sure to have a chair that is the correct height: the child’s feet should be flat on the floor in order to stabilize themselves when they write. There is a direct connection to nice, controlled handwriting and their feet being flat on the floor! Some desk chairs are height adjustable, so be sure to take time to fit your child to the chair every few months.

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Supplies! Set this desk up with the same love you’d have to set your own desk. Get a set of colorful supplies to be used exclusively used at this homework station- meaning one glue stick, one nice set of colored pencils, one set of markers, plenty of pencils and erasers, paper clips, stapler, scissors, etc. to avoid breaking concentration in order to go sharpen a broken pencil lead or find a highlighter to mark an important place in the reading. Don’t forget a scratch pad and file folders! Keep everything they might need within reach to avoid having them get up and lose focus. Additionally, sticking to the same time for homework each day will help set the routine. For example, my kids come straight home, have a quick snack and then get right down to homework.  Whenever I get a little homework push back, I always pull out my favorite quote, “Let’s get it done so we can have some fun!”

Still need a few supplies for the school year? Shop our entire line of black to school accessories! Best of luck to you this year with all your homework adventures 🙂

BLOGGER TAKEOVER: TLP vs. LP with Simply Learning

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Kaitlyn is the wife & mother behind Simply Learning, which was created from her desire to meaningfully engage on a daily basis with her two daughters. It features modern, hassle-free learning curriculums that are designed with the busy mom in mind. Her goal is to always make learning manageable + fun!

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I’ve found that one of the most important keys to successfully managing school at home is staying organized. As we are inching closer to the start of our school year, it’s essential that I stay on top of all of the busy details of our life. I’ve had the challenge of not only organizing our family activities, but also creating and planning a year’s worth of learning units for my preschooler.

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My Erin Condren planners have been such a blessing in this area of my life! I used the Teacher Lesson Planner last school year and loved all of the space it gave me to plan our Tot School activities. Since I homeschool, there are a few pages that aren’t applicable to our family, but overall, this is an amazing planner! I loved using the graphing pages to track my daughter’s progress, and the large calendar pages allowed me to jot down the daily projects I wanted to complete with her. My favorite accessories for the TLP are the stickers and the bookmarks. The stickers were a great way to not only keep track of different units and projects, but they also make spotting big events (like birthdays or vacations!) easy. The bookmarks are incredibly helpful since I constantly find myself flipping back and forth between different months of the school year.

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Another item that I love are small moveable “flags”. When I’m not sure which week I want to plan something, or if a project date is not set in stone, the flags allow me to easily move things around as need be. Over the past year, I truly began to love planning out our weeks and the final calendar is always so bright, fun and eye catching!

Over the summer I made the decision to try out the Life Planner this time around. I wanted to create a more structured schedule for my girls and allot specific hours to “school activities”. The hourly layout seemed to perfectly match what I was looking for. While I do miss the large calendar pages in the TLP, I really enjoy having detailed, hourly pages. I can track our appointments, playdates and lesson plans – all in one place!

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Another attractive quality about the Life Planner is it’s smaller size. We stayed at home a lot last year because I was juggling a toddler and a newborn, but now we try to get out of the house 2-3 times a week. I needed a planner that could easily fit in my diaper bag so that I could keep track of appointments on the go. I again love utilizing the many forms of Erin Condren bookmarks and the snap in Dashboards are a lifesaver when it comes to meal and grocery planning.

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The Erin Condren Back To School collection was recently released and I grabbed a few fun goodies for myself. Since I have the smaller Life Planner, I got the flamingo notebook to keep track of any extra notes or planning that I need to do. I also chose one of the lunch totes so that we could quickly pack healthy snacks for our weekly playdates. The Teacher Lesson Planner and the Life Planner are the two best planners I have ever experienced. They are incredibly well laid out – it just comes down to personal preference and what your needs are when deciding which would be best for you. Now that I’ve experienced both, my plan is to return to the Teacher Lesson Planner when my girls enter their elementary years. At that point I will need the extra space that the TLP provides.

I love making new friends and sharing our life with others. Come say hello!

Instagram || @simplylearning
Blog || Simply Learning
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Blogger Takeover: Planner Workshop with Willowcrest Lane

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Norah Pritchard of Willowcrest Lane started blogging as a way to share her life and loves, to stay connected to a community, and to always continue to learn from others. Her blog focuses on ways to make life more organized, more beautiful, and more fun!

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When I first started my blog, Willowcrest Lane, some of my very first posts were about planning. I wrote about the planners I use and why planning has brought me peace. Let me tell you about some of the crazy looks I got about that. People were like, “Out of all the things to write about, you wrote about your planner?”

But as I stood in front of a sold out crowd of 66 kick butt planner women, I thought, “I have found my people!”

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Using my paper planner is one way that I actively try to live a purposeful, balanced life, and I wanted to share that message and meet other women with similar visions.

With that thought, I decided to host a Planner Workshop to gather a community of women in Rochester, NY, the new planners and the pro-planners alike, to share what using a paper planner can do for our lives.

I shared an Instagram recap of the event here, where you can see all the fun candid photos of the day under the hashtag #willowcrestlaneplans.

We met on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the bright, airy Rochester Brainery, where my friend, Jocelyn, from Lemonjam Photography, captured what it looks like to plan, create, and inspire.

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So often, women can get a little lost in the daily grind of working and taking care of those we love, which we do so well, almost too well. It can be easy to become so busy in our roles that we forget to celebrate ourselves for the amazing women that we are.  My goals for planning the workshop were to bring a roomful of inspiring planner ladies together, spoil us all a little, and have a beautiful time celebrating the peace that comes from planning a purposeful life.

Planning an event like this was so much fun! I wanted to make sure that our time together made everyone feel appreciated, so I put some extra fun details like the name tag board, the planner inspiration board, and the paper flower backdrop together to make our time together special. Picture4 The excited buzz when the doors opened could be felt throughout the afternoon. As the planner ladies came in, my guest speakers and I welcomed them with big hugs and even bigger swag bags! We had some amazingly generous sponsors that made us all feel the planner love. I’ve been sharing about them all month on my Instagram, so everyone had an idea of how amazing they were. We couldn’t wait to get them and start planning! They were stuffed full of stickers and beautiful washi tapes from 12 different shops! Picture5 We mingled and showed off planners and our favorite supplies, and then it was time for the guest panel to talk for a few minutes about what planning means to them. My friends, Rachel, Claudia, and Katie are planner pros, and I couldn’t wait for them to share their stories and tips. We covered things like memory keeping, planning for peace of mind, and how to overcome the fear of a blank page. I am so thankful to have met each of these ladies, and share the day with them. Picture 6 Then, it was time for some serious fun with our planners. But first, pastries!  We noshed and talked, before settling down to the workshop tables to plan. Picture7 Each of the workshop tables held a farmhouse centerpiece that my husband makes in our Etsy shop. We loaded it full of sweet treats for the ladies to snack on while they planned. Next to the centerpieces was a very special surprise package from none other than Erin Condren!  

The Erin Condren team sent each table a bundle of their most fun planner accessories and some pieces from their brand new back-to-school line. Each guest got to try out the beautiful new watercolor sticker books, washi, and colored pens, as well as some of her brand new back-to-school line!

Each table oohed and aahed over the pretty supplies, and started planning right away with the stickers, washi, and pens. I chatted with the teachers at the event about how cute the new pencils, erasers, and journals were. I think I know what to get my boys’ teachers for gifts this year!

I am so thankful to the Erin Condren team for supporting this event and spoiling us all with so many of her products.

Along with all the swag bags and table accessories, the raffle tables were loaded with amazing raffle prizes. I worked for weeks with different brands to offer some fabulous raffle prizes. It was so much fun to watch my husband, Tom, and my best planner friend, Rachel, picking the winners.  

The door prize, the highly coveted Erin Condren luxe LifePlanner™, was the last drawing. The room got quiet with anticipation, and I could feel the thrill when I pulled the ticket. The room erupted into cheers and clapping when the winner was called! How lucky!

I am thankful to be surrounded by such inspirational, motivated ladies. I plan for many reasons: to be more productive, a way for myself and my family to stay organized and find balance, as a creative outlet, and now as a way to connect with my community in this journey to living the best life we can. I can’t wait to plan the next one!

Looking for more about planning and events? Follow Erin Condren on Facebook for more info on workshops & conferences!