It’s noon and my daughter is on her 17th piece of paper and has somehow misplaced her crayon 4 times already today.
While appropriate at any time of year, back to school season and the start of a new semester are both great times to implement or re-approach the idea of responsibility. And it’s a life skill that can easily be taught through school supplies.
But there’s a trick to it!
While perusing the aisles of Target the other day I found this amazing and unique school supply organizer. I snagged it because it was the last one and immediately went home to order another online and even pick up at another local store… In fact, I found an affiliate link for you if you want to as well. It’s this “thing” called a Yoobi Document Organizer .
It is thinner and more manageable than something like a trapper keeper, and much more appropriate for young kids like preschoolers, kindergarteners, and young elementary-aged kids. (To give you an idea of its size, it snuggly fits a clipboard and is too small for a laptop.)
In it, I was able to literally put every school supply we needed including scissors, Elmer’s glue, paper, colored pencils, Crayola crayon box, highlighters, a clipboard, and more!
But the trick to teaching responsibility is that all supplies have to stay in the organizer and you use an inventory and price list that stays in the front pocket.
The idea being that each day of homeschooling or evening when your child comes home from school, you can check to see that it’s there. If it isn’t, they have to use the inventory price list to replace what’s missing.
How this works…
So say that my daughter needs a red marker. She goes to get it and it’s not there. We would look at the price list. On it, it mentions $0.25 or $0.10 for a missing lid. Together we would talk about how we have to put our supplies back and then she would retrieve a quarter from her piggy bank to help replace the new marker.
Likewise, if it was missing a lid, the discussion would be a positive interaction about “Wow, great job putting your marker back! They need lids to work though so next time you can do even better by replacing the cap.”
Basically you’re teaching consequences.
In life there are major repercussions for our actions and then other times there are just small bumps in the road. And this just puts a visual to those great life lessons.
I personally am also teaching resource scarcity and money management.
My child will happily fly through countless sheets of paper with barely a scribble on them. So if on my inventory sheet it says “3 sheets of paper” then that’s her allotment for the day. At the end of the day, we refill it and put it away for the next morning.
She has also been known to earn extra paper… or tape. She loves tape.
In the end, it’s been a great way to reinforce life skills and important life lessons in a very interactive and visual manner.
Check out our completely free routine chart and chore chart downloads to continue teaching responsibility.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!