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back to school checklist

The Back To School Checklist to Get Ready for Fall

A new school year is on its way as the summer holidays wind down. And with the cooler nights and fuller schedules, it’s time to start planning for the fall. Is your child changing school districts this year? Or starting in a new classroom? Chances are, you need a back-to-school checklist. We’re here to help your household stay organized through this seasonal transition! Get our simple prep ideas for the most-used spaces in your home during the school year and send your kid back to school on the right foot.

Get Ahead of School District Changes

First things first! Get to know the school district your child is attending this fall. If you are new to your area, brush up on the details of your child’s elementary, middle, or high school. Learn more about any free events and programs and sign up for text alerts from your child’s school in the event of weather-related closures. 

In growing regions like Central Oregon, new schools are emerging to keep up with the population. And as a result, school district boundaries can change often. For school district-specific information in the Pacific Northwest, see this handy list per region:

Bend/LaPine: Bend-Lapine Schools
Prineville: Crook County School District
Redmond: Redmond Schools
Estacada: Estacada School District
Canby: Canby School District
Hillsboro: Hillsboro School District
North Vancouver: Battleground School District
Ridgefield: Ridgefield School District
Pasco: Pasco School District
Richland: Richland School District

Bus, Bike, or Walk Your Child’s Route to and From School

Explore transportation options for your child to get to and from school. If their route includes walking, consider a practice run to get them comfortable with road crossings and directions.  If you’ll be carpooling, confirm the schedules and have a plan in place in case your child’s schedule changes. Once they have a safe route, you’ll worry less about how they’re getting home. Here is the bus route lookup for Bend-La Pine schools, or be sure to look for a transportation page on your school district’s homepage as each district varies on where to access this information. 

Get Inspired (and Organized) with These Entryway Ideas For Backpacks and More

Start the school year fresh with an organized entryway or mudroom. Create a drop zone for your kids to shed their school layers. Tuck water bottles, shoes, and school supplies into baskets and create plenty of hooks for coats and backpacks. In this kid-centric zone, they can gather their items (and you can drink your morning coffee instead). Even a staging area for your purse or wallet, phone, and keys is a lifesaver when you’re short on time. Adding these storage strategies to your back-to-school checklist will help to make mornings easier.

Establish a Message Board (and Make it Fun!)

During the school year, weekend trips, sports practices, and social events can be a lot to juggle. A communications hub acts as the command center for family events. Posting a visual calendar or board gets the family involved. You can even include a chore chart on there if you’d like! 

An acrylic style dry-erase board could help, or a traditional tear-off, month-by-month calendar.  If your kids feel overwhelmed by school, this modern take on the emotion wheel could double as art and a good conversation starter. Discuss how the day went! We all have good ones and tough ones. 

Sweep Out Summer with Home Maintenance Tasks on Your Back to School Checklist

Before the leaves fall in the backyard, it’s time to start thinking about home maintenance. Winterizing your home could include sealing driveway cracks, checking on the furnace, or storing summer patio furniture. You might even jump into some leaf piles after! For a list of more detailed ideas, see our blog on fall and winter home maintenance tasks, and breathe a little easier when the snow arrives. 

Purge Old Items Before Shopping for Your Back To School Checklist 

As you plan that first day of school backpack photo—cue the tears—it’s also time to think about donating or repurposing items they’ve outgrown. Don’t forget to purge the dried-out glue sticks, paper scraps, lost crayons, or broken binders in your child’s backpack. Before the shopping spree commences, consider which items at home are recyclable, secondhand store-worthy, or donation quality for a local charity. Here are some local organizations that receive new school supply donations or gently used items to make them available to kids who need them. You can help other children out while shopping for yours! 

Centro Cultural – Hillsboro/Washington County

KGW School Supply Drive – Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington

Community Reuse Opportunities – Richland, WA

Friends of the Children – Central Oregon

Prepare a Flex Study Space at Home for the Possibility of Virtual Learning

We all get winter sniffles around fall, which could mean your child staying at home for virtual learning until they feel well enough to go to class. That just-in-case space can save you from scrambling when cold and flu season hit.

Also, setting up a space that’s dedicated to your child’s learning is a necessity if you’re homeschooling. Get a jump on the school year with a shelf organizer equipped with labeled bins to store each child’s learning materials before the first day starts. 

Invest in a hallway nook or a small desk where your child can use their school supplies and sit comfortably for an at-home lesson. Include some kinetic sand, a sketchpad for their ideas, or a whiteboard to work on math homework. Need any ideas for the perfect flex space in your household? From bonus rooms to a creative craft zone in the corner of your office, reimagine that extra bedroom in a new way.

School-Related Questions About Your Pahlisch Community? 

There’s still plenty of time to prepare your back-to-school checklist before the school year rush. If you have questions about school districts, homes for sale, or amenities in our Pahlisch communities, stop by our website or call us

Our New Home Specialists are happy to answer all questions about Pahlisch neighborhoods, from the finishes down to the kid’s rock climbing wall around the corner. Stay connected with our Front Porch blog for exciting updates about new communities, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter

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