Middle School 101: Binder Heaven

by Miriam Cash

Middle School 101: Binder Heaven

Well, folks, after learning the hard way with my first, I’m getting a second chance to get it right with son number two and thought I’d pass on my knowledge to you. Organizing me is easy. It’s a way of life for me, and even helping is a breeze if you’re open to it. Helping the kids, well, that’s a … (pick your own cliche)!


My oldest is certainly organizationally challenged and that I blame on his Dad. My sixth grader has been in middle school for three days and I’ll swear to you he’s his brother’s mini-me. After the first son lost assignments, syllabus, progress reports, baby teeth, what have you, I smartened up and purchased two three-ring zipper keepers, trappers, or lifesaving devices, whatever you choose to call those cumbersome, voluminous suitcases the kids cart back and forth to school in their twenty-five-pound backpacks.


He carried one for morning classes and another for afternoon. The problem then became having time to get to his locker to pick up the other appendage and then actually bringing the correct one home when needed. Enough about him. I’d finally figured it out! Two binders are better than one! Two sets of subject dividers, with durable plastic tabs, preferably with pockets and color-coded to save important papers and find them quickly. Writing legibly on the tabs is also a prerequisite. No doctors’ scratch allowed! (My son’s excuse for his sloppy penmanship? He’s destined to fill prescriptions!)


After the second son, I found the most awesome of awesome zipper binders! It’s a two-in-one “Z Binder” keeper from Case-It with a three ring binder on the front-now known as A.M. and the back-subsequently labeled P.M. Ta-da! Eureka … I think she’s got it! Of course the outside has been labeled by the boy genius because we can’t possible be expected to remember blue on black is A.M. and black on blue is P.M. Right? Nah …


Add a couple of pencils and pens on each side in an elastic holder, a copy of the schedule in the front pocket-AM and PM sides, well, pretty much a double of everything, including pencil sharpener, and you’re set. There is no room for error, no excuses, no paperwork left behind because it’s got to be somewhere! Now, by the time the third son joins his brother in middle school, I’m guessing they’ll all be using Sony Readers and my job will be pink slipped. Until then, I’m determined to stay ahead of the curve. Nobody gets anything past this organized mom!