Tips & Stories

A Parents’ Guide To Back-to-School Madness

A Parents' Guide To Back-to-School Madness

Posted by Kasey Fleisher Hickey on 30 Aug 2013

Posted by Kasey Fleisher Hickey on 30 Aug 2013

This is a contributed post by Parenting Ambassador, Carley Knobloch.

In my house, the new year doesn’t start in January, it starts in September, when my kids go back to school. The clean notebooks and sharp pencils denote a time to start fresh, and get myself organized— well, as organized as I can be, as the flood of handouts, rosters, artwork, and homework packets start piling up. If there ever was a time to seek solace in Evernote, it’s now!

Here are a few of the ways I stay on top of back to school madness using Evernote.

Carley_Knobloch_Evo_200x200Class Rosters — Two kids, two classes. Add a few after school teams and clubs and that’s a big pile of rosters. I want to be able to access all those contacts anytime, but I don’t want to spend time entering contacts into my address book (I used to do this years ago). What a perfect use for Evernote’s OCR feature— scanning these rosters means I just search for anyone’s name and I can find a phone number or email instantly.

Gift Ideas — One of the unfortunate side effects of the school year are birthday parties. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice when kids get older, and the cake is a perk, but making sure I have gifts for all those classmates can get expensive and time consuming. When I find a gift I think will be a hit with the kids in the class (and has the right price tag) I snap a picture with the Evernote app. That way, when it’s time to go shopping, I’ve got a bunch of ideas that I know work with my budget.

Keeping track of handouts — In the early days of school, there’s a lot to keep track of… emails, handbooks and handouts start to pile up, and it can be difficult to remember where the information I need lives. That’s why I forward school emails to Evernote and scan all the papers too— everything gets labeled with each child’s name, and the school name. Now a Saved Search for #kid and #school pulls up all the information I need. [Check out Paperless Ambassador Jamie Todd Rubin’s Top Saved Searches]

How to create a Saved Search in Evernote

Permission Slips and Order Forms — Permission slips and order forms are time-sensitive… getting them back to school on time can mean the difference between a pizza lunch and a hungry kid. Adding a Reminder when I scan them into Evernote ensures I don’t drop the ball and forget to send them back.


Artwork — School art multiplies when you’re not looking. One macaroni picture frame turns into three, and a handprint turkey proliferates into a whole flock. Before you know it, the art is taking over your home and there isn’t a refrigerator door big enough to hold it all. I love keeping a few pieces for posterity — the rest gets archived in an Evernote notebook. A few snaps of the Evernote app camera, complete with date stamp and kid/school tags and I’ve got an art archive that takes up no space, but still lets us relive Kindergarten art years later. BONUS: Sometimes I record audio notes of the kids explaining their art. Commentary in those little voices is adorable to go back and listen to.

What’d I miss? How do you use Evernote to manage the Back To School chaos? Do tell!

Carley Knobloch is obsessed with helping people use technology to make life easier (and more fun). As a Today Show contributor and HGTV host, she explores the world of home control and makes tech accessible to even the least savvy. On her blog,, she writes about the intersection of home, style and digital life. She’s appeared on CNN, Fox News, EXTRA, and in Real Simple and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two kids, springer spaniel, and myriad tablets. Follow her on Twitter at @carleyknobloch.


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