Sunday, August 1, 2021

5 Tips for a Successful School Year and All the Printables You'll Need

 How is it already Back-to-School season?? And how did August just creep up like that?! After a very unconventional school year last year, we welcomed summer with open arms. But now that I've seen all of the fresh school supplies in Target and have planned my one-on-one school shopping dates with the kids, I am starting to get excited about the school year ahead.

Whether your kids are going back to school full-time or continuing to be homeschooled, these 5 tips are sure to get you organized and off to a great start.

TIP #1: GET YOURSELF A PLANNER

You knew that was going to be first on the list, right? Planners are what we do best, but we also know that planners are life savers when things get crazy and chaotic. So if there is ever a year that you NEED a planner...this is it.

Choosing a planner this year will really depend on how you are teaching or learning. If you want something that you can use for all areas of your life, our 2021-2022 Seasonal Planner is a great option and could meet all of your needs. 



But if you are teaching or homeschooling this year, you are going to want a little something more specific. Our Teacher and Homeschool planners come with everything you need with 2-page monthlies, weekly lesson plages, daily and weekly dockets, attendance logs, reading logs, and so much more. 


And don't forget your students! Our Undated Student Planner has everything from monthly, weekly and daily calendars, to assignment lists, schedules, reading logs, ToDo lists and project planners. 


Need something a little more simple for younger kids? Check out our My First Planner!


TIP #2: HAVE A FAMILY BINDER OR BULLETIN BOARD

If your household has multiple schedules and multiple learning plans this year, we highly recommend setting up a family binder or bulletin board. This binder or space should be somewhere that is easily accessible for all members of your family (we really like the kitchen). It can include any/all of the following:

Important School Information & Paperwork
In addition to all the handouts you get from school, our updated School Printables will help you keep track of school info, logins and passwords for the various websites you and your children will need to access and a weekly checklist that can be printed out for kids to keep track of their subjects, homework, chores, etc. We left it blank so you can fill it in for your needs. 


Shared Calendars
The purpose of a calendar in your Family Binder is to help sync everyones schedules. While some people prefer monthly views, we REALLY love our Detailed Weekly Calendars during the school year. They have plenty of space for daytime reminders, schedules & appointments, dinner planning, evening events and a daily ToDo checklist. This calendar would work great in a binder, but we prefer to print and laminate ours so that it can go on our refrigerator or family bulletin board. Use wet/dry erase markers and reuse each week. 


Home Management Pages
Your Family Binder doesn't just have to be used for school and schedules. You can also use it to keep track of annual appointments, vehicle maintenace logs, cleaning schedules, emergency contact info, detailed lists and more! You can find millions of awesome free printables online for this section, but be sure to also check out our FREE Home Management Set


TIP #3: TAKE NOTES and/or KEEP A JOURNAL

Calling all notebook hoarders! This tip is for you. Break out one of the many unused notebooks you have in your house right now and put it at your work station, on your nightstand or slip it in your tote. Technology is great, but as a writing teacher, I am always encouraging my students to put pen to paper. This is the PERFECT year to begin journaling if it isn't already one of your habits. You can find a variety of different journal prompts online, but sometimes the best journaling is simply a recap of your day. What did you do? Where were the struggles? What were the highlights? How did you feel?

Traditional journaling not your thing? You can also use your notebook for lists, jotting down notes and ideas, doodling, handlettering and more! The goal is simply to write/doodle in it every day (or as many days a week as you can remember).


TIP #4: CELEBRATE THE FIRST DAY

One of our favorite traditions here at ThePolkaDotPosie is the "First Day" picture. We have been making our First Day of School signs for 8 years and there is nothing we love more than seeing all of your kiddos holding our signs in these special pictures. So tag us if you want or use the hashtag #ThePolkaDotPosieBackToSchool so we can see them!


Also, while you are busy downloading our signs, be sure to also download our set of Printable Lunch Box Notes


These make lunchtime special on the first day, and every day throughout the school year. 

TIP #5: DON'T FORGET TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE

If there is one thing the pandemic has taught me, it's the importance of self-care. Making time for ourselves is not always easy, but it is so important for our well-being. As my grandma always said, you can't pour from an empty cup! In order to help you work self-care into your routine, we've put together a list of 50 different self-care ideas and inspiration. The pritntable list also comes with a blank calendar if you want to schedule your self-care ahead of time :) 


*****

Although the school year will look closer to normal for many us, let's remember to still go through it with plenty of grace and understanding for ourselves, our kids, their teachers and their school administrators. Let's support each other, no matter how we choose to educate our kids or do our jobs. 

And ThePolkaDotPosie is here to help in any way we can. With printables :) 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

FREE Summer Printables For Adults and Kids

We've got SUMMER on the brain over here at ThePolkaDotPosie! Our camper is coming out of storage, summer trips are being booked and Summer Camp catalogs have been arriving in the mail. It may not feel like summer around here yet, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start planning with our fun Summer Printables!!



Our Summer Holidays list has been a big hit for kids and adults, so we made sure to keep that in our set. In addition to Father's Day and the 4th of July, our list covers holidays like National S'mores Day and Honey Bee Awareness Day. As you will see, there is something to celebrate every day of the summer!

The next printable in our set is the Summer Bucket List. This is such a fun worksheet to fill out together as a family. Use the top line to write your summer goal, such as, "This Summer we will spend more time outdoors!" or "This Summer we will take the trip!" Next, list out the things you would like to make and do, as well as the adventures you would like to take. Those adventures could be a bike ride to the park, a campout in the woods, a trip to the zoo, or a road trip to the beach! And finally, make a list of the books you would like to read and the great summer movies you would like to see. If you are looking for some book ideas, be sure to check out our Facebook page. We have a great list going from World Book Day!

After you've made your Summer Bucket List, check out the Summer Schedule docket. You can use this to plan meals, weekly camps or activities, babysitter schedule, errands, to-do list and more! Print multiple copies for your planner, or print one copy and laminate it for your fridge or family bulletin board!

Finally, be sure to print out our NEW Summer Reading Log! After many requests for this printable, we thought it was finally time to add it to the set. Print out a copy for each member of your family and track the books you read and give them a star rating! We kept this printable simple so that adults and kids can use it! We have a great book list going on our Facebook page, but feel free to comment below if you have a great book to recommend!

To download this Free Summer Printable Set, click the size below:


Las year, in addition to these great summer freebies, we had a lot of requests for a more detailed Summer Schedule for kids, especially one that offers weekly theme activity days, a blank daily routine checklist that can be personalized for each child AND a screen time menu so kids have to EARN their minutes each day.

We thought these were GREAT ideas and so, we wrapped them all into one useful Summer Schedule printable!!!


Trying to decide which themes to do for our weekday activities was a lot of fun, and while we had some clever topics, we thought the following themes were the easiest to follow and make your own.

MAKE IT MONDAY: This is personally my favorite day of the week because I love a good craft project. If you need some inspiration for projects or ideas, I love Easy, Peasy & Fun and she has a ton of great projects and free printables for kids. 

TIDY UP TUESDAY: I know this theme doesn't scream FUN, but its a necessity around here. I like having one project a week that we can concentrate on together, whether it's yard work, closets, filling a donation box of toys, changing sheets, etc. 

{Side note: If you are looking for some organization inspiration, I am just starting a new book called "Cluttered Mess to Organized Success" by Cassandra Aarssen and I think this is going to be a game changer!! Check it out here.}

WHATEVER WEDNESDAY: I will give all credit to my daughter Addie for this theme. Whatever Wednesday should be just that...whatever you want! In our house, we will all get to take turns choosing that day's activity, but you can personalize this theme any way you want! And don't forget to check on that day's Holiday from our Summer Holidays list. I believe National Ice Cream Soda days falls on a Wednesday :)

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: I've seen this theme on many other summer calendars and I love it so much!! The first thing the kids want to do this summer is paint and hide kindness rocks, but we also found lots of great ideas on this list of 100 Acts of Kindness for Kids from Coffee Cups & Crayons.

FUNDAY FRIDAY: Okay, maybe this is my favorite day of the week :) Funday Friday should be all about FUN! Use this day to check something off your Summer Bucket List, take a trip to the beach or zoo, organize a neighborhood baseball game, or have a family movie & game night. 

In addition to filling out your weekly themed activities, decide on your child's daily routine checklist. As you can see in our sample, our daily checklist is pretty simple. The kids need to get up each morning and get themselves dressed, brush teeth, make their bed, put away any laundry that is in their room and tidy up a bit. The great thing about printing out a schedule for each child is that you can customize their list for their age and/or responsibilities. You can also add any other daily chores to this list if you don't want to use them as a screen time incentive.

And speaking of SCREEN TIME, let's talk about how this section of the schedule works. We compiled a list of the most common screen-time-earning activities, such as reading, studying (in the form of a workbook, tutor, educational website/app, etc.), building something, making something, writing or journaling, helping around the house (beyond normal chores), exercising, playing outside, etc. We also left two blank spaces that you can fill in with other incentives, such as walking a family dog or practicing an instrument. Each activity earns 15 minutes of screen time, but when it comes to the length of time on each activity, that is entirely up to you!

CUSTOMIZING BEFORE PRINTING: Many customers ask if there is a way to customize our printable before printing, and there is! To add in your weekly theme activities and daily routine checklist, just open our Summer Schedule PDF in Adobe Reader and click on "Fill and Sign". This will create a text box on the printable and you can access all the fonts and colors on your computer. Just place a text box over each area you want to enter text and then you can save and print! Easy peasy.

MONEY SAVING TIP: If you want to save some money and ink with our new Summer Schedule, we highly recommend printing a copy for each child and then laminating it (or putting it in a frame with glass) so that you can use dry/wet erase markers all summer long! No editing and no wasted ink and paper!

We hope you find this new Summer Schedule helpful!! Download your copy {HERE}


We would love for you to share our Free Summer Printables with your friends and family, but we ask that you PLEASE link to this blog post and not to the downloads directly. These printables are free to download and use for personal use, but they MAY NOT BE EDITED, SOLD OR PRINTED FOR RESALE in any way. If you have questions about these printables and how they may be used, please contact us :) Thank you!

Monday, February 1, 2021

FREE Valentine's Day Printables

I know it feels like we just took down the Christmas tree (and for some of us, they may have only been yesterday), but it's time to look ahead to the next fun holiday on the list...Valentine's Day!

The stores are already filling up with cards, candy and other goodies so if you want to start getting organized now, be sure to download our one-page Valentine Planner!


This fun page has everything you need to plan the basics, like cards to send, decor, things you want to make, gifts you need to buy, etc. We also have plenty of space for writing your Valentine's Day plans & menu! This page will come in all three of our planner sizes, and you can download each of them {HERE}.

***

Two years ago, while scrolling through Facebook, I saw an awesome Valentine's Day tradition that I wanted to start with my kids. The idea is simple...you write little love notes on paper hearts and stick them to your kids' doors on the days or weeks leading up to Valentine's Day! While it is perfectly easy to cut your own hearts out of construction paper, we wanted to make the project a little more fun (and easy)!



Our printable set comes with a cute sign to hang on the door so that your kiddos know to expect new hearts every day! We also included a space where you can sign who the notes are from. That way, everyone in the family can join in on the fun!

The set also comes with 5 sheets of pre-filled hearts, and a sheet of blank hearts so you can write your own personal notes. You can download everything {HERE} All you need is a printer and a pair of scissors and you are ready to go! 

***

Once you start to fill out your Valentine Planner, you will almost immediately remember one of the most time consuming tasks of Valentine's Day

CLASSROOM CARDS

Our bubble Valentine Cards have been a huge hit the last few years, and you can check them out and download your FREE set {HERE}. 


***

And finally, one of our ALL TIME favorite Valentine's Printables...



Even my 5th grader still loves getting notes in her lunch box, and these little Valentine Lunch Box notes are the perfect little "I love you" to send with them each day.
And while you are at it, you can download ALL of our Lunch Box notes {HERE} and prepare for the holidays to come :) 

We hope you all have a magical Valentine's Day!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

FREE New Years Printables for 2020 Reflection and 2021 Goal Setting

 Is it just me, or was 2020 one of the longest AND fastest years of all time??

This was a year filled with so many ups and downs. I find it is sometimes easier to focus on the downs (especially the exceptionally difficult ones like losing family or friends, a job, a business or our health). During this pandemic we've had to make a lot of sacrifices too, like time with our family and friends, important traditions, hugs, time in the classroom, etc. And we shouldn't ignore the downs, the little or the big ones. The downs we experienced this year are shaping us in ways we may not even realize yet. 

But after acknowledging the downs, we also have to look at the ups. I've tried my best to do this all through the month of December and even started writing them down. While I knew I had some very high moments of 2020, I never realized just how many little and big things I could list. It brought me a lot of peace to really reflect on all the positive ways I have changed this year and the way it has made me shift my priorities for the year to come. 

So with this activity in mind, I decided to create a 3rd New Years Printable to add to our free collection. 


This new page is called the 2020 Ups & Downs List and you can download it HERE.

I found a quote written in an old planner that said, "Sometimes life has to turn you upside down, so you can learn to live right side up." This seemed like such a fitting quote for 2020 and it inspired this new printable. 

Using this printable is very simple: Just list your Top 5 Downs, followed by your Top 5 Ups. Do you see any connections between them? Did closing one door open another?

While you are busy reflecting, be sure to download this year's 2020 Year in Review HERE.

This printable was a big hit last year and we wanted to make sure we offered it again. A friend of mine said, "Uh, Jen, maybe remove the part about goal accomplishments at the bottom for this year." I will admit...that health goal will NOT get a check for 2020, but I was able to make some really great connections with friends (even if they were over Zoom), I personally made a HUGE career decision and landed an amazing job at the college I work for, I had an abundance of time with my husband and kids (which was a very important goal coming out of 2019) AND I was able to knock some important things off my Home ToDo list. I am hoping many of you are still able to check many things off your goal list as well, even if they weren't exactly how you envisioned them playing out :) 

Speaking of Goals & Resolutions, our set would not be complete without our 2021 Goals & Resolutions Printable that you can download HERE.

I know we all joke that we want to set our expectations SUPER low for 2021, but I think it is still so important to dream and plan for the future. Your goals and resolutions can be very simple, or now that you have had this year to reflect on your priorities, maybe you want to set some really BIG goals for the year ahead. Reminder...this is YOUR goals and resolutions page and you don't have to fit anyone else's expectations. Just plan from the heart and do more of what makes you happy.

Well friends, I hope you enjoy sitting with these printable today, tomorrow and in the year ahead. Be sure to share some of your reflections and goals with us on social media in the coming days.

Wishing you all a happy, HEALTHY New Year.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Challenge!

 2020 has been quite a year, hasn't it?

 It is so easy to dwell on all the things we've lost this year, especially as the holidays approach and we realize just how different our Thanksgiving table is going to look. And it's okay to be sad and feel yucky about it because I know we do too.

But at the same time, there are still many things to be grateful for this year and we thought this challenge would give all of us a chance to reflect on those things this week in the hopes healing out hearts a bit.

In fact, we just read on the Headspace Facebook page today that, 

"In a study at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, 40 patients were examined for biological factors of heart disease, such as inflammation and heart rhythm. Half of the patients were asked to keep a journal for most days of the week and write about two or three things they were grateful for. 

After two months, health benefits were found for the patients who wrote in their journals, including reduced inflammation levels and improved heart rhythm. When heart disease risk was compared to before and after journal writing, there was a decreased risk in just the short span of 8 weeks."

You see? Gratitude journaling is good for the heart and the soul. It's science. 

So let's give it a try, shall we?

We are challenging all of you to journal the entire week of Thanksgiving (Monday - Sunday) and we have created this FREE printable to get you started.


Please visit our Facebook or Instagram pages and share some of the things YOU are grateful for this year. 

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Thanksgiving Printable Goodies!

With Turkey Day a little over a week away, it's time to start planning and prepping! We've got a bunch of great Thanksgiving Freebies to share with you today.

First up, we have our popular Thanksgiving planner pages to help you organize your menu, plan a shopping list, tackle cleaning and kitchen prep, journal your thanksgiving memories AND a coloring sheet for kids (or adults).



After we shared our super cute Thanksgiving Lunch Box Notes last year, a few friends told us that they actually used them for their Thanksgiving kids table! What a GREAT idea!


Download these Thanksgiving Lunch Notes {HERE}

Next up, we have a new "I am Thankful for You" sheet of 2" printables that you can use as treat bag tags, cupcake toppers, or plant sticks! All you need is some heavy card stock and a 2" paper punch!


Download these Thanksgiving Tags/Toppers {HERE}

While you are busy decorating, be sure to download this Thanksgiving printable word art!! It is sized 8x10 so you can print and frame it for your home or give it as a hostess or teacher gift!


Download this Thanksgiving word art {HERE}

And finally, if you have been keeping up with our One-Page Holiday Planners all here, here is our Thanksgiving version!


This page is really perfect for people who don't need to do a lot of detailed planning on paper, but still want to write out the menu and jot down your shopping list, to do list and cooking times. This is also perfect for your fridge if you don't want to keep it in a planner.

Download your One-Page Thanksgiving Planner {HERE}

We hope all of our great printable freebies will make your Thanksgiving holiday a little more organized and a lot more fun :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our wonderful friends and customers! We are so thankful for all of you!

********

A FRIENDLY REMINDER

Please feel free to share the link to our shop blog with all of our Thanksgiving goodies, but PLEASE do not link to the downloads directly. These printables are free to download and use for personal use, but they MAY NOT BE EDITED, SOLD OR PRINTED FOR RESALE in any way. If you have questions about these printables and how they may be used, please contact us in our shop. If you like the beautiful cliparts used in many of these printables, they can be purchased from one of our favorite Etsy shops, © Erin Bradley Designs | erinbradleydesigns.etsy.com

Sunday, August 2, 2020

5 Tips for Success This School Year

Back-to-School is always one of our favorite times of the year at ThePolkaDotPosie. We've built quite a collection of fun FREE Printables to help you count down and get organized for the year ahead. But as we were taking stock of these printables the last few weeks we realized:

This year is going to look a LOT different. 

Whether you and/or your kids are going back to the classroom, starting full-time remote/virtual learning, homeschooling or participating in a hybrid plan, this school year is going to be full of changes. For many of us that will mean new schedules, new routines and lots of new information to keep track of. With that in mind, we've put together some helpful Tips for Success (and some updated FREE school printables to go along with them).

TIP #1: GET YOURSELF A PLANNER

You knew that was going to be first on the list, right? Planners are what we do best, but we also know that planners are life savers when things get crazy and chaotic. So if there is ever a year that you NEED a planner...this is it.

Choosing a planner this year will really depend on how you are teaching or learning. If you want something that you can use for all areas of your life, our 2020-2021 Planner (in Seasonal or Signature design) is a great option and could meet all of your needs.



But if you are teaching or homeschooling this year, you are going to want a little something more specific. Our Teacher and Homeschool planners come with everything you need with 2-page monthlies, weekly lesson plages, daily and weekly dockets, attendance logs, reading logs, and so much more. 


And don't forget your students! Our Undated Student Planner has everything from monthly, weekly and daily calendars, to assignment lists, schedules, reading logs, ToDo lists and project planners. 


Need something a little more simple for younger kids? Check out our My First Planner!


TIP #2: HAVE A FAMILY BINDER OR BULLETIN BOARD

If your household has multiple schedules and multiple learning plans this year, we highly recommend setting up a family binder or bulletin board. This binder or space should be somewhere that is easily accessible for all members of your family (we really like the kitchen). It can include any/all of the following:

Important School Information & Paperwork
In addition to all the handouts you get from school, our updated School Printables will help you keep track of school info, logins and passwords for the various websites you and your children will need to access and a weekly checklist that can be printed out for kids to keep track of their subjects, homework, chores, etc. We left it blank so you can fill it in for your needs. 


Shared Calendars
The purpose of a calendar in your Family Binder is to help sync everyones schedules. While some people prefer monthly views, we REALLY love our Detailed Weekly Calendars during the school year. They have plenty of space for daytime reminders, schedules & appointments, dinner planning, evening events and a daily ToDo checklist. This calendar would work great in a binder, but we prefer to print and laminate ours so that it can go on our refrigerator or family bulletin board. Use wet/dry erase markers and reuse each week. 


Home Management Pages
Your Family Binder doesn't just have to be used for school and schedules. You can also use it to keep track of annual appointments, vehicle maintenace logs, cleaning schedules, emergency contact info, detailed lists and more! You can find millions of awesome free printables online for this section, but be sure to also check out our FREE Home Management Set


TIP #3: TAKE NOTES and/or KEEP A JOURNAL

Calling all notebook hoarders! This tip is for you. Break out one of the many unused notebooks you have in your house right now and put it at your work station, on your nightstand or slip it in your tote. Technology is great, but as a writing teacher, I am always encouraging my students to put pen to paper. This is the PERFECT year to begin journaling if it isn't already one of your habits. You can find a variety of different journal prompts online, but sometimes the best journaling is simply a recap of your day. What did you do? Where were the struggles? What were the highlights? How did you feel?

Traditional journaling not your thing? You can also use your notebook for lists, jotting down notes and ideas, doodling, handlettering and more! The goal is simply to write/doodle in it every day (or as many days a week as you can remember).


TIP #4: CELEBRATE THE FIRST DAY

Even though this school year will be unlike any other, it's so important to keep some of the school traditions you cherish, whether that is a special routine the night before the first day, or holding your First Day of School signs for a picture in the morning. Set the tone for the year with positivity and excitement :)


TIP #5: DON'T FORGET TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE

I don't know about all of you, but as a parent and a teacher, these last few weeks especially have felt like an emotional rollercoaster. And we've really never gotten off the ride since mid-March when the world shut down. Self-care is going to be so important for all of us this school year and we've put together a list of 50 different self-care ideas and inspiration. The pritntable list also comes with a blank calendar if you want to schedule your self-care ahead of time :) 


*****

Here is a great big SHOUT OUT to all of you parents, teachers and administrators for working so hard this summer. We see the hours of work you are putting in now and we know the hours of work you have ahead of you. Whatever the school year brings for all of us, let's go through it with plenty of grace and understanding. Let's support each other, no matter how we choose to educate our kids or do our jobs. 

We are in this TOGETHER.

And ThePolkaDotPosie is here to help in any way we can. With printables :)