Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Calendar System For My Family

I am a bit of an agenda nerd. Ok, a lot of nerd. I'm kind of obsessed with my calendar and I never find anything that works well for us.
We used to use Cozi, and I loved it when I had an android phone with a widget that kept it in front of my face. When I switched to the iPhone, it became a pain. I never opened the app and sometimes the notifications didn't work the way I wanted. And looking at the calendar wasn't as easy, even with color coding the family members.
I like my iPhone calendar, and I sync it with my google account usually, but putting things there doesn't share it with the rest of the family. I have a lot of notifications and I customized it well. Some things have alerts, some don't really need alerts and I have it set just the way I need it.
But then the kids have plans of their own, or the Trucker makes plans and doesn't know what I have already. Or, of course, there are those days where the Trucker says something like "What the F### did you do all day?" I could pass him my phone but then he'd use up all my lives in whatever game I'm addicted to at the moment. Haha. No thank you!
I needed everything in one place.
A big wall calendar is helpful, but I need a lot of space to keep everything there. I searched and searched but there was just nothing that had enough space so I started this.
At first it was just a one week thing, one page that I kept in a page protector and wrote on with a dry erase marker. That was okay, but I have a lot of things to add to weeks ahead at times. So I just made a stack of these pages and kept them together on the fridge. No more dry erase. I have space for each of us and, though the picture above is not an accurate week here, the page gets pretty full. I don't keep these after the week is done, I just toss it in the recycle bag and move along.
In the beginning I had only Monday to Friday on the page. Those are my busy days, but within a few short weeks the Trucker and I were running into weekend conflicts. I always have one cleaning and laundry day on the weekend, and one day for plans that take us out of the house. So I didn't really need space for two days. Just one place to put the major weekend events and I write what day the plans are for. My week always starts with Monday and the weekend is just that, the end of the week. We've had a few hiccups, but nothing major with this set up.
Angel loves this set up too. She likes to see her name on the calendar and often adds her own appointments. The main reason I couldn't post an actual calendar week from our house is because by the end of the week, my whole page looks something like this:

She's a very busy girl!!
I write down everything. I write my class schedules and assignments on here. I have specific times for everything so that if I got hung up somewhere and I needed Grandma to pick up a child for me from school, she can look and see who gets out at what time. If we need a sitter, it is written down. If there is a hot lunch event at school, I write down the due date for the form, then the day of the lunch, what it is (eg. Subway) and that it was paid for. If we don't order, I write down "Hot Lunch - Not Ordered" and I know that Art needs to come home that day.
I copy my syllabus here, so I have an idea of what needs to be read for which class by what day. I write down appointments or play dates. I write down EVERYTHING. If I have to arrange a babysitter, I write down who is coming as soon as it is confirmed.
This planner has saved me so much stress. I still add most of this to my phone calendar because I want to have it with me, but this takes a load off my shoulders when it comes to sharing with everyone else. The Trucker and my mom can see when I have midterms coming or finals, and they know that I'm less likely to get the dishes done or I might need extra help with the kids. No one has to guess what is coming any more.  I don't forget library days.
I did forget Early Dismissal one day in December, but I had the alarm in my phone to remind me. I was only a few minutes late getting to the school. I'd been running from 8 in the morning and hadn't seen the house calendar! The alarm rang and totally shocked me! Having so much on a smart phone is a blessing some days, I was able to text a mom that I know well and she hung out with Art until I got there. Well, actually, I got there in time to pick up a back pack because Art headed to their house to play for a couple hours. To be fair, that was also the week of studying for finals and my van started having bigger issues. I had a lot in my head!
Having this organized was a life saver. Realizing what I can actually do with a week was so helpful, enough that I was able to start switching the books for home reading in the kindergarten classroom too. Now, when my classes finish, I head straight to the Angel's classroom and flip the readers for the class. The mom who had been doing it started a new job and had to stop, so when I offered time to the teacher she was ecstatic. Everything fell into place at just the right time.
Next term starts soon. I sat down and made up pages for now until March 30. I feel good. I feel in control and organized and I am looking forward to ironing out other problems as school resumes, since I no longer have to fight with scheduling errors.
It takes time to make this, photocopying doesn't quite do it. I want edge to edge print for everything and something with clear lines. Really, it's just tracing a bunch of straight lines. There is no perfect measurement involved, just the edge of a ruler. It takes time to re-write the repetitive items, but really, it doesn't take much. I spent half an hour tonight and made up three months. Most of the routines are copied, I had to stop for my little girl. So, maybe I'll spend an hour at most on preparing this for three months. Can't complain about that. I've spent years trying to buy an agenda that works right for me and never found one I really liked anywhere.
Sometimes it really is just better to make things yourself. Everyone is different.

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