I am always on the look out for something to make my life easier. Thus far, I have acquired a dishwasher and a clothes washer. Both of those little doo-dads save me more time than you can imagine--unless, like me, you spent years washing everything from dishes to baby onesies by hand. Yes, I actually did this. And no, I did not live in the wilds of Appalachia at the time.
In addition to time-saving machines, I have found that the next best tool in the battle against lost minutes and hours is organization. As I've posted previously, this is not something which comes naturally to me. I am, by default, a person who functions on a rather loose set of time frames. It takes great effort for me to steer the ship of our family into organized waters. But when I take the time to do so ... the results are a much smoother and more pleasant ride for everyone.
This fall, in particular, I know I'll be in need of a ship that stays on course. For the first time in our family's history, we have added a full schedule of activities that is guaranteed to keep us on the go. Jo, Atticus and Logan are all playing soccer--and dh is coaching two of those teams. Jo and Atticus (and therefore, my dh) will be practicing twice a week. Atticus also has a once weekly archery team practice. Both he and Logan have AWANA on Thursday nights. Jo has Youth Group every Tuesday. Oliver has visitation. And did I mention that I'm trying to sweat off twenty pounds through a personal commitment to exercise at the Y three times a week?
Yeah ... it's busy.
On top of that, there's a household to be run. Laundry to be processed. Appointments for four kids--dental, medical, orthodontics, optical. Adoption paperwork to fill out and follow through on. Church ministry to see to. A nonprofit to run.
School. Yes, there's definitely that.
appointment for Oliver because it never made it from my Taking the lessons I've learned over the years, I'm decompartmentalizing my life. Putting all of my eggs (and plans) in one basket and meshing them together, lest I end up dropping one of them and watching it splatter as I realize that I missed a WICiCal onto the dry-erase on the fridge. (Not that I've done that ... recently.) I have reached maximum capacity and can no longer maintain one set of schedules here, another there and two more wherever I happen to write them down. I confess: I have too much to do.
Unforuntely, I'm not much of a techno girl. Friends keep telling me that I can accomplish my goal of one-stop-planning by investing in a Blackberry. My reply? I don't want a Blackberry. I'm a paper and pen kind of girl. What I want is a Planner.
I want one of those old fashioned "write-it-all-here" kind of binders that becomes my second brain. A place to record stuff, to plan things and to jot down ideas. One that combines all of the elements of my life: homeschooling AND the many, many elements of running a house. With big blocks for writing in. And preferably loose-leaf, so I can organize it the way I like.
It's a lot to ask. Too much, apparently, because not many products fit the bill.
I've been looking for quite some time, and I think I've finally found the perfect one: The Schoolhouse Planner. It's an e-book download ... which means that I can have my way with the pages. If I don't like where the Year-At-A-Glance pages are located, I can move them. If I want my addresses in the front for easy access, they're there. If I need more copies of a particular page, I just print it out.
Other cool features in this one that sold me:
• Calendars in various forms – yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily
• Lists of holidays and places to record special days in your family
• Planners for your homeschool – in various styles to meet your individual needs
• Pages for both long-term and short-term homeschooling goals
• Curriculum planning forms
• Evaluation forms and test score recording sheets
• A through-the-Bible in a (school) year schedule
• Forms for recording Bible memory and other memory work
• Logs for recording books read, movies and documentaries viewed, etc.
• A field trip planning form and recording log
• A sample science lab sheet and nature study sheets
• A place to record extracurricular activities
• Outside classes, co-op, and support group information and recording sheets
• Household planning forms
• Daily, weekly, and monthly household schedule charts
• Grocery, menu-planning, and food logs
• Various budget and financial planning forms
• Garden planning sheets
• An appliance and electronics inventory sheet
• Vacation planning ideas
• Address and telephone records
It's like someone read my mind. Or grabbed my brain. :-) Either way, I'm thinking this is the way to go for the year I see looming in front of me ... one sheet at a time.