Tuesday, June 02, 2009

WFMW: Creative scheduling


Every few months, when the season changes, and our plans and routines follow suit, I find myself yearning for a calendar I can manipulate with my hands.

(Yes, even unschoolers can use a schedule. We just prefer really flexible ones.)

I was inspired by Mary's spreadsheet, but I wanted something I could change whenever I wanted, without having to re-print. No online cut-and-pasting. No erasers. No more messy scribbles in my daytimer.

I needed something visual -- so I could see if I was trying to squeeze too many things into one day or week. And I wanted to look at all the possibilities -- even the ones that wouldn't fit.

I stole Jessica's magnetic fridge menu idea long ago. Brilliant. It's visual. It's kinesthetic. If only it would speak out loud and remind me to thaw the meat.

I already had the Days of the Week magnets. I just needed the rest of my calender on magnets.

I don't have any fancy programs on my Mac. Or at least, I don't know how to use them. But I know Word. So, I started with some text boxes. Typed in the various things we do -- eat, shower, play, eat, clean, go to church, etc. Duplicated the ones we repeat throughout the week. Color-coded them for fun. Outdoor activities: green. Indoor fun: red. Housework: blue. Mommy time: orange.


Then I printed the text boxes on magnetic paper, which I had leftover from my refrigerator menu. Cut them up with my rarely-used scrapbooking cutter. Found some colorful number stickers to use for the Time of Day.

And then I played with my new fridge schedule puzzle!

The best part about this is that I can change our plans anytime I want to, and still make sure the important stuff fits in somewhere. Obviously we can't do everything in one day, or even one week. This helps me adjust my expectations when I start a week with long list of hope-to-dos.

It also helps me see that we have a rhythm, even when it doesn't feel like it. And we get a lot done, even when it feels like we're moving slowly or haphazardly.

More about what's filling up our schedule later...

For tips on finding your routine with the kids, go to Simple Mom.

For tips to beat summer boredom, visit Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

16 comments:

Martha said...

That's a pretty nifty idea! Thanks for sharing that with us, now if only I had a schedule to maintain :o) I'm a pretty dull mama and don't be fooled by my age ;) I'm a 45 yr old trapped in a 22 yr old body :o) but thank you for the compliment!!

{ L } said...

Wow, I am impressed! Love this new and fresh idea for making a schedule. Thanks!

Heather said...

Brilliant idea. A long time ago I did schedules until we found the rythm we needed (now we just have general meal times, reading time, and bed time and everything else just flows. Still that fridge magnet thing is SO tempting to try....

heather lee said...

What a completely awesome idea! Always a family confounded by being completely made of individuals, scheduling is a nightmare now that I am a full time student, Shannon works in a different city and the kids are about to be in two different school. (Can you believe Francis is 11 already!)

We are trying the online calendar, but Simon really isn't old enough to do that and I can't touch it, which means I don't trust it, and no one can use my personal paper one.. I have it.

This is totally great, and I am going to get started on it today, or maybe tomorrow... :)

Toni said...

love this idea, I have started a printed schedule many times and also had to scribble erase etc and it was a sloppy mess. And I always end up forgetting to go somewhere, call someone, or double book myself.

This looks like something I coudl really use.Especially now during base/softball seson when we have three kdis playing and are on at least two fields twice a week.WE are on a field everynight but sometimes they overlap.

angelina said...

OOOOh I love the magnets- they will last so much longer and I can re-use them....GREAT IDEA! If I knew how to give an award, Id give you one....lol still learning.....

Homeschooling Coach said...

What a great idea! I am completely disorganized, and this just may help me. The kids will love it, too. Maybe my DH will actually look at the calendar!

Sheila said...

Great idea! I really like it! My girls are older and homeschooling now, and taking online courses that change times constantly. So I never know what we're supposed to be doing! I think I might try this for next year. Do you just glue it to magnetic board? We have some of that!

By the way, we read a lot of the same books. I just loved Friday Night Knitting Club. It had me in tears at the end.

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

mandi said...

wow! this is awesome!

Jocelyn said...

Cool idea!!! I'd steal it but....we have no magnetic fridge over here! So I am using my Google calendar and the Sandra Boynton MOM calendar that my mom sent me.

ChristyACB said...

Yours is brilliant! I have no magnetic friendly appliances but we had ours on the wall, with velcro backed painted wooden symbols for each kid. Of course, it was only chores. LOL.

I love the idea of the total calendar like that. Calendars with all the stuff help kids feel like a member of a unit.

One Christian Mom said...

I just found your blog through Martha's, and I LOVE it! I love your approach to learning, I love that you admit you are a "crunchy Christian" and I love your way with words. Glad to have found you :-)
Shellie - AKA OneChristianMom

Meg said...

Oh, I love this idea! And magnets too! :) Perfect. I'll see if I can find that magnet paper I bought years ago... Hmm... I wonder if I could use this same idea-ish for a rewards chart too... Yay for inspiration! :)

Marlene said...

Amanda, your schedule looks gorgeous! but I don't think I could keep it up... What works best for me is a checklist on a spreadsheet. The first column has the general task I don't want to forget and the other columns have the days of the week. I just check mark the things as they get done. At the bottom of each day there is a space for writing down appointments or events for the day. I keep this on the fridge. I can fit 3 weeks in one page... Very simple but it works for me!

Jenny said...

I've never heard of magnet paper. Where do you buy it?
-Jenny

Crunchy Christian Mom said...

Marlene, your spreadsheet sounds great, too!

Jenny, you can usually find magnetic paper anywhere you can find printer paper. I got mine at Target!

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