How do you organise yourselves?(21 Posts)
Dd1 has just started school and quite frankly DH and I are struggling with it!
There are so many letters coming home, so many things to remember. Plus dh and I both work part time so share the school week as it were, so we need effective communication (e.g. I was actually organised enough to put some meetings on the calendar but dh forgot to look and missed two!
Help us organise ourselves!
Okay, in our house, I am usually in charge of the school stuff, calander etc.
I have a big "organised mum" (HATE that phrase...) calander which sits on the work top in the kitchen, with envelopes and a pen.
I check the school bags, every day, as soon as I get in.
Homework goes in once place, letters re: meetings/clubs etc go straight in the diary and I answer them straight away, and put the replies back in the school bag.
Every Sunday, I write a "to do" list in the next page of the diary.
I just find that it helps if I do it straight away.
If you are an electronic calendar type, then I've found the functionality in Google calendars good. We have one calendar for each member of the family (although the dcs don't access theirs), and dh and I can make appointments in any calendar. For each event, you can ask it to send you, say, an SMS half an hour before and an email the day before... or whatever combination you like. So that makes sure that dh can't forget something I organise for him to do.
I agree that notes and letters get handled immediately: dcs pull them out while I get a snack ready, and then I immediately fill out, sign and return them, and also put the dates in the calendar. I would always, say, put a cake sale day in the calendar with a reminder two days before and one day before, so that I am totally prepared.
The night before is your friend: lay out uniform, bags etc, and check the calendar for any extra sports kit, musical instruments etc that might be needed that day.
TBH, I am not sure that sharing out the logistics and follow-up of school works very well. I think you need one parent to have a grip on what's going on and to keep the other up to date; and then, when there are important meetings with teachers etc, for the parent-in-control to show up systematically and for the other parent to come along if humanly possible.
I say this from the perspective of a blended family, where we have tried many combinations of sharing. DP is now the parent-in-control for the DSSs' education and his exW is the parent who is kept informed, and I am the parent-in-control for DD and DP is the parent who is kept informed. We find that this works much better than trying to share everything out down the middle (when you lose sight of what is going on).
A electronic diary is our new best friend. We have to combine my diary, DH's work one and now all the school things.
We get newsletter once a week by email and anything is added straight to the diary by DH. Any additional stuff like letters in her book bag are taken out as soon as she is through the door and dealt either before dinner or, if DH and I have to check it both, when DD is in bed.
Reading is done before dinner and she gets a sound book every Friday and we deal with that Friday pm and after breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.
All bags are ready before we go to bed and DH fills her water bottle before he leaves the house.
everything is ready the night before. I have a mental list of six things to get ready: coats hanging by the door (and hats etc if necessary), shoes clean, uniform out, packed lunches done, water bottles full and book bags checked for letters etc. All homework and reading is done night before and I check it's in the book bag ready for the next day. I am in control of school stuff and keep dh informed. I have 3 to organise so I have to be a control freak
<waves to bumper> hope your dd is settling in
we have a calendar for irregular meetings and a "weekly planner" which lists what has to be in on which day (homework, library books, PE kits ...)
When we get letters home I immediately put dates on the wall calendar and put any that he needs to know about in DH and my electronic work diaries.
I find going through the book bag as soon as DC get home and "dealing with letters straight away if possible" (e.g. if a letter needs a reply fill it in straight away, junk mail goes straight into recycling) helps.
we have a big white board, DCs and I are great at checking it but DH is useless. He will phone me and ask where we are, I will say look at the board and he will go oh yes at swimming lessons which is the same time each week MEN.
As for letters all are returned back to the book bag signed within 10 mins of getting home and any date letters pinned to the pin board.
I think it just takes a while to get into, I am a SAHM and I find the amount of info coming out of school hard work to keep up with so I am [hats off emoticon] to all you working mums
I'm also a SAHM but also partner in business at home (my hubby takes no responsibility for home or school - do it all) and also struggle but it gets easier. Agree pin board next to calender. Reply to party invites straight away, physically write on calender and I use diary on microsoft outlook.
Good old post-it notes on kitchen units.
It does take time to get into the swing but once yr doing it its fine. ALso our class has a private FB page (nothing to do with the school) this is great as it reminds everyone whats happening, opinions, ideas etc - its a life saver as sometimes I miss the letters. Also our school has a daily updated web page and worth checking once a week.
Thanks for all the replies. It seems there are no magical solutions to make me more organised othe than actually being more organised!
Hi vincent! I'm sorry I haven't been in touch. As you can see I'm struggling to keep my head above the water ATM!
We use google calendar too, i can check and add stuff from my phone too which helps.
I take my cheque book and biro to school every day I do a pick up/drop off just in case a letter has been lost on the way home (which is now via after school club/a friends house/afterschool activity several days a week)
If, like our DDs' school, your school is always asking for £1.50 for this, £3.50 for that, my top tip is to go to the bank at the beginning of the year and shane £50 into £1s and 50ps. And try not to be constantly raiding the stash for parking money
Otherwise I agree, big calendar on the wall plus i-Cal to sort the whole family out. And talk to the other parents to see if there's anything you've missed!
I agree with those who say get one parent to do it.
Otherwise it can get confusing.
Then tell the person who needs to know eg re a meeting.
Put all on calendar and look there; deal with paperwork as soon as it arrives eg request for £2 for theatre visit to school? fill in form, get money, put in envelope, put back in child's book bag there and then.
I agree it's helpful to have a stash of change as well - I do the football team subs so usually have change there to swap for my unhelpful £10.
V good tip about the change. I've come unstuck with that already!
Would be good if I could just give £50 to the school and just tick a box to say 'yes take £3 for a book bag out of it'!
Another one who has learnt the value of having a change stash, though rather late; it's always random quids you need.
DH wants me to convert all to Google Calendar but I find writing it down much more efficient; I make my own calendar pages because nothing pre-printed would do.
I use a family wall calendar for on the spot changes, with a column for each family member - it's also backed up with an electronic one for ongoing regular schedules and weekly email reminders.
www.cozi.com/ is good - lots of family friendly features, if you look past the americanisms.
Agree with one person being in the Co-ordinator role (but if you're both doing various pick-ups and drop offs then you'll need to both remember stuff of course). Have a folder/file to keep school letters in, but where poss deal with them straight away.
On a daily basis, for school prepare what's needed the night before, including your own stuff (in my case I used to have a mad panic looking for either purse, phone or keys at the last minute!). Get all the family's stuff together, like various bags, shoes etc, and put it in a designated area ready for lift off in the morning.
Love the tip about the stash of change! Can see how it could come in very handy!
I also have a hand-written list on the fridge (v low-tech) which details the things they do on a daily basis - Brownies, footy training, karate, choir - but also things like clarinet lesson/library book change as it needs to be taken to school.
Then I just glance at that quickly every morning to check "if it's Wednesday it must be ... DS1's food tech practical!"
It's v v busy but I do have 3 DC. For some reason tho this Sept Saturday is completely clear, no-one does anything! huzzah! <that won't last long emoticon>
I'm another fan of dealing with the paperwork as soon as it comes in. We also write everything on an "organised mum" family wall calendar and we add stuff to the google calendar too - useful, as I can access both this and my work calendar from my phone. I have a little pocket on the back of my calendar to store invitations etc and a folder for school related documents. (also have one for extra curricular activities).
Our school now uses parent pay instead of cash, so I top up my account at the beginning of each year and all payments (including dinner money) now come out of this - has made life much easier. They also send SMS reminders re important info.
I work FT and was completely overwhelmed by the volume of paperwork at the beginning of reception but it definitely gets easier - I have good systems in place now, and nothing slips through the cracks!
I am sahm with 4 dc. I know everything about their school lives and dh knows nothing. I tell him about meetings/assemblies on a need to know basis!
Thank goodness we're down to 2 schools now. The other year all 4 were at different schools..... Now that was complicated!
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