My shameful secret (okay, fine, it’s neither secret nor am I particularly ashamed, but it makes a great opening, no?) is that I’m fabulous at organizing things and creating systems, but I can’t maintain those systems to save my life. I’d make a great personal organizer on TV—swoop in, figure out what people need, make it all organized and pretty, and then leave.
For years—but especially since I was diagnosed with ADHD and I accepted the utter futility of trying keep track of things in my head—I’ve been searching for the holy grail of organizers. I tried apps, reminders, and Trello before I landed on bullet journalling last March; so far it’s been pretty successful, in that I’m still using it most days.
Organizing the kids’ school tasks has been a similar challenge, and we’ve been through quite a few systems in the two and a half years since we started homeschooling. First we had these weekly checklists:
Then at Mr. December’s request, we went to a schedule-type system with magnets for each subject (so we could move them around at will):
The magnets became a bit of a pain to use, so we removed them and just used whiteboard markers to fill in the schedule:
Eventually, however, even that became too high-maintenance for me, and for a couple of months we had no particular system in place. It was… not ideal, to say the least. N in particular needs to know what’s going to happen and what he needs to do.
So this year I decided to go extremely low-tech and low-prep (because really, preparation is the problem for me; I can do almost anything on the fly.) I gave each kid a spiral-bound notebook (colour-coded, of course) to keep on their respective (colour-coded) clipboards. We use it like a bullet journal—every morning I create a checklist of tasks; the kids check things off as they do them, and I use arrows and other symbols to indicate when a task needs to be pushed to the next day. The clipboards are hung on the wall—easy to see, hard to lose.
It’s not the prettiest organizer, nor is it the coolest. But it takes me five to ten minutes every morning and requires zero prep, which makes it way easier to maintain. The kids seem to like it; Mr. December likes it; and so far, it’s working for us.