Having four children necessitates being especially organized. During the summer, we follow a less busy routine and school year rules and habits evaporate as we live the relaxed summer-time lifestyle. But, in order for the six of us, living in close proximity to each other with six schedules and “sets of personal belongings,” to be able to function calmly and efficiently during the school year, organization rates as the top priority!
So what do I organize and how do I do it as a team?
Lists: I offer time to make lists with each of my children. The lists contain what is needed, and where things we have are located. My first grader will have more help in writing his lists than my 11th grader.
Schedules: A master calendar hangs in the kitchen near the kitchen desk. In addition, everyone maintains his/her own digital calendar. Every single day we update postings for each family member. Everyone in the family can see what each member has to do and where s/he has to be at what time. This creates the schedule of responsibilities for each family member. Because I work from home, I manage the “who does what and when.”
Responsibilities: Before school starts we take the time at a family dinner to ask who would like to do what during the upcoming school year. For example, last year my youngest son insisted that he would walk the dog after dinner. Even though we knew that either my husband or I would accompany him, he was assigned this task. Our eldest son has spoken about cooking a few times a week. He loves to cook and wants to expand his repertoire. No problem! Even if he only cooks on the weekends, it is a huge help. But, once someone takes over a particular responsibility s/he must continue with it until we renegotiate as a family.
“Written in stone rules:” Put back whatever you use, borrow, take out to examine, move to make room for something else, etc.! Having a place for everything, in common areas of the house and in the rooms of our children is mandatory. With six people, clutter cannot exist!
Please let us know your hints and ideas for back to school organization!