Using a ring binder with your family – Part 3

Tammy is back today with her third post for The Family Project. You can catch up on part one HERE and part two HERE.

Have you ever had a plan in mind that you can visualize perfectly? I mean when  you review your plan (which you do often) you actually hear the swell of the music, can smell cookies baking in the oven, you look amazing because of course the lighting is perfect, the children are staring at you raptly with beautific smiles, perfectly combed hair and shirts that don’t bear evidence to the meals they’ve eaten? Ok, that may not be your big day dream, but you’ve got one somewhere….I know you do, just put your own personal picture in your head. Do it now. There it is. Isn’t it lovely? I can see your gentle smile.

Now slowly and carefully pick up a big, refreshing glass of ice cold water…..and throw it squarely in your face. Wake up! Those perfectly planned day dreams NEVER translate to real life.

That is what’s going on with the Family Project as you read this.  The grand plan was to sit down nightly and impart my v a s t  knowledge of planning (snort) to my three adoring girls. The reality is that by the end of the day, we are all exhausted. So my expectations have changed. We are now sitting down 3x a week (sans cookies) to see what’s going on, add a new skill to their repertoire, and to see if I can sway a certain tween into taking things one step farther than just blindly writing down what her teachers tell them to write. I want her (them) to think ahead….to actually plan.

I do use a color coding system, but I highlight as opposed to using different colored inks. Some of it is aesthetics and some of it is pure simplicity and convenience. It is easier for me to have my trusty Pentel 8 color pencil with me than (at least) 6 different highlighters or ink pens. Everyone has a color and I just leave my things plain. The girls are using Madeline’s school highlighters.

Madeline has chosen pink to use for her ‘block’ days (different schedule). If you look closely at the pink, you can see that it actually says ‘block’; the plan is to eventually just highlight those days and not actually write anything down. She used green for English and I did get her to write down a due date and highlight it (Friday). She agreed (oh my goodness, I should write that down and highlight it on MY calendar!) that it was helpful to know when something was due – in this case she would know how many biography cards she had to write each day.

Vivian is in Orchestra and chose blue to highlight the days she needed to take her violin. For some reason I forgot to have her do the same on PE days (must wear appropriate outfit and shoes). Again, our goal is to just color the day and not need to write anything. They had a test in Geography Friday so she highlighted that to remind her to study for it.

Same thing here with Celia. Orange for band (clarinet) and yellow for her test. Next week I will (hopefully) remember to have them highlight their PE and library days as well. They don’t really need a color for every subject like Madeline does. I’m also having all three girls write down events that affect the whole family like curriculum nights, sleepovers, etc.

Well, that’s our lesson for the week. Next week: journaling



Categories: Filofax Project


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