The year has started and we are getting into some sort of groove. My organisational systems change slightly each year to suit the ages of my children. I have written before about how I organise everything to do with school life here. This includes how I do uniforms, homework and the weekly family schedule.
Since I wrote that post in 2016, I have had one child graduate school (she is now studying at university), and all my other children are in high school. I’ve strived to ensure my children are as independent as possible and so a lot of the personal organising is done by them now. I am more a facilitator (or a taxi driver). Still, I need to see at a glance what everyone is doing / where they need to be so I can make all the logistics work each week.
More on that in a moment, however, I wanted to do a quick overview of the family weekly organisational systems I have used in different stages of schooling.
Pre School to Early Primary
In the early school years, the challenge was to help kids get ready in the morning on time! I just did up a little chart in Word with images to help kids organise themselves. This is the routine that generally worked for my kids but doing it on Word is good because you can just have it whatever order works for your kids. I had this stuck on the fridge when my children were very young (4-6 years of age).
This worked well for a while, but as the kids got older, I found they needed a bit more flexibility in the initial stages to work out what order works bests, so I designed routine cards as fridge magnets that the kids could move and put in order. These worked really well. You can find the printable here.
Late Primary School
Once the kids got into late primary school years, the morning routine wasn’t so much an issue anymore. As the kids branched out and did different things (sport/dance/music etc), the challenge became more about everyone knowing what to take to school each day. For example, library-days, sport-days, music-days etc. The kids started to branch out and do some extracurricular activities outside school too. I found it helpful to get a snapshot of what everyone was doing, for myself but also for the kids to refer to.
This post is old now (2013!) but I detailed how I organsied a yearly family calendar here.
Now my kids are in high school, they pretty much organsie everything for themselves. This includes:
- School lunches — I still might make them once a week for a few of the kids if I am in the kitchen but the responsibility is on the kids to make healthy lunches. We have a lunch box system where we focus on packing a balance of fruit/veggies/protein/snack/lunch. I have written so many posts about lunch boxes over the years which you can find here. My first big lunch box organisational post (I wrote in 2014) is here: Creating a Lunch Box System.
The eldest in school (grade 11) makes extremely healthy lunches for herself and I never have to worry about what she is eating. The second in school (grade 9) also makes balanced lunch boxes for herself, and sometimes she needs reminding to pack enough food on the days where she has to stay after school for extracurricular activities. However, a month or so in, she has this down-pat now. My youngest (grade 7) is my most organised child in the mornings and he always has everything ready to go depending on what he has on. However, I do have to monitor a bit more what he packs in his lunch as he tends to have less fruit/veggies and I need to remind him to include a piece of fruit.
- Letting me know when their uniforms need to be washed/doing washing themselves if no one else has organised it. We have six in the family so there is usually someone doing washing.
- Filling out school forms. I expect my kids (from about grade 9) to fill out any school forms for excursions etc. Then present it filled in for me to check and sign.
- Remembering what they have on each day and what they need to take to school (e.g. sport/music).
- Be organised ready to go on time — which is usually not an issue anymore because we have done the school routine for so many years now.
- Complete homework and ask for assistance if required.
What I am finding challenging in this stage is the logistics. It’s FULL ON. My husband and I really love supporting our children in their endeavours and encourage it, however getting everyone, where they need to, is tricky, especially if you have multiple children doing a variety of extracurricular activities. Again, I expect my children to organise themselves for these activities (same as school), and it’s my job to drive them places.
For this stage, I find I don’t need routine charts or an annual calendar, but it has been extremely helpful for me to do up a typical weekly schedule so everyone can see what everyone else is doing. It lives on the fridge.
Just yesterday, I was in the kitchen and my son mentioned how helpful he finds it, so it’s not just for me. It’s a similar system to the annual calendar in that each person in the family has a designated colour. Then I break the days up in AM and PM and describe what each person has on that day in the designated colour.
Below is not my exact weekly calendar but a mock of what ours looks like. I just designed this on Canva (which is awesome). If it is useful to anyone, I have included a blank PDF printable version here.
Click here for the PDF version of the image below.