April 27, 2009

Finding the Right "System"

Finding the "right" system that fits your family is not always as easy task. There are endless systems out there to make your life easier, but finding the one that works for your family is the hard part. Take LAUNDRY for example, I've tried washing everyone's clothes together sorted by color of course at the end of the week, I've tried washing 2 loads a day to keep on top of Mt. Laundry, I've tried to ignore it, and I've even assigned the laundry to one of the kids as their chore. . . But what has worked best for our family is to have laundry days. All of the children have a day dedicated for them to do their laundry. I get the unclaimed days to take care of towels, sheets and hubby and my clothing. First I had to make sure everyone had enough clothes to wear for a full week regardless of weather conditions, because they only have 1 day a week to do their laundry. This can be a challenge because it seems they've all outgrown their clothes every time the seasons change. Next, I had to make sure they each had their own hamper to collect their dirty laundry in. Now the benefits of this system are that the kids learn how to do their own laundry and learn to be responsible for it. It also means I am not washing all the clothes. The only drawback I've found is that, I still have to do my laundry :)

Another area I've tried various systems on, is MEAL TIME. I've tried the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants plan; you look in the fridge at 5:00 and say something like "What can we have for dinner?" This plan really doesn't work well for us, so we've tried other ways to take on that redundant chore of meal preparation. We've bought several main meal items to last for a few days and side dished it with stuff from the pantry. That was really only a small improvement. What works best as far as time management and money has been making a menu and then shopping for a week at a time. I find lots of pros with this but some cons I'm trying to get over. First I end up spending over $300 each week....uuugghh! That does also include hygiene and cleaning items but still... I also seem to get side tracked and then fall back into my old ways. Well, I've been to The Grocery Game website and it looks promising. I've decided to take the 4-week challenge and see if i can really cut my grocery bill down. I'll report my progress when the challenge is over, or if I've had a great shopping trip.

Here is my coupon binder to start the challenge.

The last two systems I'm going to touch on are specifically homeschooling related. The first is what we call the PAPER TOWER. We have all sorts of different paper needs around here; from graph paper, copy paper, cardstock, notebook paper and more. We use two of those drawered containers stacked vertical and it works great. Below is a picture of our paper tower.

This next system just came to me for History and I love it already. We've used time lines and also studied history by event rather than chronologically, but this HISTORY NOTEBOOK put them all together. I purchased a notebook and these cool dividers at Staples. I labeled them according to dates. Here is the plan. As we are studying the 50 states, we will place a state page under that date that it became a state. When we study an artist, scientist, inventor or what have you, we can catalogue a page of our study under the appropriately dated tab. It becomes a growing time line; and the more we study the fatter it will get. I'm really excited about seeing all the connections, from places all over the world. This is a new idea put into place. So far I have the 15th -20th century tabbed. At some point further back in history I will enlarge the time periods on the tabs, I'll get it tweaked as time moves on. Here is a picture of our notebook.

I wonder what system(s) others have found successful for their families.


  1. How has your notebooking gone? We love ours, I have notebooked for years but find working in Six week periods is the best for us. We try and link Geography, Writing, Literature, Handrwiting, and often Science together. You may want to look into Westvon Publishings items. They are wonderful for the handwriting, quotations and research link to history.


  2. I signed up for Google reader. Thanks for the tip. I will work on the other technology tips soon. I had a great time at our homeschool activity today at Toad Suck.


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