Thursday, February 27, 2014

What Works for Us - Digital Calendars

Grab My Button 

I love planning but I do not love erasing and crossing out my plans or putting lots of time into a plan that's useless because it need to be changed and it's on paper. This is why I love digital calendars. When we started homeschooling, I used iCal simply to keep track of what we did because I got tired of getting to the end of the day and thinking we'd done nothing.

When I started to plan our curriculum and subjects, I changed a little how I used iCal. I would put the plan into the calendar in red and in the timeslots I figured would work. I could get a feel for if I was trying to cram too much into our day. As changes needed to be made, it was so easy to do so. If we had a field trip added, I could easily customize that day and not any others. We used to start school at 10a and when that shifted to 12p, it only took me about 20 minutes to adjust our planner. I can make events repeat and customize the repeating. All very fabulous reasons for me to use a digital calendar.

What my iCal looked like for plans. As we moved through a day, I would delete the red boxes and replace them with pink and purple boxes of what the girls actually did and when. This helped all of us keep track of what needed to be done and what was already done. It also helped me remember what we did instead of school on a particular day. 
I keep track of EVERYTHING on my calendar. You can see in the picture above that there is a reminder to take out the garbage and recycling on Thursday. I put appointments and paydays and holidays and hormonal cycle reminders and vacation and everything in there. If it's not on the calendar, it doesn't exist in our world because I don't remember to do it. If I am having trouble remembering to take medication, I make a repeating event in my calendar to remind me. It is a wealth of info all in one place.

A few weeks ago I shifted to using Google Calendar instead of iCal. I did not want to do this because I don't like change. However, my son needs to learn to manage his own life and we couldn't figure out how to have iCal and Google Calendars talk and he is using Google Calendar. So I exported all my iCal calendars [each color is its own calendar] and imported them into Google Calendar. The upside of this change has been that I can share certain calendars [like family life events and his personal events] with my son. As I make changes on my calendar, it automatically updates his calendar and this means Mommy can legitimately quit reminding him of events that are on the calendar. YAY!! The ease of sharing calendars has been beautiful as my husband just started working on his Master's degree. He set up all his school deadlines on his own calendar and shared with me, and now I can plan family events around his schooling. I share certain calendars with my husband, and he's not inundated with all my personal reminders or homeschool plans.

My Google Calendar for this week.
This week I an interesting blog post about fostering independence in middle school learners from Mary at Homegrown Learners. I do not want to use paper as she does, but how could I make her idea work for us? My 12YO is pondering adding my homeschool plans and her pink completed calendars to her own Google Calendar. I would have to tweak my planning a bit, but it would be pretty easy because it's all digital. The ease of changing and not having any more paper roaming my house are two big reasons digital calendars work for us


  1. That's neat! I'm totally a paper kind of girl but my husband has suggested Google Calendar too. He likes it and keeps track of things there. I like that you can share and edit so easily.