Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The List

One of my children was paralyzed this morning. Unable to move, unable to function.
Know why? It was my fault (of course). I had neglected one of my more important tasks of the day. Completing this task is essential, and can mean the difference between a good day, a mediocre day, even (gasp!) a day where nothing gets down and everyone ends up grouchy. What is this crucial task?

To make out the LISTS.......

All of us have a little obsessive compulsiveness in us, don't you think? I have one sister who is obsessed with neatness. Another sister is obsessed with horticulture. Me? I am obsessed with checking off lists. These lists drive me. The satisfaction of checking off each item one by one, then the satisfaction of completing the entire list - there's nothin' quite like it. Plus, it's just down-right useful.

Where does it all begin?

With the Master List.

Because I work part-time and homeschool, and because I don't have a live in cook and maid, I have to be extremely organized (I didn't say neat, I said organized). So, the top sheet on the Master List is the week at a glance. Each weekend, I check the calendar and make a list of everything that must be done each day that upcoming week. It is very detailed down to the items that I must bring with me to any place we are scheduled to go. That way, as I am running out the door, I can look at the list and know immediately what I need to grab and take with me. If the day is extremely busy, I even list what time I must walk out the door. This keeps me focused.

The Master List is always on my clipboard, and under the List are my important papers (i.e. Phone numbers, lists of books I MUST research and buy, etc)

There are 4 sections to the remainder of the Master List.

The first section is everything the 3 kids study together. History/Geography, Science. and Family Reading time. It includes the details of what must be completed in each of these subjects.

Recently my children attended a Geography Class with some fellow home schoolers. It was a rather difficult class (so they claimed) and they proceeded to whine about their lack of knowledge. Hence a new section appeared on the master list: "National Geo Bee Questions." (Thanks N for the idea!). Now 3 or 4 times a week we look up Geo Bee Questions and research the answers. Now, they're sorry they complained about their lack of knowledge, because once something makes it to my list, it MUST be checked off, one way or another.

There are 3 additional sections to the List with each student's subjects and assignments in detail for the week.

Each day, based on our progress through the Master List, I make out a list for each child for what is expected of them that day. The lists are color-coded. Each child knows their color, and I try to be consistent with that, so they know at a glance which list is theirs. Each is divided into 3 sections. Chores, school work, and "fun stuff".

Each child checks off his/her assignments as they are completed. We then review the assignment together, at which time it is checked off of the Master List. I'd like to tell you that each day every item is checked off by noon, but in reality, well....let's just leave it at some days are good.... some days are, well, different. That's the beauty of the Master List. It allows for tomorrow...well, until Friday. Some weeks the Master List is completely checked off by Thursday night. Some weeks, it isn't checked off until Saturday. And once or twice, well, we won't go there...... it won't be pretty. I just try not to get crazy if the daily list isn't completed. It's all about the Master long as it is completed by the end of the week, life is good.

So, that is how we get it all done. From the calendar, to the Master List, to the individual list. The secret is in those little checks, one at a time........

So, I've shared my secret - what's yours?


athomemama said...

I'm amazed, that's my secret...bring your master with you tomorrow because I must lay my eyes on it...I am pulling my hair out trying to get these kids a bit more organized...
I love it!! I love that you are a list chick. I am too but maybe my approach is allllllll wrong.
Hey, and that link to the geo bee questions didn't work for me...can you send me that link?
You da best!

Carol said...

Scary, those checklists. But very impressive. Who gets the one printed in green? That's the list I want! :-)

Now I've got to go to work and look at my lists and see how many 'checks' I can get! Then home to the garden, but I am not obsessed with horticulture (very much).

Carol, aka The Gardening Aunt

Kathy said...

I think lists can be very useful, I use one at work for weekly tasks. Do you have a time on your list for "free time"?
Kathy, the older sister

eleanor said...

So that's what you do on the computer all day, make lists. Whatever works is OK with me.

Christine said...

I'm a list maker, too. But you beat me, hands down.

Annie in Austin said...

Your lists are impressive, Sherry, but when I read that first paragraph my guess was that one of your morning tasks at the 'zoo' was to remove pets from atop sleeping children so they could get out of bed.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose