I just poured my Bulletproof Coffee, dusted myself off and have now settled into my favorite chair to share with you some of the things I’ve done to make this school year as seamless as possible for my teenage daughters and the fam. And, really, for me.
The motto I’ve adopted: “Thou shalt remain on top of things.”
And so, our family has collaborated to develop an epic calendar to plan out this entire school year. We’ve done this for a few years now with great success.
Google Calendar is by far the most flexible and helpful calendar I’ve used to keep things in check. It’s basically a master calendar with a bunch of individual calendars aggregated in one place. You can create separate calendars for personal, school, work, holidays and anything else that’s important to you.
If you already know how to use Google Calendar, skip the first section and move on to the second. Promise you’ll find some good nuggets here!
Before you begin planning, there’s some initial setup.
- Build a Google Calendar to share with the family.
This is the best (free) calendar tool I’ve found for collaborating everyone’s schedule and keeping track of what everyone has going on.
Instructions: Get Started with Google Calendar
- Create separate calendars for each person and type of task.
Each person in your family should have their own account and calendar to track personal stuff. Madison, for example, has her horseback riding schedule and Emma’s got her volleyball schedule, both on their own calendars.
Instructions: Create a New Calendar
- Share the calendars with your family.
To get the best collaboration possible and so everyone’s aware of what everyone else is doing, share calendars with each other. You’ll color-code them so that it’s easy to tell who’s calendar events you’re looking at quickly. GREAT for visual gals like me.
Instructions: Share Your Calendar with Someone
- Get the Google Calendar app on your phone.
And make sure the rest of your family does, too. You have to look at a calendar for it to work, and your phone isn’t typically too far away when you need to refer to it.
Instructions: Get Started with Google Calendar
What to Track: The School Year Calendar
I’ve listed all of the ways we use the calendar here for a really productive, informed school year. Everyone knows exactly where to look to know what’s happening on any day, and we can plan things around events we’ve already got in place. So. Freaking. Useful.
If you join forces with other parents to get the kids to school or football games, it’s helpful for everyone in the family who has to drive to be aware of it.
School calendar and events
Grab the events calendar from the school website and add anything and everything – from first to last day of school. That can include school break, teacher conferences, beginning/end of semesters, college nights, report card release dates, etc.
Teacher websites & course syllabuses
Many high school teachers will list their course syllabuses online, and so your teen should check that out and get this on their calendar. This is a great place to gather info about test dates and project deadlines, and planning these on a calendar now for each course will help to determine the periods of time there will be some intense school work requirements during the school year.
Sports and extracurricular activities
Practices, games, club meetings and other events should all be added as your teen gets updated information about them. This is one area that can get crazy-busy!
Guidance counselor meetings
Your teen should be meeting with the guidance counselor at least once per school year to keep up a good course schedule and college planning timeline. YOU should also be meeting with the counselor to ensure you’re up to speed on college planning stuff and that your kid’s on track in school. Make those appointments now before the counselor’s calendar fills up! Check out my Calendar Timeline for College Planning to know exactly when to plan for those meetings.
SAT & ACT exams
Not only does your junior need to take these exams, but you’ll need to register for them. Figure out the best time to take the exams with my Calendar Timeline for College Planning, and then use the links at the bottom of this post to register. Get these on the calendar!
If you have a junior, this’ll be important this year. Talk to the guidance counselor early on about local college fairs, or head to the NACAC website to search for a fair in your area. Register for that and then get the date scheduled.
If you know me at all, you know that I feel this is one of the most important steps in the college planning process. Get your high schooler to some colleges to check ’em out! Research tour dates or schedule a personal tour directly at the college’s website. Just Google the name of the college and “tour” to find the info you need and add it on the calendar.
More to know…
A great feature of Google Calendar is that you can turn on or off your individual calendars at any time. If I’m focusing just on my work tasks, I can turn off my other calendars so that only my work events show up. The girls can focus just on school stuff. It makes for an easy-to-review-and-digest calendar.
The goal here is to be really prepared this school year and feel as though you’ve got things in the bag from the start. It’s helped us streamline our schedules throughout the entire year (not just the school year!). We’ve all been on the same page with absolutely everything, and it’s saved us all a ton of time.
In next week’s post, I’ll show you the exact calendars that our family uses, along with some other great features of Google Calendar for your own family. Hope it’s helpful. See you then!
Resources for this post
College Planning Timelines:
College Planning: A Checklist for What to Do in High School
College Planning: Calendar Timeline
Have you used Google Calendar? What other tips/ideas do you have to keep track of schedules? Leave a comment below!