Though my daughters are only a year apart, they are in different schools this year. With one in daily, all-day kindergarten at the local elementary school and one in all-day, three day a week preschool, I find myself constantly trying to juggle two completely different school schedules and calendars on an almost daily basis. Whether you’ve got kids in high school and middle school or elementary school and high school, staying on top of different schools can be a challenge. Here’s how I’m staying afloat, and what you can do to stay on top of things, too!
Keep a master calendar.
A master calendar is a must if you are juggling two classrooms, let alone two different schools. Transcribe all of the important details from each child’s classroom calendar, as well as the school’s calendar (if provided). This way you can keep on top of what’s happening in each child’s specific class, as well as what’s going on school wide. By keeping a master calendar, you’ll be able to spot problems long before they occur (for instance, days where you may need to be in two places at once) and plan accordingly.
Keep the kids organized from the minute they walk into the front door.
A routine for arriving home and providing me with everything I need has been a must for my children and I. My daughters, at 6 and 4 years old, know that when they get home from school they need to hang up their backpack, place their lunchbox by the sink, and stack their folder neatly on the kitchen counter. We always make time to go through their folders together and they can show me what they did at school or what they need to work on at home. By keeping them organized, I’m able to stay on top of things for each child, know where everything is, and start setting the stage for my children to become responsible for their own items as they get older.
Don’t think that you’ll be able to do it all.
While I’d like to volunteer on every field trip, be at every class party, and let the kids participate in an unlimited number of extracurricular activities, there’s a limit to what they, and I, can manage. In order to keep on top of two classrooms and two schools, I have to be realistic when it comes to additional scheduling. In my case, my children are limited to one extracurricular activity at a time. I also try to stick with one volunteer opportunity at each school so that I can do my best and enjoy each.
Communicate via email whenever possible.
Communicating with my children’s teachers or school director/principal via email is a great way to stay organized. Not only can I manage this on my own time, instead of having to work around the school day when coordinating phone calls, but I can keep a record of any communications should I need to reference them at a later date. Most teachers appreciate communication via email for the same reasons.
Accept help when it’s offered.
Though I’m often free during the middle of the day, my mornings and afternoons can be hectic with drop off and pick up at two different schools (not to mention the nap schedule of an infant). Though I’d like to always be available to take my kids to and from school and each of their activities, accepting help when offered can make the days go so much more smoothly. A friend takes her son to the same preschool, and allowing her to drive one morning a week makes the day less hectic. Scheduling play dates after school for my older daughter means a fun afternoon for her and one less pick up time to make. Accepting help when offered, and asking for help when you need it, can make juggling two classrooms and two schools much more manageable.
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