"Well begun is half done." Wise words from Aristotle. They are true because for many of us getting started is the hard part. We want to be organized, but how do we go about it? Taking the effort to plan and schedule can feel like a waste of time.

Why not just jump in and get to work?

That need to get the job done propels me to want to skip preliminaries. The result? We miss hands-on opportunities or object lessons because I don't have the materials on hand or can't find them. We lose valuable time while I search for the ingredients of the science experiment or markers to make flashcards.

The first word in Aristotle's quote is "Well." He didn't say, "just get started and you're halfway there." The time I spend planning is more than made up for when I don't have to search for what I need.

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail" --Benjamin Franklin

So what is it we should plan? Our homeschool lessons? meals? housework? church work? our children's activities? time to read? time to pray? Arggghhh! People who love to organize respond much differently to this list than people like me. If you love the act of organizing and love following your plan, then you probably won't benefit much from this post. But if your heartbeat doesn't swell at the sight of a to-do list, then the idea of all that organizing can make you want to quit before you begin.

Minimum organization for maximum results:  the calendar

What might minimal but effective organization look like? Today we'll look at a few tricks for our calendar.

  • Give yourself a time limit for organizing your calendar. Don't think leisure, think attack. Those who love organizing relish the time spent planning and scheduling, but those of us who don't, need to see this as something we can accomplish quickly--because we can.
  • Look at the big picture first. Think on a yearly scale. Many of us have calendars on our devices that make it easy to schedule recurring appointments, such as co-op day, etc. Think about the coming year and put on your calendar those dates you know, such as the family reunion the last week in July. How many days will you take off for Easter or Thanksgiving?
  • Keep the calendar accessible when you do your lesson planning.
  • Know why you are using the calendar. Need a reason? Without one, appointments will be missed, you'll book yourself in two places at once, you'll miss important events. But your calendar is not your boss. Both ends of the pencil have a purpose.

I have a friend who posts her calendar on the refrigerator. It is color-coded for adults and children. If you know the code, at a glance you can tell which child is supposed to be where and which adult is involved. It's pretty with all those colors:  pink for one child, blue for the other, purple for both. But it isn't for me. And if it isn't for you, find what is. Down and dirty on your device? A wall calendar dotted with pencil scribbles? Or?

The Creator and the Calendar

God is the master organizer. His creation shows intelligence and design. And even though the "first day of spring" is noted on our calendars, the flowers bloom according to His plan, not ours. Snow may fall in May, the sun may shine in January, the first freeze may hold off until October, or surprise us in September. The point is, life is not directed by specific dates on a calendar. We need a plan to navigate the complexities of schedules and demands, but it could rain on the 4th of July.

Gracious Father, You are the Creator of time. Teach us to follow Your calendar, to live with a plan that leaves room for You to work. As always, Your timing is perfect. We come to you in the name of Jesus.