staying on top of things

I was thinking this morning about how at some points in this process things are pretty calm and mellow and at others it can feel totally chaotic. It might make sense, during a lull, to think about how to best organize information coming in and keep yourselves on track. 

Some intrepid parents set up excel spreadsheets to keep track of info. That filled me with dread. Instead I got a notebook that I carried with me and took notes at each school we saw. I also used it to keep a checklist for each school we were interested in, to make sure I was on top of dates and anything else that was required. 

I made a separate calendar in ical, to keep track of school stuff as well. I set alarms before important sign ups went live. I made a folder to keep all the handouts that schools give out when you visit. I set up a bookmark folder, so I could bookmark important links and not have to google search every time I needed info (I didn’t figure that out until the second kid). The handbook I sent you already has lots of links to important info in it—I’m already finding it quite helpful.

The tour log I created to help is in the handbook, but it’s also good to think about when things are quiet. These are helpful questions to ask or things to think about when touring schools. Always great to have questions ready - to get more info then just what the schools share in their presentations.

The 3 things at the bottom is a way I got my not particularly engaged son to engage. After every open house/tour, he’d have to tell me the three things that stood out the most. Could be good, bad, strange, funny - any impressions that he had. When we were making our final list in the fall, it was invaluable to have those memories on hand. Once we remembered the school with purple doors and a dress code (Brooklyn Latin), lots of other things would flood back as well.