Like me, you may have made some New Year's Resolutions about losing weight, getting more organized, staying on a budget, and so forth. And by now, also like me, you may have discovered that making resolutions is much easier than keeping them. After all, there are sometimes "hidden costs" in trying to cut back - whether it's calories, clutter, or cash.
I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago when we were really under some financial strain. In an attempt to cut out a "luxury item" from the budget, I decided to color my own hair. I had done it before successfully, so this should have been an easy change to make. Taking it a step further, I decided I would color my hair back to my original color (to the best of my memory) so I could avoid coloring altogether for a while.
After poring over the many choices available at Wal-Mart, I chose a suitable shade and brought it home. Following the directions precisely, I rinsed out the color and eagerly checked out the results. As I began to dry my hair, I noticed something a bit strange.
My hair was green.
As it turns out, turning highlighted strands back to dark blonde/light brown requires a couple of intermediate steps. I'm pretty sure I spent more money getting it fixed (which resulted in it being colored a much darker shade than I intended) than if I had just continued on with the highlights. Lesson learned: some things really are best left to the professionals (and worth spending the money).
Fortunately, there are some things that can be done by people like me. At home. And even for free.
I have been homeschooling now for about a year and a half (still a mere babe in the homeschooling world), and I have tried all sorts of ways to organize our schedule. At first, I had elaborate schedules all worked out on Excel spreadsheets. That worked for a couple of weeks until I realized that my children and my schedule were completely at odds. Then I tried a less detailed plan also typed up in Excel. This worked a bit better, but it was very difficult to plan very far in advance, even in a very flexible sort of way.
For a while, I used Homeschool Skedtrack. There are a lot of great features to this online program. I was able to input an entire year's worth of lesson plans, and each day it would tell me what was scheduled for that particular day. My favorite part (that other similar programs seemed to lack) was that, if we missed a day of doing a particular subject, the assignments automatically rescheduled themselves without me having to manually change all of the dates. Still, it was cumbersome to work with and could only be done from my desktop.
Enter Evernote. (Note: all of these pictures are from my iPhone, but this is also available for Mac or PC desktops, iPad, and Android devices. It may just look a bit different. Bonus: this is a FREE app.)
I had read about Evernote all over the web and downloaded it myself several months earlier, but honestly, I hadn't found a real use for it. Then one day I realized I could use it for tracking our lessons.
We use Rod and Staff for Phonics, so here is the one I put together for that book:
Obviously, I could add much more using Evernote: pictures, web sites, voice memos, etc. It can very easily be customized in a way that works best for you.
Another way I use Evernote extensively is in storing online recipes. Pinterest + Evernote has made my life (in the kitchen, at least) much simpler. If anyone is interested, I would be happy to post about how that works for me.
So tell me, what works for you? Or what didn't work but resulted in a funny story?