Creating a System for Adventure: Monthly & Weekly Planning

by ChristinaPilkington on January 11, 2012 · 16 comments

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Over the past week I’ve written about how I plan for mini-adventures and trips throughout the year.  I first talked about how I created a Master List.  Then I talked about how I incorporate my master list into a dedicated Google Calendar.  If you haven’t read those posts, I’d suggest going back and reading them first.

Once you’ve created your Master List and filled out your calendar, you’ve done most of the work. 

The last step is the most fun…deciding which of the fun places you’ve read about you’re actually going to visit!

Step #3 Deciding Where You’d like to Visit Each Month

 At the beginning of the month, I look at the Google Calendar I made for listing all the trips, tours, classes, and workshop options we have for the next 30 or so days. Some of these days, like the trips I’ve set up with other homeschoolers or the ones I’ve sent in money for, are already set.

We only have one fixed commitment each week – swimming classes. As my kids grow older, I’d really like if it’s possible to keep our fixed weekly commitments to a minimum. In our family, we really do learn best and have a much better week if we can decide a week ahead of time what trips we’d like to commit to (unless they’re pretty big trips, of course).

I quickly scan through my List of Places with Free Days and check if there are any special exhibits or programs that month we would be interested in attending.

I also click through the links to most of the libraries, park districts or city/town websites to see if there are any special events that month.  I usually spend about a half hour doing this.

After I’ve added a few more things that sound interesting to my Google planning calendar, I’m ready to call in the kids.

So, I sit down with the kids and look through the things coming up in the next month. I ask them which things sound fun and interesting to them.

Then I tentatively schedule those mini-adventures into our permanent calendar. I try to make sure that we have at least one day a week where we stay at home. Our days doing activities at home, watching DVDs or reading together are just as important as exploring new places we’ve never seen before. Plus, the house gets pretty chaotic if I don’t put at least some time into cleaning, laundry, grocery planning and shopping each week J

Step #4 Planning Your Week

I don’t really make any real commitments to going places until a week before unless it’s for something I’ve already paid ahead of time (and I really try to limit those).

I look at the week on Sunday and look at those things that really have to get done like grocery shopping, swim lessons, my allergy shots, and things like that. I schedule in when I’d like to get them done and then look at the time we have left.

We tend to go out a little more than most families, but we usually wind up going on about three little mini-adventures a week, not including something on the weekend, too. You should do what is most comfortable and works for your entire family. Maybe it’s a few things each week, or maybe it’s one new thing every month. You have to do what is best for your situation.

One of the best ways for me to decide if we’re doing too much is to look at my calendar and think about how I’m feeling when I’m looking at it. If I start to feel tense or stressed out, than I know that we’re doing too much. I cut out as many things as I can until I feel more relaxed.

We sometimes have cycles where we go do different things every day of the week for two week straight and then we stay home for an entire week.

I guess I should mention one other little list I have too. It’s the…

What should we do now List?

 I actually have two of these lists. One is a big list of activities and things to do around the house. But the other list is for small fun things we can do close to home without driving more than 5 or 10 minutes. It includes things like

  • Favorite parks
  • Walks in nearby woods
  • Restaurants to visit

These are things you can do spontaneously with no planning at all. It’s for those times when you want to get out of the house for awhile. We usually know what we’d like to do, but sometimes we think of something fun to do that we don’t want to forget about, so we put it on this list.

So, that’s my system. I like having a lot of options available. It’s really fun to see all the wonderful opportunities there are in my area each month. It’s like going to the ice cream store and having a really hard time choosing just one flavor!

I think no matter where you live, you’ll find that there are many, many different ways you can explore your area, whether it’s a city or the country.

I believe that if your family is open to new experiences, is always on the lookout for new places to visit and things to do, than your kids will grow up learning so much and have a wide and varied knowledge base to draw on in the future – a life of rich and interesting connections that will bring them closer to realizing their unique purpose and what they’d like to accomplish in their lives.

Photo Credit: RougeSun Media

What new mini-adventures are you most excited about taking this coming year?

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