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Reminder systems (online/electronic/cell phone APPS etc.)

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Our 14 year old DS is very bright, but really needs help with time management.  He's actually asked for planning systems to help him structure his time (he has inattentive ADHD).

 

I'm thinking of something like Homeschool Planet this year.  But what I really want are features thatwould send him text reminders and/or alarms.  To help him know when to stop/start/get ready, etc.  (I have no idea if Homeschool Planet or other planners have any feature like this.)

 

Any good recommendations?

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Well what tech do you have available to you?  Any iphone or tablet, even the kindle fire that goes on sale sub $100 regularly, will have everything you need.  

 

Personally, I like the apple ecosystem.  Everything syncs across the cloud, so all my alarms, calendars, etc. are on all my devices.  One change pushes everything through.  If you go microsoft, you do that with google calendar.

 

So for my dd, she has an imac, ipad, iphone.  Alarms, calendars, everything, yes.  The calendars can be color-coded, so she has separate calendars for social, school, private, etc.  That way the things I need to see sync on my devices, and the things I don't need to see don't.

 

So yes, invest in tech.  It doesn't have to be that expensive anymore.  My ds' alarms are all on his kindle fire.

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There's other synergy you can have too, like using dropbox, evernote, Wonderlist and having things sync across devices.  Also, at least on macs, you can do a "screen shot" either of the full screen or a part.  So if he's in an online class and needs to save the assignment, that's an easy way.  

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Oh Elizabeth -- We have an iPhone (me) and an Android (DS).  And our desktop and laptop PCs are Windows.  So something that works across platforms would be great.  (We also have an iPad and Kindle, but use those much less.)

 

He can set alarms on his phone -- but realistically I'll be doing a lot of that.  He just won't remember until it  becomes habit, and really ingrained habit at that.

 

I just discovered Google Keep today, am going to check that out.  As well as Homeschool Planet for scheduling both of us!  Right now I've been using Cozi to schedule family events and also do daily to-do lists for both kids.  But I want something with more features and he's acvtually asking for something that tells him more about what to do in what order.  My prioritized to-do lists aren't quite doing it, he does forget to look at them.  ;)

 

What kind of calendars do the color coding/syncing across both kinds of devices, the ones you use?  Cozi color codes, but doesn't really have enough reminders for us.  I'm thinking we may have to move to Google calendar and Google Keep perhaps.

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DS and I use Evernote.  You can log in and use their website, the Android app, Kindle App, iPad/iPod, and a Linux app.  Basically, I make daily notes with check boxes, and DS completes the assignments.  When DS needs to remember something, he immediately makes a note using his phone.  DS can assign himself reminders.  When DS needs to time himself, he uses a basic kitchen timer or his phone.  All of son's assignments are either pick up and do the next thing or written on a syllabus.  If there is something that is very important, I remind him in Evernote using a large bolded and brightly colored font.  If DS does not complete his work, he sits out football practice.  I have an arrangement with his coach, which is a big deal because DS loves football.  Thus far, DS has only sat out of practice once.

 

For organization, you could check out Sklar products or work with an EF coach.  DS had been working with an Ed.D. CBT coach since May. 

 

 

Edited by Heathermomster
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Your iphone has a calendars app that came with it.  You need to explore it, because it's going to be very similar to what you can do with google calendars.  Technically you can connect your iphone to google calendars and then google calendars to your windows and androids, making all the calendars sync.  I think Cozi has a subscription fee, but google calendars is free.  

 

On my iphone I use Calendars5.  It's an app that imports the information from my apple calendars and the prettifies it.  Just for yourself you could look at it.  It's the bomb.  I don't know much about Cozi.  I didn't want to pay a fee and moved on, lol.  

 

My ds7 can set his own alarms on his kindle fire, so I think this is something your ds can probably do too.  He just has to learn HOW and start doing it.  The alarms are really swank, with options for recurring events, which tones you want used, etc.  We use alarms a LOT.

 

Also, when you put something into a calendar as an event, you're able to select when you want the reminder for it.  So you can create multiple levels of notification without too much trouble when you take advantage of that.  

 

Yes, getting a good calendar app, getting him using it, using the alarms, this is all good stuff!  I don't know what the DS is, but if it's at all associated with play maybe it would be good to start using the fire more?  ;)  The fire would be a work device then.  Take off all the games, get the alarms going, get google calendar synced, and let that puppy run his life!  I use alarms for EVERYTHING.  When to eat, when to pack for classes, when to leave.  If we really mean business about it, we set an alarm.  That means a lot of RECURRING alarms for us, not a big hassle, because they're in and just stay that way, same time every Tues/Thur or Mon/Wed/Fri or whatever for a semester.  

 

As far as a syllabus, that's where he could go through and color code.  I don't know how they do it on google calendar, but on mac I can make unlimited "calendars" that go on my actual calendar acct.  And then I can choose which of those calendars shows on a given user's calendar.  So I have my calendars (mom-main, mom-private, etc.), and obviously I don't put my mom-private calendar on EVERYBODY'S device, kwim?  I go into the settings for the app on that person's device and I choose which calendars to have showing.  So Mom-private shows on *my* devices but not on dd's.  

 

So in your ds' case, he could have whatever system he wants.  I would consider basic alarms like rising, when to eat breakfast, when to brush teeth for bed, when to do morning chores.  Whatever his sort of touch points are that keep him going that you are supervising and that aren't yet independent, try to move over to alarms.  And the kindle is snazzy because I *think* it will show what the alarm is when it goes off.  And the blasted thing will keep going and going till he gets up and turns it off, lol.  We can hear it all over our house!  

 

Start somewhere.  Start small.  I'd get out that kindle and use it, since it's totally capable of doing all this.  The included alarm app is already just fine.  Then get google calendar going.  That way you'll be able to add things to his calendars from your iphone or look his schedule up to make appts, etc.  It took some work but I tell my dd to put EVERYTHING on there.  If she doesn't put it on there, then I assume I'm free to schedule her for something.  Mild threats can work.  :D

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I am going to suggest that whatever you do electronically, you start by doing something similar on paper first. One of my kids needs a physical representation of time, and the other one needs to see the big picture of time management, then plug that information into a larger system. 

 

For my big picture kid, I made a little template that shows our weekly commitments (tutoring, therapies, co-op, church, etc.), and I made a list of all the work he has to do weekly (x number of lessons in this book, etc.). He basically worked his assignments into a weekly format that worked with his energy levels, due dates (when applicable) and availability for each day.

 

For my littler one, I am using my erasable colored pencils (some stuff is still in flux) to color a two-column time layout for each day. It's marked in half hours, and the left column shows what things he's participating in at each hour, and the right hand column shows what the family is doing (sometimes he's doing speech therapy, but other times, it's his brother that has a class or something). Then he knows if he'll be at home, etc. I will also write that in on the shading, but the colors show who is the busy person. We'll see how that goes. I can set all the alarms in the world, but he has no real feel for the passing of time. Sometimes that's good (he'll practice piano for hours without prompting, lol!), but mostly it makes him think chores are agony and that fun is fleeting (to a degree beyond what is typical).

 

Anyway, I would want to solidify in my child's mind what time really looks like and help them make decisions based on that before worrying about the "system." Then, find whatever system works--apps, regular timers, paper calendar, whatever. My kids just get angry when the calendar tells them what to do unless they get the overall picture first. I get a lot more buy-in when I need it if they understand what's going on.

 

There are lots of free planner pages online. Even if you don't use them long-term, it can be nice to use one to get a flow going and then translate the final product to something electronic. You can see more all at once with paper (at least the way we do it).

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One of the things they say to do, for people who have no sense of time (me!) is to measure elapsed time with a timer.  We've done it, and before I started doing stuff with timers I was consistently, CONSISTENTLY off by 150%.  Like my internal chronometer was just really WHACK, kwim?  Broken, caput.  

 

So you'll get people like my dh, who can tell you what time it is at any time.  Then there are people like me, and I can't tell you whether it has been 5 minutes or 10, whether it's 1pm or 5pm, etc.  I regularly forget to go to bed or forget to eat, which is why I use timers.  

 

Anyways, you just start at the beginning, like hey what does ONE MINUTE feel like?  And then you play with it, like we'll press start and you tell me when you think it was a minute and we'll see how long it was, etc.  Now the nifty thing is that, you can laugh, but I do the steam room at the Y after I work out and always use a timer.  I've been doing it for a full year now, and I SWEAR that doing the same thing, every single time, with that timer, has sharpened something in my brain.  Now I normally get out just a few seconds before the timer goes off.  My brain just goes ok, done, you're done baking, and I come out and it's right!  Not always and certainly not so reliably that I go into a dangerous thing like that without a timer, kwim?  But enough that it's kind of curious and makes me think there is something to the idea that you can make progress.  And I did read that in books about actually working on sense of time.

 

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I set alarms on my phone for various times.

 

One of my children tends to get lost in work and will forget to come down and eat lunch (and then will feel it later and realize that lunch should have been eaten).  So that child's computer is set (by me -- the children can't change it without my password, which they don't have) to log off at 1 pm every day, for an hour.  When the computer logs off, child is reminded to come down and eat lunch, which helps a lot.  (The computers also log off between 4 and 5 pm for afternoon chores, and between 9 pm and 6 am on school nights.)  The computer logging off is very helpful because it's not something they can control, and it's not me nagging at them either.

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Ooo, I like the auto logoff for lunch!!!  Brilliant!  And you're right, it removes the conflict.  I do that with my dd's computer in the evening.  I don't like hearing about teens who won't get off at night.  What I do is my business, because I'm an adult.  For my kid, the computer automatically goes to sleep at I think 10 or 10:30, I forget, and it can't be changed without a password that I alone have.  

 

I think I'D do better with that lunch logoff, hahahaha...

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Yep, the morning we have a standing class outside the home, the kid accounts come on at 6 because sometimes they wake up early and want to do some work, but they log off between 9 and 11 so the kids aren't distracted from getting ready and helping the little ones get ready. All kid devices log off at the same times. Super helpful for kids with executive function issues. (Same with time limits for Chrome and such, so they can't fritter time away online, but even productive work needs a break during the day.)

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I need the internet timer, lol!

 

I am somewhere in the middle with time. It varies greatly by what I am doing. Overall, I have a pretty good sense.

 

I might try the intentional timer thing with my little guy. My older one doesn't seem to need that, but when he was little, I put a lot of things in perspective for him, like this will be two episodes of Thomas or whatever. It was really helpful to him. I did that with the other one, but he misses a lot. We didn't know he wasn't hearing things with his CAPD, and now that we know and try to accommodate, he's still not exactly catching everything. I think that makes a difference.

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