MC Scheduler Management
MC Scheduler Instructions
In order to use the MC Scheduler, you need to prepare first. The Administrator of the MC/group will register, set up the scheduler, edit it in a Sunday meeting, and keep it updated. Here are the details:
- Go to The Big Answer and click MC Matching in the navigation bar. You'll get sent to Register for MC Search and Match. Register and either fill out the questionnaire then or wait until some later time. When you login after you register, you'll be sent to MC Search and Match Profile and Account Management. There are several menu items, such as doing searches and matches on the MC database. If you are more interested in the scheduler for now, from the menu of MC Search and Match Profile and Account Management, select MC Scheduler and be sent to MC Scheduler Management. Here you can set up a scheduler by selecting Set Up MC Scheduler People. Once there, you will enter the number of kids being given caregiving and the number of adults doing the caregiving. Enter first and last names of both adults and kids.
- The submit button has the note next to it that implies you will submit as Administrator of a MC. This means that only those who you give your user name and password to will ever see any of the names you enter or the schedule itself. Of course, the people in your MC/group need to be able to have your user name and password so they can open the schedule for each day and check who does what when. You'll enter the number of kids and adults, but you'll enter the number of elders as well as kids when asked for the number of kids to add if you have any elders that will need caregiving. Once you enter the number of adults that will be doing caregiving, as well as the number of kids (plus elders if you have any needing care) needing caregiving, do NOT press Submit. Instead, press the "Add adults to MC Scheduler" button to add adults, add them, then press the "Add kids to MC Scheduler," button, and add them. Finally, press the "submit" button. You'll now want to use the link to Return to Scheduler Management.
- Before you use the Edit MC Scheduler option on the main menu, you'll need to get everyone together and figure out the caregiving schedule which lasts two weeks, so you'll need to figure out who cares for whom. You'll see that the schedules are set up as half hour slots and cover 24 hours a day. When you first see the schedule it will be set up with two X characters for all slots for the whole two weeks. X means "no care needed." For most MCs or families or groups (or even babysitting co-ops), the slots from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. will be left with the Xs (parent are "watching over" their kids by sleeping in their own rooms—but still available), so you'll need to set up caregivers for 7 in the morning to 9 at night, mostly, since after that we assume the kids and care-needing elders will be asleep. Of course, also in the daytime will be Xs for when kids are at school or soccer practice or music lessons or preschool or whatever. So even if kids are sleeping over at a different home in your group, it is assumed there are parents sleeping in a nearby room, available as needed.
- The reason there are Xs over Xs and—once you fill in the slots—names over names, is that the primary caregiver is on top and the secondary caregiver is on the bottom. See Why Register for an MC? to see why caregiver choice is important—the kid should be able to choose which of these two people will care for him/her. The kid starts with the primary caregiver and chooses to switch to the secondary caregiver if he wants to. The best place for the caregiving is a space set aside for it. This allows kids to play with other kids in their group, and the chosen (primary or secondary) caregiver will be there, playing with or talking with the kids as they wish or—more often—reading a book or doing something on a computer while the kids play together. Chosen caregivers should not be allowed to watch TV or play games or watch videos that have sound playing. The UNchosen caregivers have to be somewhere reasonably close (such as in one of their MC's or groups houses where a kid needing him/her can take a few steps and get him/her) doing whatever he or she wants. The caregiving spaces are for the kids and elders being cared for, and caregivers should not engage in distracting activities like TV that will tend to suck kids in and teach them that playing and creativity are all about sitting on one's butt in front of a screen. The caregiving spaces are for playing teaching, learning, home schooling if desired, tutoring. See Montessori for a good example of how to set up a caregiving space. But if a kid wants to play in his own room, the chosen caregiver would go there unless the kid wants to be alone, in which case the caregiver is in some other room of that house—always available. In some cases where a caregiver is watching several kids at once, the caregiver would stay in the caregiving space and the kid knows to go to the caregiving space if he wants care. Sometimes the caregiving space is set aside for MC/group meetings or get-togethers where everyone plays games or plays music together or sings or even watches a show on TV together. Kids will be there so the schedules get Xs for all kids and elders.
- The editing of the schedule is simple. Select one of the caregivers from the dropdown menu and click him wherever appropriate on the schedule either on top, as the primary caregiver or on the bottom as the secondary caregiver. Do this for the whole two weeks and then go on to the next caregiver from the dropdown menu, until all slots are filled as needed. Yes, the first scheduling meeting will be a long one. Bring snacks!
- There will be a few slots where care will be needed but the caregiver is undecided at first. Do not leave them as X, but as question marks (?) which, like the X and the caregiver's names, are found on the drop-down menu in the Edit MC Scheduler utility. You'll be able to use Find All Unfilled Slots, above, to later find all the question marks in the 2-week schedule so you can fill the slots. You'll also be able to use View One Caregiver's Schedule, View One Kid's Schedule, View MC Scheduler, and Edit MC Scheduler to administer and manage the schedule.
- Use View One Caregiver's Schedule lets you view, print, and email one caregiver's full 2-week schedule of providing care, and View One Kid's Schedule lets you view, print, and email one kid's full 2-week schedule. Whether you use these a lot, a little, or not at all is up to the administrator.
- The average MC is likely to have less than 10 kids in it, and once kids reach the age of 13 (give or take a few years), they won't need care scheduled, but are likely to do some caregiving themselves. And kids will be born and need care. And some adults will eventually end up as elders needing care, while other elders will pass away. These realities are why there are four more utilities above Add a Caregiver, Subtract a Caregiver, Add a Care Needer, Subtract a Care Needer.
- MCs/groups may get together with other groups and do a kind of collective caregiving thing with one scheduler. And babysitting co-ops that read and understand the significance of the info on this page Why Register for an MC? may also use our caregiving scheduler. In either case, we've got you covered. The MC Scheduler will handle up to 99 kids and 99 adults.
- The reason there are two weeks in the schedule is ease of use and convenience. The idea is that once a week early on Sunday the administrator copies everything in the schedule in week two and uses this to replace week one, since Next week has just become This week on the schedule. But, happily, this is easier than it sounds: the administrator goes to Edit MC Scheduler and presses a button called "Copy next week onto this week." All done! It even changes all the dates on the 14 days of the schedule in the process. Please note that these two weeks will have similar schedules. So when the 2nd week replaces the 1st week on Sunday, that just means that the current week (starting on Sunday) has bypassed the old week, which is now history, so the schedule needs to reflect that we are now experiencing the Next week as This week, and the new Next week is an exact copy of the current This week. All that is required is to have everyone peruse the new Next week schedule and tell the administrator of any needed changes, since the new This week schedule should be okay since the group will have had a week in which to report changes to next week, which has now arrived. But the new Next week schedule will need adjustments, since it is not based on anything except a general known caregiving pattern. These adjustments can be done in a Sunday meeting or in less structured ways—the group will decide which. Weeks of caregiving need and caregiving availability are similar, but usually not identical. People get exceptions, like getting sick, having appointments, going on trips, freeing up some extra time unexpectedly, getting different shifts at work, etc.