This past week, I was asked to check out a website called Me In A Tree. Bright, colourful, interactive – the site itself is very appealing. Based out of Alberta, this site is intended as a way to get families on the same page, and build communication (as well as many other qualities), Me in a Tree starts with signing up for a free account.
Here’s a short video that shares a better introduction to the program: Me In a Tree Introduction
Once you’ve signed up, you need to assign each family member with a personalized cartoon avatar. These are really fun – we had a good time playing with the options available.
Each family member can sign in individually – adding things to the calendar, and providing feedback about various things.
One of the key features is the weekly family huddle. After you choose how long your meeting will be, the program allows you to choose the family member who will be the moderator, then assigns roles to each other family member – such as Giggles (the one who cracks jokes and makes people laugh throughout the meeting), and Continex (who makes sure there are no interruptions), and Clapzap (who applauds everyone’s awesomeness). The huddle is given to you step by step – a way to open communication through pre-provided and random questions, a timer, family challenges, ways that your family can do things together, and checking the family calendar to co-ordinate schedules.
Other features including finding local activities to do as a family, a Pledge Stone – where everyone in the family shares what makes their family special, journals that can either be personal or shared with family, and more. There’s lots of “Next Step” features to keep you on task and making the program easy to use.
A family assessment – several questions that you answer Agree/Somewhat agree/Disagree to – gives you some indication of areas your family can grow or improve in the areas of behaviour, health, organization, responsibility, community, family, and money. Just knowing where you stand in each category can help you start the discussion of how things can change and how you as a family can take steps towards growing.
There’s a more sections that are “coming soon” (apps for finances and chores, for example) but the potential for this program is great. And, guess what!? It’s a PTPA Award Winner!
Admittedly, when I first saw the site and the summary of what it was about, I wasn’t sure how it would be applicable to our family. As homeschoolers who are together basically all day, every day, I didn’t think it would be something we could use. Our family doesn’t have one kid running here, one kid running there throughout the day for extra curricular events – so a family calendar just doesn’t seem to be something we need. But after I got through some of the other parts of the program, I’m actually pretty interested in using the weekly family huddle as a way to have great family communication every week.
I remember the times my family growing up had family meetings with our notebooks. It helped us bring up new ideas and suggestions together, build our ability to be open and honest with each other, and kept us all on the same page. I think this is the newest version of it. And I can’t wait to use Me In A Tree with my boys.
Lisa Marie Fletcher