Do your kids use school planners? All my kids use them to keep track of daily homework, but I know they can be used for so much more -- especially in the upper grades. Today I'm sharing six tips for how to use a daily school planner to organize your after-school time. With parents and kids working together to get these tips started, I'm confident that there will be fewer missed assignments and late-night cramming! (At least I sure hope so! Last year about killed me!)
How to Use a Daily School Planner -- Back to School Tips!
1. Write down due dates!
This is the main thing that I wish teachers would teach the kids. Currently, my kids write down their assignments that are due the next day, but that is all. I can't tell you how many times I've asked the date of a test--only to get a blank stare in return!
So, when the teacher gives long-term assignment, write down the due date!
2. Set your own deadlines
Simply writing down a due date for a paper or test is not enough. It's easy to procrastinate when the due date is far away. Once you have your final due dates written in your planner, it's time to set your own deadlines for studying and writing.
For an essay or report, divide the assignment up into reasonable chunks. Here's a sample schedule for a paper assigned on Monday and due on Friday:
- Monday--Outline and write the introduction.
- Tuesday--Write the body paragraphs.
- Wednesday--Write the Conclusion.
- Thursday--Revise and edit. Type the final paper.
Preparing for a test is a little bit different, because you will likely be learning new material up until the day of the test. You might add some phrases like this to your regular daily assignments:
- Review class notes
- Complete end-of-unit review
- Get someone to quiz me on vocabulary
3. Schedule a family calendaring time each week
Imagine this . . . all week, you planned to finish writing your essay on Thursday night. You arrive home from school that day to find out that your family has planned to go to dinner with your favorite aunt. Now you have to choose between a fun family event and completing your homework. Bummer. Nothing ruins your study plans like unexpected plans!
Set aside a time each week that your family will come together and plan. At the meeting, everyone brings their calendar or school planner and shares what's on their schedule for the week. Don't forget to include your sports, lessons, and other activities in your planner. That will help you know which days you have less time to study.
4. Review your planner before starting your homework
It's no fun to think you have completed your homework only to bolt up in the middle of the night -- realizing that your forgot something! Before you begin studying, check your planner to make sure that you make time to complete all of your tasks.
5. Include your personal goals in your planner
If there is a skill you are trying to learn, a habit you are trying to break, or a goal your are striving to achieve, your planner can help you! Write down daily reminders and things to keep you motivated!
For example, my oldest is trying to read her scriptures every day for a specific amount of time. If she writes that in her planner, and sees it as she starts her homework, she's much more likely to remember.
6. Let Mom and Dad help you get started
Does using your planner this way sound a little scary? No worries. Mom and Dad can help. Once you have those first school assignments, grab your planner, a pencil and a parent. Together, decide how to break your large assignments into smaller chunks. Let Mom or Dad know what tasks you will need their help with. Is there anything you need to do together? Is there anything you need to buy for a project? (This could also be a great discussion during family calendaring time.)
If you didn't get all the due dates written down, have Mom or Dad check their email. Often, teachers send weekly newsletters that contain spelling lists, due dates, and other important information.
Planning will get easier as you do it. Soon, you won't need your parents' help very often at all!
What do you think? Will you change the way you use your school planner? What's your best planner tip? I'd love it if you shared it in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you'll stick around and check out some of my other ideas. Images below are linked.