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!
RELATED: 12 Back-to-School Tips for a Fantastic First Day, How to Make Friends
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.
Amy @ Permanent Kisses
Great tips - I will forward to my older kids!
Thanks, Amy. I hope it helps them. There's so much a kid can do if they know how to plan!
I LOVE planners. Used to be an English teacher before having kids, and I taught using planners to my freshmen. So important. I'm struggling right now on teaching my Kindergartener how to use one or if it's too early. What do you think? We already have a family planner/calendar that is on the wall.
My kids had planners in kindergarten, but they were only used to write down the daily assignments and spelling words so that the parents knew what the kids should be doing. I think they mainly work best that young for writing practice and as a communication tool with parents. I'm not saying don't teach her, but I don't think they have much they need to organize yet. Thanks for teaching the freshmen! I wish they started sooner. Good luck with your kiddos.
Thanks for the input. :)
Good luck, Amy!
Hey! Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster award :
Read more about it on my blog!
Thanks so much, Maggie! I'm honored. Off to check it out.
Barb @ A Life in Balance
Great tips! Last year, my 4th grade son had a test calendar, or at least he was supposed to. The teacher didn't seem to keep up on giving the kids the monthly calendars. I love the idea of adding reminders for the steps for the bigger projects in the daily planner.
I think the planners are a great idea in school. I also think that the kids need to be trained a little better as to how to use them, though! I'm glad to see that my 7th grader is using hers better this year--even without my tips. Yeah, teachers!
Fortunately, our Area schools provide planners for the kids from k5 all the way to 12th grade-- it's helped my boys keep organized every years and keeps me informed, too. As a mom, I have my own planner too-- great way to pace yourself and keep everyone on the same 'page' :)
The kids in our school get free planners, too. I just wish they were taught to use them more effectively. I'm happy to see that my daughter is learning to use hers better this year in 7th grade. I need to do better at keeping my own planner, too! It definitely helps keep the family organized.
Great tips that can be applied for adults or kids!
That's right, Heather. I need to use some of these tips for myself!
I found my sons planners years later, totally blank. At my daughters school they check them each week to make sure they are filled out and I have signed them daily
I have to sign my kids' planners, too. I love that your son's planners were blank. Typical boy! He seems to have made it through, anyway!
Another great tip Heidi,thanks!
You're welcome, Megan. I hope you have a great weekend!
Brilliant tips - especially the one about setting your own deadlines. It's no good realising something is due tomorrow but it's going to take a week to complete it!
Thanks, Clare. If only I could get it through to my 12-year-old that projects take more than one night! Actually, the planner is helping. Things are getting much better.
I love the idea of kids using planners - it would make our lives so much easier. Thank you for sharing such great tips. Cathy
Thanks, Cathy. I love that my kids get planners at school, but it takes some work for them (and for me) to really use them correctly. My oldest is in middle school this year, so we really need to get this down!