Back-to-school: 8 ways for your child to get more out of a student planner!

Ever since Grade 2, my kids have come home with a 1 inch thick bound notebook referred to as “The Agenda”.  It began as a rather heavy note-taking device between teacher and parent, and progressed to be a place for noting the day’s homework.

If your school provides a “planner”, it may have these elements.

If not, keep them in mind when choosing one:

Information particular to the school – rules and guidelines

General Information related to a particular theme such as healthy living or being environmentally conscious

Daily Space – usually a week at a time

Monthly Calendars throughout

Sizes will likely vary – larger for the little ones who are able to print, and progressively smaller for older kids with improved penmanship…although I wonder if that is working as I see less focus on handwriting skills as we move steadfastly towards keyboards.

While noble in its intent, I have found the agendas often only partially used.  Here are some ways your child can get more mileage out of their planner:

  1. Label it – on the outside for quick recognition

  2. Reprint the schedule and tape it to the inside front or back cover. It is often buried somewhere inside, and this simple step will make it easy to find.

  3. Create a routine for reviewing the planner with your child – to ensure good communication between yourself, your child and his or her teachers.

  4. Use the monthly calendars – have your child write down project due dates and major milestones. This is the view that will give perspective on what’s coming up and keep everyone prepared.

  5. Include school and personal activities in daily spaces – have your child note evening and weekend commitments so he or she can manage around them

  6. Add a sturdy, removable tab to bookmark the current date

  7. Create a ‘to do’ list page and an ‘idea parking lot’ (by attaching lined sticky notes if no such pages exist), so there is one place to look for each of these important mind-freeing lists.

  8. Adopt a reliable process for using the planner –

      1. Record tasks and relevant associated information.

      2. Schedule tasks – plan when work will be done and block off periods of focused time in the calendar. Prioritizing skills will be hard at work here.

      3. Complete work.

      4. Review work and check off tasks that have been completed.

      5. Reschedule activities that still require attention.

Clare Kumar is the founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company. Clare works with business owners and employees to drive greater productivity and peace of mind through better organization at work and at home. An industry expert, Clare also creates new products to help people remove the ‘bumps’ from their day. If there’s something you do every day that’s slowing you down, she wants to hear from you.

By Adam

September 11, 2012