Four Easy Steps to Teach Your Child How to Use a Student Planner

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We all dream of the day our kids are able to complete their schoolwork without nagging, begging, or bribing them. It does happen eventually, but first, we need to teach our kids how to use a student planner. That’s easier said than done. Just how do you go about teaching your kids?

Before we begin, your child needs a student planner. You can choose the planner you wish your child to use, or you can allow your child to choose their own planner. My preference has always been to allow my kids the option. The more invested my kids are in their education, the harder they’ll work!

Some student planners to check out:

You now need a list of what needs to be done that week.

Don’t forget the master list of assignments! It keeps your child from overlooking a subject such as spelling or math when planning the week.

Children can be quite absent-minded when it comes to schoolwork. It’s amazing what they will forget to put on the planner.

1. Demonstrate How to Use a Student Planner

My children and I sit down with their planners, my list of schoolwork to be done, and their school crates to begin planning their school week. At this stage, I write down the assignments while my child watches.

We begin with math, spelling, and penmanship. These are easy. A page or lesson is assigned to each day of the school week.

Next, we move onto history and literature. We look at the readings assigned for the week. I suggest a few options for dividing the assignments throughout the week. My child ponders the suggestions and chooses one.

Sometimes the kids come up with their own idea. I use theirs unless it has already been proven not to work.

Children have distinct preferences for how they like their week to flow so be prepared for some odd arrangements.

For instance, my 11yo has a marked preference for light Wednesdays and Fridays. As a result, his Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays have heavy school assignments. He’s happy and everything gets done.

We now look at writing because writing is usually based on history assignments. Again, we discuss options, my children choose, and I write the work down.

Science, grammar, Henle Latin, and the other subjects are planned in a similar manner. It usually takes us 10-15 minutes to cover all the work assigned for the week and plan it.

2. Supervise Your Child Using a Student Planner

After demonstrating the process for a time, I begin to have my students work under my supervision. We still sit down for 10-15 minutes together with their student planner, my master list of assignments, and their school crate. However, I take a step back and let them plan under my supervision.

Instead of explaining how I divide subjects or giving options, I ask what they’d like to plan first. How do they want to divide the subject over the week? If the final draft is due Friday, when should the rough draft be finished? What about the outline?

It’s no different from teaching anything else. You step back slightly and ask a lot of guiding questions. You slowly guide the children through the process of how to use a student planner.

The master list of assignments is critical at this time because children will forget about spelling or grammar or their least favorite subject, and if your attention is diverted for an instance, you’ll forget as well.

3. Check The Student Planner

After slowly working through the previous two steps over a number of months or years, most preteens and teens have a good idea about how to go about planning their week. It’s time to give them the reins and allow them to do it without supervision.

In other words, you hand them the weekly assignments and they plan their own week.

You don’t need to walk them through the process. You don’t need to stand over them while they plan. You walk away and allow them to do it themselves.

However, and this is important, double-check the Student Planner each week. Kids are prone to forgetful memories and will neglect their least favorite subject. Make certain they have a reasonable plan laid out for the week. If there are problems, refer back to their time management skills or return to having them work under your supervision.

4. Freedom

Once children are consistent about planning their week well, you can let go and stop checking the student planners. The work is either done on time or it isn’t. If it isn’t, reserve the right to go back to the previous step and check the planner each week to ensure it’s filled out correctly.

You’ve now reached the point of freedom. You can assign the work and know your child will have it done and done on time. Feels good, doesn’t it!

Now you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Your kids can complete their schoolwork without nagging, begging, or bribing.

Do you teach your kids how to use a student planner?

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  1. What a wonderful skill to teach your children… yet not something I would have considered myself!

    I love using a planner… I can’t get by without it. It only makes sense to teach this to our children too.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

    1. Teaching my children how to use a planner has been a life saver at times! The teens, especially, are able to keep going when I get bogged down by crisis. 🙂

      1. Thanks this sounds like a lifesaver for us! Definitely giving it a try : ) I Love the idea of my teen son making his own weekly plan. Freedom for both of us sounds nice!

  2. This is fantastic! Thanks so much. With both of my littles in school this year, this will be a great tool 🙂

  3. I’m so thankful that my kid’s all have planners for school and is something that the schools here require the kids to fill in. It makes keeping track of assignments not only easier for the kids, but on the parents as well.

    1. Planners make everyone’s life easier! I’m happy to hear your schools require the kids to use planners, Erlene. It’s a wonderful skill to have for college and life.

  4. I think it’s important to know how to use a planner when you’re young. I’m in college and it’s been a struggle, but I know that when I just buy the darn planner, my semester feels ten times easier.

  5. I remember loving my student planner in middle school. Hopefully I can get my kids organized when they are a little older!

    1. Kids are funny sometimes! My daughter keeps her planner in hieroglyphics that only make sense to her. My kids need a long period of supervised usage before they master using a planner. 🙂

  6. We are in the process of doing this with our 11 and 9 year old. I’m looking forward to reaching the Freedom point! 🙂

  7. Really, it is a nice idea. We should be organized. The earlier children understand it the more organized they will be in the future. #laughlearnlinkup

  8. More than a student planner, I need a homeschooling mom planner.

    I think this is a good plan. For some reason, it’s really difficult for me to move to such an independent plan. I don’t know why.

  9. I was going to ask about what age you start this at too. My oldest is 6 and I couldn’t imagine starting this with him. Glad to know that you wouldn’t recommend it either haha =) I’ll look forward to it in a few years!

    1. I’ve found starting around 9 to be ideal. We sat down together, planned, and chatted about the different options. 9yos are eager to have their opinions listened to but are still very willing to follow mommy’s lead in the planning. 🙂

  10. What a fantastic idea! I love that I would allow them to plan out their own weeks work compared to me seeming like im micromanaging them

  11. Great tips! These steps of Demonstrate, Supervise, Check, and Freedom can be applied to so many areas of our homeschooling. Thanks so much, Sara! 🙂

    1. And not just homeschooling, Michelle, parenting as well! I don’t know how many times I’ve demonstrated, supervised, and checked before giving the kids freedom to do their chores. 🙂

  12. How do you determine the right kind of planner? It sound like all they have to do is copy the plans from the “master planner” to their own. Is that correct? And you do this only once a week? There is no checking on their work or progress which means that a a consequence should be well stated if things don’t get done? My son is in middle school and after the 5th one, I still can’t get them to use one. It is very frustrating!

    1. I let my kids choose their planner. so far the system has worked fairly well. Actually my master plans tend to be a general ‘Read chapter 1 this week. Read 1/2 of this novel for literature. Complete math lessons 1-5.’ The children, under my guidance, break the weekly lessons into daily lessons. They’ll decide if they’re going to read the entire chapter on Monday, or read 5 pages a day.

      Oh no, planning once a week doesn’t mean I only check things once a week! My 12th graders tend to do just fine with my checking once a week. Younger kids are checked much more often, preferably on a daily basis. 🙂 I’ve found it takes practice to get the kids to use a planner and time to work through all 4 steps. It’s a skill we work on through the years.

  13. Love this idea. My oldest is 12 and itching for more independence with his school work. Oh but, I clicked on the “student planner” link under #3 to see what you recommend and it took me to a listing for a shoulder brace. Just thought you should know!

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