Posted by: Sara Carbone on: February 4, 2012
1. Put anything and everything in there – not just academics. This way she learns to be responsible in all areas of her life and she can plan her academic life to work with her other commitments.
Academics: homework, tests, quizzes, project milestones, extra help sessions with teachers, study sessions w/friends.
Non academics: sports practice, games and events, parties, school trips, family vacations, phone calls to make or emails to send, permission slip due dates, extracurriculars like choral practice or photo club events.
2. Write things in on the day they are due. Most kids write in that they have a test on the day they are told about it. This does nothing to help, as she can’t look ahead to see that it’s coming up. And she should write as much detail as she can: “Math test” vs. “Unit 14 Math Test – GCF, LCD & equiv fractions txtb pgs. 125-136.”
3. Write in time estimates. She can estimate how long different projects or events are going to be so she can plan around them. This can apply to a commute to and from an away game. Or to studying for a test: assess how many vocab words or chapters or pages of notes there are and figure how many hours/nights she needs to get through all of it. It doesn’t matter if she isn’t exactly sure how long something will take, estimating gives her a ballpark to work with. And she’ll get better at it as she practices. Transforming vague ideas about getting something done into specific, manageable chunks is skill sorely needed when she needs to plan for multiple exams in high school and college.
4. Use milestones. It really helps to break a project down into milestones (and helps avoid you running around finishing up the project while she sleeps). She can place each due date in the planner. Sometimes the teacher provides them (i.e. a research paper has due dates for thesis/intro, note cards, outline, rough draft, final draft). If the teacher isn’t assigning due dates that break down a project, your kid can look at the final due date and think backwards about each piece:
Example: To hand science project in on time she asks herself: When should all 3 pieces be ready for final assembling? How long will I need to create each of these three pieces? When will I need to purchase the supplies with mom?
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