It’s that time of year when the mornings are cooler and the evenings are shorter—and the school supplies beckon with some urgency.
While parents may not remember everything about geometry, our expertise is still required to help our middle and high school students through school. Rather than bending over paragraphs or math facts, we should head with our students to the planner aisle. And then, we should open the planners with our kids—so that they can learn to use them. Organization is the homework support older kids often need.
The leap to a system with many subjects—and teachers—requires more effort on the student’s behalf simply to remain aware of what’s expected.
With my son, I discuss how important it is to:
- Put all exam/test and due dates in calendar.
- Schedule study time the three to five days prior to the test or the assignment’s due date.
- Do homework for a class the day it is given—so it’s not left for the night before the next class.
- Set up notes on chapters in advance. I point out that key events/concepts are usually listed at the end of each chapter. I suggest writing definitions down as chapters are read.
Along with a more complicated academic schedule, teen’s planners often involve many extracurricular activities, with minute-to-minute changes communicated to the students themselves rather than to the parents. This means there’s so much more information our teens—and us parents—need to communicate about together, so that we all know.
Denise Witmer of About.com tries to get her family into a room together to go over their calendars each week . This way, she knows assignments, basketball practices—and even finds out whether one of her kids needs new shoes. A family that plans together is more likely to know what’s ahead—and less likely to miss important events, from a paper to a tournament.
That time together with the planners is an investment in her children’s organized futures. Witmer writes, “It also involves everyone being in the good habit of filling out their planners.”