Reading, writing and arithmetic (remember that old-fashioned word for Math)…schools usually have them covered, in fact, most schools do a really great job teaching these and many other subjects. However, what tends to get overlooked is the student’s ability to prepare for their course load each week.
Is Your Child Struggling with Grades?
Recently, one of our sons began to struggle in some of his classes. We noted that forgotten assignments and last minute cramming for tests were occurring with regularity, as were the not-so-positive results. He was active in one school-sponsored sport, practicing for the upcoming season of another, while also trying to keep up with his household chores/responsibilities, and mixing in time for those unusual things that only a 7th grader might consider fun.
In this case, a reduction of extra-curricular activities was not yet warranted, however, I felt that his goals could still be accomplished, not by a continuance of his “winging it” but with some planning and organization. Therefore, I resurrected a planning tool that I created a year earlier for his older brother when he was experiencing these same struggles.
The key to the planner is its simplicity, a single, non-dazzling spreadsheet (what would you expect from a CPA).
Here’s how to use it:
- Download and print the planner on Sunday for the upcoming week (no technology, just good ole paper) from the link at the bottom of the post.
- Tell your student that this piece of paper is now going to be a part of their life. It goes with them to school and should be utilized throughout the day.
- You AND your child discuss and insert the known activities onto the planner for the upcoming week (e.g., basketball practice – Wed. 6pm, Art Club – Thurs. 3pm, etc)
- The blocked off section is designated for each of your student’s classes Monday-Friday. Revise “Subject 1”, “Subject 2” etc to the names of each of your child’s specific classes.
- When they get an assignment, your student should insert that assignment on the day it is DUE for that specific class. Make sure that you also insert the dates of tests as soon as they become known. There is also a section at the bottom to note any items that should be inserted onto the following week’s planner (see item #3 above)
- Here is the BIGGIE – Have your student insert the days/time slots that they will work on their assignments and study for tests. This trains them to think intentionally about their schedule and to plan for it accordingly.
*For the first two or three weeks, it is very important that you spend 5 minutes a day with your student to ensure their inputs are complete and reasonable. As they demonstrate an increased ability to plan and implement, you can transition from daily checks to occasional spot checks (hopefully the results will begin to speak for themselves)!!
If you have any planner modification suggestions, please send us an email or insert a comment to this post and we will try to accommodate!