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I use a planner, in fact I’m pretty much obsessed with mine. A few years ago, I realized I was FORGETTING EVERYTHING!!! Appointments, soccer games, school papers, you name it I forgot about it. In fact, my oldest even made a joke about it to my mom when I sent them to the wrong soccer field when I was out of town.
Why was I forgetting everything?
It’s not like I wasn’t trying. I was. I was diligently writing appointments in my phone. But what I realized is that, for me, putting an event in my phone is like putting it into a black hole. I will never see it again. The reason I was forgetting these digital appointments is that I wasn’t writing them. For me, writing down to-dos creates a memory of that item that doesn’t occur for me with just typing.
I’m now on my third year of using an old-school paper planner and I honestly can’t go back. Need a planner for you? I love my Erin Condren Life Planner, use this link to get $10 off.
Now on to my boys.
They have both been given planners at school and are expected to use them. The homework is on the board every day and you are required to write it down. This starts in third, is signed daily in fourth and in fifth you are left to your own devices. Fifth grade is where it all started to fall apart for my oldest. He never really bought into the idea of needing a planner and totally stopped using it in fifth grade. And guess what? He started to forget things too!! I say started, like we caught it early and stopped it, but oh no, it kind of tumbled into a giant mess. He basically fell apart academically this past year and disorganization was a huge culprit.
SO now what? The school tried to teach him and he didn’t buy in. Time for mom to intervene. He is transferring to middle school next year and there is no way he will survive without some organization skills in place.
The summer planner
I have always tried to come up with some sort of organization for the summer. Something to help keep my guys on track with summer reading, homework packets and to minimize screen time. This year I’m turning to a planner.I picked up this planner (click images to order) for my 9 and 11-year-old and we are using it to organize our down time in the hopes that they will be more prepared to use their school planners next year.
NOTE: I totally bought the wrong planner!!! I like the one I bought, but it doesn’t start until August. Oops! I used Washi tape to cover up the dates and we are still using it. BUT, I should have bought a calendar year planner like this one.
My whole goal is to give my kids a list of things I want accomplished but give them the freedom to schedule the work themselves. In order to make this happen I came up with a list of daily and weekly “chores”.
Once I wrote up my expectations, I sat down with my kids and we planned out our summer. First, we wrote out our general summer schedule on the monthly view of the planner. From there we opened up the first week. In the weekly view, I had my kids write out the daily tasks on EVERY DAY of the week. From there, I worked with my kids to divide up the weekly tasks and put them when they would like to do them. My hope is that this freedom gives them ownership of the chores.
Our first planning meeting was sort of disastrous. My oldest could totally handle it although he did think writing the daily tasks repeatedly was tedious. My nine-year-old thought I was trying to control him and was basically ruining his life. I revisited it with him later on and got him on board but did write in his planner for him this first week as it made the whole thing less overwhelming. He seems to understand now, that he isn’t required to do everything all at once.
Keeping It Up
Now that I’ve set up my expectations, my big kids and I will meet once a week to plan and create the routine of using the planners. Every meeting, the kids will write the daily tasks on each day and divide the weekly expectations however they would like.
I have come up with a reward system as well, for a little extra motivation. For every item that is checked off in the planner, my kids get to put a check on a separate chart that I taped into the planner. Once they earn enough checks, they can trade those in for various rewards.
Wish me luck!
I’m hoping this plan will keep us organized and also teach some organizational skills as well.