The new school year is less than a week away. Is your child ready to embrace the new challenges? When I speak to parents about the struggles their child is having during the school year, another commonality I find is the student isn’t using a planner, which also ties back to the organizational skills, which I discussed on Monday. So today, I’m giving away our number two strategy and trade secret for helping a student be successful. Get a planner and use it!
Students that work with Engaged Academics first complete an organization phase. Then we move into the planning and prioritization phase. During this time, we stress the importance of and need for using an academic or daily planner. So, what do the fantastic teachers at Engaged Academics say about planners?
1. When you listen and write, it activates multiple parts of the brain. When you do this, it may help with recall. But, if it doesn’t, you have a hard copy backup of precisely what you need to complete.
2. Using a planner frees up working memory. Working memory is the amount of information your brain can hold at a given time. Think of it as a temporary holding facility. You are either going to file it into long-term memory (not without rehearsal) or purge it as soon as something else comes along. This is why we forget things. Recent studies suggest that working memory may be fixed and we aren’t able to expand it. In layman’s terms, you can only hold onto a certain amount of information at a given time.
3. As students move from elementary to middle to high school and ultimately college, remembering to complete assignments and submit assignments on the designated due date is going to be extremely important. I’ve learned this the hard way. Submitting an assignment just one day late can have a drastic impact on your grade. As students age, parents and teachers are not going to give as many reminders about assignment due dates either. So ultimately, it’s up to them to take ownership of the work they need to complete.
If your child is resistant to using a planner, have them shop for one online, with you, that they will feel compelled to use. It really doesn’t matter what the planner looks like, as long as it meets the need of the student. There are even some great resources online to print and make your own planners.

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