How can I help my child succeed?
I hear that a lot. For this reason, I decided to do a short series of blogs and videos on this specific topic. Last week, I wrote about The Learning Space. This week, I am writing about The Agenda.
The Agenda – Student Planner – Calendar – Diary …
Whatever you prefer to call it, this little book can be an enormous help.
Students often debate with me about the value of using an agenda. Often they think it is a waste of time. In fact, you will find that students of all ages tend to think that most “leg-work” is a waste of time.
Yet, doing some of the preliminary work actually saves time in the long-run. Of course, the additional benefit is that you retain more information as well, get the assignments done on time, and have the luxury of adding value to your work!
Far too many times a student has forgotten that her or his major assignment was due in two days, or worse, the next day.
“Why didn’t you write it in your agenda?” I ask.
“Because I figured the teacher would keep reminding me,” or “I never do that,” or “I have a good memory….usually.” You can imagine the multiple other answers that I’ve heard over twenty plus years. I am sure you have heard some yourself; or, dare I say, used some yourself. Shhh.
Please, use an agenda!
Electronic versions are fine, but you have to make sure that you have access to them when you need them – at any location. Does the school allow you to access your cell phone during class? Will you have your computer with you on the bus? Whichever device you use, make sure that you can get to it at all necessary locations. The electronic versions have lots of bells and whistles; however, make sure you don’t waste time highlighting, setting alarms, formatting, and so on when none of this will actually help you in any way.
I love book-form agendas. They are inexpensive, and you can carry them anywhere. Making changes in a book is so easy. Yes, I have tried the electronic versions, and setting up the calendar takes longer than in my book, and making changes is a real pain. I quickly went back to the book. Oh, and my book never crashes!
When using an agenda, be sure to help your child fill in the missing bits. For example, if a task is coming due on October 15th, what day(s) will the research be done? What day will he or she write the rough draft? When will the editing and final draft be completed? Just putting in the due date is not sufficient.
The agenda should be used to track non-academic activities, too. Family plans, sports, birthdays, tutoring sessions, etc. In this way, your child won’t be surprised by events that could interfere with his or her academic performance.
It is a good idea to write in nightly homework time even if the student is generally good at sticking to the stated time. Block that time off, and place a check mark beside every block that is successfully done. In this way, students are giving themselves a “pat on the back” for a job well done and motivating themselves to maintain an excellent track record. Speaking of which, this helps them to monitor how consistent they are in studying. Remember that being pro-active and taking on responsibility for YOUR education is essential to reach your highest achievement level.
The agenda or student planner – aptly named – is the ultimate plan. Having a plan motivates you to execute. Without a plan, often study times, due dates, test papers, and so on fall by the wayside – especially as the term, semester, or year progresses.
Having a plan helps students stay calm. While they might not love, or even like, every assignment, at least they will not panic at the last minute. Over the years, I have seen many students who thought they were just naturally nervous find strength in having a plan and sticking to it.
Knowing is better than not knowing.
If you have a good agenda or planner, use it effectively and always.
If you don’t have a planner, go get one today! Okay, maybe tomorrow – but no later.
Here are a few options:
Let me know how you make out. If you have any questions, please – ask away.
Also, don’t forget how useful an academic coach can be!
Web site: www.tutoringcentral.com
This week’s video: The Dreaded Agenda!