Do you use a planner? Do your kids? If not, why not? If so, why? I am curious. I know there are some in each camp and I like to hear the differing opinions on each side.
In our homeschool we use planners. I use one and I have each of our girls use them. It is something I wish I had learned to do in school myself. To learn to manage your own schedule and assignments is a real life skill that I think is sorely lacking in our society. No, I am not trying to make a sweeping generalization here, I think on the whole our children are not taking responsibility for themselves and the things they need to do. It is our fault as parents and our fault as a society.
No, not every kid. No, not every family.
Okay, now on to the planners. Like I said, we use them and I wouldn't have it any other way. When the girls start 2nd grade they get their first planner. I buy a cheap, simple one from Rainbow Resource but there are planners everywhere. At first I have the child copy the subjects to each day in the same pattern every day. Beside the subjects I have them write, "1 Lesson a Day." After a lesson is completed I have them put the Lesson number or page number on the same line. By the end of the first week the planner is filled in with Subjects and completed assignment pages.
Sometime during the second or third week usually, they begin to see a pattern. They start asking questions at the beginning of the week about how to write their assignments down before they do them. I will have them plan out one subject at the beginning of the week and keep doing the rest the same way as before. They are so happy that they are figuring it out that they don't realize it is *work*!
Usually around the third month or so of planning they have a pretty good idea of how to do it and are doing it with help from me. There isn't really independence in planning yet, but I know it will come.
By the time they reach 5th grade they are almost completely independent on their planning with just a few questions. Peanut, our 5th grader, is totally independent in planning her school and has taken to it like a duck to water. She thoroughly enjoys breaking her assignments down and scheduling them out. But then again, she loves school! lol
My 8th and 9th graders are completely independent now. There may be a few questions here or there but they plan out their own studies for the week. I check them on Sunday evenings to make sure they are getting them done and through out the week they are bringing me their planners to check assignments off as they are completed.
I use our Ultimate Homeschool Planners a little differently than Debra Bell suggests but it works for us. She suggests that the mom plan out the work and then the student copy from her planner to their own but I do just the opposite. I make the girls plan their studies out and then copy it into my planner. Doing it this way, I can see how well they are dividing up their assignments and using their time. I can also catch any problems that need addressing.
I haven't always done it like this and it has bitten me in the hiney. Our children need us to teach them independence, accountability, and responsibility for themselves. Who better to do that than the people God entrusted them to? Is our system perfect? Oh no! We are messing up way more than we are getting it right most of the time. But we are trying. We are down in the dirty trenches every day struggling with each other and figuring it out. (mostly!)