Academic Planner Tips for Back to School

What is a student planner (or academic planner) and why is it important for kids

A student planner, or academic planner, is a planner or agenda used track school assignments, set personal goals, and enhance communication between teachers, students and parents. Academic planners are sometimes provided by schools and range in complexity depending on age/grade level.

Moreover, academic planners are excellent tools for teaching students organizational skills that are valuable later in life. Benefits of using an academic planner include:

  • Easing feelings of overwhelm
  • Increasing productivity
  • Reducing ineffective study habits 
  • Teaching time management

We’ve rounded up the best academic planner tips to help students make the most of their academic planner. Including how to create an academic planner if it isn’t provided by their school and how to use your own personal planner to keep your family organized for back to school season.

You might also like these resources to help you get back-to-school ready:
Moms Count Down the Top 5 Must-Have Back to School Supplies
Back-to-School Disinfecting: Kids Labels You Can Actually Clean
Back-to-School Checklist for All Ages

Spiral bound student planner on a bright yellow background with yellow headphones and golden yellow washi tape surround by Avery planner supplies, including planner stickers, UltraTabs and Marks A Lot ultrafine permanent markers.
Help your student decorate and personalize their planner so that they’re excited to use it every day.

Helping your student get started with their academic planner

A planner is a tool that works best when used daily. It’s important to help your student get motivated to use their academic planner every day, not just once in a while. Help your student decorate and personalize their academic planner so that it’s something they’re proud of and can’t wait to use.

Start by encouraging your student to personalize the cover of their academic planner. Whether that means creating a collage, painting it, covering it in stickers or adding their own drawings with vibrant permanent markers.

Next, help them gather any paperwork with dates that the school or their teachers have sent home. Ask you student to fill in their academic planner with all the important school/class dates along with holidays and birthdays of friends and family.

Choosing the right planner accessories for academic planning

First, leverage school supplies you may already have on hand, such as colorful highlighters, markers, and repositionable tabs. Color makes people feel good. Using color like an expert in an academic planner can help boost your student’s mood, track information at a glance and organize information better.

Next, set up your student with academic planner stickers. A planner sticker variety pack for students makes it incredibly easy for your student to jump right into planning. Or you can let your student help create their own DIY planner stickers to print at home or have them printed for you.

PRO TIP: Check out this helpful tutorial on making custom planner stickers with our free online design software. It’s a fun creative project for students of all ages.

If shopping for supplies for your student’s academic planner is overwhelming, consider our limited-edition planner accessories box. It’s filled with the most popular planner supplies and is a great way for beginner planners to try a bunch of different planner supplies to see what they like best.

Bullet journal student planner on a blue background surrounded by school supplies. Featured planner supplies include Avery UltraTabs, Hi Liters, Marks A Lot ultrafine permanent markers and student planner stickers.
Any planner can be turned into an academic planner with student planner stickers. Bullet journals are great for students who prefer a flexible approach to academic planning.

How to make a student planner if your kids’ school doesn’t provide one

Many schools provide students with an academic planner or agenda for keeping track of assignments and important dates. If your kids’ school doesn’t provide one there are several options at various price points and levels of convenience to consider.

Make your own academic planner at home with common school supplies. Grab a binder and fill it with 12-tab dividers for the months. Print and hole punch simple weekly calendar pages that the kids can fill in as they go. For older students add graph paper and encourage a bullet journal approach to academic planning.

Benefits: easy, likely have all the supplies on hand

Buy a regular planner or bullet journal and designate for school use. Create DIY planner stickers and labels to fill in class schedules and other student needs. Add extra sections for assignments, goals and notes with repositionable tabs.

Benefits: fast, easy to shop supplies

Order a custom student planner tailored to their academic needs. Custom Plum Paper planners for students offer custom weekly layouts, personalized cover designs, and an academics section. Create a custom academic planner printed with your student’s weekly class schedule and choose from elementary, high school and college layouts.

Benefits: next-level customization

Tips for helping your student make the most of their academic planner

Creating good academic planner habits now, will set your student up for success at school and later in life. Learning how to effectively use a planner helps your student increase productivity and improve their time-management skills.

  • Make using planners part of your family’s daily routine by setting aside “quiet time” for the whole family to relax and plan or journal.
  • Help your student add assignment due dates in their academic planner as soon as they’re received.
  • Encourage them to feel confident proactively asking teachers for dates if needed. 
  • Teach your student how to use backward planning (e.g. when a due date is entered in your academic planner, go back a day or a week and add a reminder that the due date is approaching).
Spiral bound personal planner on a pink  background with pink school supplies and Avery planner accessories including Luxe UltraTabs, planner stickers for moms, Hi Liters and a Marks A Lot ultrafine permanent marker.
Making space in your personal planner for academic planning helps you get one step ahead of back-to-school season and models good planning habits.

How to get organized for back to school in your personal planner

Getting organized for back to school in your own personal planner has two key benefits. Firstly, it helps you keep track of everything in a generally hectic season. Secondly, it models good habits to help your students learn how to use their academic planner better.

Here are our top tips for organizing back-to-school season in your personal planner:

  • Be proactive in asking for important dates from teachers and schools.
  • Enter the information in your planner as soon as it is received.
  • Use nuanced and specific color-coding. You can color-code by kid, or by type of activity. For example:
    • In-person meetings (BTS night, parent/teacher conferences, PTA)
    • Extracurricular activities (practices, rehearsals)
    • Events (competitions, performances, field trips)
    • Payments due (school lunch balance, field trips, extracurricular fees)
    • Changes to schedule (half days, holidays, teacher service days)
  • Treat yourself to cute planner stickers for moms that include school planning themes. They make it easy to visually track information and makes planning more fun for you!

Get organized and help your student make the most of their academic planner

Planning for the school year is crucial for parents and students. Kids need structure and a calm, orderly environment in order to succeed. Learning to use an academic planner helps them build valuable life skills.

Shopping for cute planner supplies is just a fun bonus that helps you and the kids get excited to plan! What’s your favorite planner tip you think everyone should try? Connect with us on Instagram or Facebook and let us know!

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