My son is second grade. To me, this seems to be a year of new responsibility. He’s old enough to begin learning to take ownership for his own education.
But he will need a lot of help and prompting.
He is also still a kid. He gets super distracted. I send him to clean his room and 30 minutes later he’s read a book, and the room is as messy as ever. Getting school work done keeps him focused only if he remembers some motivation, such playing a game with his sister or checking it off the list.
There is something else to know about my son. He loves electronics. Computers, tablets, phones: they are all fun and easy to use. He is a natural, and I’ve encouraged his learning through technology. Let’s face it: we live in a digital world. His clocks, music players, and some of his curricula are online. He’s learning to type (very successfully), and he wants to learn HTML and programming.I want to encourage his digital learning. Technology can be a powerful tool.
I have my homeschool lesson plans online. I considered assigning Raisin things via a Windows 8 app. He would log in and find his assignment. But I ultimately decided that I do not want him to have a digital planner for school.
Here’s are a few of the reasons why I give my son a paper planner instead of a digital planner.
- Technology is distracting. Logging on to a device to check a schedule or even just the time always has the potential to derail a focused mind. This happens to me. My son is far more easily distracted. Just checking email for him will turn in to far more. Why set him up for far more distractions when the most basic already are so difficult to concentrate on?
- Paper does not run out of power. My son has a really old tablet. It’s a Nook Color. It works, but just barely. I’ve given him assignments or books to read it on, and we read scriptures together every morning. Sometimes it does not turn on. Sometimes it does not respond. I can’t teach him to be responsible for his work if the tablet causes so much frustration! (Yes, at some point, he’ll need a new one!)
- He can use extra handwriting practice. When I gave him the planner I made, he was super excited and hurried to start writing important things in: the first day of co-op, his birthday, and so forth. It’s nice to see him writing when I’m not figuratively twisting his arm. Even if it’s sloppy, all the writing practice he can get is a good thing!
- Paper planners are cheaper to lose or damage. As I said, I’m still teaching my son responsibility. There is a chance that he could lose the planner, damage it, or otherwise misuse it. Let me just underscore: we’re going to try hard to not let anything happen. But still, I am hesitant to let him take tablets around with him. He is still young, after all. Let’s make sure we can use them properly all the time before we reference them for every assignment and activity!
- Paper planners are fun. Yes, digital devices are fun too. But there is something exciting about opening up the planner and noticing the “quote of the week” or the quiz of the week.” It does not make noises and it is not It’s fun to look ahead and see the big picture of a year. Maybe my son and I are nerds, but we like trivia and facts. His themed planner is just what he needed.
The planner that I designed for my son is bright colors and has an “All About Reading” theme, since that is his favorite thing to do. (Ironical, I decided to have Office Depot print it to save time and I ended up printing many of the pages in black and white! I did pay for it to be bound and have a clear cover added to it as well.)
In addition to tracking the events he has weekly and monthly, he can keep track of his reading. He can track how many minutes he reads. He can track the books he reads. Each month has a blank note page, and each two-week spread has a question from literature (classics, picture books, and new books) that he can answer. If he has not read the book, maybe it will be motivation to get him to read it! The bottom of each page has a quote or a trivia fact, as do the calendar pages.
Finally, there is a “Notes from the teacher” section that I can write notes in for him to reference. I am not sure if I’m going to use it for that purpose, but I’ll definitely be asking him to do assignments. I may ask him to write them down, since it is his book.
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My way is not the only way. Tell me, do you give your students a paper planner, or do you use digital devices for planning? Why did you choose that method of organization?