3 Reasons Why Using a Planner Can Build Your Child’s Confidence

There’s no understating the benefits of confidence. It comes when your efforts and your expectations line up with your capabilities. With fear and insecurities out of the way, you’re free to succeed.

But learning this process doesn’t happen automatically. To have faith in yourself, like having faith in anything else, you have to take action and evaluate the results. The results of your actions strengthen your expectations for the next time, whether you succeed or fail.

For your kids, school is the laboratory where this process takes place. Whether it’s their professional development through attendance and homework or their social development through extracurricular activities and appointments with friends, the results of their time in school will shape how they think and feel about themselves.

A FranklinPlanner is an invaluable tool to help your kids flourish in school. With the proper instruction, your kids can know what’s expected of them, raise their own expectations for themselves, and develop dependability with everyone on their schedule, from teachers to friends. Here are three benefits from teaching your kids to use the FranklinPlanner system:

Anticipating Deadlines

With assignments in each subject to track, school can be overwhelming at times, especially when taking challenging subjects. Teach your kids how to mark their assignments for the week in their Prioritized Daily Task List, with a due date listed by each.

After making this list, they can assign priorities to each task. It can be as simple as tackling assignments with the closest due date first, or it can be allocating time for various term projects throughout the week. With this daily list, it’s much easier for them plan enough time to get everything done.

Achieving Goals

It can be easy for kids to see the world as a bunch of external forces working on them, and to feel that they can’t control their lives. It’s the reason that parents hear “It’s not my fault!” from their kids as explanation for problems at school. You can help them combat this insecurity by setting goals and subgoals in their planners. For example, to achieve the goal “Get an A in AP Physics”, a student could write “Complete assignments the evening they’re assigned” or “Find demonstration videos on YouTube”. As your students meet each subgoal, they’ll start to understand how the small steps they take make big changes in who they are and what they can achieve.

Scheduling

From heading to school in the morning to staying after for sports, band, or the homecoming parade committee, your students have people counting on them to arrive on time. Teaching them to schedule their activities in their planner lets them take charge of their own life, whether they’re earning money at a high school job, playing starting linebacker, or just having fun with their friends.

When it comes to developing confidence, there’s no substitute for preparation. Help your kids prepare with the FranklinPlanner system, and there’s no limit to their success.

 

Making an Organized Transition to College

By Monica Friel 

Are you sending a child off to college soon, or do you know someone who’s about to embark on this great adventure? Here are some tips for an organized transition to college dorm living:

Weed Out. Eliminate what you can before you even begin packing. Think clearly about what you’ll need to keep now that your life will need to fit in a tiny dorm room.

Organize. Organize the space you live in now. It will help with packing up properly and you’ll be happy to return to a simplified and organized place during breaks.

Prepare for small space living. Make the most out of every inch of space so that you won’t be feeling cramped. Use vertical wall space and contain like things with baskets/containers.

Financial. Make sure you are linked to the students debit card so money can be sent quickly. Chase Quick Pay is a terrific option.

Coordinate with your Roommate. You don’t need two coffee pots and 2 refrigerators. Get in touch and make a plan for who will bring what.

Move with Plastic Bins.  Pack up the car with plastic bins. They can be pack & unpacked easily. Parents can also take the empty bins back home.  They’re reusable and great for packing and storing at home over the summers.

Shop before Departure. Don’t wait until you arrive on campus to complete your checklist. Avoid making last minute purchases. College towns know you’re coming and hike up the prices accordingly.

Monica Friel

7 Ways to Help Your Kids Transition to Their School Routine

Summer is a great respite for your kids. It gives them an opportunity to do their own thing on their own timeframe. But too much freedom can make it difficult to adjust when the new school year begins. Here are some ways you can help your children transition smoothly into their school routine.

1. Stay busy.

Sign your kids up for summer activities—dance lessons, swimming lessons, piano lessons, art class, soccer, or baseball games. Giving your kids fun activities will require them to maintain a schedule. It won’t be as busy as school, but at least they won’t stop activity completely. School activities demand a lot of their time, keeping your kids active during the summer will prepare them to comply with those demands.

2. Assign daily chores.

Daily chores may not be fun for the kids, but it gives them something to do, and helps them learn the value of stewardship. Encourage them to set an alarm so they can get an early start on their chores and have more time to enjoy themselves.

3. Maintain a weekly planning session.

Even though their schedules may be lighter during the summer, maintain a weekly planning session with your kids to address their schedules and the activities they hope to accomplish before school begins. Doing this will encourage and motivate your children to do more with the time that they have.

4. Spend time teaching your kids.

Set aside a time each day to teach your kids something new. Read with them, listen to their reading, give them writing and penmanship assignments, and create math problems for them to complete. Students lose about two months of math computational skills and a significant portion of reading and spelling ability if they are left to do nothing during the summer break. But studies show that when parents take an active role during summer the loss is greatly reduced, if it happens at all.

Library Books5. Attend the public library.

Visit the library and check out some new books. Set a goal for the number of books each child will read over the summer. Ask questions as they read to make sure they comprehend the meaning of the stories. Assign a small written report or project about one or two of the books they read. Don’t simply ask them to paraphrase the book, but encourage them to write how they felt while reading the book, how they would change the ending if they could, or have them explain the characteristics they liked most about one of the characters and why.

6. Read a book and compare the movie.

Find a movie that is based on a book and read the book with your children. When you finish reading, watch the movie together and compare the things they discovered in the movie that differ from the book. Have them explain what they like best about the book and what they liked best about the movie.

7. Help them celebrate summer.

Give them an assignment to write a narrative, shoot a video, or create a visual arts project that addresses their favorite part of summer. Give them an opportunity to share their work with the family.

Doing these small activities throughout the summer, and ramping them up as you draw nearer to the start of the school year, will make the transition back into the school routine significantly easier for your kids. Their study habits will be stronger and they will be able to start the school year running.

We hope these suggestions have sparked some ideas of your own. If so, we’d love to see them in the comments below.

2015 Back to School Checklists

When you have students heading back to school, it can be hard to remember everything they need, especially if you have students at different stages of their education. We’ve continued our annual tradition of back to school organization with these helpful checklists, with one for each stage of your child’s schooling. Print them out, place them in your planner, and take them with you as you go back to school shopping. You’ll save yourself extra trips and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from preparation.

Elementary Checklist

Elementary Checklist

Download Elementary Checklist: JPG PDF

Middle School Checklist

Middle School Checklist

Download Middle School Checklist: JPG PDF

High School Checklist

High School Checklist

Download High School Checklist: JPG PDF

College Checklist

College Checklist

Download College Checklist: JPG PDF

Premier Weekly School Agendas

School routines can be hectic—homework assignments, sporting events, science projects, dances, school plays, band practice, fundraisers, and art club are only the beginning. Our kids keep us busy and more than a little stressed out.

(null) (1)

The truth is, if we’re trying to manage our own schedules as well as our children’s, eventually we’re going to miss something important. Besides, our kids need to learn to manage their own time eventually, right?

There’s no time like the present. Our Premier Weekly School Agendas are a great way to start. With durable covers and an included pagefinder, they’re filled with fun ways to help your kids keep up with their busy schedules.

Empower your children by helping them set priorities, achieve goals, manage their time, and increase their potential. This fun weekly planner incorporates The 7 Habits into your children’s daily planning helping them achieve their personal milestones. Each month presents a new theme related to The 7 Habits, building and reinforcing the concepts that can move them from great kids to exceptionally motivated and accomplished young adults.

We offer a planner for each stage of your student’s education—Elementary School Weekly Agenda, Middle School Weekly Agenda, and High School Weekly Agenda. Each agenda begins on Aug 3, 2015 and ends on July 3, 2016, giving them a full school year of organized living.

Perhaps best of all, these powerful organizers only cost $12.95. So hurry—they sell out early every year. Empower your students with a plan today.

Weekly Agendas have the following measurements:

Elementary School Weekly Agenda               8.5” W x 11” H x 0.5” D        144 Pages

Middle School Weekly Agenda                     7” W x 9” H x 0.5” D             152 Pages

High School Weekly Agenda                         5” W x 8” H x 0.5” D             168 Pages

The 5 Senses: Help Your Kids Ease Back Into School Time

By Naomi Cook

Do you remember that commercial for Staples where the Dad is skipping around, gleefully tossing school supplies into a shopping cart, with his sullen kids moving sluggishly behind him, while “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” is playing?  That was aired in mid-July!  Meanwhile, the school year for your children may have ended just a month before!

So what can you do to get your children excited and motivated for the school year that is now upon us?  The simple answer is to keep it fresh and fun!  Here are some elements to focus on now to help get your kids excited about starting the school year…as excited as they can be, that is!

Sight:

  • Color and Pattern – Incorporate your child’s favorite colors and patterns into their binders and accessories.  There are many more fun options these days, versus when I was in school, when primary colors were the primary options!  Or buy the basics, which can be cheaper, and dress them up with colored and patterned duct tape.  If you have more than one child, this will help define which items belong to each of them.
  • Lighting – Make sure that the lighting is bright wherever your child sets up to do their homework.  Also, make sure that their surroundings are as clutter free as possible, to avoid distractions.  Consider keeping a closed bin nearby; to temporarily house those items that may be in the way.

Hearing:  Music can be a motivator depending on the type.  While metal hair bands may not help much aside from giving you a headache (!), some soft ballads and instrumental pieces can be soothing after a stressful day at school, or work for that matter!

Taste:  Work on creating some healthy and delicious lunches and snack ideas that are easy to pull together for that inevitable rushed morning.  Look on Pinterest for ideas and spend some afternoons with your child now, playing chef.  If a child is involved, they may be more willing to try something new.

Smell:   Scents can evoke such feelings as productivity and stress relief.  Try candles, or essential oils, in any of the following scents to help you and your kids face an evening of homework after a long day at school.

  • Lemon promotes concentration and calmness and helps when feeling angry, anxious and run down.
  • Lavender controls emotional stress and can sooth headaches as well as migraines and feelings of nervous tension and depression.
  • Jasmine calms nerves and produces feelings of confidence, optimism and energy.
  • Rosemary improves memory retention and fights exhaustion, headaches and mental fatigue.
  • Cinnamon improves concentration and focus and helps fight metal fatigue as well.
  • Peppermint is one of my favorites, especially when writing articles like this!  It helps to boost energy, invigorate the mind, promote concentration and stimulate clear thinking.

Touch:  As part of their back to school clothes shopping, have your kids pick out comfy clothes especially for the afternoon and evening hours.  There is no need for them to be restricted by a uniform or tighter fitting pants and jeans.  A soft throw would be a nice addition too on chillier nights.

By incorporating these 5 senses now, before school starts, hopefully you will be on track to an organized and fun new school year!

Your Senior Year Isn’t The End

High school is a great time to discover what makes you tick. Many kids excel during their time in high school, becoming captains of sports and dance teams, editors at the school paper, and lead actors in school plays. You develop close friendships that you never want to lose.

But now you’re a senior. All that is about to change. And it’s okay.

High school will always be a place for fond memories, but college can be even better. High school years are all about you. You can afford to try out for the play, you can take a risk and join the water polo team, or you can sign up for the auto mechanics class. These experiences help define what you like and dislike, and they extend even further in college.

In college, you decide your schedule. You determine when you’ll wake up and when you’re going to take your classes. You can experiment with even more of your interests, and, depending on your major, they may not even be considered extra-curricular activities. This few years is a valuable time to experiment and discover, so take chances.

Before you know it, you’ll be graduated, tied down to a mortgage and spending countless hours at work. If you’ve been selfish enough—if you’ve experimented enough, that time you spend at work will be fun and rewarding because you’ll have discovered what you like best.

Getting Along With Roommates

College dorm life is great until you’ve lived it for a semester or two. It doesn’t take long to realize that the friends you’re sharing your space with might not have the same habits as you. They won’t clean the toilet or wash the dishes. It’s easy to get annoyed, but remember, chances are good you’ve bothered someone a time or two. It pays to be patient.

COMPACT 365 RING-BOUND UNDATED PLANNER BY FRANKLINCOVEYI once had a roommate who was sick of the rest of us not cleaning the kitchen after ourselves, so he wrote, “Your mother doesn’t live here” on the kitchen cabinets in permanent marker. (He thought he’d grabbed a wet-erase…oops!) Who do you think was the annoying one now? That damage was going to have to come out of all of our pocket books.

A good way to get around the hassles of sharing space and responsibility is to assign different chores to different people on different days of the week. To ensure nobody feels like they’re stuck with the worst job, be sure the jobs rotate so that everyone gets an equal chance to do each job. Write these assignments in your planner and on your wall calendar. Now if a chore gets missed you know exactly who to ask to do it. Hopefully it isn’t you too often
.

Making an Organized Transition to College

By Monica Friel 

Are you sending a child off to college soon, or do you know someone who’s about to embark on this great adventure? Here are some tips for an organized transition to college dorm living:

Weed Out. Eliminate what you can before you even begin packing. Think clearly about what you’ll need to keep now that your life will need to fit in a tiny dorm room.

Organize. Organize the space you live in now. It will help with packing up properly and you’ll be happy to return to a simplified and organized place during breaks.

Prepare for small space living. Make the most out of every inch of space so that you won’t be feeling cramped. Use vertical wall space and contain like things with baskets/containers.

Financial. Make sure you are linked to the students debit card so money can be sent quickly. Chase Quick Pay is a terrific option.

Coordinate with your Roommate. You don’t need two coffee pots and 2 refrigerators. Get in touch and make a plan for who will bring what.

Move with Plastic Bins.  Pack up the car with plastic bins. They can be pack & unpacked easily. Parents can also take the empty bins back home.  They’re reusable and great for packing and storing at home over the summers.

Shop before Departure. Don’t wait until you arrive on campus to complete your checklist. Avoid making last minute purchases. College towns know you’re coming and hike up the prices accordingly.

Monica Friel

Family Scheduling Success

MAGNETIC DRY ERASE CALENDAR BLACK FRAME 18 X 22 BY BOARD DUDES

The beginning of the school year is a great time for a family’s schedule. With new time commitments after a relatively unstructured summer, it focuses the family’s attention back on daily patterns and schedules. If you do it right, updating your family scheduling in the fall can become a recurring habit of organizing your life.  Here are some tips to make it stick:

1. The Family Calendar:

The more people you have in your family, the more the events multiply and fill up your weeks and months. Putting up a color-coded family calendar can make all the difference, especially when you organize the calendar listings by name.

2. Plan Ahead:

Getting ahead on the calendar can save you from a night of last minute scrambles. Putting your kids’ assignment schedules, project due dates, and extracurricular events down on the calendar will let you anticipate and avoid any 1:00 am surprises – like the diorama due the day after the band concert.

3.  Delegate

When the appointments and activities reach a critical mass, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Grandparents can watch the kids for appointments, older children can babysit or drive kids to activities, neighborhood friends can take the younger ones for a playdate with their kids. You don’t have to do it all by yourself.

4. Prioritize

Before you cram activities into all 24 hours of the day, sit down and prioritize. While it might seem fun to turn a birthday party into a crafty wonder to show off on Pinterest, it will be less fun in practice if you use all your free time pulling it off.

5. Schedule Downtime

Make sure that your family has more time to be together than the five minutes it takes to head out the door. Schedule movie nights, quiet afternoons, and family dinners, and spend the time getting to know each other. It will pay off in the end.

Organizing Tips Fit For The Royal Baby – And Your Children, Too

By Carmen Coker

William and Kate have made no secret that they want to be hands-on parents to their new royal baby George Alexander Louis. As any parent can attest, children and messes go hand-in-hand – and so, Prince George is sure to disrupt the tidiness of Kensington Palace a time or two! Here are five ways the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can instill the best of organizing into George over the course of his formative years, and how you can do the same with your children.

  1. Younger children will have a completely different perspective of their living space than their parents. When organizing an area for your children, it’s important to get in touch with this perspective. Sit on the floor to see the space from your children’s point of view. Then hang hooks, place containers, and situate closet rods at a height that works well for them, not you.
  2. Automatically include “student planner” on the back-to-school shopping list, when it becomes age-appropriate to do so. Take the time to show your children how to use their planner, emphasizing how it will help them to remember tasks and balance time. Then encourage your children to use and actively engage with their planner. After all, time management is a significant life skill to pass on!
  3. For families with more than one child, allow each to pick a color. When it comes to organizing, keep to the color selected – so if Bobby prefers orange, all his containers are orange, and if Susie wants purple, then all her containers are purple. This is a great organizing tactic for kids of all ages because it allows for a quick I.D. of what’s theirs and what’s not. Additionally, if children are still learning to read, they will always recognize their respective color – no label necessary!
  4. For an organized start to the day, ensure that there is an assigned to-go zone, where – just as the name implies – everything is ready to go quickly. Before bed, have your children prep their individual backpacks for the next day and place them in the zone. Ensure there is an outlet in this area, so that any electrical gadgets can charge overnight. For things that tend to be forgotten during the morning rush, like lunches, include a “don’t forget” list that remains within line-of-sight each day.
  5. Encourage your children to help tidy up by disguising it as a game. For example, place a basket in the middle of the room, set a timer for one minute, and race to see who can put the most toys in the basket before the buzzer. Another idea: make pick-up a game of “I Spy,” asking each child to locate and dunk a specific toy in the basket. Games of this nature not only teach children about the importance of organization, but also save parents the time and effort associated with cleaning up alone.

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

CarmenBlogBannerUpdated

7 Steps To Get Ready For A New School Year

2013/2014 Academic Planner by Sarah PintoBefore you know it the kids will be heading into a new school year. Yellow buses, backpacks, and lined paper will be part of your daily routine—coupled with a little extra stress. Stress is a part of every healthy person’s life, but a little back-to-school planning can keep it to a minimum. Here are 7 ways to make the transition easier.

Find their closet. Set aside a day to help your student attack their closet. Create piles to keep, to toss out, and to donate. Purchase closet organizers, dividers, and even small crates to keep things orderly. Use small shoe boxes in their drawers to act as dividers for socks, underwear, hair bows, and jewelry.

Encourage them to plan their wardrobe. Go through their clothes with them. Older kids really don’t need you to hold their hand, but a little company can help the job go faster. Chances are they have a lot of clothes that are still in good condition. Decide which ones they still like to wear and see if they have any gaps in their wardrobe. Shopping to fill the gaps will cost less and save time. Encourage them to set aside 5 outfits for the first week of school, so they aren’t stuck staring blankly into their closet each morning.

Buy school supplies early. If you start shopping now you’ll have smaller crowds and the selection at the store won’t be picked over. You can also shop at your leisure—one store today, another tomorrow—and you won’t be stuck with a shopping marathon three days before school starts.

Create a study spot. Clear a spot in their room, in the kitchen, or family room and designate it the study area. Reduce as many distractions as possible. Load it up with pens, pencils, calculators, erasers, sharpeners, etc. Give them enough time each day to finish their work without interruptions. Be flexible. Remember that what worked last year may still need to be adjusted for this year.

Brush up. It’s easy for students to lose some knowledge over the summer break. Take some time to look over some of the concepts they studied last year. Give them a math problem from the end of last year and work through it with them until they remember how to do it. Keep them reading good books throughout summer break. Pick up a foreign language dictionary so they can look through it before their Spanish class begins.

Think through lunch. There are a lot of delicious, healthy lunch options available, but we need to purchase them ahead of time in order to pack them into the kids’ lunch boxes. Stock up the pantry now, so you aren’t rummaging at 7:00 a.m.

Set the bedtime routine couple of weeks before school starts. It isn’t easy to get to bed during the longer summer days. But inadequate sleep can be a huge problem for students. Most kids need 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Get them in the habit before school starts so they aren’t struggling with that transition at the same time that they’re learning a new locker combination and trying to remember their schedule.

Remember that managing the school year is more like running a marathon than running a sprint. Getting off to a good start is important, but there is still time to make adjustments along the way. Good luck, and happy transitioning.

Easing Your Child’s Transition to High School

Uptown Backpack by Timbuk2
There’s a saying about being a big fish in a little pond. The best understanding of this phrase comes when your child transitions from junior high to high school – they go from being a big eighth grader to a small freshman, with new schedules, classes, and pressures. Help make the transition easier with these ideas:

1. Do a Dry Run

Before the first bell rings, see if your school district has a program that lets incoming freshmen explore their new surroundings without the pressure of missing classes. You can go through their day, from trying out their new locker combination to making their way from class to class. It’s also a good idea to explore bus schedules, especially for kids that take connecting buses.

2. Catch the Problems

Even the best office staff still makes mistakes, so double check your student’s schedule before the year starts. Even though he might enjoy taking an extra gym class instead of calculus, it won’t do his college applications any favors. Catching the mistakes early gives you time to straighten things out without your student missing out on any lessons or having to change his or her schedule.

3. Emphasize the Value of Grades

If your child has a lax attitude toward grades, she might be in for a surprise now that she’s in high school – even as a freshman, grades mean something. You can illustrate it this way: the average cost of tuition and fees for a four-year program comes out to $116,224 for a private school or $34,620 for a public university. Now, let’s say that your child earns a full tuition scholarship from getting straight A’s all through high school: eight classes multiplied by sixteen terms gives you 128 A grades, so the dollar value per A is approximately $908 if they get accepted to a private university, or $270 for a public education. Those are not small numbers!

When talking about grades, though, be sure to emphasize the reward rather than ratchet up the pressure. As long as your child is trying his or her best, they have a bright future ahead of them – even earning a half-tuition scholarship can save them hundreds of dollars per A.

4. Stop to Listen

As with many of the other changes going on in children’s lives, the best thing parents can do is stop to truly listen. With all the pressures of life stacking up on kids while their brains are still developing adult capacities, big changes like this can lead to big emotions. When you listen to your kid’s problems without interrupting and trying to fix things (or to tell them how you would do it), you’re showing your kids that they matter more than their report cards.

5. Experience Extracurricular Activities

Along with the pressure, high school can also be one of the greatest times for your child to explore new interests and activities. As you prepare for the new school year, help your child find out about the clubs, sports teams, and music programs at the high school. Not only will picking activities help enrich your child’s school experience, but they can also improve her social circle and make the difference on college applications as well.

6. Model a Positive Attitude

One thing’s for sure – when it comes to how to feel, your kids are paying less attention to what you say and more attention to what you do. Keeping positive yourself during this time will show your child that it’s going to be a fun four years, and that with the right amount of organization, he can have his valuable A’s while still having fun. So if you feel like stressing out about what the future holds, take a moment to collect yourself. Having confidence in your child can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here’s wishing the best of luck to the freshman class this coming school year!

 

Leaving Things Behind When You Go To College

We often spend time thinking about what to pack for college, but it may be better to think of what to leave behind. Here are a few thoughts:

Don’t pack too many clothes. If you’re like most students and you plan to travel back home between semesters, you don’t have to pack a lot of cold-weather clothes. A few of your fall favorites will get you by until your next trip home.

Leave behind the furniture. Most college dorms supply you with a bed and a desk. Chances are good you’ll also have a mirror. If you get there and realize you’re missing something vital, you can slip to the store and pick it up.

Extra toiletries do nothing but take up space in your car. There is no reason to pack 12 rolls of toilet paper, for example. If you’re really worried you won’t have the necessities when you arrive at the dorm, a small kit of items should get you by until you can go shopping.

You’re going to buy food when you get there, don’t bother packing it. Besides, you don’t even know how much storage space will be allocated for your food. You’ll be better off to wait and shop according to the space you have.

Stay safe. Most dorms don’t allow fire hazards such as candles. If you worry you’ll need light in an emergency, you’ll want to pack flashlights and batteries instead. The same goes for that tiny BBQ grill you were planning on toting along for tailgate parties. Before you load it up, you’ll want to contact your on-campus housing authorities for a list of items they will not allow.

Decide what you can live without. The less you

Keyboard Shortcuts for Quick Cleanup

If you’ve ever typed out notes during a rapid lecture and tried to adapt them for a paper later, you probably know how hard it can be to re-format everything to look nice. Here’s a list of keyboard shortcuts, both common and obscure, that can help you dress up your notes for easy reading (replace CTRL with Command for Mac users):

CTRL + Z = Undo               CTRL + Y = Redo                CTRL + N = New Document

CTRL + X = Cut   CTRL + C = Copy                CTRL + V = Paste

CTRL + S = Save CTRL + SHIFT + S = Save As

Shift + F3 = Change Case: lower Initial ALL CAPS

CTRL + Backspace = Delete Previous Word

CTRL + Delete = Delete Following Word

CTRL + SHIFT + L = Bulleted List in MS Word (on a Mac, use the Command key)

Choosing The Right Planner For A Successful School Year

Choosing a planner that will get you through the rigors of the school year is a personal decision. What works for one person will definitely not work for another. We won’t begin to prescribe the perfect planner for you. Some people find a planner that works for them and they stick with it religiously, while others like to shake things up a bit. If you’re wondering what planner will work best for you, consider your schedule and your workload, then take a look at these great options:

Classic 100% Recycled Ring-bound Weekly Planner Refill

The green and white pages that started it all continue to support those who appreciate a straightforward design and comprehensive structure. Naturally, these classic pages still feature our signature layout, with Prioritized Daily Task List, Appointment Schedule, Daily Tracker, Notes, and quotes that provide you with daily motivation and inspiration.

Compass Wire-bound Weekly Planner

Compass Wire-bound Weekly Planner

If you’re looking for a way to track your week without a lot of bulk, check out the Compass Wire-bound Weekly Planner. A vertical layout for each day of the week keeps your appointments and daily notes in perfect order. Plus you get two-page monthly calendars with a section for notes. It’s great if you use your planner mainly to keep up with your daily appointments.

Compass Wire-bound Daily Planner

Compass Wire-bound Daily Planner

The straightforward layout of our Compass Wire-bound Daily Planner is a perfect fit for a busy life. This planner allows you to carry one month of plans at a time in a neat, slim booklet. Add one of our slim leather covers for a very classy planner.

Blooms Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

Blooms Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

Nothing brightens your planner quite like the life-affirming beauty of nature. Blooms Planner Refills come adorned with inspirational quotes and delightfully delicate botanical images that change with the season. Available in two-page-per-day and two-page-per-week formats.

7 Habits Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

7 Habits Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

A straightforward application of lessons from the New York Times best-seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, these planner pages explore each habit with daily content and motivational quotes from the book, and includes exercises from the 7 Habits Signature Program workshop.

5 Choices Wire-bound Weekly Planner

5 Choices Wire-bound Weekly Planner

Based on the inspiring new productivity offering from FranklinCovey, this brand new planner’s clean design and inspiring quotes will help you make the most important decisions first. Includes 2 page monthly calendars. Its simple layout is easy to follow and it allows quite a lot of room for notes.

Botanica Wire-bound Daily Planner

Botanica Wire-bound Daily Planner

Botanical drawings—a favorite art form—grew from the appreciation we have for the contribution plants and flowers can make to a perfect day. The simply elegant Botanica Daily Planner helps you reflect on the best things in life and organize accordingly. Available in two-page-per-day, one-page-per-day, and two-page-per-week layouts.

Simplicity Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

Simplicity Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

For those who use our planning principles in their own unique way, we’ve created the Simplicity Planner Refill, which is less structured and more open for appointments and tasks, and features a fun design with colors that change quarterly. Available in two-pages-per-day and weekly formats to help you manage your schedule, tasks, and notes. Plus, we’ve added a few ingenious additions to create our Simplicity for Moms Planner to help you track everything from play dates to Dr. visits.

Her Point Of View Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

Her Point Of View Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

We’ve given a fresh new look to this popular, whimsical planner refill. The contemporary illustrations by Karn Knutson are complemented by an upbeat font and quote cloud. It makes your planning a little more fun. Available in ring-bound or wire-bound two-page-per-day and two-page-per-week layouts.

Leadership Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

Leadership Ring-bound Daily Planner Refill

Lead your team to greatness with pages that offer daily inspiration in quotes from a diverse group of leaders and full-color images of beautiful landscapes. Two-pages-per-day format helps you manage your schedule, tasks, and notes. Available in ring-bound or wire-bound two-page-per-day, two-page-per-week layouts, and two-page-per-month layouts.

This is just the beginning. We have several more unique planner designs on our site, and even more in development. Check them all out here.

Monticello Ring-bound Daily Planner RefillSerenity Ring-bound Daily Planner RefillTextures Ring-bound Weekly Planner Refill

 

 

School’s Back… Keep Your Home on Track!

Time for teachers, time for books, time for teacher’s dirty looks (ha ha!)…and it’s also time to set up your home with an organizational system that will keep your family members on track, without cluttering it up!

Where is the main hub in your home?  For most, especially families, it is in the kitchen.  Have you noticed the growing trend of incorporating a built in desk area into kitchens?  Different from a home office, this area is a quick spot to pay bills, keep track of appointments and sort through mail. 

In September though, for families, there is often an explosion of activities and school field trips, and suddenly that small desk area may seem to get smaller and smaller and smaller.  So why not set up a Command Center, one that is both effective and creative and best of all inexpensive! 

Here are some suggestions of things to look for to create your very own Command Center:

1.  Large Paper Monthly Wall Calendar – Look for a basic one that has multiple lines printed in each date block, which can be hung by a nail on a free wall in the kitchen.  A Large Preprinted White Board Calendar, with Dry Erase Markers, is an alternative, but it limits you to notating events and activities one month at a time, and it also can be costly. 

2.  Colorful Gel Pens – These tend to come in a variety pack of bright colors and also write very smoothly.  Let each member of the family pick one color that will then be designated for all of their activities.

3.  Wite Out™ Tape Cartridges:  Use these for those inevitable schedule updates and changes!

4.  Bulletin Board Cork Tiles with Pushpins – Use 1 or 2 or even 4 per person…they are that inexpensive!  Since these aren’t very heavy, try Mounting Tape to attach them to the wall.  To give them a fun look, create a 1” border using Colored and Patterned Duct Tape, which is all the rage with kids now!  Aim to find the Duct Tape and Pushpins that coordinate with their chosen gel pen color. 

5.  Small Markerboards – Placed next to the each individuals Cork Tile(s), these allows for quick phone, or other reminder messages, to be jotted down.   A lot of these come with a dry erase pen already! 

6.  Hanging Wall File Pockets – Find one with a pocket for each person and label them accordingly.  Use these as an in/out box for permission slips and notes from teachers.

7.  Memory Boxes – Find inexpensive large, but shallow boxes to keep children’s artwork, and other prized tests and reports in, for during the school year.  Look for them to coordinate once again with their chosen Gel Pen color.  Better yet, do you have any tall boot boxes?  Cover the lid and base with the Colored and Patterned Duct Tape and you have an inexpensive but custom made and cool looking box!

8.  File Box – A portable file box will come in handy for school directories and any other information that isn’t necessary to keep out.

Once you’ve set up your Command Center, grab those multitudes of papers that have accumulated and put your new project to the test!  Fill up the calendar as far in advance as you can, post birthday invitations and school menus on the cork boards, breathe a sigh of relief at your accomplishments, and get ready for a fun new school year!

Until next time, stay neat people!  


Thanks Naomi for these great ideas!  Make sure you check out file boxes, memory boxes, marker boards and other organizing tools available on FranklinPlanner.com.  

Back to School: The End of Chaos or Just the Start?

By Monica Friel

By now many kids are back in school, or just getting ready to start. This is the time of year when organizational systems are put to the test. Did you have the chance over the summer to complete all of those organizing projects that were on your list? If not, here are some steps to get organized and be prepared for the school year ahead:

Backpack/School Stuff Storage: Having a convenient place for kids to store backpacks, book bags and transient school stuff is a must. A closet, shelf, or cubby is best, along with hooks for coats, bags etc. If you want your entryway to be  functional, you must have places to store any items that are coming in and out frequently.

Kids Rooms: Use back to school shopping as an incentive to clear through kids bedrooms. Look over every piece of clothing so they know what they have, what they’ve outgrown and what they need to replace for the year ahead. Desks, bookshelves and any area in kids rooms are fair game to get organized and purge the excess.

School Year Files: Create a file at the start of each year for your child’s current grade. Keep all important papers in the file. Add new papers throughout the year and weed out periodically. At the end of the year, sit with your child and go through the papers determining what to hold on to and what to get rid of. Then put the file in a bankers size keepsake box. Over time, you will have a nice organized keepsake box of each school year.

Family Calendar/Bulletin Board: This time of the year there’s a million dates to add to the calendar. Sports and clubs are starting up and the school usually comes out with dates for the entire year. Spend some time inputting all of these dates into your family calendar, whether it’s digital or paper, make sure all important dates are marked. A centrally placed bulletin board with important messages and events is also a great way to keep everyone in the household informed as to what the day’s activities are. 

Back to school time means the start of new family routines. Seize the moment and get good systems into place now so everyone in the household will enjoy a smooth transition.

Thanks, Monica!

Did you enjoy this article? Give it a cheer!

Monica Friel

 

 

 

Making Your Desk Work With You

Mesh Desk Organizer by Design IdeasEver felt like you’re fighting with your desk—like the longer you sit at it the less it seems to suit the way you work? You’re not alone.

We all fight with our desks more often than we realize. We sit at them long enough to do our job and leave them cluttered and disorganized. It isn’t long before we can barely see our desks at all. But if we remember a few basic pointers, we can reduce the time we spend fighting with our desks and increase the time we spend working with them.

Space to Work

Corky Wall Organizer by KangaroomA desk’s main purpose is to provide a work surface. Decide what you plan to do with that surface and make sure you have the room to do it. If the kind of work you do requires a lot of open surface area, utilize vertical desk organizers and wall organizers to give you enough space. Smaller items like staples, erasers, and paperclips are prone to wander if you don’t have a way to contain them.

Organize by Priority, Nearest to Farthest

Remember, the most important thing in your office is you. Everything else in your office should be organized in concentric circles around you in order of priority. The things you access most should be closest to you. Those things you access least can be farther away. You should be able to access everything you need with minimal effort.

Keep Your Supplies on Your Dominant Side

Metropolitan Wire-bound Weekly PlannerIf you’re right handed you’ll tend to turn to your right to access items you need. Don’t fight it. Set up your office with your supplies on the right of your computer. Your file organizer, inbox, planner, and phone should be easy to access with your dominant hand.

Have Only What You Need Out

Your desktop file organizer should only have the folders you will need on a given day. All other folders should remain in the file drawer. Too many items out will clutter your workspace.

Desk Drawers

Mesh Vanity Organizer by Design IdeasDrawers can turn into clutter buckets really fast. Divide your drawers with boxes, containers, and other organizers to make them make sense, and to keep like items together. Drawer organizers are also a great way to keep things from rolling to the back of your drawer never to be found again.

In And Out Boxes Are A Must

 Brocade Letter Tray by Design IdeasThey give you a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish each day. And since most of the things you staple end up in one of these boxes, you should keep your stapler near them, rather than in a drawer.

Keep At It

Evaluating, categorizing, and organizing items can be a tedious process, but keep at it. Even if you start feeling overwhelmed. Once you’ve got your system in place, it will be much less work to keep it that way.

These basic pointers should help you get more out of your desk and the time you spend there. We’re sure you have more ideas. We’d love to hear them—just leave us a comment and share your thoughts.

Good luck.

 

 

Transitioning From Summer To Autumn

Newt II S by OgioSummer is quickly coming to a close with the rush of autumn right on its heels. For most of us, school is beginning—bringing with it homework and extra activities. It’s time to prepare for a major shift. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you transition.

Get Enough Sleep

Start making smart habits today. Get up just a little earlier so you can get a head start on breakfast before the kids have to run out the door. Plan to be in bed sooner so your whole family is rested during the school year. This early transition is usually difficult for kids who are used to staying out late and sleeping in during the summer.

Homework Time

Set aside a time each day for homework and make sure you don’t plan activities on top of it. Make it a distraction-free time without TV, radio, and cell phones. If any of  your children finish early, make sure they don’t interrupt their siblings.

Keep Track of Their Backpacks

Backpack Rack by JokariA new school year always means a new backpack full of books and assignments. Make sure they don’t lose their packs with this handy backpack organizer rack that you can hang on the inside of your closet door. It’s perfect organization without taking up valuable space—and they’ll always know where their homework is.

What To Wear?

Set aside your clothes before you go to bed so you aren’t wasting precious time in the morning trying on several outfits that you just don’t like. Better yet, organize your clothes for the week in your hanging closet organizer and eliminate that worry for the whole week.

Streamline Mealtime

Now that everyone is busier, it’s even more difficult to prepare a meal the family can enjoy. Don’t bother. Rather than cooking every evening, just cook two or three times a week but prepare more than you normally would. Don’t like “leftovers?” Just freeze the extra food and bring it out a week or so later and reheat it. By then nobody will feel like they’re eating leftovers—the meal will be new again.

Stock Up On Non-foods

It’s common to stock up on food during the colder months so you aren’t running to the store every other day, but it’s also wise to stock up on other essentials. Buy several packages of toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels. With cold and flu season just around the corner, you’re going to need them. While you’re at it, pick up some decongestant, pain reliever / fever reducer, and cough syrup as well.

Organize Your Shower

Shower Caddy by All for ColorMake sure you can take quick showers in the morning by keeping your shower organizer stocked with the essentials. Be sure you have plenty of shampoo and conditioner on hand, just in case you run out in the middle of the week and can’t make it to the store for a while.

Making the transition from summer to fall is really just a matter of thinking ahead. Take a few minutes and write down everything you can think of that you’d like to be ready to handle before it happens. Now make a plan to do it.

 

 

Study Space

Hamptons Desk Pad by Wellspring - WhaleWith so many aspects of life interconnected and crisscrossed with distractions, making a dedicated study space can help you focus on learning. Select a well-lit quiet corner of your home, then stock it with everything you need for studying – pencils, notepads, highlighters, etc. If you don’t have space at your home, you can put these essentials in your bag and head to a wifi-equipped library or coffee shop.

This principle also applies for online learning – make your own study space by keeping all games and extraneous browser windows closed. Even quick clicks add up to a lot of time wasted.

 

Healthy Lunch

Gourmet GetawayIf you’re thinking of eating healthier and saving money, lunch is a great place to start. The site Accounting Principals surveyed 1,000 people and found that each year, the average American spends $1,092 on morning coffee and $1,924 on going out to lunch. That’s more than $3,000 – think of the groceries that you could buy!

So rather than sending your older kids out with money for the fast food chains, get them involved in the process of selecting their own lunch. As you prepare your shopping list for the week, let them pick some ingredients for a variety of sandwiches, or let them take healthy leftovers. When shopping, take a look at your family size when buying ingredients like sandwich meat, cheese and lettuce – if your family doesn’t eat the meat before it rots in the fridge, you’re not saving as much money as you could.

 

School Lunches

Insulated Lunch Tote by HadakiIt doesn’t take much for a school routine to turn into a school rut. Thank goodness for recess and lunch time. With these creative lunch ideas, you’ll always have something to shake up their school day.

Recipes courtesy of www.goodhousekeeping.com.

Chicken and Fruit Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 (about 2 1/4 pounds) refrigerated roasted whole chicken
  • 1 medium bunch spinach
  • 2 medium pink or white grapefruit
  • 2 medium Red Delicious apples
  • 3/4 pound(s) seedless green grapes
  • 1/3 cup(s) bottled poppy-seed salad dressing

Directions

1.  Remove and discard skin and bones from chicken; tear chicken into bite-size pieces. Chop 1 cup loosely packed spinach leaves; set remaining leaves aside. Cut peel from grapefruit; remove sections with knife. Cut unpeeled apples into 3/4-inch chunks.

2.  In large bowl, combine chicken, chopped spinach, fruit, and salad dressing; toss to coat.

3.  Spread chicken salad on sandwich bread or croissant. Pack in insulated lunch bag.

Three Bean Chili 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 1 pound(s) carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 large stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
  • 1  (1-pound) jumbo onion, chopped
  • 4 teaspoon(s) chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can(s) (14- to 14 1/2-ounce) vegetable broth
  • 1 cup(s) water
  • 2 can(s) (15- to 19-ounce) white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can(s) (15- to 19-ounce) pink beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cup(s) frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
  • 1/4 cup(s) (plus additional leaves for garnish) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
  • Shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions

1.  In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil on medium-high until hot. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and onion, and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until all vegetables are browned and tender, stirring occasionally.

2.  Stir in chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, ground red pepper, and salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add tomatoes, broth, and water; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir white kidney beans and pink beans into Dutch oven; cover and cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in frozen edamame and cook, uncovered, 5 to 7 minutes or until edamame are just tender, stirring occasionally.

3.  Stir 1/4 cup cilantro into chili. Spoon half of chili into serving bowls; garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with sour cream and Cheddar, if you like. Spoon remaining chili into freezer-safe containers and freeze for later use. Reheat in the morning, then pack in a thermos for an exciting school lunch.

Garden Turkey Sandwich with Lemon Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon(s) grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon(s) low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 slice(s) whole-grain bread
  • 1 cup(s) loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  • 2 ounce(s) turkey breast, sliced
  • 1 small tomato, sliced

Directions

1.  Stir grated lemon peel with mayonnaise; spread on both slices bread.

2.  On 1 slice bread, alternately layer spinach leaves, turkey, and tomato, starting and ending with spinach. Top with second bread slice.

Do you have a family favorite school lunch recipe? We’d love to hear it. 

 

Taming Your Student’s Locker

Mini Cloud Cork Board Set of 4 by Design IdeasAsk any teacher. Many students struggle in school because they aren’t organized, wrestle with time management, or simply can’t find their work. It’s no surprise—have you seen your kid’s locker?

Lockers are dangerously deceptive. At first glance they’re little more than a box with a shelf, a door, and a hook or two—yet somehow they manage to chew, crumple, and cram loose papers into hidden cheek pockets like squirrels. Some papers are swallowed all together.  By the end of the year, the things that tumble out of a locker maimed, mutilated, and destroyed can frighten students. When you consider how often our children interact with their lockers, it’s amazing they get away with their lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are three ways to help them control their locker.

1. Add More Organization

Hanging Organizer by LockerWorksYour locker doesn’t have to be a black hole. You can add shelves, organized pockets, and cubbies that make the available space much more useful and orderly. And it’s as simple as adding the Hanging Organizer by LockerWorks. If you have a student in middle school or high school this organizer is a must-have. It’s adjustable to fit several locker sizes, and it will make a huge difference in their life.

2. Get a Calendar That Sticks

Calendar Pad - Allison by Gina B. DesignsAdding a magnetic calendar to the inside of your locker door helps you remember your schedule, your daily assignments and due dates. Keeping a schedule in your locker will remind you what papers are due, so you can find them, work on them, and turn them in before they get chewed up and hidden away in your locker. They also come in handy when you need to remember important dates and (phone) numbers.

3. Keep Track of Important Messages

Often teachers, coaches, or friends will mention something that yourhttp://franklinplanner.fcorgp.com/store/category/prod1300109/US-Home-Office/Stick-to-it-Sticky-Notes-by-All-for-Color-by-Capri-Designs?skuId=45115 student shouldn’t forget, but by the end of the day their minds are spent and the little things have vanished. But if they carry a packet of sticky notes, they can take note of the things they need to remember and stick these reminders inside their locker door. This gives them one more prompt before they leave each day. If you’d like something a little more creative, you’ll love these cloud-shaped magnetic corkboards. They’re a perfect way to add reminders to their locker doors.

School is a rat race and keeping up is a huge challenge for any student. But these three things alone will make a huge difference in your student’s life and help them get more out of their lockers than mangled, past-due homework. Of course, these creative solutions are just a few ways to help them stay sane. We’re sure you’ve thought of others. We’d love to hear them. Leave us a comment and share the ways you keep your locker orderly.

Here’s wishing you an organized school year.

 

Locker Organization

Circuit Magnetic Bin by Design IdeasWith so many students crammed into today’s schools, there’s a premium on limited locker space, even when doubled up. So instead of piling up books and digging through them for each class, think magnetic. Putting a Magnetic Bin on the inside of the locker door gives you a space to store small things like pens, pencils, and other supplies. And since it’s off the shelf, they won’t roll out or get buried under other items.

 

School Supply Essentials

Protect&Store™ View Binder 1" by AveryWhether you’re sending your first child to kindergarten or close to sending your youngest off to college, one question still seems to pop up every August- what supplies do I need to buy before they go back to school? Here are six supply categories to help you pack their backpack.

1.   Writing Supplies
·         No. 2 pencils
·         Large erasers
·         Hand-held pencil sharpeners
·         Ballpoint pens in blue/black and red ink (or all three)

2.   Project Supplies
Hinsdale Multi-function Pen by FC/Cross by FranklinCovey·         Colored pencils/crayons
·         Washable markers
·         Mini stapler
·         Scissors
·         Glue sticks

3.   Study Supplies
Classic Hard Cover Ruled Notebook - Pocket by Moleskine·         Highlighters
·         Mini notebook
·         Index cards

4.   Math Supplies
·         Graphing Calculator
·         Protractor
·         Compass
·         Ruler

5.   School Organization
High School Weekly Agenda - Aug 12·         3-ring binders
·         Subject dividers
·         Pencil Case
·         Weekly agenda
6.   Between Classes
·         Insulated lunch bag
·         Hand sanitizer
·         Combination locks (one for their hall locker, one for the gym locker)

Did we miss anything? Let us know with your comments.

Scheduling Success – Making the Grade

CorX Magnetic Dry Erase Combo by Board DudesAs my grandpa used to say, “Homework is the key to a better life.” Sometimes it’s hard to see that fact, but it’s still true that the more education a person receives, the better off they are financially and in other areas. But the years-away reward of a successful career and life often loses out to the constant distractions of the moment. Here are four essentials to help you complete homework assignments on time:

1. Set up a schedule command center – When you’re dealing with several different classes, sometimes simply setting up a homework schedule can take a lot of time. Rather than shuffling papers through your backpack looking for assignments, post them all up where you can see them. Use a corkboard to post up each class’ syllabus, then make a priority list on a whiteboard. Or you can combine the two with the CorX Magnetic Dry Erase Combo.

2. Prioritize – Separate the whiteboard into spaces for each class, and list your short-term sand long-term assignments for each. Leave a section for the assignments due this week. When you sit down to do your homework, list all assignments due this week in the “Due this Week” section. Then break down longer-term assignments into tasks and list them in each class section. This will help you estimate the time you’ll need to complete long-term assignments, and make it easier for them to find their way to the “Due this Week” list.

3. Do not disturb – While working on your homework, limit distractions from cell phones, TV, and video games. Multi-tasking rarely works on mental work, so these distractions can eat into your productivity and make your homework take longer. (It’s an interesting experiment – time yourself doing homework with the TV on and with the TV off. You’ll notice the difference.)

4. Pace yourself – You know your limits. If you struggle with certain subjectsSafe Kitchen Timer by Kikkerland and find yourself getting frustrated, then take a break and give your mind a chance to regroup. Eating dinner or spending time in a different location on a hobby can give your brain a chance to unwind. But if you’re easily distracted, setting a timer can help ensure that you get back to your homework and finish it.

What strategies have helped you finish your homework on time?

 

Write It Down

2012/2013 Academic Planner by Sarah PintoIf you find that you’re going through one hectic day after another, switching between email, calendars, work software, and the internet so often that you forget where you are – it might be time to use a day planner. Having your schedule separate from your screen can help refresh your attention as you go through your day, and you can write reminders that are much larger than your phone’s touchscreen. Planning out your day and sticking to your schedule can also help you get more accomplished with your time.

 

Protect Your Back to School Tech Items

Do your kids have a smartphone, an e-reader, a tablet computer, or laptop? By the time they’re teen-agers, chances are good they will.

Technology merges into our lives rather quickly. Things that were once rarities—novelty items on the fringes of society, work their way into mainstream use until we wonder how we ever functioned without them—radios, televisions, recorded music. Remember when cell phones were giant bricks that you would only find in luxury cars? Now we see grade-schoolers glued to them.

Being common hasn’t made them cheap—we pay plenty for these devices. It makes sense to protect them from bumps, scrapes, and the elements. Here are some ways to make sure your favorite gadgets last long enough to pay for themselves before you have to replace them.

Velocity BagCover Up

Like anything else, the best way to protect from the elements is to cover up. Get jacket covers for your iPad or e-reader, add thin protective film covers to your smartphone, or find a laptop bag designed for ultimate protection.

Go Hands Free

Our hands are the ideal way to hold our devices, but hands get busy. So do our minds. It doesn’t take much to lose concentration—get caught trying to do too much at once and poof! You’ve dropped your iPad in the middle of your movie. You’ll find several great stands for your devices. Most covers convert to stands, but you’ll also find stands and holders designed for your car, so kids can watch movies on your iPad on long trips, or stands that can rest on your counter when you need a way to hold that great recipe you found online. You’ll also find stands with build-in speakers and keyboard for easier computing and great sound quality. Unlike us, these stands don’t lose their concentration and let go.

Add Flair

Protection doesn’t have to be bland. Give your favorite device some character with quality leather or even solid wood covers. Or find a thin protective film with the ultimate image or design that expresses who you are and what makes you tick.

Untangle the cords

Who hasn’t struggled with the rat’s nest of cords on the counter? We lose precious time finding the proper charging cord for our devices. We also run the risk of knocking something to the ground while we’re trying to plug in something else. Finding a way to charge your devices while keeping your cords contained will save you loads of headache down the road. You can also wrap your extra cords around a cord keeper while the device is in use so you don’t have dangling cords that can get caught and damage the adapter areas of your computer or smartphone.

Hopefully we’ve given you some ideas to keep your tech gear a little more safe as you move into your hectic school season. If you can think of others, we’d love to hear from you.

Good Luck,

The FranklinPlanner Team

 

4 Key Criteria For Picking The Right School Bag

S-1 Backpack by OgioChoosing the right school bags for your children is a critical decision. After all, it’s the one article they’ll wear every day of the year. Makes you think, doesn’t it? They’re going to want a bag that goes with practically any outfit—or maybe they’ll just want something that speaks to their personality. You, however, are more likely concerned with something washable—that’s easy on their back. Here are 4 things to look for when you’re purchasing a school bag for your kids.

Weight—

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child’s backpack weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s weight. That’s a real challenge when you consider the average hardbound schoolbook weighs between 2 and 5 lbs. Because schoolbooks are heavy, you’ll want to find a lightweight backpack that can still provide the durability and protection you’ll need for your books.

Fit—(consider the way your kids carry their bags)

Junior Backpack by Room It UpDon’t buy a backpack that is too large for your student. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, the way you wear a backpack affects your health. A backpack should extend from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level or slightly above the waist. Backpacks that hang too low on a child’s back tend to pull the shoulders back. Usually students bend forward and hunch their shoulders to counter the strain, causing all sorts of posture problems later. Students should always wear a backpack that fits on both shoulders to keep the weight evenly distributed. Wearing the pack on one shoulder twists the back.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) Database, more than 2,000 backpack-related injuries were treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and clinics in 2007. Certainly the risk is the same today.

Organization—

http://store.franklinplanner.com/store/category/prod1300049/US-New-Bags-%26-Cases/Q-Backpack-by-Timbuk2?skuId=44915Most backpacks are nothing more than giant pockets with zippers. These are the packs that eat homework and turn it into crinkled balls of paper at the bottom of the bag. By the time you realize your child’s pack is full of half-digested work, it’s too late to turn it in.

You can find packs designed for organization, with separate areas for the various items you’ll carry. However, if you or your child falls in love with a backpack that isn’t exactly organized, there’s hope.

Style—

Altmont Slimline Laptop Backpack By VictorinoxThe last thing on a parent’s mind is usually the first thing on their child’s. Style. Luckily, style is a main selling point for most packs, so every brand will have something that grabs your attention. If you’re looking for a backpack that is all of the above with style to boot, we carry several from the sleek Altmont Slimline Laptop Backpack By Victorinox, to the sporty TP 8 Back Pack by Ogio—and dozens of great choices in between.

TP-8 Laptop Backpack by OgioNow you know what you want from your backpack—if we could just convince your school to send home less work…or at least lighter work. Good luck, and happy packing.

 

Four Must-Dos To Get Your Homework Done On Time

If your students are in year-round school, they may already be dealing with homework. If they aren’t, they soon will. Homework isn’t something any of us look forward to, but we learn far more from it than the subject matter it covers—follow-through, for instance. Since homework isn’t going away any time soon, here are four tips to make sure your students get it done well and on time.

1.  Plan Ahead

School, with its clubs, dances, team events, and homework definitely requires planning. With all that’s vying for your children’s time, homework is easily lost in the shuffle. But if we plan ahead, we can make it all happen with a lot less stress.

Break big assignments like reports and projects down into small pieces and give each segment its own due date. Schedule these due dates in your planner, on your family calendar, and on your child’s whiteboard so you never forget when each piece is due. Breaking assignments down to small, manageable pieces also helps relieve the stress of giant assignments. As long as your kids keep the schedule, they’ll avoid late-night cram sessions.

2.  Plan for a cushion

As you break your larger projects and reports down to smaller pieces, plan to have them complete two or three days ahead of the due date—even earlier if possible. This will give you some wiggle room. If things don’t go as smoothly as you expect, you can still finish your projects on time.

3.  Schedule Consistent Homework Time

Give your kids a set time each day for homework. Some kids do their homework as soon as they get home while everything is still fresh in their heads. Others need time to wind down from their day, to eat a snack, or just unload before they dive into homework. Decide with your kids what time is best for them and be vigilantly consistent in enforcing that time.

4.  Avoid Distractions

Do all you can to eliminate distractions during homework time. Turn off the television and radio. If you want to play music, keep it low and avoid music with words—that will only serve to interfere with the words your students are either reading or trying to write. Make homework time a cell phone free time—turn them off. Make sure your kids have everything they’ll need for their work close at hand before they begin, so they aren’t bouncing up and down gathering things when they should be completing their work.

If one of your kids doesn’t have homework to do, have them do something quiet like reading a book they enjoy, working on an art project, or practicing their math facts. This will keep them in the habit of working quietly and respecting their other family members who are trying to concentrate. Finally, don’t schedule family activities during study time, so your kids aren’t pulled away from their work.

After study time, reward the family with evening activities such as games, a family trip to the park, or just relaxing on the couch. If any of your children aren’t finished with their homework when study time is over, talk with them and see if they can take time to break with the family before they have to get back at it. Often some time away from the activity is a good mental break. Usually kids can think more clearly and see their project with fresh eyes after a brief time away.

This may seem fairly basic, but it takes a lot of effort to pull it off consistently. You’re sure to have family activities, unscheduled visitors, and emergencies of one sort or another that interfere with your best-laid plans, but do the best you can. Making your students’ homework a priority will pay off in the end—especially when they earn that full-ride scholarship.

 

Back to School Infographic

How does your family get ready to go back to school each year?  Preparing to head back takes a lot of work, and can be expensive too.  Love it or hate it, back to school season is around the corner.

We put together an online survey to learn more about how families organize for this particular season.  In fact, you may have even participated.  Take a minute and check out this fun infographic created from the results.  Feel free to share it with your friends too!

 

Organized on Campus

For those of you with college students who plan to live in the dorm, the time has come to prepare them for living in a small space. And with several roommates sharing the space, there won’t be any room to be disorganized. So with that in mind, here are seven essential dorm room solutions to use every inch of available space:

Laundry – when it comes to dorm room laundry, you’re going to want something strong and flexible that fits into their closet. This Large Laundry Bag is strong enough to make the trip to the laundry room and can fit into oddly shaped spaces.

Use the Wall Space – with desk space at a premium, cluttering it with files isn’t an option. Rather, they can hang files on an unused wall with the Wally Office Organizer.  With separate pockets for papers and files, it keeps assignments and reports from different classes separate and accessible.

Maximize the Closet – closets have valuable vertical space that can go to waste. This Bamboo Hanging Organizer helps fill that space with shoes or other essentials.

From Door to Pack Rack – Backpacks take up valuable floor space, so hang them up on an over-the-door hook like the Back Pack Rack.

Desk Extensions – You can add some extra desk shelves with the Birger Classic 2-Drawer Chest. It helps keep small capacity drawers from overflowing onto the desk, and looks great, too.

Rolling Storage – keeping files and personal gear in a Mobile Storage Center could radically expand your student’s storage capacity – and give them a secure space for important items they don’t want their roommates messing with.

Tech Station – Few things look worse than charger cords strewn across a desk or floor. You can help corral the cables and keep all of their gadgets in one place with the Sanctuary.

Experienced parents of college students – any other dorm room suggestions?