School Project Planning
Lisa - September 7, 2022
Another school year is starting, and with school comes big projects. Before long, kids from kindergarten to college will be preparing for presentations, book reports, major artistic endeavors, and argumentative essays. How can students keep track of all they need to do and make sure they put in their best effort before the due date? The specific process can vary as much as the projects themselves, but here are some general tips to help you or your school child succeed.
Start by laying out all the steps to the project, whether on paper or in a digital list. Try to be very specific; instead of a vague task like “Write the research paper,” break it out into parts like “Brainstorm topics by browsing the library,” “Narrow down the aspect of the topic I’m really interested in,” “Find articles and books on my topic,” and “Create an outline of what to write about.”
If any of these steps have their own due dates (such as turning in a first draft of an essay or a design idea for a ceramics project), make sure to write those next to the specific step. Family Tools and other digital organizers have deadlines built into their task managers, and can even remind you to do them with device notifications.
As you lay out what you need to do, try to estimate how long each task will take. This will help you plan when to do things and avoid procrastination, which will reduce your stress as due dates get closer. Pacing yourself also makes sure you have time and energy for other homework and responsibilities in the meantime.
Many projects also require certain materials. For example, you might need a stopwatch, a scale, or a meter stick for a physics experiment, or a variety of colors for a detailed painting. Determine what you need for your project and put it in a list separate from the project’s steps. As you figure out where to get these materials, you can add steps such as “Buy litmus paper online” or “Check out Huckleberry Finn from the library.” If this list is digital, you can even add URLs to websites where you can find the items.
Now that you have your plan, make sure to follow through with it. This will certainly take some discipline; there’s almost always something more interesting to do than homework. Try using entertainment or social events as motivation; for example, “I can play some video games as soon as I write my outline.” or “If I work on my sculpture for an hour, then I can go with my friends to play basketball.” Following through might also mean setting some reminders, such as alerts on your mobile device, notes on your desk or computer, tasks on your day planner, or bookmarks in your web browser.
Family Tools has some features that are great for managing big homework projects. By making a Plan, you can connect all the tasks, events, lists, and notes related to your assignment. This allows your materials list and important dates to show up right alongside your project steps.
These aspects of the project will also appear in the app’s other sections, so you can see where your presentation falls in the context of the family calendar or find your materials list next to the regular shopping list. It even shows when tasks have become late to discourage procrastination. As mentioned, Family Tools has notifications as well, both for tasks and for calendar events; using them will help you minimize forgetting.
Don’t let school projects overwhelm you. Let us help you take them step by step.