Kahootie academic planner (for school kids) review

I got these undated academic planners from Kahootie for my kids at Target, but sadly Target seems to be out of stock.  Amazon does carry them though (affiliate link).  Kahootie doesn’t know we exist.

In any case, they are PERFECT for what my kids needed this summer and I’m hoping they will work well in the fall too (though I have some doubts about DC1 remembering to write down things like assignments).

They’re a weekly spread across two pages, which I like.  What’s even better is that they have a column for school stuff and then a column for *after school* stuff (something DC1 frequently forgets!).  And there’s a daily chores tracker on the right that they can check off.  DC2 loves the little space under the chores tracker and fills it up with pictures from books zie is reading or lists of pokemon zie caught that week etc.  Saturday and Sunday have smaller spaces, but that works too.

Week of DC2's planner with camps and chores listed.

One week of DC2’s planner.

DC2 has really gotten into hirs.  Zie updates it on Sunday or Monday morning.  Zie excitedly checks off chores.  Sometimes zie puts down weekly goals (“learn how to lightening strike a pig in educational minecraft”) and the weekends usually say what baked good DC2 is going to make that week.  More recently, zie has moved the two evening Minecraft dates and one piano lesson to the “After School” column.

DC1's much sparser planner

DC1’s planner. Pen obscures a password.

DC1 is getting less use out of hirs.  Zie actually *has* done the daily chores, zie just doesn’t check them off.  Zie doesn’t put in assignments (that blue in on Sunday is my writing…) or really use it for planning at all.  The class times are in the planner, but they’re also in Google calendar.  We’re hoping that a combination of the two systems (electronic and paper) will help DC1 remember to TURN IN COMPLETED ASSIGNMENTS and GO TO AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES once school is back in session, but it’s not looking hopeful.  Maybe being a year older will be enough.

I didn’t get much use out of paper planners in middle school or high school either.  I’m not sure how I remembered to get things done in high school (in middle school I just finished all my work in class so it was irrelevant).  I guess I just had a separate notebook for each class and a binder and checked those daily.  I started using a weekly planner (similar to the small weekly Moleskines, but with nursing branding on the front) in college some time when DH gave me one that his mom didn’t want.  Then I got free branded econ ones. Then I started having to buy my own Moleskines (or rather, I started having to ask for a small Moleskine planner for Christmas, which is an excellent thing to put on the Amazon wishlist for the in-laws who aren’t sure what to get you).  Along with those small weekly planners with meetings and deadlines listed, I had lots of loose leaf to-do lists.  These Kahootie planners look like they should have enough space for middle and high school to-dos, but I guess we will find out next semester!

Did you use a planner as a kid?  (If applicable) Do your kids use planners?  Have your planning needs changed over time?

27 Responses to “Kahootie academic planner (for school kids) review”

  1. Gwinne Says:

    I might get this for mine…seems like useful setup.

  2. pocomaya Says:

    My kids (13 and 22) love planners, and I’ve been learning a lot of hacks from them (e.g. post-it tags for running shopping lists). They prefer undated Moleskines… and although I haven’t said anything, I always catch myself thinking: “but dates and deadlines aren’t optional.” :D

  3. Steph Says:

    We started getting school planners around 4th grade, and I used one through the end of undergrad. I used this one in college (https://www.ataglance.com/p/planners-calendars/planners-appointment-books/academic-planners/academic-2021-2022-weekly-planner-black-large-709570522/), and the school planners I had were similar. I can’t remember if I wrote down assignments on the class they were assigned or the day they were due. I didn’t track my extracurricular tasks, though, so those events just needed a quick note of the time.

    In grad school I switched to undated paper to-do lists, and then to Habitica (https://habitica.com/). If DC1 likes hir google calendar, maybe Habitica would be another digital tool to help with tracking tasks? GCal reminders might also help, especially if ze has access to hir phone.

    These days I use GCal religiously for events and deadlines (with my calendars set to automatically include reminders), and Workflowy to keep track of tasks. Habitica stopped being sufficient to track all my different projects once I became a postdoc, and Workflowy’s flexible bullet-point style makes organization easier these days.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Ooh, I like that at a glance planner.

      Google calendar (with the reminders) works really well for tracking tasks etc., but the problem is that zie doesn’t always check hir phone or remember what day it is etc. We’re hoping that a paper thing in addition to the electronic thing that zie isn’t always allowed to have out (because school) will increase the probability zie remembers to turn things in and go to after school activities. We’ll see. We could get DC1 an apple watch for reminders, but I’m sure zie would lose and/or break it within a month.

      A year of being at hir computer during pandemic was great because usually there was one place to look at all assignments (the English and Spanish teachers were both really bad about this, not coincidentally those were the classes DC1 did worst in).

  4. Bee Says:

    I used the school-issued planner for grade school and most of high school (I kept the calendar pages from one of those because I like the glimpse it gives me of my day-to-day life back then).
    Late in high school and I think the beginning of college I used a plain notebook for a daily To Do list: top of page for schoolwork, bottom of page for everything else. (When I’d been copying a simple task over for several days, it would progress from ‘copy photos from camera’ to ‘copy photos from camera!!’ to ‘copy photos from camera already!!!!’)
    Mid-college I think I went back to a planner, and senior year of college I used a whiteboard divided into “To Be Accomplished Today”, “Bonus”, sections for each of my activities/groups, and the last date I washed my clothes and sheets and towels at the bottom. I took a picture of the whiteboard each morning so I’d have it for reference while away from the house.
    I don’t plan much today– Google calendar for events is really all– but I do a “reverse planner” where I write what I did each day, and I do use Habitica for motivation!

  5. nanani Says:

    I remember school-branded paper planners being given in out in high school and I did use them. Helps that I had some Very Organized friends and could copy their habits.
    I also used paper planners at least at the start of undergrad. Not sure when I switched to electronic to-do lists and such, which is what I use now. But my adult life has fewer moving parts.
    I definitely didn’t have a smartphone until years past all school, and laptops were still too heavy to take to class, so I was proooobably using paper through all of undergrad but I can’t picture the actual items in my mind the way I can the high school ones. Funny how that works!

  6. Lisa Says:

    Although I consider myself very organized, I’ve never used a real planner. In high school, my Very Organized Friends used expensive Franklin planners and it always seemed to me that they were slaves to the planner and couldn’t remember anything they were supposed to do if they didn’t have it with them (or, heaven forbid, lost it!). Clearly this was before cell phones and computer calendars.

    My current system is to take a piece of scrap paper, fold it into fourths, and write my calendar and to-do list for the week on it. It sits on my desk at work. Sometimes I’ll take a picture of it so it’s on my phone if I’m working from home. Since I’ve taken on more administrative responsibilities (and since COVID sent us to work from home), I’ve become better at keeping my online calendar up to date and informative. That’s awesome because I always have it with me (computers, watch phone). It also sucks sometimes because my devices don’t always sync seamlessly for reasons I’m too lazy to figure out. But if my phone is accurate, I’m in pretty good shape. I don’t keep any to-do lists online, though.

    My kids have also not used planners, although I like the one you’ve linked and might get one for them. Oldest started high school last year and did really well just using the Canvas pages their teachers set up. Canvas would tell them what was due and when, with a to-do list that would automatically check things off when they were uploaded or they could manually check them off if they needed to be turned in some other way. Kid #2 STRUGGLED with the online learning and turning things in on time, but I think this was the teacher’s fault, because they didn’t have a “to do” list in Canvas and required them to log in and turn things in to multiple random sites. It was super frustrating, to the extent that even I couldn’t figure out what was due when, and I’d like to think I’m reasonably up on syllabi and course planning stuff. We briefly tried a simple day planner type thing, but then I pulled them and homeschooled them for the rest of the year.

    You’re making me want my kids to have planners just so I can have all of the cute things they’d doodle in them! I totally would have done that as a kid.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Pre-pandemic that was my strategy too, except I folded it into half and I do have a moleskine calendar for appointments and deadlines.

      DC1’s big drama last year was the English teacher not putting an assignment on their calendar thing and hir not finding out about it until a month later when she finally got around to grading them. She’d mentioned it and there was an assignment, but it never made it to the class calendar or master grid or the other master grid where their grades showed up until it was graded. Spanish was worse, but at least DC1 knew that those assignments would generally be randomly posted sometime between noon and 6pm and due before midnight that day so zie knew to check every day.

      I love DC2’s creativity!

  7. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    Oooh I love planners! JB has so far embraced my love of all other stationery things, I wonder if they might be into the planner as well… I used to use an academic planner for ages, though I can’t remember what age I started. We share a GCal with the family because they have online classes and the links help but I think the paper planner habit would be good to build.

  8. Alice Says:

    I used a month-at-a-glance book-style calendar in college and in high school. My handwriting can be very small when I want it to be, so that worked for deadlines back then. In college, I used it for day-to-day assignments, too. In high school, where every class was giving next-day assignments, I just wrote the assignments on my notes for the day and only used the calendar for bigger projects. (English and history papers, mostly.)

    Somewhere after I entered the workforce, I started using week-at-a-glances because the week’s meetings and to-dos outgrew what I could fit in those little squares. My preferred planners for the last few years have been these: https://www.galleryleather.com/planners/academic-leather-planner. On the week’s calendar side, I record major deadlines, event dates, and appointments. I also sometimes write in other date-related reminders that I’m thinking about far in advance. And what I’m planning to make for dinner if I’m not relying heavily on Mealime for a given week.

    In the planner, on the notes side, I write the week’s current work and personal project headers, each with the week’s associated to-dos underneath and space to add more as the week evolves. I use the calendar Jan-Dec, so the spare Jul-Dec pages for the prior year are open for spillover lists if a particular week gets particularly complicated. I also use the spare pages if I need to jot something down, or sometimes if I just want to work out an idea in writing– it keeps what would otherwise be random loose bits of paper on my desk bound together. They don’t get lost and they don’t add clutter that way.

    I used to use the calendar side to record meetings, but these days I let Outlook take care of it that. Using Outlook ensures that I don’t miss that a meeting was moved to a different time and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to attend something because I forgot to write it down. (Meetings being rescheduled too many times were the bane of a paper calendar for me– after a certain point, it got really easy to lose track of which meeting I was crossing out and rewriting elsewhere, and I sometimes ran out of space on a given day entirely because of all of the cross-outs.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Those are nice! And way less expensive than the Japanese equivalent I’ve seen at Jetpens.

    • Debbie M Says:

      My high school strategy sounds similar: I used tiny free Hallmark yearly calendars. You could see a month at a glance. There’s not much room, but I just kept track of events and birthdays. I didn’t need to use it to tell myself to finish my homework every day, and I generally was never in the middle of more than one or two school projects, so things never got out of control. Also, I was in only one after-school activity, and that (Girl Scouts) met every week at the same time, so was easy to remember.

  9. First Gen American Says:

    My kids used their school issued planners until everything went virtual.

    I think the virtual system works better of having all assignments posted in the same place works great when all the teachers follow the same process. The pandemic forced everyone to do.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I would love it if that could continue! But even with everyone being forced to use the same system, not all teachers used it consistently. :( (And that’s still not going to remind DC1 to actually turn in hir completed homework in class…)

    • middle_class Says:

      I did not use a planner in high school or college. I must have just scribbled due dates on regular notebooks? Now I can’t function well without a planner (mix of paper and electronic)

  10. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    It’s interesting that neither of my kids knows how to spell exercise.

  11. Matthew D Healy Says:

    I didn’t use a planner in High School. Started using one as an undergrad at Purdue, where the one EVERYBODY used was sold by the local chapter of Morterboard. It had the complete academic calendar for Purdue, and its weekly scheduling grid was laid out for how Purdue classes were scheduled, so using any other planner would have entailed lots of manual work setting it up.

    At some point in the 1980s or 1990s I switched to using a large-format monthly wall calendar as my primary schedule; it lived on my office wall and I used sticky notes stuck on the cover of my meetings notebook for short term reminders.

    Somewhere in storage I still have the last of those paper wall calendar pages, from October 1999. Since November 1999 my primary calendar has always been electronic.

    When I was an engineer with Siemens in the 1980s I used a small pocket diary issued by the company. On the front page it had a place for my name and phone number and below that it said in about eight different languages, “if you find this diary please call the owner, who will be grateful.”

  12. omdg Says:

    I have never used a planner. Now I have a master list of tasks on my computer, a calendar on the fridge (24 weeks visible at a time) to my family can see my call schedule, and an electronic calendar. I do not think it would be better if I had a planner instead. In college I just went by the published syllabus for each class and kept everything else in my head. Maybe life is more complicated for kids now?

  13. My kids and notes from Year 6.7 « A Gai Shan Life Says:

    […] Nicole and Maggie bestirred my brain cells to thinking about helping JB develop a habit of maintaining their own paper planner. I don’t know if they’re actually the right age developmentally but they do use our family calendars to see what is scheduled so I think it’s just another step from using what’s in front of their faces to developing the skill/habit of writing those things down for themselves. I should have started earlier in the summer, though, more fun things to add than school things probably make this more fun? Oh I don’t know. I started when I started! […]

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