Motivate your child to study with an awesome planner

With so many appealing distractions, it can be tricky to motivate your child to study. I can’t count how many times we’ve had emotional breakdowns in our house the night before tests and motivate your child to studyassignment deadlines because one of our daughters (or both of them) had not prepared. As a mother and a teacher, this can be frustrating.

Finally, I’ve found a method that encourages my teenager to hit the books (and even drink enough water and get to bed at a reasonable time) and I did it by accident. Here’s some things I tried, so maybe they can help your happy family too.

Motivate your child to accomplish just about anything

Use their non-productive passion to trick them 

We are a geeky household. We love Doctor Who, comic books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of my youngest daughter’s favourite interests is the Batman world. She likes the comics, the video games and the series ‘Gotham’. Batman is kinda cool, but mostly she favours the villains, especially Harley Quinn.

So, with InDesign, downloaded fonts and clipart (mostly from AdobeStock), we spent some quality mother/daughter time together creating the following template.

Study planner for studentsstudy organiser for kids

She has a spot for all homework and upcoming assignments for the week, a tick list for her extra study areas and goals, a fun bubble to create riddles (I’m pretty sure you can guess which villain inspired that), a spot for post-it-notes and then the weekly planner. I negotiated to get a box for ‘Family Activity’, which usually ends up being a board game.

your child and their homeworkThe end result? She loves her planner as much as I love mine (you can get your writer’s planner free on the sidebar or below).

We’re also a little addicted to creating planners and are already ‘planning’ the next one!

You could do this with just about any topic. And if you like this one lots and lots, let me know and we’ll turn it into a template and upload it to share.

Stay creative!


Brisbane Writing Event for Kids

Brisbane Writing Workshop for Kids

Friday, December 16th


Paddington Hall (Brisbane)

writing classes for kids

These workshops will share lots of shortcuts and tips to help explain, dissect and ‘get’ what good storytelling is all about. It’s also a great way for your child to meet up with other creatives and express themselves in a fun environment. Charmaine’s teen helpers will make them feel at ease right away.

Your child will be published!

That’s right, we will choose one of their creations to add to the event’s anthology. All participants will be included and the stories combined into an ebook (PDF) available for download from the iTeenWrite website! This is a great way to boost children’s confidence in writing. The eBook will be ready for download about a week after the event – all parents will be emailed when it’s ready to go (I’ll make sure it’s up in time to send out for Christmas).


  • Snacks provided (if your child has food allergies, please provide them with a suitable snack)
  • Worksheets and activities
  • Interactive games to inspire creativity
  • Writing materials provided
  • A story from each child will be scanned, edited and put into a story anthology eBook, which you and familiy and friends can download from iTeenWrite for free!


eventbrite activity for children Brisbane

Why you should include STEM in your children’s books

The Australian Government is investing money in schools to increase student engagement in STEM subjects.

So what is STEM?STEM in schools





We need to get kids enthused about these subjects again… but what has this to do with fiction?

Book Links (Qld) hosted a panel discussion on STEM in literature, and it was such an inspiration!


Dr Andrew King, author of the Engibear books explained the need to encourage more kids, and especially more girls, into the area of engineering. Through his books he challenges kids to think about the planning and processes behind building grand structures such as bridges. Andrew’s books are big hit with primary school kids!

How can engineering fit into children’s fiction?

  • Designing gadgets for spy thrillers
  • Craft technology for travelling to Mars
  • 3D printing plans for producing characters from your story
  • Paper crafts for younger readers
  • Robots. I mean, who doesn’t want robots in their story?!


children's books dailyMegan Daley, teacher librarian and book reviewer at Children’s Books Daily, explained the intention and benefits to ‘make-a-space’ projects in schools. Even in early years of primary school, children are learning to code, to create working circuits and to design their own apps. Stories focused on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) are not just appealing to teachers and schools, but include a topic children are comfortable and familiar with. You can go a bit further than just including an iPone in your story, you could provide QR codes for them to scan, or secret coding instructions for them to follow.


Sheryl GwytherFacts in fiction. Kids love to know how and why things happen. Sheryl Gwyther is passionate about science and this shows in much of her children’s fiction. Sheryl talked about the way you can see kids’ brains switch on when you engage them with a story filled with scientific facts. Her Pearson publication, Ali Berber and the Forty Grains of Salt explains this compound to children within an entertaining tale. With sciences being a key focus in STEM for schools, it’s a good idea to look at ways you could include this in your children’s fiction.

Hot Topics for Science in Fiction:

  • Mars
  • Genetics
  • Enhanced Greenhouse Effect
  • Evil chemistry – highly reactive elements
  • Newton’s Law
  • Explaining superhero powers


mathsnovel.comWait a minute. How could you possibly include mathematics in fiction and still make it fun? Associate Professor at QUT, Michael Milford, doesn’t just think it can be done, he’s produced a great example! Over at, Michael introduces us to his exciting new series of thrillers that include maths puzzles in each chapter. I’ve already started reading, and I LOVE this. In chapter two, I actually pulled out a calculator to check the calculations. This sort of fiction will have kids so involved in the story and learning and practicing maths at the same time!

These thrillers are aimed at the older high school kids, but there’s no reason books aimed at middle grade or even picture books couldn’t include puzzles within the story.

Are you inspired to include STEM elements in your fiction now? Not only will you be turning kids onto important technologies for their future, but you’ll also open up your market to possibly include schools. What types of STEM topics appeal to you? I’d love to hear, how about some ideas in the comments?