Organization comes naturally to many people. Just look at all of the web sites and television programs devoted to organization and the many products available just for this purpose.
To others, on the other hand, being organized just isn’t in their make-up. Ask someone like this to neaten up his desk or figure out a better way to stock her pantry and it’s like asking them to do the most foreign or ridiculous thing they have ever heard of!
Because the behavior is so instinctive, organized people may find it hard to understand people who aren’t. Even to those who are only semi-organized, it’s can be very difficult to see the flip side of the coin.
Have you ever heard yourself saying things like this to your kids?
Why don’t you ever pick up your shoes?
It’s no wonder you can never find your science book…you never leave it in the same place!
Your room is a mess!
Understanding that organization doesn’t come naturally to many children is something homeschool parents must realize. Just because parents are organized doesn’t mean the trait has been inherited by the children. And just modeling organized behavior — though it helps a lot – doesn’t guarantee that children will adopt these skills on their own.
In reality, organization must be taught. Even children with a tendency towards organization can learn a thing or two from parents who live an organized life. Teaching children to stay organized may seem excessive, but it isn’t any different than teaching good nutrition or proper hygiene. It must be taught at first and reminded over time, until eventually it becomes a practice — even a habit – that kids do on their own.
Teaching organization to kids doesn’t have to be done as a class or even delivered in a lesson format. It all about modeling organized practices and then showing kids how to apply the same techniques in their own lives. Examples include showing kids how to pick up their rooms each day, where to store school materials every afternoon, or how to place a check-mark on a calendar each time they finish practicing piano. It can also mean helping kids sort through unwanted items (e.g., clothing that doesn’t fit), figuring out efficient or attractive ways to store things (like cars, stuffed animals or hair clips) and the proper way to pack a bag or a toilet kit for excursions to the gym or overnight events.
Like learning anything new, many children will not be very good at staying organized at first, or even for a long time. But over time, with practice and reminders from you, it will eventually become a part of their lives.
For children particularly resistant to organization, lighten up at first, and try to examine why. Could you be asking too much? Has the child reached an age where he can be expected to accomplish what you have asked? Can you make the task more meaningful, so that she can see the benefit, and want to do it just a little bit more? Select just a few of the ways that you feel the child should be organized and start there (for instance, keeping school-related materials together or clothing put away). And don’t add too much else too soon.
Realizing that many children actually need to be taught how to organize is an eye-opener for some people. But organization goes hand-in-hand with productivity, achievement, and ultimately — success. When homeschool parents teach organization as a routine part of the day, they give their children a gift that serves them during the school years, but also in the future, too.
Nobody ever wishes they were less organized. Whether started when children are very young, or even later as students are ready to head off to college, it is never too late. No matter when it happens, teaching this essential life skill to homeschoolers will always produce positive results.