By Jennifer Sikora
Raising teenagers to be organized individuals can be a very daunting task. That is why one school year, my husband and I decided that our children needed some good, old-fashioned training in the forgotten art of organizing.
I guess my determination to teach my children about organization came about the year before we started homeschooling. My son, who had just entered sixth grade, was constantly losing homework assignments, papers that I needed to sign, and notes from the teacher. Each day when I got a call from the school, my frustration level rose.
My son and I sat down one evening and talked about what we could do so that he could be better organized. We started a binder system to help with his paperwork. Each section was clearly labeled. Important papers were up front, and each subject had its own tabbed section. For him, this was easier to keep up with because instead of seven folders, he had one. He was able to keep up with his papers from that day forward.
It had been two years since that time, and during those years we had homeschooled. I hadn’t been as adamant about organizing, until one day I looked at the bookshelves where the children kept all their assignment books and folders. When I opened my daughter’s notebook, I was well pleased with her organization skills. She had everything filed neatly and securely.
Next, I opened my son’s notebook and was shocked and horrified at what I found. Papers were crammed in the pockets, things were stuck all throughout the notebook, and nothing was filed. He would not have been able to find anything if I had asked him for it.
I understood right then and there that just because we homeschooled, that was no excuse to let our guard down on teaching our children about organization. In that situation, we needed to take even more time to teach them how to organize and to be better stewards of the things that God had given them to take care of.
That afternoon, all bookshelves were completely gutted and all folders were gone through and straightened out. We each made ourselves a contract and signed it. This contract was drawn up as a way of saying to each other, “I realize that I am not very organized. But with your help and my determination, I will become a more organized individual.”
While you are homeschooling, or even if your children attend a public or a private school, don’t focus solely on the academics and forget to teach the life skills your kids need to learn. Take time to instruct your children in all aspects of what it takes to organize their lives and to keep the home running smoothly. This training season will come in handy for many years to come.
Jennifer Sikora and her husband Stephen live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where they homeschooled their two children, Robert and Kayla. Jennifer is a freelance writer who has written articles for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, Molly Green, and various blogs. You can follow along with her at jenaroundtheworld.com.