I'm taking the day off today, but don't fret, Lauralee from raisingtyandza.blogspot.com volunteered to guest post on a very important topic. One that I even struggle with :-) - ORGANIZATION!! This is good stuff!
This October closes the 2009-10 school year's first quarter. As a teacher and natural observer, I see changes with my students. Absences and illnesses become more frequent, the gusto, the promise, and hope of a new school year wanes, and unfortunately, students struggle more than they did a few weeks ago.
Many influences hurt students' grades. One factor is a lack of organization. When students cannot find papers, notes, or assignments, they waste time searching and also become frustrated. As a result, they sleep and study less. They fall behind. Unfortunately, some of them will give up.
Organization is a great life skill, one that many do not love, that many struggle with because they know it is necessary for productivity. It needn't be that way. Working with your child in natural ways makes organization inherent. Here are a few benefits and ways to organize your child, at different ages.
During preschool and early elementary, teachers often do a great job incorporating organization into everyday life. Part of school lists includes labels, color-coded folders, and binder separators.
Sort toys with your child. For instance, take cars and sort them by sizes and colors. Some children may classify all vehicles as "cars." This is a great opportunity to show distinctions between objects. Separate them into trucks, racecars, fire trucks, character cars, etc. Part of organizing is knowing the objects' differences.
Middle elementary students are given a bit of freedom at this point. Teachers may request certain school supplies, but allows students to organize in their own way. Take time to discuss with your student his plans for organization. Carry some of the ideas from previous years to this stage. Some may find a folder for each class helpful, while others want a binder.
Give your child responsibilities at home. Children can arrange their toys, books, writing utensils, clothes, and pictures. Have him sit down with you while cleaning out the plastics drawer. Show how to find lids for all containers, separate by sizes, and sort what needs tossed.
Middle school or junior high teachers are less specific than previous teachers. (Part of this is because they have so many students, which also means your child probably has many teachers). Students experience new freedom, which is why they may lose focus.
Students begin taking longer class notes at this age. Look at their notes for easy fixes to aid with organization. Dates should be at the top of pages for facilitating order. Writing every other line helps for adding ideas when reviewing. Aside from organizing schoolwork, children can strengthen their foresight and planning skills when they prepare for after school activities or trips. They must pack, preparing for different weather and event scenarios.
Students also write longer papers at this stage. Papers must be organized. Work with your child: separate concepts with lists and turn those lists into paragraphs.
At the high school age, organization pays off in so many ways. First, students normally have a complex schedule. For each class, teachers expect students to have their supplies. Second, students independently take notes and study. Third, students are involved in more than just school: jobs, friends, sports, clubs, and family activities. Fourth, high schoolers prepare for college, which branches off to a payoff for helping your child at so many stages.
If you haven't already, show your child how you organize your money. One bill needs paid this month, but not the next. Certain withdraws happen each 15th of the month. Taxes are due twice a year and the car needs oil changes throughout the year. Money needs set aside for the holidays, vacations, and birthdays.
When you work with your child on one concept like organization, so much more happens. You begin to teach other life skills, like financial management. You spend quality time with your child. You also demonstrate your love to your child. Organization and love? I think they do go together.
Lauralee Moss writes about education, female oriented subjects and parenting. She has written for Young Urban Moms and Book Rags.
Moss's master's research project studied the organizational habits of high schoolers. She taught high school English before becoming a SAHM. She is currently working on a website about teaching organization to young children and blogging about educational theories in application to her children at http://raisingtyandza.blogspot.com.
Let us know: What organizational tips/tools have worked with your children?
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