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Creating Order from Chaos: Giving Our Children the Gift of Organization

Leah Gebber

Many skills are taught in school. But some of the most critical skills — the ones that ensure that learning can take place — are overlooked. Organization is essential to success in school. Family First examines every aspect of schoolwork and offers creative solutions for helping your child organize himself.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If we sometimes feel overwhelmed trying to stay on top of the details of our life, think of what it must be like for our children. They are called upon to juggle no less than thirteen subjects — each with homework, assignments, tests, and the individual foibles of that particular teacher — as well as extracurricular activities.

It’s wonderful for those to whom organization comes naturally, but what about everyone else? Without effective strategies for keeping track and scheduling themselves, things start to fall apart. Previous straight-A students start to get Cs or Ds: a result of missing notes or homework never handed in. Motivations lags and self-esteem plummets.

It’s not only the kid who suffers. The whole family is affected: honorary spectators of late-evening meltdowns, as homework assignments are desperately searched for, phoned for, faxed … until, as the clock ticks close to midnight, the kid can finally sit down and work. And what about the even more frantic mornings, as those very same assignments have once again disappeared without a trace? Our kids may be performing exceptionally well on IQ tests, yet, without OQ, they may fail. And failing is miserable.

Order is vital. It feels so good, explains Rav Dessler in Michtav MeEliyahu, because it reflects the ideal state of our inner beings. And we subconsciously want our external environment to reflect what’s going on inside.

Teachers can help with organization in the early grades using individual cubbyholes and the like, but soon enough, teachers are no longer able or willing to micromanage each aspect of a student’s life. The only solution is to allow our children to own the problem — and support them in developing individuated solutions. It’s a process, but it’s worth it. It’s the first step to a successful school career, and an organized life.


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