It’s More About
Than You Think
By Melissa Morgner
. . . The homeschooling life is a busy one
with a focus on learning that often looks
past the mess on the floor as we focus on
accomplishing the next lesson.
Staying home with our children is one of the sweetest bless- ings of homeschooling, but it also presents an inherent challenge: lived-in homes get messy more
quickly than empty ones. The family
home can be quickly overtaken by the
stuff of a learning lifestyle—textbooks,
teacher’s manuals, art supplies, science experiments—even eating three
meals a day at home makes for more
messes. Although we have more time
at home than the average family, the
homeschooling life is a busy one with a
focus on learning that often looks past
the mess on the floor as we focus on
accomplishing the next lesson.
Fortunately, as homeschooling parents, we can approach this dilemma and
its solution as an opportunity to teach a
valuable life skill. Add the subject of “
organizational arts” to your homeschool
planner and get ready to teach your children how to bring order to their spaces.
Best of all, as they accomplish their
“homework,” you’ll reap the benefits of a
more organized, peaceful home.
Teaching From the Right
Before we can jump into the mess with
our kids and begin lessons in organiza-
tion, we must first make sure we have the
right perspective. There are five essential
precepts we need to understand before
successfully teaching our children to get
1. Organization is not perfection.
Organization is a structured way of keeping things so you can easily find them
and use them. When your home is organized, it will function well, but it isn’t
necessarily going to look like the cover
of a magazine. To some degree, involving
your children in the process of organization means letting go of control. If you
want your children to take ownership,
then you have to relinquish it. It will be
worth it in the long run. If a child is going to maintain his personal space, the
way things are organized has to make
sense to his way of thinking, not yours.
2. Organization is a lifelong habit.
Teaching your kids to be organized isn’t a
one-shot lesson but rather a lifelong pro-
cess—some might even say a challenge.
Ideally, it begins in early childhood when
the toddler learns that after playtime,
all the blocks need to be picked up and
thrown into the bin. It continues toward
adulthood as life moves from a bedroom,
to a dorm room, to an apartment, and ul-
timately, to a home of his or her own. All
of these stages will take what they know
about being organized and challenge it
to move up to the next level, which takes
time, practice, and patience. Realize that
you will be walking beside your children
as they learn these lessons in your home.
They will have successes, but the chal-
lenges will continue, and your job will be
to lovingly guide them toward the goals
of peace and efficiency.
3. Organization is difficult for some.
Children possess natural abilities; some
have a knack for organizing, and some
do not. Of my six children, half of them
exhibit this natural talent to see a mess,
sort through it, and organize their space.
The other half seems clueless about the
need and overwhelmed with the thought
of sorting out their belongings with any
semblance of order. That doesn’t mean
they aren’t required to do it; it just means
we work at a slower pace and approach
the challenge in small incremental steps
without judgment or making the child
feel “less than” for not possessing this
ability. Chances are these kids are gifted
artists and exhibit creativity in other
ways. Your job is to help them tap into
their God-given creativity and apply it to
the task of organizing their stuff.
4. Your attitude is contagious.
Organizing can and usually should
be fun. You’re going take a mess, attack it with your best problem-solving
skills, and transform the mess into a