The lack of organization is one of the greatest obstacles that come between a student and academic success. Many times, students will do fine in middle or high school but become overwhelmed and disillusioned in college. These are most likely students who never learned how to stay organized. When they lived at home, their parents took care of things for them; when they moved away, they realized they had missed out on learning some very important life skills. So, why and how should you go about teaching the skill of organization to your middle or high school student? Here are a few things to think about.
The Why’s of Student Organization
Organization Is an Important Life Skill
If you have ever struggled with staying organized, you get it. Things are just so much easier when there is some kind of organizational system in place. In fact, you probably wish that you had learned how to stay organized sooner. So, your student can either learn how to be organized now, in a safe, loving environment where they have room for error. Or they can be thrown into the deep end and really struggle when they enter the adult world. Because, to be honest, being organized is a life skill that everyone needs.
Students Thrive on Autonomy
Even at a young age, children thrive in a setting where they can be independent. Obviously, students cannot be completely independent of their parents, but it is important that they learn to take complete ownership of things they can handle. They want to be able to be in charge of certain things. While learning organization and responsibility is not easy, it is actually extremely beneficial to your child’s mental development and mental health. Young people grow when they are taught to handle things on their own.
Organization Leads to Success Later On
Depending on their age, your student may not even be thinking of college (or of anything beyond the next assignment). However, you know that once they graduate high school, a whole world of higher education, work, travel, and family life is going to open up for them. Learning organization at their age will help them immensely when it is time for them to step into that world. You don’t want them to be held back by messy habits, unlearned skills, and dependence on you. You want them to find success through their own achievements. And learning organization now will bring them that success in the future.
The How’s of Student Organization
Model, Collaborate, Observe
When your children were toddlers, they learned by watching you. Eventually, they were able to do simple tasks with your help. Then the time came when they no longer needed you. As bittersweet as this moment may have been, the point of parenting is to help your children get to that place – a place where they can function without your help. So use this system to teach organization. Sit down with your student and show them organizational techniques (such as list-writing). Even in middle school, students will be able to move on to the next step quickly – collaboration. This is where you and your student work to stay organized together. And then you step back and let them do it on their own.
Get the Right Tools
Being organized as a student is so much more than just getting up in time to shower, dress, and eat before school (although this is a great start). They must learn to keep track of their weekly schedule, their assignments, deadlines, school events, etc. So set them up for success by purchasing the tools they need – a calendar and planner, organizational folders, notebooks to make lists in, and pens/highlighters to color code.
Get Your Student’s Educators on Board
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Many hands make light work?” The more people who know what values you want to instill in your students, the better because they can have your back. As someone who is highly influential in your child’s life, teachers are especially important. You want an educator who will not just spoon-feed your student knowledge but who will teach them how to learn and grow and be motivated on their own. You want an educator who is able to give your student personal, one-on-one attention.
If you are looking for this kind of school, please contact us. We are here to help your child develop the life skills he or she needs to be successful.