I am normally a pretty laid back, go with the flow person. I am not one for a highly scheduled plan that has to be followed and executed to the “T”. I like change, I find uncertainty can bring excitement. Well, most of the time…..because I still like order. I still like to have a clean, fairly organized environment so that my free flowing mind can stay that way, flowing.
Homeschooling can get messy, and busy. It is easy (for me) to get busy, overrun, and let the mess take over. The kids almost always help out with making a meal and a daily chore, as well as weekly chores for allowance, but I admit sometimes I let those routines fall by the way side.
Now would be a perfect example of this time.
But really, is environment really that important for learning to take place?
I know there are arguments for both sides, with some saying that individuals will learn no matter what, and others that say that environment is a crucial element in learning. (Reggio Emilia approach is one example that stresses the importance of the child’s environment in learning.)
So does environment matter, and how important is it for my children to take an active part in developing, shaping and maintaining their environment?
For me, it is important, more for sanity sake than anything. A clean space helps to keep some order, and it may be in my head but I swear that my kids have more focus and calm when their space is clean and organized. Having them help maintain it also helps them to feel responsible for their space and better about themselves.
Each place we have lived and homeschooled Ronan and Zahra have helped set up and arrange their work space. They do not always work in this space as our homeschool takes us everywhere- the kitchen, outside, the deck, even the bathroom- but it is a way for it to become THEIR space. It gives them ownership on their learning.
Yesterday as I was started to feel overwhelmed I had to stop and look around. I realized that it was time to clean up and reorganize. With some encouragement and help from my husband I stopped and cleaned up. Reorganized. I felt better. I felt better, the space looked better, and the kids were happy. I also used some hints from another homeschooling mom that I wrote down on two pieces of paper for each of my children.
1. Put away one thing before moving on to another.
2. Put everything to bed before we go to bed.
They read each one aloud when I gave it to them and agreed to start immediately.
So far, so good.
Thank you to Kari Patterson’s blog and Simple Homeschool for the organizing tips.