You may be worried that having less traditional ‘homework’ is impacting on your child’s organisational skills. Maggie Dent, one of Australia’s favourite parenting authors and educators, puts it well when she explains, ‘Remember children learn all the time, not just when they are at school, or doing homework. They learn when playing board games, doing crosswords, riding bikes, playing in a sandpit, or by chatting to adults. Just because we cannot see the neurons growing in their brains, doesn’t mean they are not learning all the time. Indeed children are biologically wired to learn from the world around them, especially when they have some autonomy to choose what activity they want to do. Patterns around homework start early in children’s lives so please be gentle and allow kids to be kids, before they have to be school students. A habit around doing homework can be formed in three to four weeks and there is plenty of time in early secondary education.’ Follow this link to read more of Maggie’s article, The Real Truth About Homework.
Here are some practical ways you can help your child develop their organisational skills.
Establish a daily reading routine. Ensure your child has access to a variety of reading material, including newspapers, magazines, and plenty of books. Talk with your child about their reading, and be sure to let them see you reading as much as possible.
Set aside some regular time for organising school notes and handouts. Help your child to take responsibility for sorting through their schoolbag and sharing notes with you.
Keep a family calendar. Track everyone’s activities on a prominent and accessible calendar, encouraging your child to write their own entries and reference the calendar when making plans.
Introduce checklists. Whether it’s as simple as ‘3 Things To Do Before Bed’, or ‘What To Take On Holiday’, creating and referring to lists together will develop your child’s ability to strategise tasks and organise their time.
Assign chores that involve sorting or categorising. Grocery shopping, emptying the dishwasher, sorting photos, cleaning out a closet, and other chores that involve pre-planning or arranging things are great choices.
Cultivate an interest in collecting. If your child has a particular interest, encourage them to create and organise the collection. It can even be something free, such as rocks or stamps, that they can sort, classify and arrange.
Use containers and closet organisers. If there’s a place for everything, your child will find it easier to locate items, keep them neat, and clean up.
Cook together. Cooking teaches measuring, following directions, sorting ingredients, and managing time — all key elements in organisation. Involve your child in meal planning too and challenge them to help you put together a shopping list.