Believe it or not, a large part of homeschooling has nothing to do with education. In fact, if it weren’t for proper organization, little education could actually take place at home. Organization consists of many things, such as planning and scheduling, having supplies where students can find them, and keeping track of what has been accomplished every day/week.
Simply put, without organization, less gets done.
If a more free-form education and lifestyle is okay with you, that’s fine. However this post is for the tracker and planner; that is, the kind of homeschooler who knows that the only way to get things done the way she wants them is via organization.
I have written many articles about organization and undoubtedly will again. Future posts will deal with other kinds of organizational strategies that can affect homeschooling and home life.
Today’s post, however, is only about CLUTTER.
Remember the saying that goes, “A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind”, or something like that? It couldn’t be more true.
Think for a moment about how you feel when you enter a room and see a “pile” of something – whether on the counter, the kitchen table, the stairs, the floor, the couch, or anywhere within in your field of vision.
How does seeing that pile make you feel?
What about overwhelmed? Inadequate? Frustrated? Unappreciated? How about worried? Strained? Weak? Frazzled?
There is a whole range of emotions dealing with feeling that there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to do it all. And seeing that pile makes you feel as though you have somehow let someone down…yourself perhaps? Or the children?
Now, think about the many, many piles of things around your home. And of the many, many things around your home. Whether they’re put away or not, whether they’re displayed in pretty ways or not, just think for a moment about how much STUFF is in your home.
Overwhelming, isn’t it?
That is the power of clutter.
Just as clutter can take over your mind, it can also take over your thoughts.
Just like when parents work from home, care for elderly parents from home, or do just about anything else from home, homeschooling households are extraordinarily busy, too. There is enough going on in homeschooling households already. Adding additional clutter can make them much more chaotic.
Much has been written about this concept of late. It appears that simplifying, down-sizing, and minimizing has actually become a fad. And contrary to what you might think, it isn’t necessarily all about ecology and economics, either.
It’s actually a lot about the mind. People have begun to realize the stresses caused by clutter and the utter freedom that comes from unloading physical and mental stuff from our lives.
In terms of homeschooling, de-cluttering can take on many forms. Getting rid of unwanted and unused educational resources is one way. Loosening schedules and lightening course loads is another. Saying no to activities from time to time and feeling less guilty about what our children might miss by skipping a few things is still another. And what about doing more for ourselves and less for others? A foreign concept to some, it’s true, but though volunteerism can bring on fulfillment, it can also be draining and take away from our own personal time.
Think about other ways to reduce mental and physical clutter in your homeschool, too. Even something as simple as cleaning out a junk drawer, discarding boxes of dried up pens and markers, tossing out a bag of unmatched socks, or purging manila folders of old bills and correspondence can result in a great feeling of weightlessness and accomplishment. It’s very personal, since what stresses one person may not necessarily bother another.
Think about what you can do today to un-clutter your home and school just a little bit. Notice the effect it has on you and your family. Then, the next time you recognize the signs of clutter-related stress coming on, you’ll know exactly what to do.
[Photos: Free Digital]