Tag Archive: teens



Every year, inevitably, both parent and child arrive at a place where paper becomes their arch nemesis. That is, if they do not have a good system in place.

Sometimes, people think because I am a home educator and an organizer that things ALWAYS go off smoothly and I NEVER have to make adjustments, maintain or catch up. None of these can be the farthest from the truth. Organization is work, it is work to maintain it and life does not always ‘play nicely’.

And, being an organizer does not make me immune! But I am armed with a tenacity to find a solution, so I tend to tackle problems with an attitude that a solution will, indeed, be found.

To this end, I have a younger son, who, a few years ago, we found was fighting an epic battle with school related paperwork. Prior to the new school year beginning, we had set up a binder system  where he could place his assignment planner, his work in progress and notes, etc.

He had all the tools that he would need to complete his assignments…So, we thought.

As I am his instructor, I began to notice that on a frequent basis, his assignments were not all being completed.

Almost simultaneously, it occurred to me that each time he came to our schoolroom to attend class, his binder was almost empty, while his pile of paperwork was toted down the stairs poking out of books, stacked precariously atop of his pile of books or simply MIA.

I decided to take a few days to observe. Day after day, the same scenario occurred. Finally, on the third day, I asked him a question that changed his educational career and saved my sanity!!

Now brace yourselves, this question is momentous!!!! Are you ready for it?

I asked, “Son, why do you not use the binder system we put into place?”

With a frustrated sigh, he replied “Because it makes me really, really mad!”

I was shocked. How could a binder system make anyone ‘really, really mad’?

I asked him to tell me why this particular system provoked him to such disgust.

He began to tell me how much it frustrated him to have the paper holes tear and for the pages to be hanging askew, lacking tidiness. Now, folks, I’ll admit this astounded me, because he toted this papers down in ways that would make me crazy. Nonetheless, he had shared what he thought about it and I took it to heart and began to think about solutions.

So, I asked him about using the ring reinforcers. He did not like that idea either, because it “made everything look, I don’t know, off…”

Ahhhhhh. I got it. I really did.

Because the system produced less than stellar aesthetics and functionality, in his mind, it provoked him to anger, which made him not want to use it. He didn’t want to turn in torn work or work that looked less than what he thought it should look like.

I can TOTALLY relate to this. When I use something, I want it

1) to work and 2) I want it to be as aesthetically pleasing as is possible. If it isn’t, I don’t want to use it and, apparently, neither did he!

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. This child is a BOYYYYYY. He doesn’t do frills. He is interested in things that are functional and do not create a disaster. Something that works. For him, the binder system just did not work.

So, what were we to do? Well, I decided to go try an accordion file.

I zipped down to Target and purchased an eight pocket file, zipped back home and he began to label the tabs with the names of his courses. Place a legal pad in one file, along with his zipper pen holder, and then, place his planner which he uses to keep track of assignments and events in the front.

I cannot tell you what this small change made in our lives. He began to not only be able to track his homework assignments, he came to class prepared, less stressed, turning assignments in on time and receiving good grades. It was amazing. Now, the young man will not be found without it, when he is pursuing something academically!

This just reiterated to me how much having a tool that does not work affects us. And this is true in any organizational feat. The tool may work fine for others, but it may not be a good fit for us.

My daughters, for example, work just fine with a binder system. In fact, they prefer it. He simply cannot abide it, so it does not work. And it showed in everything  he was trying to do. It kept him from being successful.

Now, my younger two children are teens and my older two are adults, so I have been writing more about teens. But you may be a younger mother, or, at least, a mother with younger children and you may begin to ask, what about filing for the little ones in our lives?

The lil’ people are so fun to find storage solutions for, because there is so much more color and texture (Generally, speaking…) than for the teens. Or maybe, I just feel that way, because pretty paper, glue, markers, etc. get to be pulled out and I get to have more FUN!

At any rate, stay tuned and we will look at storage for the needs of our little ones tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, if you have a ‘frilly, creative’ girl, whose desire is to use an accordion system, as well and wants to add some sass, you can follow the idea from this Pinterest page, using whatever material she would like to. Make it modern, antiqued or whatever your style is…the point is to make something functional beautiful or cool. Just have fun with it!

This idea could also be used for Mom’s organization of paperwork that has to be kept, but available on the go! So, don’t forget the possibilities for yourselves ladies! After all, we are the managers of our home!!

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I was speaking with a woman recently about the relationship she and her child have in regards to education. It occurred to me that this mother was trying to achieve meeting her own needs through her child. When they were not met the way she desired, she became angry; her daughter is struggling with being respectful, there is something that she is wanting, too. The breakdown in their communication has caused problems, because each can only see what they, personally, want and are not receiving.

The book of James says that the things that cause fights and wars among us is the fact that we desire something that we are not getting; that we covet and kill but do not get what we want because we will not ask of the Father and when we do we ask, often we ask amiss to use it on our own pleasure rather for the glory of the Father.

So, how does this apply to communication in the new school year? Throughout the next months that make up our school year, there will be things that we and our children will want from one another. And, there are specific ways in which we have learned to communicate; ways that are both good and bad. This is important to accept and understand, because communication is a tool. It can be used as an implement to build and restore or it can be wielded as a weapon to tear down and destroy.

We, as parents, can set the example of loving communication that deals with problems as they arise in gentle truth, allowing our children to flourish and grow as they begin to see that we are committed to loving them the way Christ loves us.

We can teach the way He did…consistently, lovingly and truthfully, with God’s glory in mind…not our own.

When we communicate to our children that we are “here” and willing to commit to responding to them in the love of Christ, we build trust.

As I mentioned before, however, communication can also be a tool of destruction…it can be detrimental to the lives of our children.

When our children’s mistakes arise ( and they will, just as our own do) it is imperative to remember, that like ourselves, they need to be corrected, but gently, kindly and with loving patience. Is that not what the Father does for us?

He does not scream, throw things, give us labels such as “stupid”, “dumb”, or “incompetent”, storm off or ignore us. Rather, He tells us the truth in love. He calmly addresses the heart, and then the actions that came out of the position of the heart. Then, guess what? He gives us room to grow…to practice! He is not intimidated by not getting exactly what He wants from us as His children. After all, if He waited to meet us and help us until we responded perfectly to Him each time, He would be waiting an awful long time, even among those of us who call upon Him as Savior! We do not respond to Him perfectly and yet, He is always faithful in every way. Our children will not do things perfectly, but that should not keep us from committing to loving them, teaching them, being faithful parents and setting an example that they can follow and respect, as we ourselves, submit our desires to the Lord.

As we look to begin a new year in school, what would you like to see as growth in yourself and your child by the end of the school year? Lay these before Him and let Him equip you to equip your child.

Set the example of praying for both your needs. You will not be sorry.

When looking at your goals for the year, begin to also examine what is working in your relationship with your child in regards to communication.

If it working, praise the Lord for it!!! We are so good at looking at the bad in a relationship and completely missing all that is good about it!

Let’s start off the year right…Looking to the Lord, looking at the good, noble things about our relationship, give thanks and rejoice over those things and then, set off to do what the Lord shows us. Communicating with one another in love, so that our parent/child relationship will show to the world that there is a God who cares that we stay together and that we stay together because of love, not just because we are a parent and child.