Today I am sharing how I organize our kid’s school work (projects, drawing, tests) that they bring home.
Do you feel like you have a ton of school stuff?
Your kids bring home papers, art projects, homework, tests, drawings… (this list will go on & on & on…)
Our kids were bringing home a TON of paperwork and they were doing a lot at home, too. I don’t want to ignore it or make them feel like I don’t love it. At the same time, I love to be organized (I was a teacher- maybe that’s part of it?)
Mickey and I have four kids (picture below) and I need to stay on top of things, so I’m come up with a few solutions over the years.
Yes… kids bring home a lot of stuff!! That’s why I need to take my own declutter course every year. 🙂
It started years ago…
When our son started preschool, the crafts & papers came pouring in! Fast forward two years. I now have kids in preschool and elementary school. Imagine the papers that come home! My friend, Samantha, gave me a great idea and I was ready to get started. I grabbed materials and got started! I bought binders, plastic sleeves, sharpies and highlighters (to high-light dates on their projects)
TIP–>> Use a binder to keep their special work! Give it to them on their graduation day!
So, each child picked one color (I bought their favorite colors) and I wrote their names with a Sharpie on the side (trust me, you don’t want this marker to run or it will look very messy- stick with using a Sharpie). I bought the widest binders that they had and I bought protective sheets to go in them.
I came home and printed out four sheets to put in the front labeled “YOUR CHILD’S NAME’s special things”. You could use a Sharpie for this, too. I put them onto contact paper and into the binders…
Here is how I handle it:
The first day that they bring something home, they pick which thing is their favorite and it goes on the refrigerator (each child has a magnet) Normally, it stays there one day. We will call this Day #1′s paper. You could also put Day 1’s paper in a special place to display their work (I love this one from artists helping children)
On Day #2:
On day two, we will take Day 1’s paper and replace it with Day 2’s paper. We are only keeping one paper displayed at a time.
On Day #3:
On Day 3, we are going to go ahead and replace Day #2′s paper with Day #3′s paper… and so on. They can help.
So what do we do with the “day-old” paper? If it is something that I do not want to part with (report cards, stories, letters about us or our family, hand-print/footprint poems), I put it in my binder. I have their earliest things at the beginning and their older things at the end.
I would include a first drawing & first painting on the front page and I plan to use the last page for their graduation ceremony program.
What else goes into the binders?
I do not pick a lot of things. I want each item to have a special meaning.
The first family picture that he/she drew?
Those little questions that they answer (about their family)?
Report cards every year. Special notes from their teachers. Preschool graduation diplomas.
Whatever matters to you gets saved. If it is not too important, you don’t need to keep it. You will be giving this to your child one day, so make it count! I have even gone back through & thinned it out a bit (if I can’t remember the reason for keeping it or if it no longer brought up an emotion in me, it went back to the recycling bin)
I separate them by grade. I just grab my Sharpie and write the grade on a piece of paper. I use a Highlighter and I highlight the new grade date and their age (see picture below).
What do I do with all of the other papers?
A lot of our family lives in Pennsylvania (we are in NC), so I send some of it to them in a card or on a birthday. (The kids pick what they want to send)
Secretly, put it into our recycling bin. After we have looked at it & talked about it, I take our pile into the kitchen & put it in the recycling bin – under other stuff so that they don’t see me doing this.
There are so many apps that help you keep their work. You can add other people to it (grandparents) to allow them to view it, too. It is easy to do! You just take a picture of the artwork & store it.
4. PHOTO BOOK
You can take pictures of your child’s work & upload them into a book (similar to the photo books that you make of people). I know that most companies will do this. This will keep all of those extra papers in one little thin book for you! This will cost money, but it may be well worth it to you. You could do one every year (just save the photos in a file & keep adding to them).
I hope this helped you to find a way to save your child’s school work!!
If you want more organizing tips, check out my post on Organizing their Art Supplies.