In the last post, I posted an idea or two about filing solutions that could help our children keep track of their schoolwork. But what about filing solutions that help parents keep track of their children’s work as it is brought home (or turned in, if you are a home educator).

When my children were much younger and attending public school, it seemed like my life was inundated with their paperwork, art projects, and permission slips. Does that sound familiar? 🙂  I thought, perhaps, when we decided to bring them home in order to home educate them that it would be different, that somehow, that pile of paperwork would disappear, or at the very least, lessen. After eight years, it hasn’t. Granted, there are no longer macaroni art pieces to be hung, but as I write this, my younger daughter (who is 14), has taken it upon herself to create “slime”. You’ve got it…SLIME! A budding kitchen chemist…Now, I ask YOU…How am I to file THAT piece of artwork?! As the ideas I am about to share with you, just will not do the job. So, seriously, if you have any ideas, let me know!

Okay, the way I managed our children’s files when they were younger, was that each was assigned a particular color. Three sets of colored files lined our file boxes, representing each of our children. Each child had a file for art work, finished schoolwork, permission slips and the last held notes from the teachers and friends, as well as their grade cards.

At the end of each week, we would go over the first two files and each of the kiddos would pick out two school assignments and two pieces of artwork they would like to keep. My husband and I would also choose two items from each that we would like to keep (if our preferences differed from our children’s) and these, too, would be lain aside. We would also place report cards, friends notes, or encouraging or comical notes from the teacher in the protective sleeves.

The rest are disposed of. I know this sounds harsh, heartbreaking, horrible and all the other synonyms that mete out this idea, but think about it. I have four children. The younger three, at this point, were still in elementary and middle school. If I had kept each and every piece of paper they brought home throughout their educational careers, my entire home would now be filled with boxes! What an overwhelming thought! It is hard to enjoy that which overwhelms, right? So, we chose the best of the best.

With the choices made, we slipped them into protective sleeves and placed them in binders where they would be stored.  At the end of the school year, we typically had 1-2 binders for each child. For those macaroni art pieces, take photographs of them, print them and then place in the protective sleeve. I completely understand the desire to keep them. I have kept some “one of a kinds” that just needed to be kept as the original. For those, I framed them and they still line our upstairs hallway. However, think about this. Each time these pieces of artwork are taken out and viewed, the risk of damage is increased and then, we can’t completely enjoy it, whenever we would like, either. With a filed photograph, you can!

This is how I have chosen to deal with the schoolwork, even now that I home educate.

As a side note, I know many mothers who scrapbook their children’s work at given times during the month. I think it is a fabulous idea if you have the ability to work that into your schedule. I think it would be a beautiful tribute to the work of our children. I, too, would like to do that, but for the time being, I have not had time to do that, so I have stuck with the binder system. Hopefully, when I am no longer a full-time student and instructor, I will get around to it.

I look forward to that day!

In the meantime, I will share some fun find links…

Here is a post from Megan and Jake at “The Nerd Nest”, where there are photos posted that perfectly represent the system I use. Their link is http://thenerdnest.com/2011/11/elizas-school-work-scrapbook.html

The scrapbook idea offered toward the end can be seen here by Beth from the blog site, “It Is What It Is”.

While Erin, at the Sunny Side up Blog, has some great pics of a similar file box system that I use. I like her colors better than my own though. I have mahogany boxes and while they work, they are just not as fun! By the way, she has some great scrapbooking ideas, as well, for those of you who would like that next step. 

Happy Organizing, ladies (and gents…should you choose to join us! 🙂 )

We will see you next post!

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