A School Paperwork Organizational System that Works
Last year about this time, I shared a few ideas on staying organized throughout the school year. Because I was not yet a parent of a school-aged child at that point, those ideas were mere suggestions passed down by other wise bloggers.
I choose one of those handy-dandy organizational systems for this past school year and it worked out so well that I wanted to share it with those of you who are still looking for something that actually works and is easy to stick with all the way through May (or June, if you’re lucky like us :)).
The file system.
From Birth-4K, I allot each of my kids their own plastic tote. In it, I place drawings they’ve created, art projects, little notes they’ve written, special valentines, birthday cards, a couple cute outfits, a baby calendar, etc. By the time they hit 4K, it is super stuffed with goodies that make me cry when I bring it out.
Beginning in 4K (sidenote: 4K here is a half-day “kindergarten” in the public school that is for 4 year olds), each kid gets a plastic tote where I hang a file for each grade (4K-12th grade) in a nice colorful array of folders. While I know that all their papers from all the grades will not fit into this smallish tote, I do know that if I didn’t get all the folders in a color coding scheme now, I’d be so mad at myself 5 years down the road when the company stopped making those colors.
Anyway, the totes I bought are stackable, so I placed them right near my desk, which also happens to be near the everyday traffic of life (this is important). Everyday when I go through their backpack to see if there’s any homework, etc., I take out the papers and quickly take 15 seconds to go through them.
1. If it’s a crossword puzzle, word search, time test, etc., I acknowledge its existence and immediately put it in our cubbies to use as drawing paper.
2. If it’s a piece of art, a book report, a journal entry, or something that looks like they put some creative effort into it (as opposed to just spouting off some facts), then I talk with them about it. Sometimes I know that this piece of work is absolutely going into their box. Sometimes I ask them questions to see if it me ants something to them or if they were just doing it because they had to. Other times I talk to them about it and then toss it into the recycling bin.
The key is, if it isn’t something any of us would be interested in looking back in on 5, 10, 15 years it doesn’t go in the box.
|These are really fun pictures he made in art, which for awhile was his favorite class (surprisingly!). These two pictures showed a side of Asante that he doesn’t express very often on his own.|
If it doesn’t go in the box but the kids like it, I put it on our art wire hanging in our dining/living area. If the art wire is full, I take something down that has been up for awhile, replace it with the new item, and recycle the old item. By this time we’ve looked at it for a month or so, and everyone is so excited to put something new up that they are fine with me recycling the item I took down.
Because the boxes are right there in the midst of everything, I can immediately place the item I’m saving in the box. And we’re done! It takes just a couple minutes of a day and come the end of the school year, we have no extra papers to go through, no mounds of artwork to sift through, nothing. Just a tidy folder of selected work and memorabila that highlights their time in their class.
Super easy. Doable. Cheap. No big set-up.