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I have one child in preschool, 5 days a week, and one child in gymnastics once a week, plus the random library program or park district activity. The youngest only bring home one or two pieces a paper a week. Her weekly coloring sheet and the once or twice a session reminder to register for the next session or a special class. My son averages 3 pieces of paper a day; that’s over 15 “things” he is bringing home per week, sometimes more (pre-schools aren’t going green yet!). That is a lot of stuff coming into the house. Combine that with any projects we do at home, a son who loves to draw and color, and very quickly, you are drowning in art projects and paper!
Here is the system I implemented this year that seems to be working for us; hopefully, it will help you too!
Managing School Papers
Just like with mail, any and all papers need to be dealt with as soon as you walk in the door. Immediately. I sort everything into these piles:
- Coloring sheets/art not saving
- Projects that we love/save
- Notes for parents
Here is what I do with everything, and that’s the key; everything has a place and goes there immediately.
One worksheet a day, his very best work that day, gets hung up on our daily board (a wipe board/corkboard that has our daily schedule, the monthly school calendar, and important invites) so that dad can see it when he gets home. After Dad sees it, we put it in our file box system where the papers that will be saved are stored; they will stay until the end of the school year. At that time, we will go through it together and pick out a few of his favorite that shows his progress and what he has learned; the rest will be recycled.
Coloring Sheets/Art Not Worth Saving
Some of the projects that come home are nothing special; they are coloring sheets or just a few random lines on a paper. Those have a photo taken of them (I will detail what I do with those photos in a bit). The ones he wants to keep, but I don’t really care about, get put in his “art binder.”
What is an “art binder”? Well, it’s just this: A 3 ring binder filed with 100 sheet protectors.
The whole thing cost me less than $5, and it is his pride and joy. I started it last year, and it’s only half full (you can put two pages in each sheet protector). He sits down and reads it to his sister. Shows it to guests. The plan was to have him decorate the binder too, but he didn’t want to do that, so it’s just a plain binder full of his special drawings and papers. When it gets full, he has already been warned that he will have to choose what to take out to put new items in.
Projects We Love/Save:
Some projects are just so cute and/or so good we love them and don’t want to lose them. We take a picture of them (of course, you are sensing a trend now, I am sure!) Some of them go on loan to my husband’s cubicle at work. If they are seasonal, they are hung around the house until the season is over. Then they are all stored in one of these:
I realize eventually we will have to sort through this to make room, and some will have to go, but for right now, everything still fits in there.
Notes for Parents
Again immediate action is key. Invites, schedule notes, etc., all get hung on our daily board, added to our Google Calendar, and RSVP sent. Things that need to be signed get signed immediately and put back in his bag. Phone list updates, etc., get filed in a school folder.
Now that everything is in its place, I bet you are wondering what you do with all those photos? I upload all those photos to our Families Shutterfly Share site. On our site, there is a separate page for all of my son’s artwork. Each page on a Shutterfly’s share site is customizable, and you can have different sections, etc. Currently, I have one for art set up as a slide show where everyone can watch what he makes, and I have a separate album for school work. I have also made photo books around a theme with the kids’ photos they love to look at.
Hopefully, some of my tips and ideas will help you keep from being buried in school paperwork too!
How do you keep all the school paperwork under control?
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