Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Motivation: What to do with your children's schoolwork at the end of the year

I remember the days. . . my young children would carry large amounts of paper home in their backpacks for me to deal with.  Worksheets, coloring pages, reports, artwork, and notebooks would threaten to overtake my home and left me wondering how many trees were used up in the making of all of that paper.  I came up with a system to deal with the problem and it worked pretty well for the 20 years or so that I used it.  I wrote a post about it last year and thought it was time to bring it out again for this year. 

Originally posted on Saturday, June 6, 2009

What do I do with all of the schoolwork my children bring home?

As we come to the end of the school year, we're faced with a dilemma. What do we do with all of the schoolwork our children have brought home from school. If you're like me, my sentimental side wants to keep everything my child has touched. However, the practical side of me screams "what do I do with all of this stuff?" I'll give you some ideas to keep both sides of your brain happy.

1. At the beginning of the school year, label a small file box for each child.

2. Label several hanging files for different areas of paperwork you might want to save for your child. Each child will be different according to their age and activities. Some examples are art, handwriting, poems/stories, awards/pictures, research etc.

3. Every time your child brings home a paper, decide first if it is a keeper. You don't have to keep everything. In fact, if you try to keep everything, you will be overcome with paperwork very quickly.

4. If you love it or your child loves it then you might consider keeping it.

5. Once a month, go through what you've kept and decide if anything needs to be thrown out. Maybe your child has a final copy of a poem he wrote. You can safely throw out the rough drafts.

6. At the end of the school year, go through your files and keep only what is special and represents the school year. You should have enough to fill a large manila envelope or a 2 pocket folder. Label the file/folder with the child's name and school year. Place it in a rubbermaid bin and store in a dry place. At the end of 12 years, your child will have a bin of memories to enjoy.

7. If your child has a large piece of artwork or a bulky project, the best thing to do is take a picture of the item. Maybe you can take a picture of your child holding the item. Some artwork is nice to frame. I've seen some very simple artwork matted and framed and it looks beautiful.

8. Now that my children are leaving the nest, I've given them their keepsake bins to keep. Some of the items were kept, but some were thrown away. I feel like I've done my duty and protected their childhood memories. Even so, some of my favorite memories were not my children's memories.

9. If my child made me a mother's day card or a special picture that was just for "Mommy" then I have kept it in my own keepsake box.

I hope these ideas will help you get a handle on your child's paperwork.


  1. I love framed artwork - it's a really unique touch, I think!

  2. Love this reminder - now if I can just follow it!

  3. I took a picture of EVERYTHING that the boys brought home this year. I uploaded everything to Snapfish and built photobooks. Now we just have to store a book for each one of them instead of all of the crafts.


I'd love to know what you're thinking. Please feel free to leave ideas and comments.