If you have school age children, then you have school papers. In fact, you have lots and lots of school papers.
It can be overwhelming to figure out what to do with all that comes home in the backpack each day. I have 3 children (1 in middle school, 1 in elementary, and 1 in preschool), so that’s 3 backpacks with plenty of papers and various projects. Thankfully, I have found an organizational system that works for our family, and I am sharing it with you today!
Sort the Papers As Soon as Possible
The kids and I go through the papers almost immediately after coming home from school. We deal with that stack of papers right then and there. In our home, school papers generally go to 1 of 3 different places:
“To be Saved” Basket
Papers that have the potential to make it into the child’s memory box (more about that later) are placed in a basket that we keep right in our dining room hutch. These tend to be special projects, unique writing pieces, or even a high scoring quiz or test.
The items in this basket are not necessarily going to end up in the memory box, but they do have that potential. The basket is sifted through now and again as the year progresses and as more work comes home.
“Important Papers” Binder
There are plenty of papers that come home for each of my children that need to be saved for most (if not all) of the year. These papers include things like: master calendars, class schedules, classroom rules, login information, etc. Our binder is divided into three sections, one for each child. If a child comes home with an important paper then we 3-hole punch it, and stick it in their section of the binder.
Field trip forms and other timely information are not kept in the binder. These forms are dealt with as soon as possible. I sign the form and return it to the back pack. We write important dates on our calendar and discard the paper.
I know. It can be really hard to get rid of work your child has completed. If we keep everything, well, we might have a hard time finding the kitchen table in a few months. If the paper is not going in the basket (and then possibly the memory box) or the binder, then it gets recycled. We still take the time to acknowledge the work. We ask about the assignment or have them read a part of it to us. But yes, it quickly makes its way to the recycling bin. And yes, this is something our children know happens.
Sometimes we hang items on the fridge or a door to display the work for a period of time. Sometimes these items make it to the memory box, and sometimes they don’t. It’s nice for the kids to see their work around the house.
Keep the Special Work in a Memory Box
The memory box is the final stop. Work that has remained in the basket is now considered as material for the memory box. By the end of the year, we have a small stack of papers in the basket, and we look through that to choose the work that will make it to the box.
Each child has a memory box with a section for each grade they have completed. The section includes a school photo for the year and (about) 8-12 papers or small projects from the year. It’s a great way to remember the child at that time in their life!
School papers are inevitable, but keeping them all is impossible. A simple organizational system seems to be the best way to tackle the paper problem. I hope you found a little inspiration from our system!
What about you? How do you organize school papers? I would love to hear your ideas, so drop them in the comments below!
Until next time,