Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Now we have a sorting system for mail and other papers coming into the house. But what about all those school papers that come in everyday?
You also need to work out a similar system to sort those papers.
I have the triplets come in each day (they are in 2nd grade) and take out their folders and put on the couch where I sit so I can go through them. They get their snack and then do any homework they have for the day. While they are getting their snack I am going through their folders.
I first of all see if there is any weekly papers to update us for the week from the teacher. They usually send something like that on Monday and Friday. Then I see if there are any homework papers for the kids to do. Once I have pulled those out to read in a few minutes...I go through the rest of the papers. Most of them are worksheets with a few pictures thrown in. If there is anything really special, like a story they made up with pictures then you can set it aside to keep it. I recommend only keeping at the most one paper per month. Yes...per month!! Think about it. That is still 12 papers per child per year. Multiply that times 12 years in school and that is still a lot of papers to store! It is enough to remember what level they were on and to see how they drew.
Our situation may and hopefully is different from yours in that since this is my 2nd marriage and these are my step kids. So I have to save all the papers so that their mom can see them when they go to her house at the end of the week. I have a folder that I keep all the papers in for the week from the kids. At the end of the week on Friday when they are going to go home with their mom I put all their papers in one of the kids book bags so that their mom gets to see everything. We let their mom keep those special papers for them. If there is something that we really like, we make a copy of it and give the original to their mom.
Then when they come back to our house again in a week, they will have a boat load of papers that their mom kept for us to see. We go through those to see what happened that week and read everything. After we have seen everything and have gone through it with the children (if necessary), then I throw them away. (recycle)
You don't have to feel guilty about throwing these away!! These are worksheets for the most part. If you keep everything....then nothing will seem special.
I have heard some mothers say that they want to keep everything to give their child when they grow up. Is this really a favor you are doing for them? You hand them over boxes and boxes of papers. Now they have to go through them and either throw them away or store them (more clutter)themselves. They may enjoy looking at a few of them, and if there was just a few from each year it would be fun. But if its all their stuff then it is cruel to do to them. You are basically giving them boxes of guilt so they can decide what to do with it and its off your chest now. I think that you would find that most kids wouldn't want you to keep everything they did.
You can have a bulletin board that you keep a special paper of the day or of the week on to showcase it if its a little special and they worked hard on it that week. This will make them feel proud. Then when you take it down, if its not that most special paper of the month...throw it away. The kids don't have to know you are throwing it away, chances are they will never miss them. I have done this for years with my kids and my step kids and I can not think of a single time that the kids have been upset or realized that their papers were gone.
Remember, it is not like you are saying your child isn't special or you don't like the work they do by throwing it away. But keeping everything is not feasible if you want to have a home that is comfortable and not cluttered.