School papers drive me absolutely batty. Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful to God that my children have minds to create, eyes to see what they are creating, and hands to make that creativity a reality. The onslaught of papers, however, drives me crazy. I am not sure I will ever master the purging, recycling, keeping, and organizing of those papers, but I do have a system that has worked really well for me for the last few years for the kid’s school papers.
I first bought a plastic bin for each one of the kids and put their name on it. When the kids come home with papers, I sort through them and decide which ones I like or are special and which ones are not. I then put the papers I want to keep in the bin face side down. I continue this throughout the year. It is not realistic to keep every paper that comes home. I just keep the ones that are their best work, show their handwriting, artwork, handprints, etc.
At the end of the year, I will have a bin full of papers (all face down) with the first week of schoolwork being in the bottom of the bin and the end of the year papers are in the top of the bin. I reach into the bin, grab the whole stack of papers and merely flip the whole stack over so the papers are now facing up. When I do this, the first week of school papers are now on the top, facing up, and all of the papers are automatically in chronological order. Now, I am on to the next step.
Step One: I bought lots of spiral bound, 10×10 scrapbooks at Walmart, and they were only about $6 each. I have also seen similar books at JoAnn or Micheals. They have a black cover and 40 pages of white, acid-free, heavy weight paper. They kind of remind me of the old scrapbooks with the black pages.
Step Two: I scrapbook the first page of the book with a picture of the child with their teacher that year and tell what grade they were in.
Step Three: I sort through the stack of papers making sure to keep them in chronological order. I pick out 79 of the best and/or of my personally favorite papers. The book has 40 pages front and back. That makes 80 total pages. I scrapbook the first page so that leaves me with 79 pieces of artwork I can put into my book. Believe me, I know how hard it is to get rid of some of that cute stuff, but the end result will be a beautiful book with only the best, cream of the crop work.
Step Four: Starting with the top of my paper stack, I cut each paper to size, if necessary, and glue (with an acid free glue stick) one paper per book page. Putting papers in the bins each week should only take you less than a minute and making the book only takes about 2 hours.
I got the idea for the art books from a friend of a friend of mine several years ago. I decided to only do the books through elementary school. At about 4th and 5th grade, the cute stuff stops coming home and what you get are a lot of worksheets, etc. Who wants to scrapbook those?
So, someday my kids will be able to leave home with 6 books filled with school work that they made. They love looking at the books, and we always gets lots of laughs. It’s just an easy and nice way to organize special school papers.
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” I Corinthians 14:40