Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tackling Those Stacks of School Papers!

Do you have stacks of schoolwork papers like this around your home?? It is getting to that time of year where we need to start thinking about what we need to keep of that stack of papers from our school year. If you are like me you have saved every paper so far that your child has done over the course of the year, hence having the huge stacks of papers! Well I am here to tell you that you do not need to save every paper!
Here are some steps to decrease those paper stacks:
  1. Start with saving the items that you will need to meet your state’s requirements. Each state has different requirements/laws that need to be followed in regards to what you need to keep of your child’s work. If you don’t know what your requirements are, take the time to check out theHomeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website. They have a great, easy-to-navigate page of all the states’ requirements. In my state there are no requirements, or accountability to a school district, along with no record keeping that I need to do to homeschool my children. However, I have taken the approach of putting together a notebook/portfolio for each child for each year that I “officially” homeschooled them. So if the laws change in my state or I move to another state, I have some kind of proof that my kids were doing school.
  2. Go through and divide your stacks into the different school subjects.This will give you some idea as to what exactly you have in your stacks. You might find that you only have one or two papers on a certain subject so those papers will go into the “keep pile”.
  3. Go through the stacks individually and find the best, the okay, and the not so good work of your child. This way you can have a sampling of your child’s progress to date. Remember you don’t have to keep every paper!Also, I found that doing this type of paper sorting in the middle of the year helps me to know what things I might need to go back and review with my child. As you weed through the stacks, look for the following:
    • Writing samples, like a copy of the thank you notes they wrote after the holidays
    • Basic math problem worksheets
    • Tests that you might have given your child
    • Awards or certificates that your child has earned
    • Brochures or program fliers from field trips that your child has done

  4. Recycle or throw away all the rest of the papers that you are not keeping! REMEMBER you do not need to keep ALL those papers! It will feel so much better not to have all that paper clutter hanging around your house.
  5. Put your “keep paper pile” into a three ring binder or a box. Putting it all in one binder or box will help you see that you are accomplishing something with your child. It also can turn into a “show book” for your child to show others (like relatives) their work.
Once you are done going through the stacks of papers, take the time to evaluate things, and if you find that you do not have papers for certain subjects, make a note of it in a journal now so that you can either work it in to your child’s schooling or find those “stray” papers or photos of your child’s work or activities that you might have put somewhere else.
Getting this jump start on your school paper stacks will help you as the time draws near for you either to turn in a portfolio to an evaluator or just to move on to the next school year’s work. It also will help you to eliminate those piles of paper clutter and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
Happy Sorting!
**this post was originally published as one of my contributing articles at Happy to be at Home!


Donna said...

Thanks for the inspiration! Papers are the worst! ;-)

I'm giving you a blog award!
Hope you can play along!

momtofivekids said...

What a great topic! I recently went through 12 years worth of homeschooling workbooks/papers and I threw out a lot! I don't know why I saved so much. I had a number of boxes just full of papers. We do portfolios, too. It's a great idea. Now I have one box for each child and in the boxes I put that child's portfolios for each year, plus and special things they will want to keep when they move out. someday.