Now that my elementary school kids are home for February vacation, this is my chance to catch up with organizing their school papers and artwork and getting my planner up to date with sports schedules and appointments. Like it or not, I am chief organizer. If you are in the same boat and would like to get better organized, here are five tips on how to organize your elementary school kids papers, artwork and schedules.
Select one or two school papers at the beginning of the year and one or two papers at the end of the year to see your child’s growth. Do not keep every paper. (I’ve made this mistake.) Save a nice report or two but recycle the rest. Elementary school has not gone paperless and if you don’t start recycling papers, you will be buried in them! Place these in a small binder, folder or box for for each child. Be consistent and use the same size binder or box year after year. Here are the small Ikea Kassett boxes that we just started using. James is pretty good about keeping only a few important papers like his 3rd grade portfolio that I received at parent-teacher conferences and his book report.
Once you’ve gone through the piles of papers that have accumulated, develop a daily sorting routine that works for you. Empty those backpacks, and put all papers in a designated area to sort through. All field trip, permission slip type papers that need your attention can be placed in your own personal “control journal”. You’ll know exactly where they are and you can deal with them after dinner or whenever you are ready.
3. An Area for Artwork
Display your child’s artwork in an area that can accommodate a cork board and a small wall or book shelf for displaying their 3-D projects (paper mache/clay). The refrigerator may work for some, but when you have more than one child, the space is limited and large pieces of artwork can overtake the space and create a cluttered look.
4. Take a Picture
Take photos of their artwork and store them in your pc. When you are ready, create an album of these photos, be consistent and use the same size albums/binders year after year. The kids will enjoy looking at back at their school year with these small, easily organized picture albums. As they get older, combine the artwork photos with the few school papers that you’ve selected, so that there is just one album/binder per kid, per school year.
Now that you have the pictures of their artwork, don’t feel guilty about tossing some of that artwork that you’ve proudly displayed – remember, you’ve capture the memory on film and you have to make room for their new artwork!
5. The Family Calendar
Remember that “control journal” that I mentioned above? Take it out and transfer the appropriate information on those papers to your family calendar and then either sign off and re-pack (permission slips) file papers that you need to refer to at a later date, or recycle them. Write an entire year’s events in the one place that everyone in the family can access. Organize all of the kids’ appointments, sports and event schedules right here.
Have you heard of More Time for Moms? More Time for Moms has a very handy calendar that can assist in organizing everyone’s schedules. The large spaces allow you to write all of your appointments, birthdays, activities and notable events. Draw attention to your important events with colorful stickers. This calendar is recommended by several busy moms on Amazon.com. The 2011 More Time for Moms Calendar is available on Amazon for about $10.00.
These simple tips are helpful to me when it comes to organizing my kids’ papers, artwork and schedules. The key is to develop a daily routine to streamline the organizational process. What tips do you recommend for organizing these things? I would love to hear your comments.
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