Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spring (Homeschool) Cleaning

Do you have a systematic method for keeping and purging your kids' school work?

Do you toss out math workbooks/worksheets each year without a second thought? What about history projects? Writing assignments? Art work?

I'm cleaning out my school closet and realizing that through inertia I've saved a lot of stuff. It is easy to toss out old Explode the Code or math workbooks, but much harder for me to pitch the history notebooks with art, colored maps, and written work. Why? Because I see the personality of my kids in their work and love looking back at the progression in their abilities and their learning.

But it is ludicrous to hang on to stacks of projects (soon-to-be five kids times 12 years of school!).

I hope you'll fill up my comments section with how you cope with this. Even for moms of kids in "away" school, you have to deal with the avalanche of homework and projects coming home.  What do you do?


MagistraCarminum said...

Dear Amy,
"Ever vigilant" being my motto, I always wanted to be ready to prove to anyone that we had done school. So, at the end of each year, I bought a large three-ring binder for each child, and put in sub-dividers for each subject area, and saved a sampling of work from that year. Math test, writing projects, lists of books read, photos of projects done, etc. Then I labeled each binder with name and school year (Ben, Grade 5), and put them in a storage bin in my shed. They are there to this day, and now that my children are of an age to have their own children, I will be able to get rid of more from the distance accumulated the next time I clean out the shed. :-) Good luck!

PS- this eventually became the way I organized each student's studies from the start (into a large notebook) and then all I had to do was discard extra stuff that was unnecessary.

ProudMom said...

Hello! I'm a new follower of your blog...thanks for the encouragement! :)

I don't do this, but I've heard about it and plan to do it more as my kids get bigger:

Take digital photos of the projects they do, coloring pages, cards they make, etc... keep them all together in a folder on the computer/external hard drive, and if you want you can even display them on a digital picture frame.

I want to do this with special things they make for me, etc...but it would work for school work too. Then, you'd have a record of their work...but it would take up much less space. And, you could make copies of it more easily...etc. :)

Have a great day!

Jennifer said...

I wish that I had some good advice!! I'm in the same boat you are. I have no problems dumping the math and grammar books, but I can't throw out their writing and history. It's really starting to add up - and they are still so young!!!!
I've considered digitizing some of it (ie. scanning it in and putting it on a disk) but I haven't done that yet. :)

Amy said...

Hi Amy,

I have a three-ring folder (I think you call them binders)that I slowly fill up over a number of years with my children's best work, stored in plastic pockets. Art work, nature drawings, history pages, science experiments, an occasional maths project and creative writing slowly fill these folders up. I call it their 'keepsake' schoolwork. Work they have enjoyed and put their best efforts into.

The big stuff - like wall posters they have made - I take photo's of and store them with our photo collection.

Meredith said...

Hi Amy!

I like to try (emphasis on TRY) to keep the clutter down and a system has emerged with regards to school stuff and anything the boys create at home and how we decide whether it stays or goes.

First sweep! Anything that comes home from school either ad hoc during the year or in the big,overflowing bags at the end of the school year gets sorted by me first. Anything I think worthy of keeping I put to one side. The same goes for things they produce at home for craft or creativity!

Second sweep! The boys each have a box that resides at the bottom of their wardrobes called their "Keeping Box." They then go through the things they have brought home or created at home recently. Anything they want to keep they put in their keeping box. The rest, having gone past me and them, goes in the recycling bin. And quite a lot goes in there, I might add. I am big on
"Process, not product."

Sweep three! About once a year I go through my piles of stuff I have put aside. A year down the track I am less attached to certain things and the real keepers really then stand out. Things that aren't keepers hit the recycling bin. And the boys also do this with their keeping boxes. They manage to cull what they have kept by about half each time we do this.

And that helps to keep the clutter down and helps the items really worth preserving rise to the surface.

That said, I have only just recently heard of the idea of taking photos of paintings etc. What a great idea. We take photos of amazing Lego creations so I am not sure why I didn't think of it for other things. But I didn't. But it is also now part of our preserving without storing strategy.

Mrs. Edwards said...

These are some great suggestions! Consolidating each school year into binders is a good idea, something that I will look to do in the future. At this point, looking back, I can't re-create a book for each grade. Since I began creating unit workbooks for the kids' Tapestry of Grace work, they each fill four spiral books each school year that holds their history, maps, writing assignments, and so on. For now I'm hanging onto these, but as a few of you said, time sometimes puts things into better perspective and things don't seem so worth keeping!

For my current cleaning project, I'm pitching, pitching, pitching and taking digital pictures of things that seem especially precious.

One thing that I have done in the last two years is create a digital memory book of the school year with photos of the kids at work, field trips, their school projects, and reprints of essays. I've ordered a copy printed and spiral bound by a photo website. This can get pricey, but makes a good, slim keepsake of the school year.

I love hearing the different suggestions--maybe we'll get some more input from other readers, too.

Anonymous said...

I second the binder the idea. Every year I save one binder's worth of each little's work. Then I usually go thruogh the binders saved from previous years, and purge a little more so that the binders can be combined. I'm anticipating that, in the end, we'll have a one or two vol. timeline notebook, (where we file most of our history work), and a large elementary binder / portfolio, and a large secondary binder / portfolio. Don't know yet if the system will actually be practical. I, too, am working on this issue.

Sharon said...

Um... I have a pile of project posters that came home with Josh at the end of last school year (December 09) still sitting on the floor of my bedroom, waiting to even be looked at, let alone sorted and stored or photographed or anything. I'm not sure this is the sort of "how to cope" you were looking for, though. Eventually I will run out of floor space for piles in this house. But it hasn't happened yet.

~ Sharon

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