Paper Management for the Homeschooling Mother Who Wants to Save Everything
About once per month, I organize the children's prodigious production of paper. I notice a time when Chris has the children somewhere else--like at a hot air balloon festival!--and I grab it.
I have a paper receptacle in the kitchen and in the school room: the two places of highest paper production. As the kids draw, scribble, and write all day long, I grab the papers and toss them into my baskets. My personality type wants to obsess over each piece of paper, which on a daily basis would paralyze me.
With the children gone (that's important), I grab each child's binder for the current school year, a trash bag, and a three-whole punch.
I sort the papers into four sections: each child ends with a stack of papers worth keeping (at least for now) and most of the papers go in the trash. It's so hard for me to throw away papers that I've found it goes much easier if I just "get into the zone," throwing away masses all at once instead of going through papers daily (and who has time for that?).
Then I store the children's papers in their binders. The last step is to take the trash out of the house before the children come home (this is important too).
At the end of the whole school year, at some point I flip through the binders and throw away even more. I'm sure I still have too much and I don't know what I'll do with all these binders when the children are grown and gone, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
This method has worked for me since our firstborn began scribbling at age two. I know how to organize the paper of three kids, but I don't know what I'd do with five, seven, ten kids, nor do I pretend to.