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The school year is over and there you sit, surrounded by piles of papers and projects trying to decide what to toss, what to keep, and where in the world to store the pieces you do decide to keep.
I can’t help you with the what to keep, but I can offer you some tips on how to preserve it once you decide.
1. Store it in bankers boxes. One of the simplest storage methods is to toss the keepsake pieces in a bankers box. When I’ve done this in the past, I preferred one box per child until the box was full, which usually took a few years. Then, you can just mark on the outside the years or grade levels that the papers in the box cover.
2. Take photos. I like to take photos of our hands-on projects. I have no desire to keep a salt dough map or a model of the Earth forever, but I don’t want to forget them. I snap photos and toss the projects.
Make sure you take photos throughout the year of things like field trips, science experiments, and dance recitals, too.
3. Scan them. Scan papers and photos and save them on a flash drive or external hard drive. If you use a flash drive, be sure to label it.
4. Create a portfolio. Some states require an end-of-year portfolio, but even if yours doesn’t, assembling a homeschool portfolio can be a fun, creative method for preserving your student’s work for the year.
5. Make an end-of-year folder. I love these creative end-of-year folder ideas! They’re a bit of work to assemble, but what an incredible keepsake they’d make throughout the years.
6. Store it in binders. If you’re the less creative type (like me) and just want to make sure you don’t lose the important papers, store them in a 3-ring binder. Just insert the papers in page protectors or three-hole punch them. Then, write your child’s name and the school year on a binder insert and – voila! – you’re ready to store this year’s keepsake pages on a bookshelf.
7. Share them with the grandparents. Your kids’ grandparents need papers to show off on their fridge, too. Select some special pages, such as artwork or writing assignments, and send them on their way to the grandparents’ house.
8 Frame it. Yours is a homeschool home, so it’s okay for your walls to reflect that. Frame some of your kids’ artwork, poetry, other special keepsake pages and display them in your home.
9. Store it in a filing cabinet. This is my current preferred method of storing schoolwork. I’ve got a small, 2-drawer filing cabinet with hanging file folders. I save the special pages as well as those I might want to have for reference when putting together transcripts or college applications.
10. Save it in a bin. Specifically, I’m thinking of that little bin under the shredder. Okay, I’m mostly kidding. You do want to keep the special things…but don’t feel guilty about being selective about what constitutes special. If you’ve got a few kids that you’re going to be homeschooling over the next decade or two, it’s just not feasible to keep everything. They’ll forgive you. Use the confetti for your next paper mache project – and then take a photo of that before tossing it.
What are some of your tried-and-true methods for preserving your kids’ schoolwork?
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