Do I Need to Keep It All?
A year’s worth of one student’s homeschool papers, workbooks, and projects can be hard to store. Multiply that times several years and a number of children, and it can be overwhelming. You don’t need to keep it all! Here are some tips to help you decide what to keep and what can be thrown out.
A Representative Sample
You don’t need to keep every assignment your child has done. Instead, keep a representative sample. Choose a few key assignments in each subject from throughout the year, specifically selecting the ones that show the progress your child has made. Be sure to keep something from the beginning, middle, and end of each school year, and date each item. While you don’t need to keep everything during the current school year, families sometimes find it helpful to hold onto schoolwork for the current year and then decide what to keep at the end of the year.
Keep the Best
Unless you are keeping something to show a specific skill your child needs to work on or has shown improvement in, keep the best work that your child has done in each subject. For example, you don’t necessarily need to keep all of the rough drafts of a writing assignment. Instead, keep the final copy.
Let Your Child Help
For assignments such as art projects and writing exercises, allow your child to pick some of his favorites to keep. Again, ask him to keep some from the beginning, middle, and end of the year. Depending on your child, you may need to place a limit on the number of items that may be kept. If there are projects that are extra special to your child, consider setting aside a small keepsake box for him to keep in his room to store his favorites.
For large items such as art projects, science experiments, and dioramas, take photographs instead of keeping the item itself. This will require a lot less storage space, while still allowing you and your child to enjoy the fruits of her labor. Use informative filenames and descriptive folders (child, school year, subject, etc.) to ensure that you remember what project fits with what child and time frame. A blog is a great place to add in other details you don’t want to forget.
Rather than keep a copy of assignments and projects, use a computerized system instead. Scan paper copies and take photos of larger assignments. You can store all of your children’s schoolwork on a small external hard drive, or even online, and save tons of space! Again, take the time now to go ahead and use filenames and a folder organization system that will help you keep up with each digitized record.
It isn’t always easy to decide what to keep and what to trash, especially for those of us who are more sentimental. But when your house is being overrun with paper and projects, it’s nice to know that it isn’t necessary to keep EVERYTHING!