Well, we’ve been in school exactly one month now. That means at our house, approximately 300 papers have come home from school between the two schools and the three kids.
I say this with slight exaggeration.
We get a ton of papers home daily, weekly and monthly and I’m sure we’re not the only family drowning in notices, tests, quizzes, homework, art work and the like, for 180 days a year.
I’ll also tell you…I’m a saver.
Not a hoarder, there’s a difference. I’m a saver, safekeeping, keepsakes.
I’m also, as most of you know, a former teacher, so I have those types of tendencies as well: bulletin boards, displays, things like that.
Put it all together: my dining room is my classroom. I’ve been known to have classroom-style calendars on the walls when my kids were little, sticker charts encouraging good behavior, paper chains counting good deeds or days until something starts or ends, and papers on display; tons and tons of papers.
I also use that space to hang all their crafts and birthday cards. Hallways too.
With so many kids, there’s so many crafts, cards, artwork and good papers to display. It can get overwhelming.
This year, our Summer Timeline is still on the wall. I wanted to take it down but the kids weren’t ready yet. I only just got the second half of the summer’s pictures up on there, so they wanted some additional time to look up on the wall and remember their summer before I take it down to save it. (For a keepsake.)
That meant though, that there wasn’t really a good space to start displaying school work as it started coming home these past few weeks.
In the meantime, we’ve been spending the last six months or so doing some work on our house and I came across some unused items from a Stampin’ Up! class I once taught, as I was cleaning out my office. Those items included some magnetized display boards which can stick to a refrigerator.
I had an idea. I had five or six of those display boards. I had a sharpie marker. I took the marker and on the bottom of the display boards I wrote “This week…I am the most proud of this!” on three of the boards.
I stuck them on my fridge, one above the other. (We only just recently removed all the alphabet magnets from the fridge door, so there was a perfectly empty space there for about five seconds before I re-purposed that space.)
Now, each child can go through the papers they bring home that week, or whenever they bring them home, and choose the item they are the most proud of and stick it in the display until another paper comes home that they are even more proud of. It can be a piece of artwork or a test or a homework page that was hard, or really whatever they want.
When I taught, student portfolios were huge. They were a chance for the students to show what piece of their work meant something to them, without someone choosing for them. Many times the piece you think is important, isn’t and to them another piece has more meaning for a reason you don’t even realize. At the end of the school year, the students got to take their work portfolios home and they’d have a year’s worth of work to show, all pieces that were memorable for them.
So that’s what we’re trying out at my house this year. We’ll see how it goes. I still have the urge to cover my “bulletin boards” aka dining room walls with stickered school work, but for now, I’m trying to refrain. We’ve got a birthday coming up anyway….I’ll be able to fulfill that urge by putting up birthday cards instead.
I’m still saving all the good papers though.
Keepsakes. For later.
Saving. Not hoarding.