The end of the homeschool year has come. As you look around your school room, which may be all over the house, it is obvious you are a homeschooler. Artwork hangs on the walls, school books are on the shelves and any other flat surface and paperwork completed over the past school year is everywhere. It may be a mess, but it is evidence of the work your child has done and proves you did teach them something during the past school year. The question now is what to do with all of that paper and stuff now that the school year is done?
To alleviate some of the guilt, know you are not alone if your first inclination is to just toss it all into the garbage. No one would know, except for your child . . . and that may be one of the many reasons you should probably not throw it away.
The schoolwork your child completes tells their academic story as well as carries memories of the good days and some not so good days you have spent together. If you have more than one child, that can amount to a whole lot of paper. So, what do you do and how do you decide what to keep and what does not need to be kept at the end of the year?
HomeLife Academy (HLA) does have academic requirements for the elementary and high school years, but does not require parents to keep all (or any) of the schoolwork their child completes each year. Public and private school teachers do not typically keep schoolwork from the students they teach. Homeschoolers do not have to either. Despite that, most homeschoolers do keep physical records of work just in case they are challenged regarding their child’s academic accomplishments.
Whether your child attends school outside of the home or is homeschooled, there is going to be a whole lot of paper at the end of the year. Instead of numerous and random pieces chosen by their teacher to be sent home, it is already at home with you because you homeschool. Another one of the many pluses of homeschooling is you get to decide which pieces, from everything they have done over the year, are more important than others and the one you will save.
As the parent, you are going to have certain pieces of work you will want to save. Depending on the age of your child, some of these suggestions are the type of work you may consider:
1) Work that shows student performance at the introduction of a new concept and the progress over a one to three-month period once that concept has been mastered.
2) Composition work that shows comparison and contrasts, defense or opposition, etc. of a topic.
3) Creative writings.
4) High tests scores (or ones that show progress) in all subjects.
5) Certificates from programming completed outside of the home.
6) Any artwork.
7) Penmanship or any copywork. It is heartfelt to see the difference of a child’s penmanship from the beginning of a school year and then at the end.
8) Summaries and pictures of favorite field trips taken during the year.
Let your child go through their schoolwork and choose pieces they would like to keep. Set parameters before sorting through the work, so you will have an agreed basis for what they decide to keep.
Storage boxes are how many use to save school work. If you have the space, that is great, but if you do not, one of these “storage” ideas may work well for keeping up with everything.
Grab your cell phone, iPad or camera and take photographs of the work. Files can be easily stored in folders on your computer or on digital camera cards. You can always go through them at a later date to purge those files if more space is needed.
Make Video Records
Lay it all out and take video recordings of everything. If you have a child who does not mind being in front of the camera, have them add commentary about significant pieces from their school year. You can even ask them questions and get feedback about what they learned from that specific assignment.
Create a Scrapbook
Scrapbooking used to be extremely popular. For some people, it still is an activity they enjoy. After you have chosen those special pieces you will save, add them to a scrapbook, sit down with your child and let them add comments about their schoolwork. Scrapbooking with all of the decorating accessories will add fun to the experience and allow them to further personalize what is saved.
Bind it Into a Book
Collect pieces from each subject and bind it into book form to tell the story of your child’s school year. It will make a wonderful keepsake. Your children will enjoy flipping through the pages and sharing with grandparents and other relatives who come to visit. If you do not have the equipment at home to bind, most copy centers will do it for you at a reasonable price.
Binders Are Great for Everything
This may be the easiest way to save work. Binders are a convenient way to store work from the current school year as well as previous ones. Work can be stored by subject and year for each child using a one inch or one and one-half inch binder. Or you can purchase a three-inch binder for each year to save work for each child. Binders store easily on a bookshelf or in a box or storage bin.
If you have not yet learned, a laminator is a homeschoolers best friend. Laminating paper pieces will keep it sturdy and preserve the lifespan of what you save. You can add them to a scrapbook, bind it as a book or place it in a binder. You may find yourself saving a few extra pieces of paper just so you can laminate “just one more piece.” Laminating is fun!
Box it or Bin It
Cardboard boxes or plastic bins are still good options, especially if you have a hard time deciding on what to save and what to throw away. If you have the space, that is even better. Grab everything from the school year and store it in a box or bin to come back to later, so you can decide what to keep and discard. Again, if you have space, do not rush through this process. If you are saving schoolwork in a box or bin, you are a parent who is going to have to pace themselves through the purging process. Know that is all right.
Memories are made each school year, from the gold star papers to the tear-stained ones. That tablet full of scribbled pages, extremely funny, but silly creative writing story, abstract painting of clouds and more will be cherished items and ones you will be happy you saved along the way.
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©2019 HomeLife Academy. Article by Jennifer Smeltser. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the publisher http://homelifeacademy.com/.