Kids School Papers Driving You Crazy

One of the most amazing parts of being a parent is reliving your childhood through your children.

I can clearly remember sitting in my first-grade class, my teacher taking my hand and guiding me from one dot to the next in a connect the dots picture. I was rushing through the process and not fully connecting my dots, some things never change.

Taylor, is in first grade and she is definitely not learning how to connect the dots! She is bringing home math homework that I have no idea how to do, and linking verbs, really? What in the world is a linking verb?!

There are wonderful moments while sifting through the papers that your kiddos brings home. There are also OMG moments when you realize there’s a lot of paper!

Do you find yourself taking a quick glance at the papers, setting them aside and then realizing your kitchen counter has becoming a dumping ground of papers!

Are you missing important dates and turning homework in late?

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I have worked with numerous families whose #1 daily struggle is staying on top of the endless amounts of paperwork being sent home.

Which is why I’ve developed a Super Simple System to tackle the papers and avoid the pile up.

Let’s dive in…

COMMIT TO TAKING 15 MINUTES EVERY WEEK TO DO THIS!

I like to tackle the, Thursday Folder, as it’s called at our school, before dinner so that if there is anything we need to discuss as a family we can do it while we are all sitting down together. This is also an awesome way to get that good ol’ “what did you do today” conversation flowing beyond “I forget”.

DO NOT MULTITASK WHILE YOU ARE SORTING YOUR PILES!

While us Mom’s think we are the queen of multi-tasking, we’re not! It takes more than 25 minutes, on average, to resume a task after being interrupted. So, if you are interrupted 3 times while sorting the papers, it will take you 1 hr. and 15 min. to complete a task that should only take 10-15 min.

TOUCH IT ONCE AND BE DONE!

Stand near your recycle bin as you sort. This is where the majority of these papers will end up. As you sort make sure you touch each paper once, do not do the paper shuffle. If there are papers you do not need, immediately toss them into the recycle bin.

SORT THE PAPERS INTO 5 DESIGNATED PILES and ACT!

I have identified 5 categories that these papers typically fall under. Your piles may be different. Do what works best for you.

  1. Momma Act On

  2. Kiddo Act On

  3. Resources

  4. Homework

  5. Art Work/Completed School Work

Here’s a Break Down…

  1. Momma Act On:

These are the papers that require some type of action from Mom/Dad or have dates that you need to remember. The kiddos do not need to be involved in the decision making process.

Examples…

  • Flyers with Important Dates

  • School Closures

  • Picture Day

  • Fundraiser Dates

  • Field Trips You Would Like to Chaperone

  • Permission Slips to Sign

Once all papers have been sorted into their designated piles, I tackle this pile first. I immediately record any important dates in our calendar and sign any papers that require my John Hancock.

2. Kiddo Act On:

These are any papers that require the kiddo to make a decision.

Examples…

  • Joining a Cooking Class or other Extracurricular Activities

  • Participate in the Science Fair

  • Jump Rope for Heart

  • Scholastic Books Orders

These are typically the papers that I like to bring to the dinner table. Chat with your child, make a decision and then recycle the paper.

3. Resource Folder:

This is any information that you may need to keep top of mind or refer back too. You will find that some items from the Kiddo or Momma pile will spill over into this folder.

Examples…

  • Spelling Words to be Practiced During the Week

  • Events that Last an Extended Period of Time

  • School Fund Raiser Details

  • Phone Numbers and Emails of Teachers and Parents

  • Upcoming Extra Curricular Activities or Events (future sign up)

The key is to make sure you are going through this folder on a weekly basis and not letting expired papers loom.

Tip: Rather than having a folder of papers, taking a picture of the information you need and saving it to a folder on your phone can be useful as well. I tend to be the “out of site out of mind” type so this doesn’t work well for me.

4. New Homework Folder:

I have a Homework Folder that all new homework immediately goes into. Taylor knows where the homework folder lives and can access it each night until complete.

TIP: Keep a little bag of pencils and erasers near the folder so when it’s homework time the kids can grab their folder, pencils and get to work.

5. Art or Completed School Work:

This pile is the most rewarding because you get to see the fruits of your child’s labor, however it can also be the hardest one to Act On.

As mom’s we often have a difficult time letting go of anything that our child has made. Here is my rule of thumb, when deciding what to keep and what to recycle...

Artwork Rule of Thumb:

If the artwork was handmade, shows creativity, imagination and is one of a kind, keep it. I often find, especially when the kids are younger, that the art pieces have been primarily made by the teacher or are simply cotton balls stuck on a piece of paper. Toss It!!

TIP: I hang my favorite pieces on our art wall and file the rest away in the memorabilia bin/bankers box.

Completed School Work Rule of Thumb:

If there are awesome stories the kiddos have written, misspelled or funny words they are learning to write, or moments that show a leap in learning, keep it. Immediately file in same memorabilia bankers box.

TIP: Make sure this memorabilia box lives in a place that is easily accessible so each week it’s easy to file the pieces away.

Your kids do not need you to pass down 20 boxes of every single paper you’ve kept from their 12 years at school. The most respectful thing you can do as a parent, for your child, is to keep it minimal.

For a behind the scenes look at my paper sorting system, art wall and memorabilia bins check out the video in our Facebook Group - Creating eXtraOrdinary Surroundings!

XOXO,

Sarah