School paperwork is inevitable. With this easy three step plan, you’ll have everything under control in no time.
Whether you have children in preschool, elementary, or middle school, they will come home with papers most every day. From homework to graded papers to school announcements, the papers are always coming in.
Mine often sit on the kitchen counter or my nightstand (waiting to be dealt with). Opportunities missed, dates passed.
With one child in elementary and another in preschool, I decided that I better come up with a system for this sea of papers that seems to pile up. I think the most important thing about keeping the paper piles down is to process them everyday. With this easy plan, you will have the pile whittled down in no time.
Empty your child’s book bag, each day, sorting the papers as follows-
Step 1. Toss
This is usually the biggest pile. These are papers that I want to see, but don’t need to keep. What do I consider tossing?
- Graded homework
- Graded quizzes and tests
- Informational notices that don’t require further action
Step 2. Act
- Do It Now
The “organizational people” say, “if it takes 2 minutes or less, just do it now.” I tend to agree.
- Put It On the Calendar
When you get flyers and newsletters, write dates to remember, like Back to School Night, field trips, and field day in your calendar. Then TOSS!
- Do It Later
Make note of additional actions to take, supplies to buy, etc.
- Send it Back
Return forms, field trip permission slips, monies, etc. in your child’s book bag. Here are some challenges I have encountered:
What do I do if I don’t have the money now? Decide if you want to and when you can pay. If the date will pass before you can, just accept that and try to put a plan into place where you can take advantage of this opportunity if it comes again.
What do I do if I’m not sure if I can attend/participate? Mark a date in your calendar (in advance of the true due date) and decide.
- Get the Kids Involved
Most elementary school or older kids can help you fill out paperwork. This would be especially helpful if you have more than one child.
3. File (or Preserve)
Put teacher names, schedules, phone numbers, and email addresses in your phone or address book.
Artwork can also pile up. Hopefully, you and your child have already decided how you will prevent this from happening. If you have not, it’s time to discuss whether you will keep the best pieces “on showcase” until the next school year begins, you will take digital pictures of their work, or you will create an art portfolio for the year to store. Rachel from Small Notebook has a great post about How to Keep and Store Children’s Art. On a different site’s post about How to Organize School Papers, they suggest taking the “papers from each child’s file and put them in a 10″ x 13″ envelope with your child’s name and school year noted on the front (the end of each school year). Then, you can store the envelopes in a drawer or bin. You now have the special papers, awards and certificates for each child organized by school year without any extra work.”
For the most part, this system works for our family. I notice a definite difference in the pile when I am not following these steps.
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