Recently, a friend whose first student left for college asked me:
I'm really struggling with throwing away workbooks/practice books that the kids have completed through the years. The ones I'm thinking of mainly right now are the Teaching Textbooks workbooks the boys have done for high school. Do I really just throw them away? I've recorded their grades for high school. They're on the computer disks anyway. I'm such a pack rat; I'm afraid I'm forgetting something I might need them for!
I knew what she was really asking:
Do I have to keep every paper my child ever generated in case somebody ‘important’ wants to see it?
My response to her:
"Just throw them away. I give you permission. I kept them for years, too, but never needed them again. Be free!"
However, before you get too hasty, consider if you do want to keep any work.
What? What would I want to keep?
Usually, what I want to keep (or am glad I kept) are writing assignments or artwork. I don’t really care about the daily math or spelling assignments.
For years, I did keep everything. You know, in case ‘somebody important’ needed to see it to prove my homeschooling. I would box up the work and label it with the year and grade. Some of these boxes moved with us twice.
I finally pulled the boxes out of the attic a couple years ago. It was fun to see what my students did in first or second grade. I even found this book my girls wrote at an early age.
But, after going through the whole box, most of it got tossed in the trash.
My recommendation for what to keep through the years:
Samples of writing
Any art you especially like
Any other work that is special to you for whatever reason
Projects (probably best to photograph them)
How you keep it is up to you. You can keep the actual hard copy or take a photo.
With the technology constantly changing however, a hard copy might be better.
Homeschooling can generate a lot of paper, so hopefully this will let you determine what you can keep and what you can toss.
What about you? Do you keep everything? Toss everything and wish you hadn’t?