Monday, October 26, 2015


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?


Branson said...

Oh I definitely struggle with this! I have started a portfolio binder for this year, and anything not significant enough to go in there gets tossed! ;) Feel free to come link up with the #ParentTeacherMeetUp this week! :)

Angel said...

I'm guilty! I have trouble throwing away my children's work. But I'm getting better. I've started taking more pictures instead of keeping things around. However, my children are still young and they seem a bit offended when I throw away a project, even after I explain that I took a picture of it. Maybe if I print the pictures and frame them instead of storing the files on the computer, they won't feel so bad.

Gale said...

I struggle with this more with my kids who go to public school than my child who homeschools...mainly because he likes to practice with dry erase markers, so we don't have a whole lot of work we keep. With my kids in school, they bring home so much. My oldest wants to toss nearly everything (I have to fight him to keep some of his written work and even awards). My middle child wants to keep every paper he got an 100 on, even if it's boring practice work like spelling lists (and he gets a lot of 100s). So I will admit to quietly throwing away papers when he wasn't looking.

karentrina said...

That might work, Angel. Maybe have a "Look What I Did" display area. Another idea is to keep everything during the school year and then at the end of the year let them help you decide what is special enough to keep. You might have to limit their choices to a certain number of things or only what would fit in a file or box.

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