Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The paper tiger

Some of you will be surprised to learn this...so prepare yourselves....but I struggle with organization. No, no,,,,it's really true. And when we started homeschooling over four years ago, well, this just opened up whole new doors of disorganization to me....piles of books, lesson plans, answer keys, art study cards, flashcards, math manipulatives,,,,I've been sorting through them in the effort to move the school room downstairs, and the piles are quite impressive and rather like an archaeological dig...especially the papers- math worksheets, spelling tests, cursive workbooks, pages of narration and copywork. My preferred method of paper storage has been to pile the papers into this giant rubbermaid container to deal with "later"....and when I don't feel like getting out the rubbermaid box, I just pile the papers on the nearest....well, the nearest pile. I had visions of making scrapbooks someday of papers I really wanted to save, maybe combining them with photos of science projects and souvenirs from field trips....ambitious, yes? Well, someone clued me in on way to control the paper tiger, and get this, I've been doing it *all year* with practically no effort at all. It's fabulous, and I wish I had discovered it a long time ago. I bought one of those folding accordion files and I keep it right at our school table. The folders are labeled with the months of the year....all 12 for us, since we school year round. At the end of every day, I take whatever papers we are done with and just drop it in the folder for that month. Wait, it gets easier. I have *another* accordion file, this one is labeled with grades preschool-12th. At the end of this year I will pull out all the papers, one month at a time, and put any that I truly want to save into the "4th grade" section. Then I put the that whole accordion file in a rubbermaid box along with any 3D projects we want to save. My daughter wants to save them *all*, forever and ever, but I leave them on display in the schoolroom for a while and once some time passes she is often satisfied to have me take a picture of the project to save instead. I do plan to save a few small 3d projects forever of course,,,whatever I can fit in the box!! So, that's it,,,,my paper tiger plan. Very simple, and we are actually *using* it.

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