Every year after the dust settles from the end-of-the-year-hoopla we do our “filing-of-favorite-things” party.

Well, it’s actually not a party.  It’s more like a “you-can’t-have-any-friends-over-til-we-finish-this-and-I-mean-it!!” kind of a deal.

But in all actuality it kind of turns into a little bit of a party because without fail our hearts all turn to mush when we reminisce a little bit through their old stuff from years gone by and the dusty memories come to life.

You see, each of our five kids has a box like this with hanging file folders:

They get one hanging folder for each year in their box.  They have to weed through stuff sometimes cause they only have that one box for all their years up to the end of high school.

(Much more info. on the filing system and how it works back here and here…it’s not rocket science by any means, but oh how I love it!!)

And sometimes that is much harder on their mother to get rid of stuff than it is for them.  I mean, seriously, I want to keep everything, even things like this:

…and this:

Just think how much work and thinking went into those things??

I’ve got to admit I’m pretty mad at our school system right now.  I could write a whole blog post about it as those little steam puffs come out of my ears cause oh man I wish I could change a few things.

But I DO love that somehow their folders become works of art.

Max did this stuff in science too.

Crazy fancy notes that hopefully help them remember things.

But boy, I sure wish they required more reading among other things.   Maybe I need to start petitioning to get these kids into honors English.  Or maybe I need to start my own little reading-pushing-club with my kids.  And petition that the system pay teachers more instead of spending money on electronic school signs.  But I digress.

Here’s part of Elle’s stack we went through and filed away:

Grace’s prize-possession agenda that she lost and had to figure out how to get a new one and catch up in it and then found the first one…it was a saga I tell you.

I think we threw that puppy in the trash.

I found gems like this in Lu’s stuff: 

 …what Mom doesn’t want to find that in her daughter’s backpack??

I LOVE this one too…especially the outfit:

Here’s one of Claire’s stories:

I do love that the school makes my kids keep journals so much better than I can get them to do:

 …And even do bubble maps to get them prepped before they write:

 Claire did the same big keepsake book in Kindergarten that Lu did this year.

They were pleased as punch about that little fact.

Now on to file Max’s stuff if he’s home for more than two minutes between work and volleyball.   I’ll have to post his gems when I catch him.

For now I’ll just rest easy knowing my girls’ gems are tucked away safely for us to cry over when I am old and gray.

Oh wait, I’m gray now ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Here in Belgium – at least when I was in school – you had to keep everything for up to 6 years. When your school got an inspection they could pick random students – even after graduation – and ask for all their stuff to see if the teachers did the curriculum ok. My mom had this storage room filled with boxes! I happily threw them out when I moved out. Your idea is pretty nice though …

    1. Wow, Emily – that must be hard, especially when you've got quite a few children & a small house/flat. (Apartment) What would happen if it got thrown away during the 6 years, would the people get into trouble?

      I wonder if they still have to do this.

  2. We have a variation of this filing system at our house too – only – you're much more clever than I am keeping it in file folders. Each child has a large bubble envelope to keep their stuff in – one envelope for each year. I chose the big envelopes bc of all that big artwork that comes home!

    I am also upset with our school system (living in ABQ) and feel helpless. I've done a few things that have made me feel a little more control over this.

    One of them is that my 2 oldest, 10 yo boy and 8 yo girl each have their own book clubs. Requirements are that we rotate houses and that you choose a book that has a movie based on the book. They have 2 weeks to read the book, then get together for a little discussion, snacks and watch the movie.

    We've kept the "controlled discussion" to a minimum and have been thrilled to hear the kids discussing the book and comparing the book to the movie all on their own – it's very organic and I don't think they realize what we've tricked them into:) haha

    We've read "Treasure Island", "Holes", "James and the Giant Peach", "Charlottes Web", "Matilda", "Anne of Green Gables" it's been really great.

    Anyway – that's what we are doing this summer and I hope to continue it through the school year – though I think once a month will suit us better with everything else going on.

  3. Shawni, I am curious about what changes you'd like to make to your kids' school system? I'm a first year teacher and I'm not 100% familiar with the American system (as I'm Canadian), but I agree that there are universal changes that need to happen! Feel welcome to check out my blog I write together with my first year teacher friend, Meaghan. We've been documenting our inspirations and challenges that come along with the job…we'd love to hear your input! http://www.taleoftwoteachers.wordpress.com

  4. It's so much fun to go through all the school work–you really begin to see how far they have come with their learning. I started this same filing system with my little fella last school year and it's working great. My only problem is I have a hard time throwing anything away. The files are busting at the seam. I hope someday when he's older–he'll enjoying looking back on all his school work.

  5. I love these ideas, the only thing I would have is deciding what to keep or throw away, it would be so hard.

    One good idea would be to scan/photograph whatever you wanted to & put them onto archival CDs & DVDs & include them in the files/ring binders.

    My Mum & Dad saved a lit of stuff from when my brother & I were at school. I have an exercise book with my first handwriting in & my brother has some little blue books where he used to write news items in.

    Just a couple of questions – when you show us these items, such as Claire's article, do you photograph them or scan them – or both? I'd really like some tips on this please as I want to start doing more of this. Also, do you put all the photographed/scanned items on cd & include them in their files?

    Thanks for a brill blog:)

  6. I love this idea! Now I need to weed through that box of Brooklyn's that I've saved and file stuff away after 4 years of school.

    And PLEASE do a reading group!!!! If you do, I will gladly put my girls in it and help in any way that I can!

  7. Hi Shawni,
    Iยดm from Germany and I would love to hear more about your School System and what you would like to change. I can relate, because I would also change a lot of things here in Germany. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to homeschool over here. But I love your filing System. You always have such great ideas!

  8. I loved your box filing system- so much so that we started doing it at our house too. Brilliant, and it makes my paper shuffling life SO much easier. ANYway… one little detail we added is that every year each kid gets a special day to take an hour to go through their treasures, and then gets to head to lunch with mom & dad. The kids love it… and so do I. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the great system.

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