My first year with a child in elementary school is over and all I can say is- what a lot of paper!! My memories of kindergarten include learning to spell “cat” and nap time. Things have really changed since then. I was surprised by the sheer volume of paper that came home. My daughter had a lot of homework which she thankfully enjoys. (Sure hope that lasts for the next 16 years!) And there were tons of flyers for activities and fundraisers all year long. So that you don’t drown in a sea of papers by the time your child reaches third grade, you need to purge. And right after school gets out is a great time to do it!
I purged the school flyers during the year as the activities passed, but stored all her school work in a drawer in my office. We pulled the tower of papers out and set up some sorting space in the living room. We decided on 3 piles: To Keep, Send to Grandma, and Recycle. We talked about how to decide what went where. She liked Presidents and wanted to keep all papers on them. I suggested we keep any home work where she was writing her own sentences. We decided together that we didn’t need to keep basic worksheets or projects that weren’t special. Then the sorting began!
Half way though the pile, after learning what things she liked to keep and didn’t like to keep, I asked her if she wanted me to help her and she did. I pulled out all the homework and scanned them for the pages where she wrote sentences and we let the rest go. She focused on the art work and what she wanted to send to grandma. She even said that this was fun. (She is an organizer’s daughter after all =) The sort pile dwindled and we were done in 45 minutes. We ended up with a small envelope of memories, an envelope to mail to grandma, and a big pile of paper to recycle.
You could certainly purge your child’s homework yourself, but then you miss the opportunity to teach a very valuable life skill and learn what is important to them. The ability to sort through your papers and belongings and decide what is important to you and what you can let go of is a skill that helps people through all stages of life.