We have been in an “Excessive Heat Warning” here in Minnesota since yesterday, so it seemed only fitting that our air conditioner decided it was time to die. I’m talkin’ dead. Gone. Broken beyond repair. Our house was sittin’ at 85° with 342% humidity when, my hero, the “air conditioning fix-it guy”, came to my door yesterday; and with him, a brand new air conditioner. This heat and humidity makes it hard to believe that school is starting in just a few, short, weeks, but it’s coming…
There is something extremely special about the first day of school, don’t you think? Each child is up with the sun; their “first-day-of-school outfits” ready to go. You make an elaborate breakfast; and by elaborate, I mean something other than cereal. Each child brushes their hair until every strand is in place, and if ever there was a day to floss, this would be the day. You take
dozens hundreds of pictures: pictures of each child alone, with their siblings, and with friends. (Who are we kidding? You throw in a few selfies too.) Then, the magic hour arrives; you hear the bus rounding the corner, and everyone jumps on board. Kids wave through the window, and you frantically blow kisses until the bus is out of sight.
The second day of school is a snap back to reality: The snooze button is pressed 12 times, kids are dragging themselves out of bed and down the stairs for a bowl of cold cereal. With five minutes until the bus arrives, child 1 is only half dressed, child 2 can’t find his toothbrush, and child 3 suddenly decides he no longer wants hot lunch and r-e-a-l-l-y needs you to pack him something. You rush around yelling at everyone to hurry up, and somehow, miraculously, they make it on the bus. You close the door behind them, breathe a sigh of relief, and there, on the counter, is the lunch child 3 wanted, and the dog is chewing on child 2’s toothbrush. While I have no magic cure for reality, I do have some back-to-school ideas for organizing homework.
I am fairly confident each of my children brings home approximately 482 pieces of paper during the school year; multiply that by 3 and you get… A LOT of paperwork. Most are permission slips, announcements, and homework assignments, but then there are those gems: The picture your child drew in art class that was chosen for display, the 100% on a test your child studied hard for, the “About Me” posters, and creative writing books… these are the things I treasure and want to preserve.
A couple years ago, I created a quick homework station where I could put assignments and permission slips that needed attention. Last year I decided to add onto the system in order to address these treasured pieces of homework. I have always kept each child’s “keepsake homework” in a file box in their bedroom closet.
… but, here’s the problem: Child brings home a sentimental piece and I put it on the counter with every intention of bringing it up to their room and placing it in their file box. Two weeks later that “treasure” is still sitting there; now a little crinkled and splattered with a bit of PB & J. I don’t love clutter, so I put it in my inbox, and there it sits. Let’s be honest, I forget about it, and when I do see it, I’m just too lazy to bring it upstairs. It will literally take 5 months to get where it belongs. So, here was the plan: I found a wall organizer, and I put each child’s prized pieces in it from the first day of school to the last. Total game-changer. All of it collected over the year, and I just took one trip up the stairs at the end of the year to file it away.
Sometimes teachers get a little crazy and have my children create outside the confines of my 8 1/2 x 11 filing system. I want to keep these things, but I don’t have a storage closet big enough to house it all. So, I started creating yearbooks for my children.
I used pictures from events that occurred throughout the school year: choir concerts, Jump Rope for Heart, birthday parties, etc. Not only did I include events from the year, I also took pictures of “keepsake homework” that was too big to store. Even though I can’t physically hold them, I have pictures to keep the memory alive.
I am so excited to create these yearbooks because my kids love looking through photo albums. (Yes, I actually do print off pictures and put them in albums. I may be the only one keeping Costco’s photo lab in business.) Now, each child has a photo book dedicated to them, and they can look through the highlights of their year. Even though I pretend my children are going to stay in grade school forever, I know one day they will graduate high school, and these yearbooks will be perfect to set out at their open house. (Do you do graduation open houses where you live? I’ve heard they’re kinda a Minnesota thing…)
I hope these ideas provide a little inspiration before the start of a new school year.
Happy Back to School!
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This post was originally published at View From The Fridge on August 13 , 2015.
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