Well, the day is quickly approaching: we are officially one week away from my girls' first day of preschool. I'm pretty nervous about keeping up with everything and about how the adjustment period will go (for them and for me!), but I am doing my best to put systems in place to make the logistical challenges of sending 2 children to preschool for the first time a little more manageable.
I have seen some amazing setups on other blogs for keeping track of everything- report cards, art work, memorabilia, school pictures, awards, you name it- in one place for a child's entire school career. And initially, I was considering setting up something similar. The thought of having one place to dump stuff and have it already organized so it's easy to find when you're feeling nostalgic is just amazing! But reality hit when I went to pick up the supplies: Setting up a sorting system for 2 children, 15 years of school each, with sub-categories for each year, is expensive! Not to mention bulky. So as much as I would love to have a place for anything and everything, I decided I was OK with having a place to organize the essentials for each year, and save the more sentimental things for scrapbooks, boxes in the attic, or some other less structured system.
I used some cheap 1" binders, clear pouches, and double-sided pocket tabs to make my school memory binders. Since they were infants I have color coded the girls' things with green for one and purple for the other, so I got the closest colors I could find in the cheap binders to color code each binder. I may add some fancier, cuter covers eventually, but for now I've decided to go with a cover that has their name (covered in the picture to protect their information) and a place to put a small picture from each school year:
I think it will be really cool to see them grow up once the spaces are filled in!
Inside, I have one tab with pockets and one clear pouch for each grade (2 years of preschool through 12th grade). I wrote the grade on the tab and the sheet of paper on the front side pocket, with a place to put a picture of them from that year- I haven't decided yet if I'll put a picture from their first day of school here, or their school picture.
On the back side of that same tabbed pocket, I have a sheet to add in some basic information about the child. I am planning to fill this out at the beginning of each year- I figure the summer is the only time I'l have time to do something like that anyway. There's also a space to put a wallet-size photo (again, not sure if I'll use a first day picture or school picture- I'll put the opposite of whatever one I put on the front) and also space at the bottom for their handprint and/or a drawing.
In the clear pouches I am planning to keep report cards and any major awards or other really significant papers- no more. I figure I'll also have space in the pocket tabs to add other papers if I really want to as well, but the idea is to keep it to just the essentials, as a way to get an overview of their growth over time.
I really love the setup- it's easy to use, it's simple and relatively small, and it's all set up and ready so, unless I get bored or change my mind, I don't have to do this again. The one drawback for me that I didn't anticipate until I put this together is that the pouches stick out over the tabs.
The pouches are clear so you can still see through them a little and find your place, but it does defeat the purpose of the tabs somewhat. Oh well. I do like the colors of the tabbed folders and I do like the idea of the pouch, which will hold more in one place without getting bulky (including 8.5x11 sheets without folding them, which is something I wanted).
I'm trying to tell myself that I'm ready, but I'm not sure how well I'm convincing myself! If you missed it, you might want to check out the system I've set up for planning their school lunches in this post from last week. What organizational systems do you have in place for staying organized during your children's school year?