Summer is just around the corner which means it’s that time again, the end of the school year. Most students will be coming home on the last day of school with backpacks stuffed with papers, books and possibly some “lost” clothing uncovered in the lost and found or locker. All of that is going to be moved from the school into your home.
Whatcha gonna do, Whatcha gonna do when the stuff comes home?
Have a plan or strategy
If you can, accompany your student to school on clear-out day or the last day of school so you can help them empty their desk or locker. For some reason, Grade 5s and 7s generally have the most loose paper in their lockers or desks at the end of the school year.
Here’s an easy step-by-step plan:
- Before anything is brought home from school, decide with the student where the items are going to be sorted and stored until next year.
- Send a canvas bag or other strong bag to school explicitly for desk or locker clean-out. It makes it a little easier on everyone to have everything in one place.
- Ask the child if they want help sorting all or some of the items. Some kids will try to sneak in that “lost” jacket or iPod, and then they want help.
- Dump everything out into one big pile for each student.
- Sort – you knew I was going to say sort, didn’t you? Before you start, give everyone a drink and a snack – a little something to make the process a celebration, not a “chore.”
- Sort like with like. Make it a game: beat the clock, best sort, etc.
b. school supplies
ii. pencil crayons
v. unused paper
x. math sets
xi. you get the idea…
c. school work
f. food containers
i. sports gear
k. any other category
- You may need another snack break at this point.
- Review items to see if they will be good for the next school year, are ready for craft supplies, or just plain garbage.
- Put supplies that will be returning to school next year where you will find them in August or September, so you don’t spend money on things you won’t need.
- Choose with the student as to what school work and crafts they want to keep. For large projects you may wish to take a photo with the student holding the project.
(See also Treasures –Children’s Artwork)
Take a photo of the child holding the artwork and store the photo digitally. You can then make a digital scrapbook at the end of the year which can include school field trips, events and ceremonies.
- Think about the last time you looked at your old school work. That might help you decide what to keep for the long term.
- Keep a few things that show the student’s progress or character.
- Look at the condition of the backpack or school bag and determine whether it will be good enough for the next school year or as a take-along bag for summer trips.
Keep the process fun. If it’s a sunny day, you may want to do it outside. The different steps might be taken over a few days, depending on how much stuff is brought home. Take a before and after picture to see the difference.
Even teenagers and university students might appreciate the company and perhaps the help.
Take this as an opportunity to review the successes of the school year with the student.
Enjoy your summer!