I do wish I was better at this: the keeping memories thing. I’m not hugely sentimental. I mean, I am to a degree, but those things are not so important to me. I find it easy to let things go. I think that’s what it is: I don’t hold on to things, whether it’s a hurt or that special engagement plate; I like moving onward so deal with and move on from anything that hinders. It’s part of my personality, for sure, plus I’ve developed this way of thinking because of our family’s somewhat nomadic lifestyle for the past 15 years. It’s hard to hold on to stuff when you move year after year.
But I do admire my sister who has moulded footprints of when her kids were babies, different books filled with memories of each one, and many special memories preserved. She’s a fabulous mum. I can’t sustain those things with who I am and my lifestyle, but I do other things to build memories. Like blog, and I like to take pictures. I do think it’s important in the parenting scope: that you don’t beat yourself up for what you see in others (and not in yourself). You have to work within your own capacity because each one of us as something to give and different challenges to face.
I do keep stuff though, but in a limited way, and this is the system I use to keep the cream of the school memories for my kids.
1. School Station
I set up a school station at the start of each year (you can read about it here). See the Keeps section? That is a drawer I use for anything of significant from school for the kids. So this might be special certificates or awards, photographs, stories or artwork (artwork gets displayed on skirt hangers in the playroom first, and from there, either makes its way to the recycling or into the Keeps drawer).
There might be 4 or 5 pieces I keep per child per year. That’s it. It sits there all year, and then when the kids come home at the end of the school with a bag full of stuff, I spend an hour sorting it all and putting a few pages into a scrapbook.
2. School Memories Scrapbook (in a box)
- Large Box to keep it in
- Permanent marker
- I don’t keep school books. They all get thrown in the recycling bin.
- I don’t keep text books (like maths books the kids fill in). Recycling.
- Every piece of artwork.
- I keep 3-5 pieces or artwork per year per child.
- A few stories. I simply rip out a few pages from their english exercise book.
- Significant certificates and awards.
- Official school photos and other relevant school photos.
- USB/CD from the school with images from the year.
- School reports.
- As the kids get older, some of the assignments they are proud of.
- Videos I’ve taken of school. I keep them in a dedicated School folder on my computer.
This is a piece of artwork/collage my eldest daughter made when she was 4. It’s a plan of our house and backyard.
I scrawl (and I mean scrawl) the school grade and the year on a piece of scrapbook paper and glue a school picture. Sometimes the kids decorate with stickers.
Note: In between the pages (so they don’t get featured in the book but are stored there), I put in the children’s report cards and other things I want to keep.
I glue artwork, stories and slip in their class picture on the other pages.
Fill out a short quizz with the kids (this comes with the school photos).
My favourite book/s:
My favourite song/s:
The best thing about my school:
My favourite subjects:
My favourite foods:
Things I enjoy at school:
My favourite teacher/s:
The best thing that happened to me this year:
Where do I see myself in the future:
Miss 11’s response in the second line this year made me choke up a little!
3. Stuff that doesn’t fit
I keep the things that don’t fit in the scrapbook (like an A3 piece of artwork, USB etc.) in the large box I keep the scrapbook in. I use a sticky label on the back and write the grade and the year (or write directly on the back) and then just throw them in.
By using this system, I can easily (and painlessly) keep the really special stuff during the year, and it takes me about an hour at the end of the year to sort, throw out, and collate the best stuff in an album. It’s not pretty, I can tell you, but it’s there, and I’m rather proud of doing it because it’s not something that comes naturally to me. I’ll give it to the kids when they are adults for them to enjoy.